how well can chicks fly? wing clipping?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 4ee2buff, May 18, 2010.

  1. 4ee2buff

    4ee2buff In the Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    I have 6 baby chicks about 2 weeks olds. They are starting to practice using their wings. I am hoping to avoid wing clipping, but I am curious.. How well can baby chicks fly? They will be in an enclosed run, as they get older will they be able to fly over fence?

    Yesterday, one flew right at me from the Brooder and landed in my hands!

    I have 4 Arucaunas, and 2 Buff Orpingtons.

  2. bakerjw

    bakerjw Songster

    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    I am new to chickens and chicks but I know that my 2 to 3 week old Sebrights can fly quite well. I wouldn't clip though but that's just me.

    As for an enclosed run, will the top be covered as well? If so then they can fly to their hearts content. If not then you will have to watch for hawks.
  3. Toi-toi

    Toi-toi Songster

    May 12, 2010
    Central MA
    Mine is just 1week old and they start jumping off from brooder!!
    I don't want to cut wings, too.
  4. at 4 weeks old ours can clear a 6 foot fence. We clip only one wing to keep them in the yard.
  5. fastpat

    fastpat Songster

    Quote:Chicks don't fly particularly well, but they can jump with wing assistance up to something about 2 feet tall by week six give or take. My chicken run will be covered with wire to protect against the numerous hawks we have in the area, the biggest are Red Tailed Hawks which are big enough to kill a half grown chick. A full grown Partridge Rock Rooster will weigh between 8 and 9 pounds, no hawk will mess with one that large.

    The point of the above is to say, if you have a restricted area that chicks can roam and only a normal five or six foot fence, your chickens will eventually be able to fly over that. So a chicken run should be covered with fencing, preferably chicken wire. That will keep the predators out and the chickens in.

    Wing feather clipping is a last resort by someone with a tiny back yard.
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  6. eastbaychicks

    eastbaychicks Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    When I first picked up my chickens I was concerned about them flying away, and I clipped their wings. Then I read that it's not really for flying, more for defense against predators, so I though about not doing it. I waited on my other birds. I have 6' fences and I've never had one fly over the fence in the last year I've had chickens. They do however, when left out of their coop or before the coop is built, like to find places to sleep in... bushes, very tall trees. I did "loose" a bird to a tree back when I was collecting them at night to put them in the garage before I had my coop built. I am not trying to sway you either way, but I personally have stopped doing it because they now have no need to fly over the fence. They have a safe place to sleep at night, and unless a cat tries to get them while they're free ranging in the yard, I think they'll pretty much stay on the ground pecking for bugs and treats.
  7. 4ee2buff

    4ee2buff In the Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    Thank you for all the great feedback so far. I am discovering, as I educate myself about chickens, there are 2 sides of the fence on almost every decision you can make.

    My circumstances will not allow for free range time, however I was hoping to create a fairly large fenced area for my chicks. Now I need to consider putting a top on the enclosure which would certainly mean a smaller area. but perhaps i'll create an enclosed run including a top and eventually expand it as they grow bigger and maybe there would not be a need for a top.
  8. goldnchocolate

    goldnchocolate Songster

    May 9, 2008
    Quote:A cheaper way to cover a larger area is to use poultry netting. It's lightweight and I think if you pull it tight you wouldn't have to have any braces to hold up the middle. I'm not sure if it would hold snow, though.

    Most of my chickens could but don't fly over my 4 ft fence. The RIR's and the New Hampshire's both fly over--they are independent thinkers, I guess [​IMG]. I have a large area where they free range but the reds still like to check out the "greener grass on the other side".
  9. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    The bigger risk to chicks in a run without any roof or covering isn't that they'll fly out, it's that some hungry critter will get in. Wing clipping in an uncovered run will just make it easier for that predator to get its meal.

    The younger the chick, the more predators it will be vulnerable to. Bluejays and crows will attack the small ones, and hawks will attack even full grown chickens.
  10. Toi-toi

    Toi-toi Songster

    May 12, 2010
    Central MA
    My great aunt has farm and has chickens. Her chickens are free range.
    She lost a couple of them by fox attack.
    But her neighbor has chickens in closed chicken run. They lost all of them by fox attack because they were closed in so they didn't have place to run and hide.
    Now I don't know which way is better....

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