Your backyard chickens might not be able to soar across long distances, but that doesn’t stop many curious hens from hopping the fence every now and then. When your chickens get loose, they’re more vulnerable to local foxes and other predators. They might also end up wandering through your neighbors’ yards or along roads, causing a lot of hassle for everyone. This doesn’t mean you have to keep your flock under lock and key at all times, though. There are a few ways to ensure your birds’ safety without completely limiting their freedom. If you’re worried about your hens getting loose, check out this guide on how to keep chickens from escaping your yard.
Use a Chicken Run
Chicken runs are a great solution for those who live in busy areas, deal with predators too often, or simply have particularly flighty birds. When you attach a run to your coop, you give your flock enough space to explore, forage, and hang out without letting them wander too far from home. A run also provides extra protection from predators. Just make sure you have plenty of space in the run to accommodate all of your hens. If the area is too cramped or there aren’t enough resources, it can lead to squabbling and bullying within your flock.
Install Reliable Fencing
If you want your birds to be able to roam freely without leaving your yard, chicken fencing is the way to go. Even lightweight chicken breeds can’t get that far on their wings. Add wire fencing or mesh on top of existing fences to help keep your birds inside. You can also install an electric chicken fence to provide extra security from predators. Some chicken keepers also use overhead poultry netting to ensure their flock stays within the yard at all times. Overhead netting is also a great way to keep flying predators like hawks or owls away from your flock.
Clipping the Wings
For many chicken keepers, the most important part of how to keep chickens from escaping your yard is clipping their wings. This is an easy and simple process that involves trimming the primary flight feathers—the long feathers at the front of the wing. You only need to clip one wing, as this will effectively throw off the hen’s balance when she tries to fly. The primary feathers do grow back whenever the chicken molts, so you’ll have to repeat this process about once a year to keep your feathery friends safely on the ground.
Here at Stromberg’s Chickens, we have everything you need to maintain your flock and keep them safe. Search our coops and fencing, stock up on feed or medicine, or even buy the eggs, chicks, or birds for your next flock today.