You might be someone who wants to breed chickens in your fenced urban backyard space. But it can be challenging since some pullets can still find their way into the neighbors’ yards or perched on high fences and trees.
So, can chickens fly? Chickens have wings and can fly but not that well. An average chicken can fly up to a distance of 10-50ft (3-15m). Besides that, different chicken breeds have different aptitudes for flying.
Some heavier chicken breeds cannot make it over an average fence. But their lighter counterparts can manage flights over an average wall. We wrote this article to break it down and explain it further.
Can Chickens Fly?
Chickens can fly since they have wings that allow them to go airborne for a few yards before landing. These descendants of jungle fowl have large wings and flight muscles that make them dismal fliers. (Source: University of Leicester).
Chickens flying ability depend on their breed, sex, and age. Some chicken breeds have a lightweight body mass and large wings that facilitate going airborne with ease. These chickens can fly over tall fences or perch on the trees.
Chicks are excellent fliers compared to their adult counterparts due to their small body size. But the tiny wings with less muscle cannot endure long flights like other birds in the wilderness.
Roosters can fly higher than hens since these flight skills help them get attention and impress their female counterparts for mating. But pullets will always be the best fliers due to their body size and large wings.
Chickens also use flights to avoid fights or escape from their predators. If you notice your free-range chickens flying in the backyard while making noise, we recommend investigating the cause and solving it.
Reasons Why Chickens Fly
Chickens have wings like other birds which gives them the ability to fly. But the large muscles and fluffy feathers cannot endure longer flights. The body and wing structure can only allow them to fly over fences. Here are the reasons why chickens fly:
If you have a close relationship with your chickens, they will become excited and fly out when they see you in the morning. The runs turn into flapping and awkward flights towards the owner since they need treats.
Most backyard chickens hate confrontations and fights. They will fly over fences or perch on trees to avoid fights. The secure runs and flights will help them become less stressed in the backyard.
Frightened or Chased
Chickens can fly over a long distance since they are frightened or chased. The disorientation makes it challenging for the chickens to find their way home. Predators can also frighten or chase chickens from coming close to their nests.
Search for Food and Water
Chickens love foraging for food in bushy areas due to the presence of bugs and worms or larvae. If your backyard has a well-maintained lawn and flower beds, chickens will find their way into the neighbor’s bushy yard by flying over the fence.
Determination and Curiosity
Chickens are the most curious creatures that love investigating new things. If your neighbor has a well-manicured lawn and beautiful flower beds, they will try to find their way into the yard. The curiosity and determination will make them fly over the fence.
How High Can Chickens Fly?
Chickens can fly up to a distance of 10-50ft (3-10m). The record time length for a chicken flight is about 13seconds, and it can cover a distance of 300ft or more. But different chicken breeds have different aptitudes for flying.
The flight ability can make your chickens fly over the fence and escape your yard. Some chickens may fly and perch over walls or trees to escape confrontation from their counterparts. (Source: United States Poultry Journal).
If you have adequate backyard space, do not worry when your chickens run and fly out since they won’t find their way into neighbors’ yards. Here are factors that impact the chicken flight ability:
Chicks and pullets are excellent fliers due to their body structures. These birds can fly over a longer distance than layers and broilers since they have lightweight bodies. Layers and broilers are heavyweight, making them dismal fliers.
Different chicken breeds have different aptitudes for flying. Bantams and silkies are chicken breeds that love testing their wings from an early age. Marans and speckled Sussex do not bother trying to fly at all.
Chicken Flight Feathers
Chickens with long and large feathers can fly over a longer distance than their counterparts with tiny wings. The large feathers and flight muscles enable them to endure longer distances.
Chicken Breeds that Fly Best
Some chicken breeds enjoy flight challenge and can even roost up in the trees. Here are top 5 chicken breeds that fly best:
These are small chickens with lightweight bodies. They are excellent fliers since their flight feathers are proportional to their bodies. They can fly over fences and perch on trees or rooftops.
These are rare chicken breeds with tufts of feathers emerging from either side of their faces. The hens and pullets can fly over 10ft fence to escape from the backyards. They also show affection by running and flying over when they see their owners.
These chickens have long flowing curves, intense tail feathering, and a rich green sheen. These chickens are bred for exhibition though some tribes in Indonesia keep them for fighting sports. The fighting determination makes them excellent fliers.
These are Dutch chicken breeds ideal for free-range since they are excellent foragers. I recommend confining them since they can fly over the fence to find their way into neighbors’ yards. Besides that, they will destroy flower beds and well-manicured lawns.
The Belgian breed is a bearded bantam chicken bred for exhibition. These ornamental chickens are small, and the flight feathers are proportional to their bodies. They can fly over fences or perch on rooftops and trees.
How to Stop Chickens from Flying
Chickens that love flying over fences, rooftops, and trees can be a nuisance to the neighbors. Here are quick tips to stop your chickens from flying:
Trimming a few inches of the primary feathers on the wings will inhibit the bird from flying even for short distances. We recommend clipping to be carried out by professionals only.
Provide Adequate Food
Chickens fly over fences or rooftops in search of food. We recommend feeding your chickens more often to tame their flying behavior. Ensure they are accessible to the food and water dispenser.
Create Higher Perches
Most chickens seek higher perches at night to roost, making them nocturnal to predators. Provide higher perches in the coop and restrain your chickens from free-ranging for a few days. It will help them adjust to the new roosting habits.
My Final Thoughts
So, do chickens fly? Chickens are birds and can fly but not too far. These earth birds can fly over fences and rooftops or perch on trees. The best flying chickens are welsummers, bantams, and Araucanas.
If you have read up to this point, I can guess you were wondering if chickens can fly. We hope this information helped you understand the chickens flying abilities. Feel free to share the article with your friends or other chicken-keeping enthusiasts.
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