It is a common misconception that chickens cannot fly. The truth is most chickens can fly for short distances to escape predators or to find a high place to roost. While this might aid in avoidance of predators, it can lead to unhappy neighbors (when your chickens hop the fence) or lead to them flying into unsafe situations. The easiest way to stop your birds from flying away is to clip their flight feathers.


  1. Very sharp scissors
  2. An assistant
  3. A chicken

 Time to Clip:

  1. Stay calm. If you’re anxious, your bird will be too.
  2. The goal is to cut only the long primary flight feathers on the wing. These are easy to identify from the other feathers as they are typically a different color and markedly longer. Typically, there are 10 of them.
  3. Firmly hold the chicken and spread the wing out
  4. Start cutting from the primary feather to the length of the shorter feather located above the flight feathers.
  5. You can either clip one or both wings. Often clipping one wing is sufficient to discourage flight.
  6. You will need to repeat this process after your chickens’ molt as their feathers will regrow.

Possible Problems:

Accidents happen and sometimes we cut the wrong feathers. When you look at the primary feathers, the quill will be white because there is no blood supply. The blood feathers will have a dark quill. If these are cut the chicken will bleed, a lot. Don’t panic, the bleeding will stop on its own. To stop the bleeding faster, dip the wing in some cornstarch and apply some pressure to the bleeder.

Information adapted from

Poultry Quick Tips – Clipping Wings


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