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Fat hens?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm getting ready to start a small flock of four or five hens in the spring, and I have been looking for the perfect birds to make a flock with. the area i want to keep them in is secure, comfortable, and clean, but the fence is low, only about four and a half feet. Also, there is a small tree in the area that I can't take down because my neighbor loves it. It has many low branches and I don't want my chickens getting loose. Does anyone know a good breed that can't fly or doesn't want to? I have considered clipping wings but I have heard it is only semi affective... 

post #2 of 5

The only breed that I am aware of that doesn't fly are Silkies (but they are great jumpers). I've had dozens of breeds over the past 50 years and none of them would have any problem clearing a 4 1/2 ft. fence. Clipping will work if you clip only one wing (it throws the birds off balance as opposed to clipping both wings) as long as you clip all the primary flight feathers on the wing (just be careful not to cut into the quick where the blood vessels are). Also you will have to reclip them each time they molt as new flight feathers will grow back in. Even with clipping a wing, I would suggest going with heavier bodied breeds such as Brahmas, Cochins, and Orpingtons which are poor flyers to begin with.

post #3 of 5

Howdy piperthepullet

 

A lot would depend on why you are getting chickens; pets or eggs or both?  A lot of breeds that are less likely to wander may not be as productive egg-wise as others.

 

I live in the suburbs and have 6 bantam gals who fly like bricks and only get to free range under supervision because of neighbourhood dogs and cats.  I have never had to clip their wings.

 

While we have fences around the back, one of which is only very low, there is the option to wander up the side of the house and out into the front garden but in over two and a half years, my gals have never ventured out the front or tried to jump the fence.

 

One reason I believe this is the case is that the matriarch of the flock was never one for wandering and she has probably passed this down to the others.

 

Another reason could be all the ‘fun’ places I have for them to dig, explore, hide and ‘play’ in the back garden.

 

They have lawn; their own garden beds specific for digging and dust bath spots .. there is also a decked gazebo where humans dole out meal worms ;)

 

As mentioned, free range is supervised every afternoon for a couple of hours and the majority of the day on the weekends.  When I say supervised, I do not have to constantly watch them but I am normally pottering around the garden, camped out under the gazebo and inside the house for short periods of time, able to rush out at the first signs of alarm.

 

May be, if I was not watching them, they would wander out the front but I think having me pottering around outside with them keeps them close.  Also, they seem to like to keep their coop and run within sight.

 

When you do get your flock will you have a run that you will be able to confine them to for a couple of weeks while they learn where the coops is and where to run to for security [home base]?

 

If you do, I would start out with only supervised free range .. keep them amused as much as you can during this time so they do not feel a need to wander, gradually working up to a point where they hopefully will not feel the need to leave home.

 

The breeds I have are:

 

Pekin [Bantam Cochin or Pekin Cochin; depending on where you hail from and who you are talking to ;)].  They are little round ‘fatties’ who not only do not fly well but are not that great at jumping either.  I would describe them as able to fly but not really wanting to.  However, they are VERY prone to going broody and while they can lay eggs every day, tend to take a day off so not prolific layers.

 

Bantam Langshan.  I have never seen Dusty try and fly, she is a jumper but again, has never tried to escape or wander far.

 

Silkie mixes.  Probably the best flyers of the lot.  The only time they fly is when they need to get to the meal worms quicker than the rest of the flock but always short distances and low to the ground.

 

 


Edited by Teila - 10/9/15 at 1:59pm

Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

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Bambrook Bantams; Home to Cilla, Dusty, LuLu, Blondie and Crystal

 

'There is No snooze button on a chicken who wants breakfast'

 

'Until One Has Loved An Animal, Part Of Their Soul Remains Unawakened'

 

My Chicken Page: http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/bambrook-bantams

 

Teila's Tales from the Coop: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1109051/teilas-tales-from-the-coop

Reply
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 


Thanks!

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info! I am mostly getting my chickens for pets but eggs are a nice perk.

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