How High Should a Chicken Fence be? For Coop, Run, and Garden.

You will eventually need to fence in your chicken in order to keep predators out and the chicken in. This is to protect your chicken and also protect your garden from your chicken. 

A chicken fence needs to be high enough so that chickens do not get out and predators do not get in.

Experts agree that a standard height for a chicken fence should be 6 feet or 1.8 meters for the majority of chicken breeds and their keepers. In some conditions, the fences need to be made higher and covered on top with appropriate materials.

In this article, we look at how high a chicken fence needs to be, including factors determining the height. We will also answer some frequently asked questions on the height of chicken fences. 

Can chicken fly over the fence? 

Technically chickens are flightless birds, meaning they cannot fly. However, they can flap their wings so as to carry their bodies over fences and for certain distances. If the fence is too high, they will climb, with the help of their flapping wings to a nearby object. This will shorten their “climbing” height over the fence.  

When I set out to set up a fence around the coop, one thing I ignored was the height of the fence.  My assumption was that anything not short would keep the chicken in and the stray cats and dogs that used to eat the chicks out. I quickly went for a fence that was 5 feet high.  

Little didn’t know that the roosters would be leading the other chicken in flying out of the run. The roosters would fly off the ground, to the fencing poles, and then out to the garden. The smaller chicken would first fly to the roof of the chicken coop.  They would then fly to the fence poles and out they would go. 

To protect my garden from the chicken, and the chicken from predators I had to come up with a solution to this issue. I either had to increase the height of the fence or find other ways of stopping my chickens from flying out of the chicken yard. 

Factors that determine the height of chicken fences. 

The breed of the chickens, type and nature of predators, size of the chicken run or yard and the height of their human keeper determine how high or tall the fence for toys chicken run needs to be. Let us look at these factors one by one. 

The Breed of Chicken

When it comes to flight, or fence jumping, for the same of this article, chickens are not created equal. Some chickens fly higher than others, while others like the cornish cross are not concerned about the flight. Who cares about flying when you are feeding all the time? 

The breeds of chicken you keep are a major determining factor of how your fence will be.  If you intend to keep a certain breed throughout your life, you can create a fence that is high enough for that breed. Most backyard chicken keepers keep mixed breeds or keep changing breeds with time. 

Some chicken breeds will fly easily over a 4 or 5 feet tall fence. A 6-foot tall fence is usually ideal for most chickens. 

Other chickens such as the American Game Breeds will fly easily over a 7-foot tall fence. The only solution to keep such chicken from flying over to the neighbors is to cover the top of the run. 

Types of predators

The types of predators will also determine how high the chicken fence needs to go. Common chicken predators include Dogs and coyotes, Bobcats, House cats, Foxes, red foxes, raccoons, weasels, Skunks, Opossums, Snakes, Hawks, and the great horned owls. 

You will need to have a fence that is high enough to prevent predators from climbing over. This will at least deter the predator that cannot climb vertically such as dogs and foxes. Dogs and foxes will jump over or on top of short fences. 

Flying and climbing predators are not deterred by the height of the fence unless the run is too small for a predator like an eagle to swoop through and carry away your chickens. For these must consider covering the top of the run, where feasible, with bird netting (aviary netting).

Size of chicken run or yard

High fencing works well for smaller chicken runs than large ones. For large runs or free-range areas, the chicken might not want to get out because they already have enough space to roam around. They will not have the urge to find out if the grass is greener on the other side since they have enough grass in their yard. 

Fencing large-ranging areas with high fencing can be costly. For this reason, you can consider using shorter fences, with other means of a deterrent for the chickens and predators, such as electric fences. 

High enough for humans. 

You will definitely need to get into the chicken coop and run on a daily basis to collect eggs, chicken, do maintenance, or just to have a chat with the birds. If your run is covered on top, you will have a hard time getting into a 4 foot or 5 foot high fenced run if your height is 6 feet. Imagine crawling through chicken droppings in order to collect eggs!

Clipped wings. 

Some poultry keepers are okay with clipping chicken wings, while others argue that it is good to keep their wings intact so as to protect themselves from predators. 

When it comes to how tall the chicken fence needs to be, chickens with clipped wings will not be able to fly over fences.  This means you can do with shorter fences. 

Also read

Choosing the right type of chicken fencing. A detailed guide

Reasons why chickens will fly over the fence

Chickens will fly over fences for various reasons.  Having these reasons in mind can help you prevent your chicken from attempting to get over the fence. 

  1. Size of the run – if the size of the run or range is enough for the number of chickens you are keeping, they will see no reason to get out of the enclosed spacing. This means they feel free and at peace where they are. This does not mean you have to have big runs, but keep the recommended number of chickens for the run. Even breeds that tolerate confinement will want to escape if space is not enough
  2. Danger – Chickens will try to flee at the sense of any danger. This can be a real or imagined danger. Keeping your chicken feeling safe can be a deterrent to attempting to fly over the fence. 
  3. Stress –  Chickens love peace. And feed of course. Anything that can stress the chicken will trigger their desire to jump over the fence. This can be too many roosters looking to have a good time with hens or lack of vegetation in the run(with a lot outside the run). 

Height of a fence to keep chickens out of the garden

Depending on the layout of your backyard or homestead, you might want to let the chicken everywhere else, but keep them from feeding on your veggie garden. Chickens will also destroy flower gardens if they are let loose. 

The height of a garden fence that keeps chickens out can be determined by the ultimate height of the plants you want to have in the garden. An example is if the maximum height of your plants will be 4 feet, you can have a fence at that height, then cover the top with bird netting in order to keep the chicken out. 

Is a 4-foot fence tall enough for chickens?

You might be wondering if your chicken will jump over a 4-foot fence. A 4-foot fence is not enough for most breeds of chickens as they will easily, without any assistance fly over it. A 4-foot chicken fence will be enough if the chicken run is covered on top with a roof or bird netting. It might also be enough for chickens if their wings are clipped. 

Height of fence for chicken with clipped wings 

Chicken fences for chickens with clipped wings can be  4 feet tall as they are only able to jump a few inches above the ground. However, some chicken breeds like the Golden Campine can easily fly over a 6-foot tall fence, with their wings clipped. It is advisable to keep the common heavy breeds such as Wyandottes, Austalorps, Brahmas, etc. if you intend to have a short fence and clip the wings of the birds. 

Do you need to cover the top of your chicken run if you have a seven-foot tall fence?

Most of the time we think by having a very high fence around our chicken run open at the top is good enough. This may work this can work well in areas with no issues with predator attacks. Birds of prey will easily get into your coop, no matter the height of the fence. Predators like coyotes will climb over the fence. Covering the chicken run with an inexpensive material like bird nets will stop predators from getting into your coop through the top.

How did I end up fixing my fence issue? I ended up putting up a bird net over my 5-foot tall chicken run. This was more reasonable than redoing my chicken run with higher fencing. 

How high is your chicken fence? Do your chickens attempt to fly over? Looking forward to your comments below.

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About James Polystead

I grew up on a small farm. My parents used to grow food and keep animals for our sustenance. They would sell the surplus to make an extra coin to supplement the income from their jobs. I am taking the same path. I have over 40 chickens for eggs and meat. I also grow vegetables in my backyard. follow me on Twitter

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