HELP! Chicken escape artists

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jojo54, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. jojo54

    jojo54 Songster

    Aug 24, 2009
    BC Canada
    I have 30 gold sexlink chickens that are almost 20 weeks old. We had a part of the backyard fenced off for them (some lawn, some dirt) until the garden was finished and now they have the run of the whole back yard. It is fenced and they were fine until lately when they seem to be playing "who can fly the highest". We have found them on top of the grape trellis which is taller than me and from there several flew into the front yard. They don't go far because once they are out, they realize everyone else is on the other side of the fence and they scurry back and forth trying to get back in. Today we looked out the kitchen window and saw one on top of a different grape trellis and two on the shed roof beside the trellis. When we tried to shoo them back in one took flight and ended up in the neighbours yard. My concern is that several neighbours have large dogs and if the chickens land in their yard they will be lunch for the dogs. I don't want to clip their wings (I've read about it and am not sure I can do it). They have not been handled very much so only a few of them are tame enough to catch with any ease. I'm wondering about some posts about training your birds. Do you think I'd be able to train them to stay down? If so, any ideas how to go about it? Please help.
  2. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    you cantry to cover a part of the yard for them, then fence them in there. I trim the feathers on one wing, not the wings themselves. I got the idea from raising parrots. the idea is it throws their balance in flight off and they can't get alot of height.

    I have several Black sex link escape artists and finding them on the hen house when I know I have eagles, owls and a redtailed hawk that fly over bothered me.
    I had no choice but do something even with 99.5% of their run covered they were managing to get outside the fenced yard, for safety I trimed the feathers.

    now no one gets out. though I will have to do this again in a few months (after they moult) it is better than not knowing they are safe.
  3. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    You might invest in aviary netting. It comes in 24 ft wide rolls and is lightweight. It could do the trick if run along fence line all round. Would have to be supported by a clothesline type affair all round tho.
  4. Ladyhawke1

    Ladyhawke1 Songster

    Put ball bearings in their corn flakes and then they will be too heavy to fly. [​IMG]
  5. jafo

    jafo Songster

    May 2, 2009
    We clipped the wings on 3 of our most notorious flyers,,,,,,,,to no avail. I felt bad afterwards because they STILL got out. We only have a 4' fence though. I won't ever clip them again. Even our rooster who wieghs about 8 lbs gets out. They love to free range, and the roo brings everyone home off and on every day, and he rounds 'em up at night,,,,so we're gonna let nature take it's course. [​IMG]
  6. Joyryder

    Joyryder Songster

    Jun 11, 2009
    Scandia, PA
    I expanded the pen area from 100 sq ft to almost 400 sq ft. But I now have 2 juveniles that are free ranging. They fly to the top of the 6 foot fence. They won't fly back at night. They roost at night on top of a 4 ft playhouse, very close to the coop. I really need to pevent them from escaping or they will become dinner(not mine). I am also thinking of clipping their wings.
  7. Chris623

    Chris623 Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    Central Oklahoma woods
    I'm extremely new to all of this chicken "stuff"! Got my first chickens the first of July. They are growing beautifully. I lost 3 of the initial order of 25+1 due to natural causes. But as soon as I started letting them free range during the day, I started finding the flock diminishing in volume. I even lost 3 in one day. I live in the woods, adjacent to a wildlife area and, admittedly, they are exposed to just about every predator imaginable. And, of course, they won't stay on my 6 acres, especially enjoying going through the fence to the woods. So now I'm down to 14 hens and one Roo. I decided to enclose their run and coop in a larger pen. The fencing is only 4 feet high, and it didn't take them long to learn they could easily fly over. I don't want to clip flight feathers because it's just an ongoing chore. So can anyone tell me how high a fence I'll have to build to keep my chickens at home?????
  8. SSS

    SSS In the Brooder

    Nov 4, 2009
    I use 6 ft fences. They are too big to fly over. I think they don't know they could get out if they tried... though my RIR roo likes to get on top of the fence to roost.
  9. jojo54

    jojo54 Songster

    Aug 24, 2009
    BC Canada
    I'm thinking 6 feet isn't high enough because mine fly to the top of the grape trellis and it is over 6 feet tall! [​IMG]
  10. Curlita

    Curlita Songster

    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I've struggled with mine. For a long time they didn't realize they could get over a 24" fence, but after they figured it out my life got difficult. I replaced the 24" fence with a 48" fence, but they quickly figured out they could get over that.

    Clipping wings is not as hard as it sounds. I was really nervous about it, but I looked at some directions and pics online, made sure my scissors were sharp, and went for it. It didn't solve the problem complete, though it helped.

    In the end, I limited their range a bit with fencing and used avian netting over the top to contain them.

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