Clipping the wings

If you have a particularly flighty breed and are worried about the hen flying out of the pen, you may want to consider clipping the wing.

However sometimes it just doesn't make much difference. The lighter framed birds can be quite determined fliers however much you trim them. Also some people leave the wings alone as they believe if a predator was to attack it would give the hen a better chance to escape.

It's a procedure that should be done with care as you can catch there are blood vessels that run through parts of the wing. You should only trim the flight feathers of one of the wings, not both.

How to trim

Hold your hen under your arm and gently open the wing which is furthest to your body. The flight feathers are the ones you need to trim off and are the long feathers at the front of the wing. You can check where the blood vessels end by holding the wings up to the light or shine a torch underneath. With a pair of kitchen scissors carefully cut the flight feathers.

If you do catch the blood vessels it's best to have some styptic powder to stop the bleeding and some antiseptic spray to apply to prevent infection.

If you want the wings clipping but aren't confident enough, book your hen into the vets and watch the procedure being done there so you know what to do next time.

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Top Tip

Boiled eggs
When selecting eggs to hard boil, choose eggs which are over 3 days old to avoid the egg white clinging too much to the membrane (which can make peeling more tricky).

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