Protect your poultry from predators by learning how high a chicken fence should be

how high should a chicken fence be

We all want to keep our flock of chickens safe from predators, wreaking havoc, or escaping. The United States enjoys a robust poultry industry with an inventory of over 518 million chickens.

We fence our chickens in to keep the chickens in and predators out. But how does one determine how high should a chicken fence be for them to peck inside?

Fencing – Important considerations

Before we answer how high should a chicken fence be, consider the critical elements that help us with our fencing decision.

  • The nature and the number of predators that prowl in your area
  • The nature of your chicken – are they docile and calm or flighty, adventurous, and rebellious?
  • The neighborhood you live in – is it a busy street with a lot of traffic? What are the chances of your chickens trying to cross the road?

Three reasons why chickens may fly over the fence

Brown Chicken on Wooden Fence

Chickens are flightless birds in technical terms. However, they can flap their wings and carry themselves over the fences. Flying is not in the nature for chickens to do. If your chickens are escaping or flying over the fence, it can be from one of the following reasons:

  • If the range size is enough for the number of chickens you are keeping. In such cases, your chickens will see no reason to get out of their enclosure. Your chickens will feel free and at peace being exactly where they are. If the pen or the coop becomes too cramped to the point that your chickens cannot tolerate it, they will want to escape it.
  • Backyard chickens generally prefer to be in a safe environment. They will try to flee at the slightest sense of danger, whether it is real or perceived. So try and keep them feeling safe as this will deter them from attempting to fly away.
  • Chickens love their feed and peaceful living. Any possible stressors can trigger the chicken and make them feel stressed. As a result, they may try to jump over the chicken fence in hopes of escaping the feelings of stress.

Factors that determine how high should a chicken fence be

Experts generally agree upon a standard height of six feet for most chicken breeds and their keepers. In some conditions, the chicken fences need to be made higher and have coverings on top with appropriate materials. Below are some of the factors that will help you decide on high should a chicken fence be:

The chickens’ breed

It is true that chickens are generally not too keen about flying or even jumping over fences. But they may do so when faced with danger. The breed of the chicken you decide to keep plays a significant role in determining how high should a chicken fence be.

A five to six feet tall is more than enough for backyard breeders. A seven-foot-tall chicken fence would be more appropriate in the case of large breeds like the American Game breed.

Predators lurking around the neighborhood

The second factor determining the height of a chicken fence is the flock of predators that are in that area. From dogs and coyotes to house cats, bobcats, raccoons, hawks, owls, snakes, weasels, and even foxes. The list of predators is never-ending, thus requiring chicken owners to exercise caution.

Survey your area and try to identify the type of predators that are in your neighborhood. You will then have to build a chicken fence high enough to keep those predators from flying, gliding, or climbing over. In some cases, you might even cover the top with aviary netting to protect your precious chickens.

Taking climate and weather conditions into consideration

The climatic conditions are another critical factor regarding the chicken fence. If you live in a hot and humid area, then your chicken fence should be such that it leaves the coup airy.

But if your area is prone to climatic conditions, building a solid chicken fence that can withstand such events should be your number one concern.

The accessibility issues and concerns

When selecting the right chicken wire fence, consider the accessibility of your workers and customers. Suppose you have a poultry farm where customers buy birds and eggs.

In that case, the fencing design should coordinate customers’ and workers’ entry and exit points.

Your chickens’ security matters

Protect your poultry from predators by learning how high a chicken fence should be

In today’s day and age, security systems have become more important. These are even helpful for smaller chicken farms as well. So when you decide upon how high should a chicken fence be, make sure it is high enough to place CCTV cameras at strategic locations around the chicken fence’s wall.

Keep in mind that the camera can cover the entire chicken farm. In contrast, the camera or the alarm is high enough that it remains out of the reach of your chickens.

Budgetary constraints

This is one of the most important questions one should ask oneself when discerning how high a chicken fence should be. Whether you raise chickens in your backyard or have a poultry farm, the type of fence you choose depends on your financial capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can chickens fly?

While chickens are flightless birds, they can flap their wings to carry themselves over fences. Flying is not in the nature of chickens, nor are they great at it. Most chickens only engage in flying when they feel stressed or sense danger.

Can my chickens fly over the fence?

According to chicken experts, chickens usually do not prefer to fly unless there is a solid reason to do so. It is important to care for them and provide them with a healthy and clean environment.

You should include quality feed, water, security, and space for adequate foraging. Then they are usually happy to go about clucking and exploring their coop.

Why do my chickens try to leave my yard?

Many chickens prefer to cluck and forage in their fenced coops and cages all day long, providing them with ideal living conditions.

As long as they have a tranquil environment with enough area to stretch, peck, eat, and keep clear of predators, they will never try to leave the yard. If your chickens do so, it is likely time to inspect your backyard again.

Is clipping my chickens’ wings a good idea to keep them inside the fence?

Many professional poultry farmers clip chicken wings. But if you are a chicken enthusiast, you may not have the stomach for wing clipping.

Also, clipping their wings makes your chicken vulnerable, especially if a predator enters the chicken coup. As a result, your chickens cannot safeguard themselves or fly over the fence.

What are the most widely used netting types in chicken fencing?

The most widely used nettings in chicken fencing include:

  • Plastic Poultry Netting: These are the most affordable poultry fencing. It may not provide enough defense against predators.
  • Steel Poultry Netting: These may be a bit more expensive than the plastic ones, but they are still considered economical. Moreover, they are lightweight, easy to install, and provide enough protection against predators.
  • Hardware Cloth netting is beneficial if you are building a customized chicken fence. They are budget-friendly and help keep out predators. Some examples are snakes, weasels, raccoons, and possums.
  • Chain Web Link Fence is the best option to protect your chickens and keep them secure from predators. Many chain link fences include a personal privacy screen to conceal from predators.

In conclusion

When it comes to decisions about your chicken fence, there are quite a few options that you must take into consideration. Budgetary constraints, the location of your farm, and the prevalence of predators play a massive role in how high should a chicken fence be.

The key to happy farming and chicken keeping is ensuring your chicken receives the best possible life. A life where they go on clucking and pecking and free from any stressors of predators lurking around the corners.


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