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  • Does Anyone Raise Chickens?

    My husband and I are thinking about getting a few chickens. We have the room for them, including a fenced-in yard. My question is, can they fly over the fence? I'd say it's about 4' high. I suppose we could build them a portable coop, and just move them around, but I was kind of hoping to let them loose in our garden for some organic pest control. Does anyone have experience with this?
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  • #2
    i used to raise chickens. a 4-foot high fence should be pretty good. you might encounter the little chicken who could...and it might be able to get enough height to make it over. if so, just let it go. it earned it's freedom.

    however, you might also want to consider some more fencing to keep other animals out. we used to have a horrible time with fishers, foxes, coyotes, etc. coming into our yard for a free meal. so, either make sure nothing can get at your chickens, or give them guns.
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    • #3
      My parents have chickens and a word to the wise - if they have something to launch off they can get over a 6 foot fence; get their wings clipped and this might help. I still have flashbacks to the whole lot of them launching over the fence and running down the railway line at the back of the fence. Can you put something like trellis on top of the fence? That would probably buy you a couple of feet in itself. Also they will pick at anything green (again going on childhood memories of a once glorious vege patch ...... netting and chicken wire are your friends if you have anything you really don't want them to sample). This is just my personal experience of chickens and I am sure other people's are much better behaved .....
      I don't ask that you like me - all I ask is that you respect my life experiences and i will do the same.

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      • #4
        "Earned it's freedom." LOL~Our neighbor lady confessed she's TERRIFIED of birds--of any kind. (Weird, I know). And we live in the city (chickens allowed, we checked), but we have a 1/2 acre lot. Don't think we need to worry much about predators~except maybe Deb...the neighbor lady
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        • #5
          Originally posted by MIstressKiki View Post
          My parents have chickens and a word to the wise - if they have something to launch off they can get over a 6 foot fence; get their wings clipped and this might help. I still have flashbacks to the whole lot of them launching over the fence and running down the railway line at the back of the fence. Can you put something like trellis on top of the fence? That would probably buy you a couple of feet in itself. Also they will pick at anything green (again going on childhood memories of a once glorious vege patch ...... netting and chicken wire are your friends if you have anything you really don't want them to sample). This is just my personal experience of chickens and I am sure other people's are much better behaved .....
          Thanks for the heads-up! We had really mean roosters when I was a kid. My brothers used to catch them, draw a chalk line on the barn floor, and put their beaks on it. After a few seconds, the chickens would fall over, passed out. I guess staring at the line would hypnotize them? Odd, to say the least.
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          • #6
            Keeping chickens is really rewarding and fun, but you definitely need somewhere you can close up to keep them in at night! (Even if you don't see them, owls and raccoons will seek out your chickens at night!) This will also go give them somewhere to huddle when it's cold or rainy and a place they will lay their eggs. (Preferably with a level raised from the ground.) Once they have a little coop and are comfortable in there, during the day you can let them roam around the yard. There are a lot of great reference books on raising backyard chickens, as well as a ton of info on the internet, even free coop plans.

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            • #7
              Sharonll is a member on here and is very helpful with questions you may have. I'm a big fan of hers

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              • #8
                I'd caution you that a 4' fence isn't high enough to keep a determined chicken in the yard. It certainly depends on the breed of chicken you choose, but even the heavy breeds fly well up until the time they begin laying eggs. I had a 5' cedar fence around the backyard, and I ended up extending it to 7' by adding cedar 2x2s at 4' intervals and stringing chicken wire. Doesn't look as bad as it sounds. One method a smart chicken will use is to find anything she can launch from. Might be something as innocuous as an overturned bucket. She'll get up on the bucket, flap her wings until she thinks she's reached some stage of aerodynamic ability, and off she goes, up, up and away! Even an extra foot off the ground will give a determined chicken the extra height she needs. Out of my three chickens, one of them is a real explorer and has left the yard several times. Finally, she resorted to digging under the fence to get out.

                Also, depending on where you live, please think hard about clipping their wings. In Seattle, we are overrun with raccoons. Without their ability to fly, our chickens would have been gone a long time ago. They can confuse a raccoon for quite some time as they frantically fly around the yard, flapping and shrieking. Long enough for the dogs to come running and chase the raccoon out of the yard, anyway.
                Last edited by Sharonll; 02-11-2011, 02:11 PM.

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                • #9
                  Thank you everyone for the responses. The fence is still something to consider, I guess. Perhaps it's time to invest in that 8' vinyl I've had my eyes on.
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                  • #10
                    I use an electrical mesh fence sold by Premier (4' high I think). It comes in 160' lengths (so you could cover a 40'x40' area with one section). This lets me move my coops around to fresh grass, keeps the predators at bay (including dogs), and usually keeps the chickens inside. Sometimes one will fly over, but I catch her and clip her wings so she will not be able to get back out.

                    ...Tim

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                    • #11
                      a 6' chicken wire fence with a little barn type thing for them to hide in and set up some perches at night would be best. we didnt have any of our chooks escape from our 6' fence. but we live out in the boonies so we had some raccoons and bears come in and pillage the village, so until its a little later in the year we are gonna wait til we get more when our fence is set up better with an electric perimeter. for the perches, dont set them up at different heights because the chickens always want the highest perch so just run some wood around the outer edge depending on how many chooks your getting.

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                      • #12
                        Sandusky Ohio? I was just out your way this past summer. Anyhow, yes you need to protect them from Raccoons and fox, believe me you have them, not to mention owls. Your chickens will LOVE those darn midges and mayflies you guys get, that was an experience 

                        We had chickens back when I still lived in the country, but Iím a city boy now and no longer have them. Anyhow, get a higher fence, clip their wings and if you can build a portable coop. Once they get used to the coop that will be their roost, you can let them out during the day, and they will go back to their roost every night. Keep them penned up until they are fully grown, and you should never have problem with them not going into their coop at night.

                        The portable coop is nice because you can move it around your yard every day or two to keep them from eating the grass all the down to bare ground in one spot. As for the garden, donít let them in it until your veggies are fully grown, then you should have much problem with them eating your veggies, and they(the chickens) will be great bug catchers. Another thing you can do is in the fall after you have turned your garden under move your coop around over your garden, the birds will fertilize it for you and their scratching will help mix in the organic matter, also will help keep pest from over wintering in your garden.

                        Good luck, nothing better than home grown eggs, and chickens.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by shrona View Post
                          (Even if you don't see them, owls and raccoons will seek out your chickens at night!)
                          OH! THAT is why my girls saw two owls the other evening! We've got chickens who free-range during the day; they get put in their safe coop at night.

                          These are layers... Does anyone raise meat chickens?

                          Karen

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                          • #14
                            I have rasied backyard chickens for about 20 years. They can fly up into trees if they figure it out. They are incredibly stupid though so if you clip JUST ONE side/wing feathers really short, when they try to fly they flip over becasue one side works and the other side does not. After several attempts at flying, most will never try again in the life, unless they see another chicken do it succesfully. A skiny chicken will fly much higher than a fat one. I no longer get leghorns for that reason, those ladies can jump too! Agree on the launching pad analogy given earlier. Don't have any large rocks or planters near the fence, they will use it to launch the assault on the garden. We had two get into our veggie garden and in a day the decimated an entire seasons worth of pepper plants, string beans, strawberries and blackberries.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Karma View Post
                              They are incredibly stupid though so if you clip JUST ONE side/wing feathers really short, when they try to fly they flip over becasue one side works and the other side does not.
                              I lol'd @ this

                              Originally posted by earthspirit View Post
                              some raccoons
                              So far, this ^^ & owls are my biggest worries...and the fence. Oh, and we have TONS of eagles. Hmmm...I better think this one through again.

                              Originally posted by Free Range View Post
                              Sandusky Ohio? I was just out your way this past summer. Your chickens will LOVE those darn midges and mayflies you guys get, that was an experience
                              Lemme guess...Cedar Point? Put-in-Bay? Kelley's? We have TONS of summertime guests around here They're all fascinated by our Mayflies

                              Great idea, too, about moving the coop over the garden!
                              Results Pics:
                              http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...d6138-245.html

                              Mandolin's Primammalian Cave Wall

                              Vegetarian=an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter"

                              iHerb.com $5 off first order code: AMA998

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