I looked out the kitchen window last evening and saw a rooster about 5 feet off the ground on top of the quail cage in the middle of the chicken yard.
This would not be a problem if he could get back down to the ground on the right side of the fence (the one with the chickens, not the dogs). However, we have learned that chickens (and roosters) are not particularly coordinated.
I headed out to the chicken yard to make sure he was safe.
Later, we decided if the rooster could make it to the top of the quail cage must be time to clip wings. While this sounds horribly painful for the birds, it is actually more like clipping fingernails.
The hardest part is catching the birds.
Since the sun was setting, the chickens headed for the coop. They are creatures of habit and every evening they go to bed in the coop, and every night I shut the door to keep non-chickens out.
Since the birds were contained, Beekeeper Brian decided to go into the coop and clip wings. He started with the smaller game birds which made the most racket I ever heard.
I was afraid the neighbors would think we were killing them. Eventually all the wings were clipped and no chicken died, though from all the noise I’m sure the neighbors did wonder.
Wing clipping prevents the birds from flying over the fence where Bella (the dachshund) could “play” with them. At the same time, wing clipping also makes it very difficult for them to fly up to their roosts in the coop.
I believe at least one of the birds held a grudge against us.
When I went to collect eggs the next morning, she pecked at my hand. I’ve gotten used to that and it doesn’t really hurt – especially when compared with bee stings.
So I got the eggs and the chicken immediately went to the roost in front of the nest box and started squawking very loudly. I swear she was saying “Thief, Thief!!!!.”
If you spend enough time around chickens, you learn to speak their language.
That evening when I went to close up the coop, one of the birds sounded very raspy. I told Beekeeper Brian it was probably the one who had fussed at me. She’d squawked so loud she made herself hoarse.
Without missing a beat, Brian replied, “Well how is she supposed to lay eggs if she is a horse?”