keeping chickens in their coop/ flying over fence : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Now that it is garden time I need to get my chickens in the coop and to keep them there. They have been free ranging. I have a nice fenced in area about 4 ft high. The problem is they fly right over the fence. I have cut their wing[only one] in the past and they still manage to fly over the fence. The rooster is impossible to catch. I need inexpensive ides as to what to put over the fence so they cant fly over it. I have tried bird netting but that didnt work. It kept sagging in the middle. Also I need to get in there for eggs and cont really want to crawl in all hunched over. I dont have the money to put up a taller fence right now. Suggestions? This is a fenced area aprox 8 ft wide by 100 ft long.

-- tracy (, April 20, 2002


I've seen the use of conduit pvc (cause it holds up to uv exposure better) used as a frame to hold up a netting. If you use 1 inch pvc conduit it will slip over 1/2 inch rebar, which can be driven into the ground and used to support the upright parts of your frame.

-- BC (, April 20, 2002.

Scrounge materials. Without a higher fence, there really isn't a good solution.

-- Rose (, April 20, 2002.

Tracy: I had this problem for years when we lived on the edge of town. We tried the netting, clipping their wings and also could not afford/did not want six foot fencing. When we moved out to "the middle of nowhere" there was already a chicken house, but no yard. My grandmother had some old pickets that were in her garage and on a fluke we used those for a chicken yard fence. I painted them white and wanted it to look "pretty". Well, we got our chickens and they have never been able to fly over it. We have lived here 7 years and have 50 barred rock hens. My sister came to visit and couldn't believe that all my hens were inside this four foot fence. I lied and told her that I just had very well behaved chickens and had trained them well. LOL! Don't get me wrong, I have watched them try, but they can not get a foot hold on the peak and just fly back down to the ground inside the pen. After a while they gave up. If you were to put a "wanted: used picket fencing" ad in your local Nickel ad paper you might get some free or just to haul off. I know the wanted ads in ours are free. My husband put in a gate so that I can have their waterer in the yard so that the water mess stays outside at least for the warmer seasons. It won't hurt to ask.

-- Marie in Central WA (, April 20, 2002.

I had the same problem with using deer netting(sag)on my 20'diameter portable pen.I just ran strings of rope across the pen for the netting to rest on. Dave (central WI)

-- Dave (, April 20, 2002.

I have used snowfencing. It is ugly, the bright orange kind, but it works. If it sags in the middle prop it up with a long stick, sort of like you would a clothes line. It doesn't have to be anything fancy just a stick that is long enough to hold it up and stout enough that the birds won't knock it down. You may be able to try this with the bird netting too.

-- Susan in MN (, April 20, 2002.

You definitely need a higher fence. Not much higher, but some. Six feet would be great, 5'6" should be OK. Now, you seem to be at the area where you can afford to do this. You say you have a railroad- track shaped area - long and thin. The figures you give indicate a fence length of 216', for an area of 800sq.ft. If you fenced in a square, rather than something long and thin, you'd get much more efficient use of your fencing. To fence in 800 sq.ft as a square, you'd need an area less than 30 ft on a side (that would give you 900 sq.ft). In fact, you'd probably do better, because you'd have more path, but the paths would serve the beds on both sides, rather than only serving one bed.

SO... if you made your garden square rather than long and thin, you could use a double-height fence (or less, with the fence material overlapping a bit). You'd be up for the cost of higher star pickets or T-posts or whatever you call them there, but nothing else significant.

That's if I've understood your description correctly.

And some people don't bother teaching basic mathematics, algebra and even calculus when they're homeschooling. SURE the children can't see the use of it. That's because they haven't been taught how to think in those patterns yet. The real worry is when the teachers (sometimes parents, sometimes teachers at school) don't know these basic things either.

Sorry, Tracy, that came over critical, and I don't know whether it applies to you or not. But if it does, then I'm sorry, but I'm still not sorry I said it. Basic mathematics is IMPORTANT.

-- Don Armstrong (, April 20, 2002.

Clip both wings-they won't fly anywhere.

-- Daryll in NW FLA (, April 20, 2002.

Thanks for the answers. Darryl, I have clipped both wings and they still flew, Don, actually I am very good at math. It is the chicken coop that is long and thin not the garden. The reason we built it that way is it was always a very hard area to mow. The coop is there now and fenced so we dont have to mow it. I really dont mind the chickens free ranging but dont want them in the garden and dont want to have to fence the garden in. Did that last year and it was a pain to till[mantis] and keep weeded. I like the picket fence idea and also the pvc/conduit idea. Tried propping the net with sticks and it didnt work that great. I have hudini chickens.

-- tracy (, April 20, 2002.

Don't know if this will help but the orange plastic "snow fence" does come in green too so it is not so obnoxious. As to the wing clipping I am thinking maybe you need to research this a bit? If you take off all of the Primary Flights, they cannot fly. However this brings up the question of can they get up to their roosts at night. Just some thoughts. LQ

-- Little Quacker (, April 20, 2002.

Try this, it worked for me: Get some nylon string (it lasts longer than the natural fiber stuff). Stretch it about 3 or 4" over the top of the fencing you now have. Odds are, they won't want to try getting by it.

-- Nina (, April 20, 2002.

I have the opposite chickens won't fly out the door. I have a 'dutch door' (opens at the top or bottom half) on my barn. I keep the bottom half closed to keep the goat kids in till they're bigger. The chickens will fly all over in the barn (including up to the rafters) and will fly all over outside, including a 6 foot fence. But they won't, for some reason fly over the dutch door when it's open. They wait for me to open the bottom half. When I go out in the morning they're waiting for me to open it and when I go out at night they're all standing by the door, almost in a line, waiting for me to let them in. Only a few will fly over it. Only time they'll fly over it is if it gets dark and I don't show up to let them in.

Go figgur...


-- (, April 21, 2002.

Well, I'm glad about that, because the picture I was getting didn't accord with my understanding of you. Just the same, give it some thought - can you use your fencing more efficiently?

I rather like the idea of topping the solid part of the fence with something that will bother them - fishing line or whatever.

And as for my attitude - sorry, but I got upset by a very recent post where someone said (about homeschooling) something like "even the children can't see the use of algebra", as an excuse for depriving them of basic mathematics. Sort of like saying "even the little savages can't see the use of language". I got a little seething about that. I'll give it some more thought, then I'll get a BIG seething about that.

-- Don Armstrong (, April 21, 2002.

What about using binder twine? I have tons of it off my hay bales. Would tying it together and placing it over the fence be a deterent? I am going to try that first. I have enough of it.

-- tracy (, April 21, 2002.

Any type of string will work. Cotton won't last long, however. Most natural fibers fall apart quickly.

-- Nina (, April 21, 2002.

By the way, wire will work, too. Too bad nothing kept the neighbor's laborador out. Seventeen young hens and one old guinea - gone. One hen left. No one saw him do it, but he returned to the scene of the crime and DH won't level a complaint. (He never did care for having chickens around.) Oh, well.

-- Nina (, April 21, 2002.

So, Nina, if Dork Husband won't do anything (or is that Do-nothing Husband) is that any reason why you shouldn't? Standing still, admiring and approving the killing in agony of eighteen animals (and if you don't disapprove, then you're approving) doesn't really sound like a good thing to do, IMHO.

-- Don Armstrong (, April 21, 2002.

Hubby's just a softy. Doesn't want to upset the woman. And getting someone in to care for the chickens when we must be away is getting difficult. I suspect that the woman wants a reason to get rid of the dog. Policeman said the kids have an attachment to the dog and that their dad "isn't around" anymore (I have reason to put the worst possible connotation with that).

-- Nina (, April 21, 2002.

I guess things sounded like Hubby didn't want to press charges 'cause he didn't care for having chickens. He's helped a lot with them, though, and even built an extraordinary 8x16 coop.

-- Nina (, April 21, 2002.

I have a pen built next to my coop with a little small opening for the chickens to enter from the coop. The pen measures about 8' X 16' X 4' high and has poultry wire running all across the top to keep the chickens from flying out and hawks/owls from flying in. The coop has a big door so that I can walk in and collect the eggs and feed. The pen has an entrance also incase I need to get in for some reason.

-- r.h. in okla. (, April 21, 2002.

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