After a little research, here is my less than expert take on it.
It grounds the chicken. No more flying over the fence.
It's safe and painless if done correctly.
It's temporary once the chicken molts.
It limits the birds ability to flee from predators and takes away their main defensive tactic.
Clipping can lead to injuries by throwing off their balance and equilibrium, especially from high places.
If improperly done, pain and blood loss could occur.
This is a simplified look at it. The Chicken Chick and 104 Homestead have gone into much more detail on the subject including the proper way to clip.
|image courtesy of backyardchickens.com|
For me, I don't thinks clipping is worth it. Yes, I have chickens who escape daily. Yes, they sometimes "visit" the neighbor. They most certainly disrupt the mulch in the front flower beds. But is that worth limiting my birds, not only for the sake of predators but for their general happiness?
It feels like I'm taking away something that I shouldn't.
My husband would respond that 1) I did something similar to Oreo, our buck and 2) they are birds and really wouldn't care. Oreo's ability to reproduce was a problem I didn't have another answer to and we all know that I don't consider my chickens "just birds". Netting is inconvenient due to my height but has worked before. It seems like a more acceptable solution. So for now, no clipping.