Hen keeps flying over 7ft fence despite clipping her wing

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jehaz, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. jehaz

    jehaz Out Of The Brooder

    Hi,

    I have a flock of about 30 hens (of many varieties).

    Our problem child of the flock, is of course a Silver Speckled Hamburg.
    She is a slender, flighty bird, with more of a pidgin shape than a fat hen, so she can fly very well.

    She kept flying out of our 7' tall pen and sleeping up a tree about 15' high, so finally we clipped her wing, and this stopped the problem for about 2 months.

    Now she has started again. I inspected her wing, and the feathers have only grown about 3/4" since I clipped them, but just to be sure I recut all the primary feathers back as far as possible. Then the next day, we found her outside the pen again!

    This is a big problem - we live by 200 acres of woods that are full of hungry coyotes. They come on our land every night.


    Also before anyone asks, I clipped the wing correctly. Just one wing, all 10 primary feathers right back as far as they can go.

    So how can we stop her from flying without putting a net over the pen?
    Thanks, James
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    put a leg leash on her?
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You may not be able to stop her now that she has found freedom but some thoughts, other than a leg leash.

    What does the top of your pen look like? Is it a solid rail or is it wire? Chickens like to perch, especially on high things. If the top of your fence looks like a good place to perch, they like to get up there, even seven feet. If the top of your pen is a rail or board, you might try putting up some wire standing up so she does not see a safe landing spot up there, just the ends of that wire.

    My next thought ties into that one. Make your walls higher. The ay I did that was to take some stiff wire, 2”x4” welded wire 5’ tall, and attach that to the top of your wall maybe 2 feet from the bottom of that 5’ high wire. Then attach the bottom of that welded wire to your existing fence. That wire is stiff enough that it will stand up, you will have raised your fence to 10’, and she will not have a landing spot up there. I don’t know what your coop/run looks like. She may be flying/jumping to the top of your coop and using that as an escape route. Or is there something else high up she can use as a launching pad?

    Now the one that will upset a lot of people, de-wing her. Take the tip of her wing off at the first joint so her feathers can’t grow back. Sounds barbaric, I know, but is it worse than letting her be eaten by predators? I wouldn’t do it myself but it is an option.
     
  4. jehaz

    jehaz Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks for your ideas, I'm not going to de-wing her but you're right, I might have to reconsider the pen.

    The pen is a 16'x24'x7' wooden frame (made of 2x4s) with welded wire.
    I have seen her perched on the top of the frame before, and I have also had an unclipped dominique perch up there, which is suprizing because shes much fatter.

    So I guess wing clipping isn't enough to stop flight.

    I wonder if clipping all the feathers on the wing would help (not just the primary)?
    Is that ever done?
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  5. Primo

    Primo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Run a single wire or string about 6" above the 2x4 top rail all the way around. You can slightly cantilever it to the inside. This will be cheap and easy to try. I believe it will work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    excellent advice
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Clip other wing. Also show a picture of previously clipped wing. Properly clipped I can even shut my games down and they can blow doors of a Hamburg when it comes to flying.
     
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    I used to have some that would flap their wings while WALKING up the side of a 6 ft 2 X 4 wire fence to get on top of the coop

    And angled piece at the top may keep her in
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Clambering. Clambering requires some level of propulsive performance by wings or even a wing. My birds are serious athletes at both flight and clambering yet they can be stopped. It simply comes down to a proper wing clipping.
     
  10. jehaz

    jehaz Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks for your answers.

    We caught her doing it yesterday and saw how she was doing it.

    She is climbing up the welded wire with her feet. Not flying at all.
    Its really peculiar, I have never heard of a chicken doing that. A monkey sure, but a chicken?

    So I think I will need to put a "lip" all around the top of my enclosure.
    Theres also a section where she could climb, and then drop down onto the roof of the coop, which would lead her to an easy way out of the pen.

    I called my Mottled Houdan chicken Houdini, but it seems I should have given that name to Speckles (the Silver Speckled Hamburg) instead.
     

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