Urban Backyard - Keeping the chickens in the yard?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Janeothejungle, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Janeothejungle

    Janeothejungle Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 22, 2013
    Fresno, CA
    Hello All,

    I've been searching the threads but haven't found one that quite covers my issue. I live in a residential house on 1/4 acre, neighbors on two sides and canal bank behind. I have 6 foot fences surrounding the backyard at the moment. My 6 girls are still little fuzzbutts, but I'm trying to plan ahead for the best way to keep the girls in the yard during the day when I'm around. My main concern is that they manage to fly over the fence to my neighbors yard with the 2 pitbulls.....(Yikes). If I extend the fence higher (say 8 or 10 ft?) would that suffice? I'd rather not clip their wings if I can avoid it. I'm in the middle of building a secure coop with an extended run, but I'd like them to be able to roam when I'm home and out working in the yard. Is this a behavioral issue I can train them to?

    These are my very first chickens, so I'd appreciate any advice. I do have some fence-extending leeway since I'm in a county island amid a large city.

  2. KBlue

    KBlue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2011
    Katy, TX
    Extending the fence is an option, but a determined bird is going to get out. If you don't want to clip the wings, your best bet is to make sure your yard is a lot more interesting than the neighbors'. Treats, sandpit, throw scratch on the ground. Keep them occupied!

    I would clip one wing if I were you though. It is temporary until the next molt and will get you by until your run is complete and costs a lot less than extending the fence.

    Good luck in whatever you decide!
  3. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2012
    I've never had any problems with my chickens flying over the fence. They are usually to busy. I didn't know that a chicken could dig such a deep hole trying to find a good bug or to take a dirt bath. They are so funny to watch.
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I have 6 chickens in a small urban yard and let them free range for the first 2 and half years I had them. 2 are leghorns and can fly onto the roof of my house(I learned this during a neighbor dog incident--they cam home that night no problem) In that time they only ventured over the fence once and it was only after they can cleared the entire yard of all vegetation and they only went over in the one spot where they could see my neighbors plants through the gate.

    I think if they have plenty to do and can't see through they are much less likely to feel like going for an adventure.

    The only 100% sure way is a covered run. I finally build one about 4 months ago after a rough hawk attack. I had no idea we had hawks in the middle of Los Angeles but turns out we do. I started growing fodder so they will always have fresh sprouts when through they have cleared the run of plants.
  5. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    Clip the wings, or cover the area so they can't fly out. We are going to put up 4 ft fence...just in case, but the 10 chickens I have now treat the road like a fence, and our property line extends to the road...so it works out. I figure a 4 ft fence should easily keep them from wanting to go farther than they already do... We are getting ready to up the chicken numbers by a lot...a whole lot! I have 10 mature chickens, all young except 2, but we have 17 in the brooder now, some are roosters of course, and then we are getting some turkeys and more ducks in May...Along with the 17 chicks in the brooder, we also have 8 ducks brooding...and I don't want them to ruin the neighbor's yard...luckily we have a field below our house that is bowl shaped and I figure if the 4 ft fence is right along the road, then the chickens would have to also brave going up the hill to get across the fence...anyway, we have 4 acres that there is no way they could denude it...too scraggly and vines and a good bit of it is wooded. Anyway...we are doing 4 feet at least on the road side of the property...to keep the dogs and chickens on our side of the road, even though the chickens seem to not want to cross the road anyway.
  6. vconner

    vconner Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 6, 2013
    I am having trouble with my chickens going into the neighbors yard. I have 1 acre but they continue to go next store. I have put out scratch in the yard and they have fodder and things in the yard. I noticed that they have placed mothballs on the drive and there were a few eggs laying around. I run them back home whenever I see that they are over there. Anyone have any suggestions.
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Must have fencing! Either keep your birds in a coop and pen, or fence your property line. My chickens don't fly over the five foot fence, but will get through and openings at ground level. I select breeds that will forage, but aren't known for flighty wide ranging behavior. They have plenty to do at home. I would expect that traveling chickens will end up in someone's pot, as roadkill, or some wild critter's dinner. Mary
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    You need to fence or confine your birds asap. A tractor, electric poultry netting, a chain link kennel all work as a quick, fairly easy quick fix until you can decide if you can build an appropriate fence that will contain them on your property. Once your birds get re-conditioned to staying on your property you may be able to free range them again, but you may not. You need to be responsible and confine your animals to your own property, even if that means giving up free ranging.
    1 person likes this.
  9. tobit

    tobit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2014
    I let my two bantam cockerels forage around in our (very small) backgarden when i can supervise them, they can clear a 5 foot fence from the ground (no wings clipped) as they tend to go onto their run which is the same height as the fence to the neighbours, but then when we let the hybrid hens out they dont fly at all and ten do stay on the ground, maybe this has something to do with gender but i think the type of breed you have will deffinitely make a big difference!
  10. mejumpmore1

    mejumpmore1 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 8, 2013
    We have 6' privacy fence in about the same amount of yard and have never had one of our girls even try to escape to the neighbors yard. That's not to say you won't have an issue with yours, but maybe you won't. :) We currently have 11 chickens in a decent sized yard. I will say it is really fun walking out in my backyard, the girls come running as soon as they hear the door open then proceed to follow me around the yard as I take care of things outside.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by