How do I trim my hen's flight feathers and intorducing bantams to full size hens : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have 6 hens and one rooster. One of my hens ( lets just call her the instigator) loves to fly up in my box elder tree at night to roost instead of going to her hen house. As soon as the other hens see her they climb up or fly up after her. I know I will loose them one of these nights to a predator so I have to go out every evening and use a stick to "shoo" them out of the tree. I would like to clip her wings but I am afraid of doing it wrong since I heard there is some type of vien I could hit and I wouldnt want her to bleed to death, she is a good layer. I am prepared to have chicken soup if necessary though! Also I recieved two bantam hens 1yr old for Easter. I havent introduced them yet. My standard size hens free range and now I have the bantams in a chicken tractor. Do you think the rooster will hurt them if I let them loose? These girls have never free ranged before. I know they cant wait to get out and eat all the grass and bugs!

-- Diane Smigelski (, May 08, 2000


I've got a rhode island red rooster and he doesn't hurt the bantams I have. I would say if your other hens are ranging free, then they've probably already come close enough to your penned up ones anyway. I'd let them out during the day to get used to each other. That way they can keep their distance if they choose to. Putting them together in the coop at night, locked up, might not be too good an idea. Although, you may have a problem with them laying their eggs outside for a while. From what I've experienced, monkey see, monkey do. Give them time and if in a week they haven't gotten the routine down, then I'd lock them in the coop for a day or two. Hope this helps!

-- Pat (, May 08, 2000.

Diane, I have a flock of mixed breed chickens and they are in a yard with 6 foot fence during the day. Several of the hens and the rooster figured out that they can fly over the fence about the time everything is sprouting in the garden so I trim their wings. I just catch the culprits and with a pair of regular sissors trim about two inches off the tip of the feathers on one wing. Of course you want to stay away from the heavy quill part of the feather. This makes the hen off balance and they can't get up over the fence. If you catch your hens and keep them in the coop for several days they should begin to go there to lay eggs and roost at night. Do you have roosts up off the ground in your coop? I had a rooster once that roosted in the rafters (same one that flew over the fence). He was kinda nasty so this was scarey when I went in to close up the coop at dusk. I let my chickens out a couple hours before dusk and close in after dark. Have never allowed them to free range all day, don't like manure on the back step and that seems to be where they wanted to come and deposit it. Two or three hours of foraging gets them plenty of grass and bugs. I do feed my hens a purchased feed, don't expect them to forage for all their food.

-- Betsy (, May 09, 2000.

Thanks for answering me so quick! I will trim my hens feathers tonight when I can catch her. I dont have any roosts at all in the hen house since the chickens range during the day I didnt think it was necessary. Do you think I should put some in to give her something to perch on instead of the floor of the coop? Maybe that will curb her from wanting to go into the tree. I think I will let my bantams outside today and see what they do. Ideally I would like to keep them in the coop with the biggies so I will work on that. They do lay in the chicken tractor so I will have to leave a gap so they can get back into it to lay. I never thought of adding a "pop hole" for the chickens to go in and out of so I will just put a couple of bricks under one edge or something... I would rather they lay in the coop. I was thinking of putting the bantams in the coop during the day after I let the other ones out for the day.. Then they might lay in the nests there......hmmm

-- Diane (, May 09, 2000.

Diane, The chickens really need a roost. They aren't made to sit on the floor of the chicken house. So I would get them a roost as well as trim one wing and shut them in the chicken house so they figure out that's where they are supposed to stay at night. It might take a little while for them to figure it out. karen

-- Karen Mauk (, May 09, 2000.

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