Can you help a newbie and her cheeky chooks?!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by heth1986, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. heth1986

    heth1986 New Egg

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    Feb 10, 2012
    Hi everyone, I'm after your thoughts and advice on a little issue I'm having with my 2 ladies. They are both 20 weeks old black hybrid hens, both with a clipped wing.

    i bought them from a lady who kept them in coop with 4 feet high fences and had no problems with them making a bid for freedom. I also have 4 feet fences and their run is also at least 4 times the size of the one they were in before.

    I only picked them up yesterday and, stupidly, decided to let them out into their run (they also have a small enclosed run within) for an hour before bedtime. They seemed okay but one of them made a definite leap for it and, had I not been there to pop her back off the fence in the right direction, she'd have been off to next door :-S

    I have LOADS of spare chicken wire so I'm contemplating making the fence another foot or so high without any support so that they can't perch on it. I know some chickens are superr fliers, I'm just so suprised after seeing them quite happy in a smaller coop with the same height fences!

    What are your thoughts?

    Did I let them out too soon?
    Will they settle and learn to stay at home?
    Will they, as they get older and a bit bigger be less inclined to fly?

    I don't really want to make any major structural changes but I'm really struggling for ideas!

    Thanks in advance,

    Heth
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    Did I let them out too soon?

    It probably contributed, but I don't think that is your major longterm problem. It is usually best to keep then locked in the coop for a week or so. That way they get used to where home is. They are much more likely to go to bed in the coop instead of in the run if you do this and less likely to go looking for their old home. This could be part of the immediate problem.

    Will they settle and learn to stay at home?

    Maybe. Some seem to be born with wonderlust in their blood and just like to roam. But most do like to stay reasonably close to home. But that is not your immediate problem.

    Will they, as they get older and a bit bigger be less inclined to fly?

    This depends on motivation. About a week ago I saw a two year old dual purpose hen fly over a 4 foot high fence with no problem at all. She cleared it by more than a foot. But I've kept them inside that 4 foot high fence with no problems. The hen was flying back in after she slipped out of the coop door to freedom. Her motivation was that I was trying to chase her back to the door to get her back in. If they want to fly, they can fly up to pretty high roosts, even when they are fully grown. Younger lighter chickens can fly better, but motivation plays a big part.

    While I think keeping them on the coop a week of so could help, I think another big problem is that chickens like to fly up on things and perch. If you have a solid rail on top of your fence, they will often fly up there just to perch. And who knows which side of the fence they will come down on? So if you have a solid rail on top, which from your post I think you do, I think it would realy help to extend the fencing above that rail a bit so they don't have a place to land. The extra height won't hurt, but the big advantage is in taking the launch pad away.

    Welcome to the adventure, and onmce again :frow
     
  3. heth1986

    heth1986 New Egg

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    Feb 10, 2012
    Super duper, thankyou for that!

    Yes you're right, the top of the fence at the moment is a rail so probably quite tempting. I think we're going to use what's left over of the chicken wire to extend the coop up another foot without any support and (if I can get it to work) my mum's suggested also leaning it in a bit too? When she jumped up before she literally came straight up and vertical to the fence, I'm guessing that with a clipped wing she wont be too good at flying horizontally (I hope, please correct me if I'm wrong!) as well as up so with any luck she'll go vertical again and just bump her head?! That's my theory anyway, lol.

    Thanks again for your help and such a quick reply!
     

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