Escape Artist

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by echooken, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. echooken

    echooken New Egg

    Jan 31, 2014
    Hi, just joined. Found your site whilst researching a new breed just purchased yesterday - Silver-grey Dorking. Grace, as she has been named is approx. 4 months old and of course quite beautiful. I have had chickens for quite a few years, starting off with the standard Isa browns. The last 2 years I have wanted to get more variety, so purchased a white leghorn ( Myrtle) & an Australorp (Barbara). Then a few months later, 3 Sussex cross ( Pamala; Prudence & Patrica) a silver Sussex named Duchess and an Aracana called Pom Pom. The last 5 reside in their own pen down one end of an half acre yard and the previous girls in another pen at the other end of the yard. All the girls free range from lunch-time till dark when they then go their separate ways to their own pens. I had the opportunity to purchase Grace, the dorking; a speckled Sussex newly named Freckles ( what else) and a black Orpington named Oprah, which were installed in a smaller pen adjacient to the Bowns & leghorn etc. Heaps of room in both pens with all the usual amenities. Which brings me to my problem. Grace, the new Dorking, in a period of 24 hours since her arrival has managed to escape 3 times. The only way she could possibly be doing it is over the front gate which stands almost 6 ft high. The rest of their pen in fully enclosed with either chicken wire or shadecloth, roof included. Above the entry door so as to allow freedom of movement for myself when entering and not having to duck or hit my head I have left an 18 inch gap between the top of the gate and the roof of the pen.
    My question is this, can a young Dorking fly straight up over a six foot obstacle ( the gate) without much of a run up? She doesn't seem to want to go anywhere, stays near the night pens, but, at this early stage, I am worried the established girls will pick on her if she is out in the yard on her own with the other girls who are happily free-ranging.
    The obvious answer, of course is to enclose the top of the gate, which I will probably do, but I am curious if good flight is a Dorking trait or is she special??
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    If she is young enough, then yes, they can hop right over fences. I would imagine if she is fully grown, she may or may not be too heavy to fly over. It does happen. I don't own Dorkings, but I have seen my heavy breed chickens hop straight up off the floor nearly 4 feet up. So I would imagine, if they had to opportunity, they might be able to get over a 6 foot fence with enough practice. So you may need to do some work to your area to keep her in.

    Good luck with your babies and enjoy BYC!
  3. Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! X2 young birds even of heavy breeds can get over 6' fences. You could try trimming her wings, but you'll probably wind up blocking the top of the door.
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  6. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    [​IMG] Yep, chickens can fly.
  7. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Alright [​IMG] great to have you onboard with us [​IMG]

    You might want to check out the learning center [​IMG]
  8. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us! I'm not familiar with Dorkings, but I know chickens can fly pretty well, if needed. I remember one of my roosters bumping into my MIL's cat one day. Neither saw the other coming until they were nose to nose. The rooster took off and landed about 60 yards away in the pasture and the cat was nowhere to be seen for the rest of the day. So, yeah, they can fly pretty well [​IMG] You may want to consider trimming your hen's flight feathers a bit. Good article and illustration on the topic here:
  9. echooken

    echooken New Egg

    Jan 31, 2014
    Thanks for your thoughts. I think you have the right idea, that is, she is young and not too heavy yet, enabling easy flight. I have other heavy breeds, i.e. The Sussex, and they really have no inclination to fly. I am reluctant to clip their flight feathers in case there ever is a need for them to escape danger. When the Aracuna was only a few months old, she was able to clear a 4 ft gate easily, however , she would come right back within seconds- perhaps the grass is not greener on the other side!

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