Need a little advice, please


9 Years
Sep 19, 2010
Calumet Township-NW Indiana
The day before yesterday, one of our hens got out of the run. I thought I figured out how she got out, fixed that area, and today I added another area onto the run. The fence was built 6' high, with the top rail (2 X 4) being 6' off the ground. The chickens were given access to the new area, and while I was working nearby, I heard 2 hens flying. They were sitting on top of the top rail. I didn't know they could fly that high. My wife thinks that if I had the rail a little lower, with the fencing sticking above the rail, they wouldn't try to fly up there. But my thinking is that if they can fly that high to perch, they can also fly over the fence if the choose to do so.

Our birds are almost 21 weeks old now. They were born in May. Are they too young to molt this year? If they might molt, I'd rather not clip the wings. If they certainly won't molt until next year, clipping the wings might be my best bet. Should I clip them, make the fence higher (how high?), or maybe there is another option I'm not considering. Any suggestions? Their run is open on the top, and it's over 600 sq. ft. for 7 chickens.

Usually, chickens won't just fly up and over; they'll fly up to a certain point, perch, then pick another landing point. Maybe that's what your wife was suggesting.

As to molting, your girls are too young to molt right now, although they may go through a mini-molt at around 9 months. My girls are just finishing up their first major molt, and they're a little over a year old.
I have a run that is covered and when they are in the run, no problem. However, when they freerange, I have a Blue Andalusian that likes to fly up onto the top of the run, then from there she decides if she wants back into the chicken yard, or into my regular yard. My run is 10' high. I do clip just one of her wings, and this solves the problem. Like stated above, she does not fly over, she flies up, perches, then goes where she wants. I would say that if she has not gone into a molt yet, I don't see why you couldn't clip her wing(s)
Just for consideration, during a hawk attack I watched one of my Buff Rocks fly straight up a full 10' and go a distance of at least 20'. These are large birds. Granted fright was a big factor.
Your chickens are too young to moult. Clipping their wing feathers is easiest. My Hamburgs used to fly up on top of the roof of our house and walk around. I'd bring treats out in the yard and they would always fly down for the treats. The Leghorns I used to have preferred flying up on the 5' fence and then flying down into the neighbors yard....and if you've ever had Leghorns, you know how much fun that is chasing them with a net trying to catch them!
Thanks very much for the replies. I think I'll add just a little height on the fence, with no top rail. Then watch them for a few days. If the problem continues, I'll do the wing clipping. Thanks again.

This is a really good idea if you don't want to trim their wings. You can buy it at places like Lowe's and Home Depot. It is not very expensive and it will help protect the chickens from attacks from hawks and other flying predators.

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