Help with confining chickens


10 Years
Jul 2, 2009
Pine Grove, PA
I've owned chickens for just over one year now and the entire time, I have been battling with keeping the chickens confined so they do not roam where they do not belong.

Initially I fenced in a 25X60 foot area with a 5' fence. When my hens (all large breeds) learned how to get over the fence, I extended it by another 18". They still scaled the fence. They actually flew as high as they could up the fence, then flapped and climbed to the top, rested and then jumped down over the other side. So, I clipped their wings. They still flap and climb over the fence. Finally two weeks ago, I put up bird netting over the entire penned area.

I ran errands today and was away from the house for about 4 hours. I came home to find 6 hens roaming the yard (and my newly planted veggie garden) and one hen caught in the bird netting, dead.

My heart is broken. I need to contain them because they just cause too much damage to my gardens, but I'm at a loss as to what to do next. Their wings are clipped, they shouldn't be able to get over a 6 1/2 foot fence yet they do.

I'm ready to just give up and rehome all of them. I love my chickens very much, but as soon as I turn my back they are looking to escape and destroy my gardens, not to mention my neighbors beds.

Can anyone suggest something, anything. Keep in mind my husband is not a carpenter and we are on a fixed budget right now. I'm desparate. If I can't contain them safely, I can't keep them.

Thank you.
I know its rough but could you post a pic of where/how they got out ...I could try to add suggestions from there ..I am a newbie to chickens but I am a carpenter if it helps
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That's a large area, so what's on the other side must be quite appealing. I would plant durable shrubs (boxwoods and such), easily grown trees like cedars, and place a variety of roosts around for you your chickens....make the place interesting to them. Just an idea...
And of course you're really going to have to go all the way around to really secure your netting to your fence, especially in the areas they tend to be escaping from.
Well I found the breach, its in the middle of the penned area, where two sections of netting overlap each other. I just can't figure out how the birds, with their wings clipped (and I clipped all 10 flight feathers all the way up past the tips of the second row of feathers) were able to fly straight up and out through bird netting. Its the kind of netting I usually put over the cherry trees.

I had actually used zip ties to close up the gaps and must have missed one. Those little buggers were eyeing up my veggie garden. They watched me all day yesterday, 6 hours in the heat, transplanting my seedlings into nice rows in the garden. I guess the temptation was too good.

I went around and checked for any other weak spots and addedd more zip ties to close up any gaps. I refuse to be outsmarted by these chickens again. Next one to escape gets the freezer.

Thank you all for your ideas. I'm a lot less frustrated now and a little more determined.

Thank you.
It sounds like you really are in the home stretch, with this problem. Hang in there. I think it will get better, soon. Just keep fixing any breaches. I think they will settle down, soon, as they eventually come to realize that they can no longer get out. I'm sorry that you lost one. Really, who would have expected all this trouble after putting up netting?

I had one flock when I was younger, that had a couple of chickens that liked to fly up and roost in the rafter's, above my head. I always looked up when I went in the coop, just so they wouldn't poop on my head. I think they were the partridge rocks I had then.

It's pretty interesting that yours have learned to climb the fences. You've got some smart chickens there! Annoying to you at times, but that is very smart! I've heard of dogs learning to climb fences, but this is the first time I've heard of chickens doing it. What a bunch of characters!

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