Backyard chickens will provide you many advantages as they can supply you with eggs. However, raising them requires you to secure them properly to avoid unnecessary incidents that will displease your neighborhood. But, how can we ensure our chickens won’t bother our neighbors?
Chickens tend to fly off if they are in a new place, frightened, or thinking they lost their way.
The best ways to keep your chickens from escaping are:
- Clipping the wings
- Putting up a higher fence
- Enclosed their coops.
- Putting up high barriers or fences
Note that they also return at night to roost. Chickens can definitely find their way back home if they get used to where they usually eat and sleep. It’s a great advantage if they can come back and not get lost.
In this article, we will be talking about some tips to keep your chickens from fleeing from their coops, identify the reasons why they run away, and get to know their behavior.
Will My Chickens Run Away If I Let Them Out?
First of all, chickens do not simply just run away. Most of the time there is a reason why you see chickens flee. It is an innate behavior of the chickens to roam around, but usually, they don’t just leave their home. Expect they’ll return in the evening for roosting.
Before we discuss this topic, we would like to explain what is roosting for chickens. This practice is when they get together with other chickens at night to sleep. They are like humans wherein, after a long day of work or school, we gather at night for dinner.
Another thing you should note is that they may get lost while roaming around. Although they have this instinct to come back home at night, getting lost is another side of the story.
Chickens Return on Their Own
Generally, chickens return at night to roost after roaming around during the day. As long as they know where their home is located they will return. However, always remember to make sure they are protected for the night.
If one of the chickens wasn’t able to come back during the day, what do you need to do in this instance? Nothing. Just wait for the nighttime and see if they’ll return to roost. There is a huge chance that they are hidden by the tall grasses or bushes.
Another situation that you may encounter is when they cannot enter the pen because it’s either closed or obstructed. Regularly, they will look for some safe places near their home to sleep. Thus, they will either stay in a hidden area or seek some structures to perch.
Chickens are raised for a variety of reasons. For the most part, they are raised for their meat and eggs while some are raised as pets. If you are interested in keeping a few of these birds in your backyard, one of the first questions that may have popped in your mind is do backyard chickens involve a lot of work? Read our article to find out.
Ensure They Recognize Their Home
It’s a fact that chickens normally go back to roost at night. But, you need to know for sure they can actually identify where their home is. Chickens that are just transferred to a new place need to get used to the new home before you let them run free, you need to train them.
How to teach them to recognize their new quarters? Chickens consider their “home” as where they can eat and sleep. Therefore, limiting their food and water inside their pen or coop will help them recognize their home.
Chickens are estimated to adjust to a new home in half a day to three days. Thus, the best way to instill this new place into their habits is to enclose them inside the coop for up to three days. With such, they will get used to the setting and spot their new pen.
You have to remember that chickens don’t just run away naturally. So, if you wonder why they go away after you let them out, there are elements to consider. They will either not recognize where their home is, or be scared.
There are still some reasons as to why chickens run away, which we’ll be talking about on the following topics.
3 Tips for Keeping Your Chicken from Flying Away
Now that we know that chickens don’t just run away on their own, let’s find out some ways to avoid them from flying off.
Wing clippings, putting high barriers, and coop enclosures are the best methods to prevent them from escaping. As a matter of fact, chickens cannot fly too high. Thus, by applying the following tips, you can ensure they won’t be able to break free.
Chickens are Phasianidae, which are a family of ground-living birds. Their bodies can be described as stout with wide short wings and strong legs. Judging from their features, they can’t fly away. However, they can use their wings and jump up to reach the fence.
We all know if they can fly on the other side of the fence, can get lost, and may not come back without you knowing. Even though we have put up some barriers to enclose their boundaries, they can still find a way to flee their coop.
Backyard chickens are less complicated to take care of. You just have to be careful and vigilant that you don’t annoy or irritate your neighbors. The following tips should be also associated with this aspect.
1. Wing Clipping
Wing clipping is a process during which you trim the primary feathers of the chicken’s wings. The purpose of this process is mainly to disallow them to fly and escape from your fences.
Before you apply this method, make sure you are well knowledgeable of the process. We advise you to look for some experienced people who can guide you through this. None of us wants to make a wrong move and accidentally cut our chickens.
The primary fleeting feathers of the chickens are the main driver that allows them to fly. If you trim one side of it, they won’t be able to do it again. Cutting these feathers won’t harm or cause pain to the chicken.
This method is to prevent the chickens from flying away. Do not apply this to other birds that are naturally living in their habitat. Let’s see how to clip a chicken’s wings.
- First, hold your chicken securely.
- Next, spread its wings. This way, you will be able to identify which are its primary feathers. These feathers are the longest ones and can be found on the façade of the chicken’s wings.
- Cut the long feathers. Be careful not to cut the short ones, on the upper part of these primary feathers. You can find about ten long flight feathers if you spread them.
- Just trim one area of the wings. The focal ground why we’re clipping the flight feathers is to stop them from randomly flying away. Thus, cutting only one part of their wings’ feathers is enough.
What are chicken wings’ feathers made of?
They are made of keratin. This is a protein that can be found as a component of hair, claws, nails, and claws. Cutting them won’t damage any of your chicken’s blood vessels nor nerves. It’s like cutting your hair to make it shorter.
2. Putting up high barriers or fences
Putting up a fence is the first thing you can do to control your chickens. Indeed, your chickens can fly off up to a certain height. When raising backyard chickens, this is a vital system to avoid irritating your neighbors because they flew off to their roof.
What you can do while keeping chickens in your backyard is to prevent them from reaching the fence you put up. The steps will man you to set down a higher fence that will exceed their fleeting ability. With this method, your chickens will not be able to escape if they try to fly over the fence.
Wing clipping can ensure that they won’t be able to fly. If you’re looking for an alternative not to imbalance your chicken’s wings, then this may solve your problem. You just need to know the height your chickens can reach.
How tall is the ideal fence?
Chickens have a wide range of breeds. Normally, chicken can reach up to 10 feet, but some types can go higher. Thus, some chicken farmers put up about 6-foot tall fences, however, some breeds can still break free.
It’s not advisable to automatically build up a fence that is more than 10 feet tall. The first thing you should do is know your chicken’s breed and its fleeting ability. Once you know this, you can easily determine the most fitting height for your fence.
3. Create a coop enclosure
Fences are good to prevent your chickens from flying away. On the other hand, you can protect your chickens from different predators by placing a coop enclosure. Coops are what they call the shelter of chickens, but this kind of shelter should be enclosed.
What is a coop enclosure? Basically, they are just coops but more secured and enclosed for chickens’ safety. Insects can be considered as intruders as well, so the floors should also be confined. Also, avoid holding your chicken inside a coop where they cannot move freely.
When making a chicken coop, make sure that the chickens have enough space for motion. Give them access to grass and room to roam around.
How much space does your chicken need? There should be at least 2 to 3 square feet of space for each chicken inside the coop. For the outside, a good 8 to 10 square feet is recommended.
Following the ideal space size for a coop will prevent your chickens from experiencing stress and other factors that may affect them or kill them.
Enclosing their coops will completely halt them from escaping around and will protect them. Although high fences may work, covering the upper area of their home is better.
One of the things that you need to consider when you plan to raise chickens in your yard is the kind of chicken that you want to keep. Do you want a chicken that lays a lot of eggs, one that is a good source of meat, or maybe you are looking for a new family pet. Read our article and allow us to help you choose the best chicken breed for your backyard coop.
3 Reasons Why Chickens Run Away
Chickens run away if they are not used to a new place as they don’t recognize their home or coop. They also tend to escape when they are frightened, just like how humans run away when they get scared. They will also fly away if they get lost.
As previously mentioned, chickens normally don’t escape, but it is still possible that they will. This pertains to the backyard and all types of chickens that may not be able to adjust to certain situations. Knowing these factors may aid you to implement more strategies in keeping chickens inside their coops.
Now, why are chickens trying to escape?
1. They’re not used to their new place
Even humans need to adjust to a new place. But, we have far different dynamics and understanding compared to chickens. For instance, we will take time to comprehend the surroundings, whereas chickens will try to run away and wonder where their former home is.
For example, let’s say you are raising backyard chickens that you have just transferred to your farm. If you let your chickens roam immediately after you reach the new location, for sure, you will lose them. They don’t have great interpretations of the situation, so you need to guide them.
As we mentioned earlier, you should enclose backyard chickens inside their coop for a few days. Provide them with their needs, like water, food, and perches while they are still accommodating to their new home. In that manner, they’ll get used to it and remember where to come home.
Once you’ve locked them inside their coop to train them, you can be relaxed and confident they’ll return on their own. We can’t just simply leave them inside their cage. They also need the freedom to roam or wander around.
2. They’re frightened
Dogs can scare off your backyard chickens, which results in them running away. This is a common response to surprise. We, humans, have the same reaction in these kinds of circumstances.
If your chickens run away after being frightened, they will come back to their considered home. They will embrace their coops as their comfort and safe zone. Chickens that are hiding for several days are determined to be shocked.
However, chickens can sometimes run away so far that it will be difficult for them to return. They don’t have solutions to find their way back. If one of your backyard chickens is unable to come back at night, try to call them as it may give them a signal and help them find the right directions toward home.
We think they won’t be able to lose their way if you can enclose their coops. Even if your dog scares them, they will just fly and run away to the same location since they are bounded properly by the fences.
3. They’re lost
Chickens don’t bear an instinct. They are not as intelligent as humans. So if they roam around and reach unfamiliar spots, they tend to escape or run away from that area.
The reason why you should raise the height of your fence is to prevent them from breaking free in these kinds of situations. If they can escape from your current fence, they will get confused about how to return, and thus, will lose their path, and eventually get lost.
Backyard chickens can fly off on a roof and head toward your neighbor’s place, which will make them confused as this is not their usual place. They may not be able to recognize where they are. This is just another situation causing them to become unconsciously lost.
But, they tend to return to roost at night so you don’t have to be anxious if you can’t see them during the day. They can find their way back by listening to the sound of their fellow chickens. Indeed, other chickens’ sound will be like a guide that helps them find their directions.
Keeping chickens around can be a sort of challenge for their owners. There are many things you should consider to prevent them from escaping their coop. Backyard chickens can irk your neighbors if taken care of carelessly. They can also get lost and never be seen again.
Without enclosure and higher fences, your chickens can fly off to other locations. When this happens, your chickens are likely to either annoy other people, or worse, get lost. To avoid such trouble, you should remember the aforementioned tips and measures to keep your chickens in their coops.