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High flying Chickens

 
pollinator
Posts: 154
Location: NorCal
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I have had chickens for years.  Last year all my chickens disappeared.  I got 12 chicks this May 2019.  4 Rhode island red, 4 Salmon faverolle, and 4 Ameraucana.  (1 ameraucana turns out to be a rooster) So I have 11 hens and 1 rooster.  At first I kept them in the coop which is about 6' wide by 20' long and about 10' high.  Even though it is a nice size I hate to keep them in there.  A cage is a cage.  Once they were full grown I started letting them out for a few hours after work each day.  There were a few times I forgot to close the coop door and the next day the chickens would have a field day. We live between walnut orchards and all the other chickens we had before this group would spend there day in the orchard, but not these.  They have removed all the dirt from my hugelkultur twice, and done a great deal more damage else where.
The coop is on the west side of an old corral.  I decided to mend the fence and made a gate.  Two days of work, but worth it to keep the destruction crew in.
The first day I came home to find all but two or three out.  As I walked up the rooster was on the gate, I decided this was the problem and made it about nine feet tall.  3 day later the rooster and two of the ameraucana hens are out.  There are no brakes or holes in the fence, so I assume they flew over the fence.  Its 5 1/2 feet tall in some areas and 6 feet in others.  I have some 2' chicken wire.  I hope if I add this to the top of the fence it will keep them from flying out.  It will be taller, and its flimsy chicken wire, so they wont feel comfortable balancing on it.  
I didn't realize Ameraucanas were such good flyers.  I hope this does the trick, I'm not really comfortable clipping wing feathers, but I need to stop the destruction.  I was also thinking about throwing a bunch of wood chips and weeds into there yard, maybe they need something to do.  
The funny thing is when they had there freedom they would only get into my veggie garden if I left the gate open, but the fence is only 4' high and the gate is only 3' tall.  If I left the gate open they were all in there in a flash, but never flew into the garden when the gate was shut.  It's very strange.  
Please let me know if you have had to deal with flying chickens and how you handled it.  Thanks
 
Posts: 52
Location: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia
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so while i was in nepal i saw this happen.
What they ended up doing was clipping the flight feathers on one wing.....This made it awkward for the chickens to fly
maybe this is what you meant, you want to stop the chickens from flying?
 
gardener
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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A sharp pair of scissors and those wing feathers clip right off.  Be careful that you don't nick their skin.

Either that, or just get them fat and jolly.  They lose the ability to get much height on their flight when they get a bit heavier.
 
Jen Fulkerson
pollinator
Posts: 154
Location: NorCal
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mystery solved.  My compost pile is in the back corner of the corral, its side are old pallets.  The chickens get on top of the pallets and fly out from there.  I need to figure out how to make the back fence in that area much taller.  I never even thought of the pallets, but the chickens did.  
 
pioneer
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:mystery solved.  My compost pile is in the back corner of the corral, its side are old pallets.  The chickens get on top of the pallets and fly out from there.  I need to figure out how to make the back fence in that area much taller.  I never even thought of the pallets, but the chickens did.  



Mine can clear a 6 ft fence without the pile to climb on.  I went around to all the posts and attached 2"x2"s so that they added 2' to the fence and used that bright orange snow fence to make the entire fence 2' taller.  The orange snow fence is pretty cheap and comes 4' tall, so you can cut it in two and use the 2' pieces if they continue to fly over.
 
Jen Fulkerson
pollinator
Posts: 154
Location: NorCal
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Thank you Trace I may have to do that.  I removed the large pallet, and replaced it with chicken wire.  I put chicken wire on top of the small pallet, so they can't stand on it, and I put more fencing on that fence by the compost pile.  This seemed to work for a few days, but then the rooster and 1 hen were out.  Today the rooster and 5 hens were out.  They always have layer feed in the feeder, and I feed them fermented grains after work each day.  This week I have been sick, so I didn't give them the grains, and those are the days they were out.  So I will try to heighten the fence, but I think I will water there yard, to loosen the dirt, (I live in N. California and the ground is hard and dry)  and maybe throw a bunch of wood chips in there yard.  It seems like they are getting out when they are board, or want something other then chicken feed to eat.
I'm so bummed the rooster went after me today when I was trying to herd everyone into the chicken yard.  All the chickens seem to like me, they will come over and look at me and talk to me, and the rooster just seemed to avoid me until today.  I hope it's because he thought I was a threat to his hen, and will behave himself.  I never get a rooster on purpose,  he was sold as a hen.  I hate to have to always be on my guard and watch my back.  I have heard people say wonderful things about roosters, this has not been my experience, but I was hoping  to get lucky this time.  I enjoy spending time with my chickens, and we don't eat them, they are pets that give us eggs, so it's hard to deal with a mean rooster, especially one that can get out when he wants to.
 
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