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A funny question, but one of the most important questions when starting a backyard chicken coop. The fact if chickens can fly will make a big difference to the way you design your chicken coop as well as which chickens you choose to keep. It will also be important to consider with regards to the environment where they will be living. Luckily it is all easy to answer so let us take a look together.
The short answer is yes, chickens can fly. The distance and duration of their flight is the main distinction. In the process of breeding chickens, they have lost most of their ability to fly. Most modern breeds of chickens can now fly up to 10 feet high and a distance of 40 to 50 feet.
There are many factors that will influence the ability of chickens to fly. The rest of this article will take a look at some of these factors so that we can better understand the question “can chickens fly”.
Can Chickens Fly
Chickens are a part of the bird species and most birds can fly. More directly chickens are a descendant from the wild forest foul. The forest foul is adapted to living in the trees to keep it safe from predators. It can easily take flight into the heights of the trees and it has feet that are able to hold on and roost in the trees.
Chickens have been bred from the wild forest foul to produce eggs and meat. This has led to their wing-to-weight ratio decreasing and thus making them less able to fly far and high. Their feet and beaks have also changed a lot to help them with ground foraging. This also means that the modern chickens are in more danger because they cannot fly away from trouble. It just adds to the importance of a safe environment and a safe coop.
Why Are Chickens Bad At Flying
The main reason for chickens being bad at flying is their body size. The wing of the chicken is too small and the muscles used for flying are too big. Chickens have been bred for eggs and meat so this is why they have a body proportion not suited for big flights.
Also, chickens have no real desire to fly, the only reason they will fly is to get away from danger or to get to a place with better forage. Other than that chickens will keep on the ground scraping for food.
How High Can Chickens Fly
How high a chicken can fly will depend on what kind of chicken it is. Some breeds can fly up to 10 feet. Smaller and heavier chickens will not manage 10 feet but perhaps 4 or 5 feet.
There is a wide range of chickens and they go from very big and heavy to quite small and light. It is safe to assume that the lighter chickens can fly higher. It might also depend on the reason for flying, if there is a real threat and the chicken is very determined then they will fly higher than you thought possible.
Can Chickens Fly Over Fences
Chickens can definitely fly over fences. It is therefore very important to find out exactly how high the specific chicken breed can fly so that you can prepare accordingly.
A popular question is can chickens fly over a 6-foot fence. To answer it, will depend on the breed and weight of the chicken.
It’s unlikely that a chicken will manage to fly over such a high fence but, that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen. A light enough chicken may just about fly over a 6-foot fence. Heavier chickens might struggle to clear the fence, they might even struggle to get off the ground at all.
The last thing you want is for your backyard chickens to get out into the roads where there are cars and potentially dogs or other threats.
I wrote an article on how much does a chicken weigh, where i list the average weight for many chickens, check it out to see your chickens weight
It can be a good idea to look for backyard chicken breeds that are not as capable of high flight to get over the fences. Some people will also trim the wings of their chickens to stop them from getting out. This can be an effective method but just keep in mind that the short bursts of flight are the only way a chicken can protect itself. So if a predator gets into your yard there will be big trouble.
Can Backyard Chickens Fly
Backyard chickens can definitely fly, but luckily not very far or high. As mentioned above, this will depend on what specific breed of chicken you choose to keep in the yard. Most chickens can fly, and many can fly over 10 feet, so it is wise to keep this in mind when choosing a chicken breed. A popular backyard chicken breed is a breed that is less prone to flying. This way they are not in danger of getting out and getting into trouble.
The height of your walls is also a factor. Standard 6 foot walls can be an easy task for the average chicken. Especially if there is insufficient food available to them. Good to minimize the reasons why they would fly over the fence.
How Old Do Chickens Start To Fly
The question of are chickens flightless can easily be answered by observing newly hatched chicks for just a few days. Surprisingly, chickens can start flying within a few days. After they hatch they will learn to fly up to the feeder and soon they will fly up and over the brooder.
It can take chickens up to 7 days before they fly out of the brooder. You can manage this by closing off the brooder with shade or bird netting. Otherwise, let the little chicks run and fly freely. They are very susceptible to threats but the hens also do a pretty good job at protecting their young.
It will take much more time before the new chicks can fly over the fence. Only when they are fully grown will they be able to fly at their highest. This only happens after a year or more when they become fully matured.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand exactly how chickens can fly, how far and high they can fly as well as what you can do to prevent them from flying away and getting into serious trouble.
If you came here looking to find out, can chickens fly? then you got your answer; yes they can, but it’s limited. They can’t just fly off into the distance like a regular bird. Their ability to fly will depend on their weight and breed but it’s possible for lighter chickens to clear fence the hight of a person. On the flip side, it’s possible for some chickens not to manage any flight at all.
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