Fence height with clipped wing?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by odie1, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. odie1

    odie1 New Egg

    Nov 30, 2009
    Hello all,

    Long time lurker, first time poster....

    Got my chicks this spring and they are all grown up now, and I completed a coop and a fenced area (20x40) that I used 48" 2x4 welded wire to enclose. Well of course, they have learned to go right over that, but it has not been an issue....my poor garden was done - never really started - and my dog just lets the chickens walk all over him... he doesn't bother them at all....


    ........the neighbors dog has accuired a taste for chicken. They have tried to keep her up, and they are really great people... if I had to choose, I would pick them over the chickens.. and they are again attempting to keep the dog away...but it has spurred me to action.

    I am getting tired of the "presents" the chicks leave on the porch, and really want to have a garden next spring, so how to contain the buggers....

    Finally my question - If I tried clipping wings, would a 4 foot fence be high enough, or would they still be able to make their way over? would a 5 foot, or 6 foot be enough with clipping? ...or will I have to resort to a "roof" - netting, regardless?

    Thought I might learn from peoples own experience before I tried..., then retried, etc...

    Have enjoyed and used the info I have learned here, and hope to get more.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  2. biddyboo

    biddyboo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Ashland, Missouri
    Let me start with a disclaimer, that what we do is simply what works for us, and I make no claims for its overall safety factor for YOUR hens. We have a 20 x 20 foot chicken yard that contains the hens' coop. When we first added to our little flock, newcomers would fly the fence to escape, into the excited jaws of our GSP. We learned to clip the wing on only one side of each hen and we've had no more fly-aways in six months. They can fly up and down to/from their raised coop door and they love racing-fly games when out on free range, but they do not fly the four foot chain link fence that encloses them. I believe that if a predator got into the chicken yard that they could, if pressed, clear the fence and get away, but they stay busy and contented scratching and pecking in their designated space, and then enjoy a couple hours of free range late in the day. I do not consider the wing clipping cruel, but a kindness to protect them, much like the invisible fence that lets our GSP play guard over three acres instead of being on a chain or small kennel run. Hope you work out something that helps solve your problem too. ~G
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  3. odie1

    odie1 New Egg

    Nov 30, 2009

    Thanks for the info... I like my chickens to be able to "free range", but it has it limits!... see first port. I guess the first thing to do will be to clip one wing - at least on a few of them anyway - just to see if they can get out. If that works, I can see myself expanding their "yard", but will certainly want to make sure I don't do it for naught.

  4. clayhill

    clayhill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2008
    Lee County, Arkansas
    Most of my run is only 48". I have clipped a wing on all of my barred rocks and have no problems.
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I wouldnt go with less than 6 ft, since the fence has to keep predators OUT as well as keeping the chickens in
  6. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    I have Barred Rocks, Light Brahma and Black Sex links, I thought a 6' fence would contain them........
    when they were only a few months old, I noticed that 3-4 were outside the fence in the morning, running around and around trying to get back to their buddies.....

    I clipped one wing (after searching for hours and finding no openings in the fence!)....and it stopped.
    when they were about 5 months old I found a Black Sex link Hen, on Top of my Coop over 8' high. I again clipped wings! and have not had the problem since.

    I also have large Tarps, that covers over 99% of the run, however right by the gate is not covered and there is the only place I figure they can now fly out.

    So I guess what I am saying is if/when you clip their wings, be prepared to repeat after every moult.
  7. ChookHappy

    ChookHappy Dances with Chickens

    Oct 12, 2009
    Petaluma, Ca
    I just had to add, thanks for asking that question. I am just to the point of caulking and painting my new coop and I have been letting my chooks out to play while I spend my days off to work on it. As I go about the day I notice all too many times at least 3 out of the 8 ladies usually sitting on the top of the fence eating the little berry things on the tree in the backyard. I have yet to clip their wings or single wing from what seems to be the common procedure but this will have to be done soon. I understand their motive is genuine but this behavoir must end lol. I'm afraid one of the not so friendly dogs next door might hop their fence if they are provoked enough... So long story somewhat long I was just about to ask the same question once I was ready for my next project.
  8. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    4 ft not enough. 6 ft discourages dogs, but maybe not coyotes and surely not coons. I have 6 ft 2 x 4 welded wire, set in cement, electrified run, 4 courses hot wire. No preds have gotten in yet. I have had two escapees, but they cheated in that they first jumped to a temporary 4 ft tall cross fence (for rejuvinating some grass in pen) and from there they got out over the main 6 ft fence. Other than that, they are content to stay in, as the run is large at 2,000 sq ft. Helps to have things to do in run. I have 3 perches and a large dust bath area about 7 ft wide under a tree. Good to have an ear of corn or a head of cabbage hanging for them to peck at. That and adequate size is enough with a 6 ft high fence. Have not had to clip wings. Mine do not get to free range. Too many to watch and no time to do it.

    You might do avian netting overhead. Would require some 2 x 2 pr treated framing to keep it above head height so you can walk around in run ok. It can be ordered online. Regular deer netting at Lowes or any home improvement store will do that too, but must be sewed together as it is only about 6 ft wide. That is why I would rather get avian netting. I am doing some open areas of my run next year with it to discourage hawks. The three trees in there will do the rest as hawks like to swoop & grab.
  9. odie1

    odie1 New Egg

    Nov 30, 2009

    Thanks for the info. This is my last day to work for the week - 12 hour shifts...ugh - so Wed or Thur I am going to try and clip a wing, and see what happens. I have been lucky I guess thus far, as we do hear coyotes nearly every night, and have hawks and owls, but have yet to lose a chicken to anything other than the neighbors dog. I think (maybe not so) it is because my dog ... and the neighbors... keep the coyotes just far enough away.

    Since my chickens have free ranged (by going over the fence!) I have seen them up to 200 yeards away from the coop, with no incidents....

    I am thinking of actually fencing off my garden, and then fencing a larger area around that to let the birds in...while keeping them away from whatever I plant. I can turn them lose in the garden in the fall after the growing season. I will just have to draw it out on paper and see what it looks like.

    Anyway, I will report back in early next week with results..

    Thanks again for the guidance.

  10. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Oldie a lot depends on the breed of chicken. Heavy breeds the 4 ft fence will be fine with clipped wings. For gamefowl type of birds they can easily jump over 4 ft even with clipped wings.

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