Will They Fly?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ContessaKris, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. ContessaKris

    ContessaKris Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2011
    Grandview (SKC), MO
    I've been thinking about the chicks we will have (getting ready to go in the incubator) and thinking about when we'll let them free range in the backyard. We'll have a fenced in coop to keep them safe but I'm wondering, for the times when we let them out and supervise them, how likely are they to fly over our chain link fence? I don't want to regularly let them free range, even if I'm out there if they'll be flying over the fence into the neighbor's yard all the time.

    Are there certain breeds that are more prone to this behavior?
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Some breeds definitely fly better than others. Mine are in a 6' fenced yard and rarely get out -- but if they really want out (or in,) they will flap like crazy and sort of climb the fence. I once saw a Leghorn fly about 40' horizontally and crash into a wall maybe 8' above the ground, getting away from a predator. She made it. Henderson's addresses how well they fly for some breeds: http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html#d
  3. abejita

    abejita Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2011
    Dallas, TX
    My 20wk old barred rocks will fly about 2ft off the ground from their coop to my back door which is almost 30ft away.
  4. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    The light mediterranean breeds are usually pretty good fliers. Basically, anything described as 'flighty' which does actually mean 'able to fly' as well as 'easily startled, noisy and excitable'. I don't think Silkies have any ability to fly, because of their feather structure, but most other breeds will be able to flap a couple of feet off the ground. As well as proper flying, many of them are great flap/scramble climbers. I often see mine on top of our straw bales which is about 10' off the ground. I've also caught my Marsh Daisy growers perched on top of the 7' fence that's supposed to keep them in their run.

    Chicks and small growers are usually better fliers than adult birds of the same breed, just cause they're younger and lighter. As they get older (think middle age spread) their flying ability will diminish quite a bit. Earlier this year I had a 3 week old chick who would fly up out of the brooder and across the room and crash land on the coffee table in front of us.

    Heavy breeds are very poor fliers. The most some of them will ever manage is a flapping run which looks really funny as they never get an inch off the ground. They look like kids playing at 'aeroplanes'. I have a few big old fat Marans like that. If they run downhill and flap they sometimes get maybe a foot off the ground, but it's always followed by a crash landing!
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If yo have low (4ft) fence around your yard, stick with the heavy bodied breeds - buff orps, marans, brahmas, sussex...really even my barred rock, wyandotte and australorpe can't really fly. I know my EE (she was my smallest bodied bird) shot up on top of my covered run easily when avoiding a rooster, and it's over 6 ft. tall. Stay away from bantams as well - unless they are very heavy bodied (or silkies).
    But if you have a lot in your yard that's appealing, I really think most birds won't attempt to fly over, even the lighter ones. We just have 4 ft. fence around our property, and that same EE who flew on top of the run never attempted to fly over the fence. Our roo is d'uccle, and he can FLY (little light body-big wings) - high and far - and he's never attempted to go over. I have a little d'uccle hen too - same thing.
  6. meekasmom

    meekasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 30, 2010
    Elkhart, IN
    I clip one wing on my hens and that keeps them from going over the fence. They were flying over a 5' fence.
  7. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Have a mixed breed roo who seldom flies, except into the tree in the evening to roost. Then one day he was out and about and my mom-in-law's cat was down here by us mousing and the two of them bumped into each other. Not sure who got the biggest fright. The roo took off like a helicopter, crash landing in the chicken pen, about 90 feet away and the cat's probably still running.
    If they put their minds to it they can fly very well...
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I have 23 different breeds of 13 week old chicks whose free ranging area boarders on my 4 ft chain link fence. We have a couple of the flighty light weight breeds (ancona and campine), and they are the usual ones roosting on the top rail of the chainlink. However the EE's, a buff brahma, wyandottes, and barred rock have all ended up in our yard too since they are still small enough to fly over.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  9. h8snags

    h8snags Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2011
    Murray, UT
    I just had to clip my girls's wings the other day.. my black sexlink decided she wanted to free range without me out back, and flew over the 4' fence! The others (6 buff orps, and a golden laced wyandotte) tried to follow, so.... they all got clipped! I was worried they wouldn't be able to get up on their perch, but they do that just fine! They can still kinda fly, but low to the ground. I recommend doing it! Just one side though! [​IMG]
  10. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    It depends on breed and inclination. My Delaware has flown up to our eight foot deck but after doing it once she hasn't done it again. My Australorp, Buff Orpington and RR chicks have flown up and over their pen when they've felt like it. My BR rarely ever gets up on anything and of all of my chickens the JG has never gone above mere inches.

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