Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Crazy fiction. For the past few weeks, we have had 34 chicks living in our garage. Up until now they have been perfectly happy running about in their 12 ft. stock tank.
Then they discovered that they had wings.
Now I'm not one to overreact, but our garage was the dreams Alfred Hitchcock films are made of. I'm not sure I will ever be the same. See, when I enter the chicken coop, I expect to have a chicken or two jump around, or at the very least, flap their wings at me in protest to whatever wrong I've committed. But, the last thing I expect is to have a dozen or more chickens fly at my face while I'm on a mission to thaw something out for dinner.
Just so ya know, I scream like a girl.
Since the chicks can't be moved out to the chicken tractors until later in the week, and flying about the garage could cause serious damage to my unused treadmill, I decided to spend an afternoon clipping wings. Thing is, I've never clipped wings by myself before. The chickens don't really like it. And I don't really like all that flapping about. Even if I'm the one doing most of the flapping.
Because birds need wing symmetry in order to fly, clipping one wing of the bird keeps them grounded. This should only be done if there is no chance that they'll be the featured guests at the all-you-can-eat buffet. (The only predators our chicks need to worry about are of the two-legged kind, and not until about 10 weeks of age, if you know what I mean.☺)
The hardest part of giving a chicken a haircut is catching them. Once caught, spreading one wing out to fan the feathers is simple. Sticking to the same wing for each chick makes it easier to keep track of which chickens have been clipped.
Our chickens range in age from 3-4 weeks. For this size, I clipped approximately 1 inch from the right wing. Older birds can have as much as 3 inches cut from the wing.
The whole process, including clean-up, took less than 10 minutes.
The trauma of my Hitchcock moment may take a little longer...☺