Preventing chickens from flying (or jumping fences)

My chickens like to stray from time to time, jumping into the adjacent lot. Most times I don’t mind…much, but in truth, I’d prefer they’d just stay in the yard. I cannot afford a taller fence, so the next option is to eliminate the birds ability to clear a 4 foot fence. Since chickens are very poor flyers, trimming the wind feathers would prevent most of them from “going over the wall”.

The method of wing trimming is simple:

  1. catch a chicken (the most difficult step usually)
  2. hold the bird still while stretching out a wing. I usually start with the right wing for no good reason.
  3. using scissors, trim all feathers off the edge, far enough back that most of the feathers along the back edge of the wing is gone, yet not so short that you cut into the part of the feather that still contains blood. If you cut a feather, there is a good chance your bird could bleed to death, so BE CAREFUL! In the event you do cut too deep and the bird starts bleeding, try to stop the flow of blood with cornmeal or some other coagulant.
  4. Repeat every month or two as needed. Told you it was easy!


Notice the much shorter wing feathers. This prevents the bird from getting enough loft to clear a fence. Unfortunately, this also leaves the bird more vulnerable to predation, so again, be warned.

Also notice I only trimmed ONE wing. This is to keep any flying attempts to be lopsided, and therefore fail.

Now to figure out where they’ve been hiding the eggs…. AGAIN!

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