Jumping from Heights

Chicks & Kids

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2018
Hi! I am a total newbie and I have tried searching for the answer to my question but can't quite find one.

My 3 week old chicks LOVE to fly and perch and explore. They often fly from the top of their feeder to the edge of the brooder when I have the lid off. But then they basically jump from the brooder edge to the floor. I'm worried about them hurting themselves. Is that okay for them to do? it's about 20" high. I've heard about high roost heights causing bumblefoot and now I'm worried to let them get too rambunctious.

Thanks for any insight you have!
My roosts were pretty high up, and once my chickens were full grown, they started limping (the heavier breeds especially, but strangely, our Rhode Island Red hen, who is a light weight was too!). Some were developing sores on the soles of their feet, but no actual open wounds.

We lowered the roosts, and built a ladder. The limping stopped. Some of our leghorns and Easter Eggers still fly up to the rooftop, and flap down, but the crash landings inside the coop have lessoned.

If it's just the edge of the brooder and the feeder with your little chicks, I wouldn't worry too much just yet. I would be more concerned about them getting into trouble when they escape the brooder! Wily little things. :)

Welcome to Backyard Chickens!
I totally understand your debate! When my chicks were in the brooder their favorite thing to do was perch on the waterers! My suggestion would be to maybe build some little perches for your chicks so that they can both get the urge to fly out, as well as do it in a constructive manner that encourages roosting behavior later on. How big is your brooder? For me I had 8 chicks in a giant tote, and had to put screen over the top so they wouldn't fly out and then be stuck outside of the brooder. Starvation, dehydration, or being too cold are all concerns if one were to get out. For me it was too much stress and just unrealistic to keep them in the brooder, and I was able to put them outside in their coop after 3 weeks + a day. I had the mama heating pad set-up, so I just made the little warm cave for them and they were just fine. One really good idea to prevent injury is to lay down a thick (1 inch) layer of pine shavings, so that if they do fall it will be onto very cushioned ground. As for actually injuring themselves, I wouldn't be too concerned. I have indeed had a chicken injure her foot, but she accidentally landed wrong from a 5 foot high roost. It wasn't bumblefoot, just a sprain and so with some TLC she healed up well. She was also the flighty-est of the bunch and would often trip over feeders and such trying to sprint away from anything that moves. Good luck on your adventure!
It's natural for them to want to jump up and down on things and at that age, they're so light that they can get pretty good height. 2 to 3 feet is no issue for them. Ideally you want them to land on something a little padded, so if you can put down some bedding around the brooder location, or even scrap carpet or whatever you have lying around, that'll give them a better landing surface while still letting them explore a little.

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