Conflicting theories on if chickens will fly over my fence

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by seafood, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. seafood

    seafood Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    Getting my first day olds in a few weeks.

    I have put up fencing to make a 20'x20' area outside of the coop for the chickens to spend their days once they grow up.

    The fence is standard post and rail with a maximum height of 4 feet. Obviously I have stapled wire to the fence.

    I have received VERY mixed opiions about whether or not the chickens will be able to fly over this fence.

    A co worker has 40+ chickens and says that they wont. Maybe on occasion one or two will get out but it wont be a real big issue.

    My father in law was in town yesterday. He grew up on a farm in Indiana and said without question, they will all get out and over the fence.

    So, what do all of you backyard chicken experts have to say on the topic!? [​IMG]
  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I think if the area they have is big enough to keep them busy, they will stay in it. I have areas with only a 4' or less entry way and in one full year i have only had 2 fly out and all they wanted was to get back in. I have both std and bantam sized birds. I dont see where yo said how many birds for that sized area, but i just think the more they can explore and be content, the less apt to want to go see the world they might be. I am by no means any expert, but this is just what i feel from watching my own. Good luck to you with your new babies!!!!
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I am not an expert and have not had freerange chickens myself, but from reading everyone else's experiences on the subject two things are crystal clear and I absolutely guarantee them both to be true:

    a) unless they are meat birds, your chickens will be perfectly well able to fly over a 4' fence, and

    b) there is absolutely no way to predict whether or not they will choose to do so on any given day (or ever).


    Pat, suspecting that a lot depends on how sedate a breed they are and how bored (or hungry) they are within their yard.
  4. seafood

    seafood Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    Sorry, failed to mention. Will have 8 standard breeds.
  5. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Seafood, i just saw what you ordered on another post. I think you might be ok.......but any chance you have to expand their area will only keep them happier. We have made our chicken runs so big by adding on as we feel we can. They seem to devour everything in a short time and then get bored [​IMG]
  6. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I concur with Pat. My chickens could easily get over a 4' fence. If they are spooked by something (like even each other) or see something they like on the other side, they most certainly and and will go over. My girls are heavy breeds (wyandotte & dominiques) and they could get over 4' even fully grown. It would have been even easier when they were 'teenagers' and not fully bulked out.

    If it's not a big deal if your hens get out from time to time, then the 4' fence would be OK. On the other hand, if there are dogs or unfriendly neighbors on the other side, that would be not OK. Plus with an open run, you run risk of flying predators picking off your chickens one by one.

    I erred on the side of caution and covered my run. I'm glad I did so I don't have to worry.

    Oh I just went back and noticed the run will be 20x20. That's a good size, but 8 chickens will have that pretty picked down in a short time. I have 8 girls in a 20x80 and they have it pretty plucked clean - I'm interested to see how well the grass will come back, if at all, come spring.

    For a 20' span, you could use PVC pipe and deer netting like I did. That's a pretty economical way to ensure your birds stay IN their run. It works great for my girls.

    Here's my thread on it:
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  7. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Our friends had 6 standard hens (Buff orpington, barred rock, NH red, "Ameraucana" EEs) in their suburban yard. It was fenced with standard chain link fence, I believe 4 feet high. They let the chickens out into the yard in the morning when they were at home but indoors, and the chickens never tried to fly over the fence. When they were away they confined the hens to a fully-enclosed run, about 6 X 10 feet (with a roof).

    I believe that the more common and highly domesticated breeds like listed above would be more likely to stay than those that are better foragers. And that if they have enough to do, explore, and eat in the fenced area, they're likely to stay put like my friends birds.

    But there's absolutely NO predator protection there, so I personally wouldn't leave them out if I wasn't at home. You might want to consider a smaller, fully-enclosed pen with a top for when you're not around.

  8. cockadoodlemom

    cockadoodlemom Songster

    Feb 25, 2007
    Just putting my 2 cents in:
    I have a 6' fence around my pen and my chickens get over it with no problem. My chickens do freerange but they were getting over it when they were about 4 months old cause they didn't want to wait for me to let them out (now the house is closed at night were they cant get out and nothing gets in). If your chickens want out they will figure out how to fly over and when one does the others are most likely to follow the leader. It is just going to depend on your chickens. Good Luck and hope this helps.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  9. seafood

    seafood Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    All neighbors are in favor of our chickens. (just don’t want any roos)

    Here are the concerns.
    1. One neighbor grows “hops” for his home beer making. He is concerned the chickens will find his vines if they escape.
    2. Other neighbors have a 150lb Greater Swiss Mountain Dog. A very, very nice dog who is nothing but a big baby. He is fenced in so this shouldn’t be an issue.

    I fully plan on losing a bird or two occasionally to hawks. Its going to happen. I really don’t want to put wire over the top of the fence.

    I guess it will be a play it by ear thing. If they are all getting out every day when I come home from work than a change may need to be made.
  10. seafood

    seafood Songster

    Feb 12, 2008
    What about the theory of clipping their wing early on. Then they can’t fly over the fence when they are first let out to range. Once they molt and get flight feathers back, they aren’t smart enough to know that they can now fly again.

    Seems good in theory…not sure what real life results will be.

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