Monday, June 15, 2009

Clipping Turkey Wings

The turkey poults we're growing for folks for Thanksgiving are now 4 weeks old. One of the things about turkeys is that they fly very well when they're young. Heading into the brooder building, we're almost guarnteed to be greeted by a few poults roosting high on top of the fencing that's supposed to keep the chicks and poults in.

So after dinner tonight, Carla and I went out to clip some turkey wings.

This is a old/heritage breed of turkey, the Standard Bronze. This little guy will be magnificent when he grows up. He'll look like the cheesy pilgrim turkey decorations (without the pilgrim hat) that abound during the holidays. Carla is holding his wing out to display the flight feathers.

You can see this poult's (a bourbon red) wing after being clipped. Feathers are like hair, so as long as we don't trim them too close, it doesn't hurt the birds in the slightest. We only trim one wing; this throws the bird's flight off balance, and they can't get to far. If you clip both wings, they'll just flap harder to get where they need to go. We clip the right wing, so that way we can easily see if any birds have missed thier hair cut.


  1. How do you range your turkeys? Just let them go? Or in a coop of some sort? I have some bourbon reds that I would like to let range, but I think they might run away?

  2. Is there any videos that I would be able to watch as I am nervous about cutting them

  3. not that I know of. Just keep cutting little bits at a time. When you start getting to where the quill is hollow, I'd stop, as there's veins and blood in there. If you cut slow, if you cut to deep, you'll know quick enough and can stop before you cause any significant damage