Chickens hopping over gate...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Lesa, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    My chickens "free range" in a big area- close to 1/2 acre. The entire area is surrounded by 6 foot high chain link. They do not choose to go over it. However, the gate is the problem. It is probably 4-5 feet tall, but it has a tubular top that they can stand on. Once they figured that out, they would hop up, look around and enjoy freedom on the "greener" side of the fence. So, I tried attaching small wooden dowels, close together, so they wouldn't fit on the tubular metal. Then I put a piece of scary cardboard over the wood - nothing works!! It is not the end of the world if they get over- I just get a lot of exercise catching chickens, but they are not as safe out there and it seems like they forget how to get back over. I know most of you have an enclosed run area- does anyone have this problem? Do I need to break down and get a different gate? Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    Sounds like a case of the grass is always greener and now they know the way...

    Have you considered clipping their wings? They shouldn't be able to get over and once they fail a few times, they might quit trying.

    Good luck!
     
  3. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    If they hop the fence then yes, I believe I would get a taller gate and be done with it. If you like you can save the gate you have now so that you can switch back to the shorter one eventually, way on down the road when the adventurous ones that love the escape experience have gone on to their maker and/or had plenty of time to unlearn the behaviour.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  4. TaLani

    TaLani ~ Gemini Chick ~

    Oct 2, 2008
    Bryson City, NC
  5. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Thanks for the ideas! Since it is just an ordinary garden gate, I can't exactly make it a dutch/barn door- but that gives me the idea of just making the gate taller with chicken wire or netting. Then maybe some time in the future put it back to its original state (after they have forgotten the trick!) I am really worried about clipping wings -I will have to research the topic and learn more about it...I am really enjoying my chickens- I never would have attempted them without everything I learned on this site. Thanks!!!
     
  6. TaLani

    TaLani ~ Gemini Chick ~

    Oct 2, 2008
    Bryson City, NC
    I'm new to the whole raising chickens thing too, but wing clipping is not as bad as you may think. If one person holds the chicken while a second person does the clipping, it's not bad. Only clip ONE wing though. Here is the link. [​IMG] https://www.backyardchickens.com/LC-wingclipping.html
     
  7. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just got parts at HD and made myself some 6' gates. This after two of my buff orp escape artists got killed after jumping outside of the free range area. [​IMG]

    If you have a way to cut metal tubing (a grinder or hacksaw or whatever), it's not very hard to make decent gates.
     
  8. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 9, 2008
    I agree clipping wings if done correctly is not bad, it is equivalent to trimming nails on a dog. Lots of people worry way too much about it . Be careful not to trim to close in on a new feather though and draw blood (the equivalent of hitting the quick). If you accidentally do that you must stop the bleeding right away. Use bloodstop powder, or flour and if that does not work then you must pull the bleeding feather all the way out with a pair of pliers and a quick tug. The problems with clipping are that the feathers grow back it is not a one time deal, and a persistant flyer will build muscle and manueverability, and overcome the fix. (the way you find out this has happened is when you find out at the worst possible moment one has escaped and you have to catch it and clip it, and then all the others for good measure, in case...).

    I still vote for a gate fix because it is simpler and will require less ongoing upkeep.
     

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