One Flew Over the Chicken Coop or Getting Your Wings Clipped

  My dad raised thousands of chickens in his time.  He ordered about one hundred chickens every year for as long as I can remember and every year, for some reason, he had to order one hundred more.  Probably because we had chicken for dinner almost every Sunday and some of the chickens made the mistake of getting into the lane where the pigs were and were a tasty treat for the pigs.

  I guess as a kid you don’t pay a lot of attention to things that are happening around you sometimes so I didn’t realize chickens were good flyers.

  Yesterday I let the chickens out as usual.  I opened their little door and they all marched down their little ladder and began to peck in the dirt.  I locked their gate and began to go back to the house when I saw Beatrice, or was it Dorcas, strutting around in the yard.  The dogs noticed her also and began to  chase her and, as what has become common around here, I began to scream at the dogs and tried to get the chicken from them. They had her down once and I screamed so loudly, Belle backed off and Bonnie looked stunned.  By that time David, my knight in shining armor had arrived to grab the dogs’ collars.  Beatrice, or was it Dorcas, strutted on as if nothing had happened.  I managed to catch her and get her back into the pen.

  “We are going to have to clip their wings,” David said.  Now I have never clipped a chicken’s wings and I don’t remember ever seeing my daddy do so.  It sounded cruel and inhumane.  So I got on the net and saw many sites where they showed you how to clip chickens wings.  If you clipped them too short, they could bleed badly.  I got a sick feeling in my stomach, but I knew we were going to have to do it.

   I got a pair of sharp scissors and David and I went out to the pen.  Three of the chickens were in the house and easy to catch. The other two were a little harder. We didn’t clip Freedom’s wings because she uses them to balance herself on her bad leg.  You have to be careful what wings you clip and you only clip one wing.  This imbalances the chicken so it cannot fly.  I sat in a lawn chair and held the chicken and spread its wing and David did the cutting. It’s really like clipping your nails.  Just don’t get too close to the blood veins or the chicken will bleed badly.  The chickens looked a little startled and fluffed themselves up.  I saw Beatrice, or is it Dorcas, later trying to fly and she couldn’t get off the ground.  Good.  Mission accomplished.  One more thing I don’t have to worry about.

  A few days ago we were watching the chickens and David said, “That one chicken looks more like a rooster.”  Now when we bought the chicks at Rural King we thought we bought all pullets.  Suddenly the chicken made a roostery sound.  Oh, oh.  Hope it’s just a girl chicken trying to sound masculine because we can’t keep a rooster. Too noisy.  If he/she is a rooster he/she will have to find a new home.  We will just have to wait and see. Still no eggs yet, but it should be happening soon. 

  Here’s to runaway chicks and clipping their wings.  Bye

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