Dealing with Chickens

Yesterday morning was an amazing morning on our “homestead”.  Things got done, things looked good, everything was in good order. In the process of moving our garden from one side of the house to the other we had to move our displaced chickens. It took a month or so for the entire move but we finally got them settled, with a fence up and everything. chickens1a

But…they kept flying over the fence.  Yeah, I know it happens, but I like to try to keep my chickens in their own run so as to keep them from pooping all over the yard in places that my kids play.  I also don’t want the birds to fly into our neighbor’s yards! So, since it had been a little while, my husband and I went back and started clipping their wings.

My husband reaches in to the coop to grab the next hen to check her vent and clip her wings.
My husband reaches in to the coop to grab the next hen to check her vent and clip her wings.

Our chickens are smart.  They know when we are there for food (they gather around our feet) and when we are there for nefarious purposes (they scatter).  This time we tricked them.  Their feeder is inside their coop so as we filled their feed they all gathered inside to eat and we shut the door on them.  We caught all but 5 chickens this way and three more were caught by nabing them while they were eating outside the coop.

So, when we clip their wings we only clip one side so they can still get away if there is a predator but it deters them from flying willy-nilly across the neighbor’s fence or out of their run.

Don't ever clip all the feathers on their wings.  Only clip their primary flight wings.  Also, only clip one wing's feathers.
Don’t ever clip all the feathers on their wings. Only clip their primary flight wings. Also, only clip one wing’s feathers.

We also take the opportunity to check them over.  We look for injuries, blocked vents or messy bum feathers, we check their combs for health and look at their eyes and just generally observe their condition.  There have only ever been a few we’ve had reason to be concerned about.

I love our chickens. They are so fun to watch and its lovely to have all the compost they give us.  And I’m really glad we have something productive to do with our scraps of food.  And our kids love them, and they are a great home school addition.  We talk about how the eggs are laid, their feet, their wings, what they need to live, etc. My girls love to carry them around as well as treasure hunting for their eggs.  Best investment we’ve ever made.

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