Chicken flight versus fence height... need to clip wings?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cruxmama, Aug 19, 2015.

  1. cruxmama

    cruxmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all! Chicken newbie here... I've got 5 chicks, all 5 1/2 weeks old. One each of Black Australorp, Buff Orpington, Delware, Golden Laced Wyandotte, and Barred Rock. We are letting them have free run of our front yard, but hoping to keep them contained in that space to keep them safe from both the traffic and from the stray dogs in the neighborhood. The fence is 6 feet all the way around. Do we need to clip a wing for each of our babies? I know they can easily get over a 4-foot fence, but a 6-foot fence? Also, if we need to clip a wing, when should we do that, at what age? Thanks in advance!!
     
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  2. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    I do NOT know if your birds can fly over a 6 ft fence. I know some chickens can.

    [​IMG]

    My run is about 4 ft high. If you clip the feathers on one wing of each bird it will help.

    Make SURE there is no blood in the shaft of the feather before you clip or your bird may bleed to death.

    Feather shafts containing blood.

    [​IMG]


    On some birds you may even have to clip a few secondary flight feathers.

    One wing throws the bird off balance and is more effective than trimming equal amounts off both wings.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
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  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Most chickens will be contained by a 6 foot fence. The breeds you mention are not exactly the flighty type. I discourage clipping wings, if you don't have the problem yet. Good wings aid in your chickens capability to escape danger. Only time I clipped wings , was when I got some new adult chickens and they were fliers. When their feathers grew back, the chickens were settled in and did not try any Houdini tricks. One trick you may consider doing is to stretch a wire on top of fence. Have it about 4 inches above the top. Your chickens, if they decided to fly over would land on top of fence first. The wire would prevent them from a balanced landing and they would fall back into yard. They are not that smart to clear the wire. Wire is not that visible to the flying chicken. They see the top of fence as something solid.
    WISHING YOU BEST [​IMG]
     
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  4. rubie

    rubie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, how big is the yard that is fenced? I have found if they have enough space they seem to be fine and don't try to fly out. The chicks you have are heavier breeds and it won't be easy for them to get much hieght in their flight..also depends if they have anything to hop up on to get a better start. I have a six foot fence around their run and I used to clip wings. I had a mixed breed hen that was smaller and had a grand idea of having a compost in the run. The fence I had around it was the perfect height for her to hop up on and "get a head start" then from there she could jump up on the other fence. She wouldn't get out but just perch up there on top. So I took the compost fence out. This spring she hatched 5 chicks and was in a 10x10 six foot high pen and she would get up on the top and perch...but I think it was because there was not enough room for her and five little ones. On the other hand... part of my yard still has four foot high chain link I have not replaced with six foot high fence and when I let the chickens out to roam..they have never even tried to get over it, and I know they could, I think because they have plenty of room. I don't clip wings anymore. Hope this helps.
     
  5. cruxmama

    cruxmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The yard ours are in is somewhere in the range of 1,500 sq ft, not sure exactly, but they've definitely got plenty of room. They also have the whole front porch. There is only one spot where we have anything close enough to the fence that they might be able to make a shorter jump up to the top of the 6-foot fence, and that is the porch railing. I'll probably take cavemanrich's idea above, and string a piece of wire a couple inches above the fence there. Been debating how to mitigate the potential for an easy escape there, and that sounds like the quickest and easiest solution.

    So far, they haven't show any interest in escaping. We've been letting them roam free, mostly unsupervised, for most of the week. They like to play in the dirt in the corner of the yard closest to the coop, and the furthest they've ventured so far is the shady spot under the azalea about 10 feet over from there. We let them out late morning, check on them a couple times throughout the day, and do a head count at dusk when we lock them up in the coop. They've adjusted really well to the routine, and actually go to the coop on their own when we come out to put them to bed... wish my kids handled bedtime as well, LOL! ;)

    Anyway, I know all of these breeds are of the heavier varieties, and not generally known for being flighty; so my hope is that by the time they reach full maturity they simply won't be able to clear the fence. There might be a time when they are not yet at their full weight when they might be able to, but it is comforting to know that the amount of space they have might make them more likely to stay put. They've only explored a tiny fraction of the space that is available to them so far, so if they want to go exploring, they've still got a lot to check out without having to scale the fence!

    I have a neighbor who offered to help clip feathers if we run into an issue, and I would take him up on that. I haven't the faintest idea how to tell if a feather still has blood in it, so that is a risk I would not be comfortable with... Hopefully we won't need to do that though... Thanks for the input, everybody! :)
     
  6. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

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    Feathers containing blood are usually not fully developed and have a blue hue to them sometimes even red. A mature feather ready to be clipped is almost transparent and looks like all feathers you are familiar with.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
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  7. Exotica

    Exotica C'est La Vie

    Sorry - I don't mean to hijack the thread but I was just about to post and ask the same question. I hope you don't mind if I ask here instead cruxmama, to save space!

    I also have 6 foot tall fences on all sides. They are currently only 3 weeks old/3 days old Are my breeds prone to flying?

    Right now I have 4 Black Sex Links, 1 Cuckoo Maran, 1 Australorp, and 2 Easter Eggers.

    Thank you and sorry again!
     
  8. cruxmama

    cruxmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the picture and the description! That is very helpful... Kind of scary that they could bleed to death from a feather, but it is good to know what to look out for!
     
  9. cruxmama

    cruxmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know about how flighty those breeds are, with the exception of the Australorp. In researching to get ours, we saw that they are not especially prone to flightiness, which is one of the reasons we got one of those in our flock. I don't know anything about the Black Sex Links, Cuckoo Maran, or Easter Eggers, but I am sure somebody here on BYC does! Hope you get a useful reply!
     
  10. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    My cuckoo Marans and Easter eggers can fly over a 6 foot fence if they have something at the top to land on.
     

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