Can Chickens Fly? | How Do Your Chickens Escape If They Can't Fly?

Can Chickens Fly?

Can Chickens Fly
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Can chickens fly? It’s a common question I get when people learn that I raise chickens. If you’re raising chickens it’s important to understand the limits of a chicken’s wings.

Backyard chickens are descendants of jungle fowl. Which can still be found in various places such as, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

These jungle fowl naturally would roost in trees at night, which gave them safety from many of the predators. As an example, I’ve included a photo below. Jungle fowl come in many different sizes and colors. If you ask me this is a gorgeous specimen! Look how pretty that girl is!

jungle fowl

Can Chickens Fly?

The simple answer is yes, but with a very limited flight.

Some chickens can fly up to 10 feet. However, each chicken breed has different capabilities.

The longest recorded flight of a chicken is 13 seconds.*

The farthest flight recorded extended to 301.5 feet.*

Can Chickens Fly

Which Breeds Are More Likely to FLY?

Lighter breeds, like bantams, may get more air. Heavier chickens may just seem to hover right above the ground. As if using their wings to run really fast.

Medium-sized chickens such as Wyandottes and Orpingtons have a very limited “flight”. They may get a few feet off the ground for a short distance.

Silkies and Polish chickens don’t usually demonstrate any want to fly.

Some chickens will use the hover ability to, claw their way up and over a 6-foot fence! When I say some chickens I mean my chickens. *rolls eyes*

I have a few escape artists in the mix!

Should I Clip My Chicken’s Wings?

Clipping wings is totally up to the owner. If you have chickens that are constantly escaping their living quarters, it might be an easy way to stop this behavior.

However, there are some drawbacks to clipping both wings.

Being able to fly, can help chickens escape from some predators.

Some people who own chickens or ducks may just clip one wing. Which allows them to still be able to escape from predators.

Remember if you decide to clip your chicken’s wings, they will have to be clipped after every molt.

Other Options | Can Chickens Fly

Some people are opposed to clipping a chicken’s wings.

Another option is to add a roof or bird netting over the fenced area. This can keep them in, and help keep flying predators out too!


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4 thoughts on “Can Chickens Fly?”

  1. Great article! My husband and I are thinking about getting chickens and looking to understand some of the basics of having them around. Thank you for help in understanding the flight of chickens.

  2. I have a few escape artists. I never knew they could flap their wings to gain such height. Our fence is 8 feet high and somehow they still escape! I’m thinking we just need to put a roof on the fenced in area.

  3. Hi Kristi!
    I enjoyed this article and many, many more of your articles.

    Our Hens have occasionally climbed to the top of our wood piles (8 feet high), then couldn’t figure out how to get down, so they flew. (I missed the first time they did that, as the landing was not too successful – falling on her face and rolling. But that hasn’t happened since – would have been a great video!)
    We have also picked them up and put on 3 foot high surfaces for them to fly off of – I thought flying lessons would be good for them.
    They mostly fly/hover enough to get over snow, from one patch of dirt to another. (We live in Colorado and the really hate the cold weather and especially the snow.)

    Our hens were supposed to be a cross of Road Island Reds & whites, but we have 2 reds, 2 whites, and one brown. The reds absolutely Do Not like to be touched or picked up (and make it almost impossible to do.) The others are a bit more amiable. We got them as pullets…my guess is that if we had raised them from babies, they would be more “human tolerant.”

    Thanks for the lovely article!

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