Do you want to keep your chickens safe from predators or prevent your beloved flock from escaping and wreaking havoc upon your neighbor’s lawn and garden? How high should a chicken fence be to keep your flock in and predators out?
I’m naturally paranoid about predators attacking my chickens, so I say the higher and more secure the chicken fence, the better.
But how high of a chicken fence do you need? The ideal height depends on three critical factors – including the nature of your flock!
- The Three Big Chicken Fence Height Factors
- The Best Chicken Fence Height for Backyard Chickens
- Ideal Chicken Fence Height Ranges
- Chicken Fence FAQs
- What’s the Best Material for Chicken Fencing?
- Why Do My Chickens Try to Leave My Yard?
- Should I Clip the Wings of My Chickens?
- Can I Buy Chickens Online? I Want to Buy Some Baby Chicks for My New Chicken Fence!
- Can Chickens Fly? If Not, Then Why Do I Need A Tall Chicken Fence?
- Can Chickens Fly Over My Fence?
- Will A Chicken Fence Keep Black Bears Out?
- One More Vital Chicken Fence Tip!
The Three Big Chicken Fence Height Factors
- Predators – How many predators prowl in your area?
- The Nature of Your Flock – You know your flock better than anyone. Are they docile? Flighty? Calm? Adventurous? Rebellious? Most importantly – have you ever seen them fly?
- Traffic – Do you live in a busy neighborhood? How likely are your chickens to cross the road – at their peril?
Let’s take a much closer look at the following three risk factors your flock faces. We’ll also discuss how the risk factors can help reveal the ideal height of your chicken fence.
Predators are probably the biggest threat to your chickens. Predators are also the top reason you should consider a tall, secure chicken fence.
What is the prevalence of chicken coop predators in your area? The risk varies for every coop.
If you have many wild cats and raccoons around your backyard, you need a fence of at least 5-6 feet! Also, ask yourself if you’ve seen any of the following known chicken predators in your neck of the woods.
Infamous Chicken Predators
- Weasels (They love eggs. Beware!)
- Rats (They also want your hen’s eggs!)
- Fisher Cats
- Snakes (Dangerous chicken egg thieves!)
- Wild or domestic cats
- Wild or domestic dogs
Your region may also have unique critters that happily feast upon the eggs of your chickens or baby chicks. What local creatures lurk nearby? Consider your risk.
2. The Nature of Your Flock
Some chickens are much livelier and more adventurous than others.
How active, flighty, and energetic are your chickens?
Do your hens stay next to their coop during the day? Or, do you find your chooks foraging far beyond your yard and invading your neighbor’s vegetable garden?
Your neighbors don’t want a feathery invader pecking where they’re uninvited! So, if your chickens have a knack for flight, love to explore, and demand a free-range lifestyle, then I recommend a fence of at least 6 feet.
3. What About Traffic In Your Neighborhood?
When my friends ask me about the best chicken fence height, I always inquire about their neighborhood.
Do you have much traffic on your road? Is your chicken at risk of getting hit by oncoming traffic if it escapes?
If you live on a busy street or in an urban area, then it’s much more of an issue if your lovely chickens run out into the road.
If your neighborhood is busy, then I recommend a chicken fence of at least 6 feet – maybe more. You may have noticed that I always recommend a chicken fence of at least 6 feet.
Here’s why I think that tall chicken fences are a genius idea.
The Best Chicken Fence Height for Backyard Chickens
I contend that a chicken fence around 6 feet high is the perfect height in most situations – even if you live in the middle of nowhere.
Why 6 feet? Isn’t that overkill?
Well, various wild animals and predators would love to steal your chickens. Even as you read this article, eager predators could be spying on your flock and licking their chops!
Some chicken keepers, gardeners, and homesteaders say that your chicken fence (and chicken run) need only be a few feet tall.
I think that a chicken fence that’s only 2-4 feet tall is better than nothing, but not by much.
Many foxes, raccoons, bobcats, and coyotes can clear a 2 or 3-foot chicken fence like they were training for an Olympic medal. Some chicken predators also seem to have 10x more spunk when they detect a hot lunch (like baby chicks) on their radar.
Also, keep in mind that many predators fly! If your chickens are stalked by flying predators, the only solution is to fully enclose your chicken run or chicken area.
Alternatively, they can free-range under supervision – either from you or a guard animal. When they’ve finished free-ranging, they will need to go back into an enclosed area to keep them safe from flying threats.
Ideal Chicken Fence Height Ranges
I recommend 6-foot or over to keep your flock safe. But, if you don’t want a 6-foot high chicken fence, you have other options.
2 – 4 Foot Chicken Fence
A fence in this range offers moderate protection against predators, especially if you grab a chicken fence of at least 4 feet high. You also get some protection to prevent your chickens from escaping.
But make no mistake. Even low-flying chooks, lazy hens, and famously docile breeds could likely find their way over your chicken fence if it’s only 2-4 feet tall.
If you’re a homesteader on a budget and can’t afford much else, then a chicken fence of this height is better than nothing. However, it’s not ideal – especially if you have an assortment of predatory critters lurking around your backyard hen house.
4 – 6 Foot Chicken Fence
4 to 6 feet is the sweet zone for chicken fences. In this height range, you offer slightly more resistance to your energetic chicken breeds who are itching to fly the coop or wander off foraging.
A chicken fence of this height is also a formidable barrier to help block hungry and savvy predators from unwelcome entry.
However, you shouldn’t have a false sense of security. Eager raccoons and wild cats can still potentially make short work of this fence and access your chickens.
Best 4 – 6 Foot Chicken Fencing:Amazon product
6 Foot and 6 Foot+ Chicken Fencing (Fort Knox for Chickens)
A sturdy chicken fence of this height will deter many predators who wish to dine upon your feathery flock.
If your homestead boasts a fancy coop of chickens or beloved birds that you can’t live without, then a fence over 6 feet offers the best possible protection for your chickens.
This chicken fence height is doubly perfect if your flock features flighty chicken breeds that might act jumpy now and again.
Best 6 Foot Chicken Fencing:Amazon product
You could also build custom chicken fencing using privacy fencing, chain link fencing, stockade fencing, welded wire fencing – or any sturdy fence that you wish.
Just about any tall, sturdy fence will help keep land-dwelling predators outside – and your chickens inside.
Chicken Fence FAQs
I’ve spent a ton of time around these beautiful birds, and I love discussing the most common chicken fence questions with my homesteading pals.
Please find my best poultry fence and chicken keeping tips and answers below!
What’s the Best Material for Chicken Fencing?
There are a few popular options, and each has its pros and cons. Here is a list of the most popular materials for chicken fencing.
Chicken Fencing Materials:
- Plastic Poultry Netting – An economical option for an easy and quick chicken fence. Plastic netting can help contain your chickens adequately enough. But, if set up improperly, it doesn’t provide much defense against coyotes, foxes, wolves, bobcats, raccoons, et cetera.
- Metal Poultry Netting – Slightly more expensive than plastic poultry netting, but still affordable! Metal poultry netting offers reasonable defense against predators – and it’s surprisingly light and easy to install.
- Hardware Cloth – Affordable option if you want to build a custom chicken pen or chicken fence. Ensure the mesh is small enough so snakes, weasels, possums, and rats can’t easily sneak through!
- Welded Wire – A sturdy option if you want to seal up some loose ends in your chicken run, secure some weak points in your chicken fence, or if you need a custom chicken wire fence.
- Chain Link Fencing – One of the best options to keep your chickens safe from dogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes. If you choose chain link fencing, add some of this privacy screen to keep your chickens hidden from predators!
- Stockade Fencing – Tall stockade fences make for one of the best chicken barriers. Here’s a chicken fence that can keep out nearly any land-based predator. However, stockade fences can be expensive to purchase and install.
Why Do My Chickens Try to Leave My Yard?
Asking why your chickens leave in the first place is the best question to ask!
I think that if your chickens try to leave your yard, they are probably living under stressful circumstances. Consider the following questions if you want to evaluate the health and wellbeing of your flock.
Signs that Your Flock Is Stressed Out:
- Does your flock have enough room to stretch, scratch, explore, and peck freely?
- Is there enough room in your chicken coop?
- Is your coop clean?
- Are there pests in your coop?
- Is there plenty of fresh grass for your chickens to forage?
- Have your chickens been startled by nearby predators? Nothing stresses your flock as much as an undesirable dinner guest!
I think if you provide your chicken with a calm environment, food, water, and a clean – safe coop, that they’ll have no reason to escape.
Should I Clip the Wings of My Chickens?
Clipping your chicken’s wings is a personal call. But, there is one danger of clipping the wings of your chicken. What happens if a hungry predator gets inside your yard – and then your chicken is unable to defend itself or fly away?
If that happened, it would break my heart to see! So, I think that maybe it’s best to leave your chicken wings unclipped. The decision is yours. Regardless, I always advise that you supervise your chickens when outside of the coop. Watch over and guard your flock!
Can I Buy Chickens Online? I Want to Buy Some Baby Chicks for My New Chicken Fence!
Yes! Tractor Supply sells chickens in the spring. They have a ton of healthy chicks ready to buy online. They are adorable and looking for a family!
Buy Backyard Chickens Online – Baby Chicks:
- Rhode Island Red ChickensCinnamon Queen Chickens
- Black Sex Link Chickens
- Buff Orpington Chickens
- Americana Chickens
- ISA Brown Chickens
- White Leghorn Chickens
- Barred Rock Chickens
- Gold Laced Wyandotte
- Golden Comet Chickens
- Black Australorp Chickens
The above list is just scratching the surface as to the chicken breeds you can raise. Tractor Supply has a ton of chicks for sale. Check their website for live chick availability in your area!
Can Chickens Fly? If Not, Then Why Do I Need A Tall Chicken Fence?
Contrary to popular belief, chickens can fly! However, they’re not very good flyers – not compared to most other birds.
Some chicken keepers and homesteaders debate whether all chickens can fly – and why some chickens aren’t good flyers whatsoever.
Many modern egg-laying hens are the product of selective breeding. Commercial chicken farmers look for chickens with plump meat and delicious eggs. The chicken’s ability to fly isn’t high on the priority list of most chicken farmers!
You’ll also notice that chickens have relatively small wings compared to their round bodies – they’re not aerodynamically-effective flyers, even on a good day.
Young, agile chickens can fly reasonably well enough to land atop your chicken fence, that’s for sure.
As chickens get older and lazier, they’re less likely to forage, explore, and adventure.
Can Chickens Fly Over My Fence?
Probably. However, remember that a chicken usually won’t fly out of your yard unless it has a good reason.
If you offer your chickens plenty of quality chicken seed, water, a safe coop, and adequate foraging space, then they’ll usually happily cluck, scratch, and explore safely in your backyard.
Sometimes, chickens even fall in love with their coops and don’t venture far beyond their chicken runs or enclosed playpens – especially if they enjoy your company.
Will A Chicken Fence Keep Black Bears Out?
The problem with black bears is that they’re expert climbers – much better than most people think. Black bears are also crazily athletic and run 30 miles per hour.
No fence is high enough to prevent a hungry, determined black bear. Black bears also possess tremendous strength and raw power – good luck trying to lock them out.
If a black bear has its eyes set upon your flock, then you might want to consider adding an electric fence to your arsenal.
I know that a lot of my chicken-raising friends loathe the idea of electric fences. I understand!
However, electric fences are one of few ways to deter a black bear away from chickens effectively.
Tips for Keeping Black Bears Away From Chickens
- Don’t leave any extra chicken feed around your backyard – bears love seeds
- Never leave your chickens unattended in your backyard overnight – keep your chooks nestled safely in their coop
- Consider adding a barn-door lock to your chicken coop at night – this lock might not protect against a determined bear but can hopefully give your chickens time to raise the alarm
- Tuck away any hummingbird food or bird feeders at night – black bears adore the sweet scent of hummingbird food and happily guzzle it by the gallon
- If you barbeque a lot, make sure to clean your grill afterward, so there aren’t any enticing aromas lingering in the area
The idea is to keep a tidy backyard and remove excess foodstuff that attracts black bears.
The last thing you want is for a black bear to initially find a delicious bird feeder stuffed with sweet bird suet – only to discover a flock of plump chickens moments later!
One More Vital Chicken Fence Tip!
Many chicken keepers think that once you raise a chicken fence – that your chickens are automatically safe.
That’s not true!
Foxes, wolves, and birds of prey will always seek a way to devour your beloved chickens. Your flock depends upon you for safety. Many cunning beasts possess surprising patience and will wait for the perfect opportunity to pounce on your chickens.
Don’t let your guard down!
Remember that some predators come from the sky, like hawks, owls, and eagles. That’s another reason that you should keep your eye on your flock at all times.
Don’t leave your flock unattended while foraging outside of their coops or enclosed area – and don’t let them down!
Thanks so much for reading this guide!
Please leave a comment below if you have questions, comments, or cute and funny stories about your backyard chickens.
Most of all – please let me know if you’ve seen your chickens fly!
Have a great day – and happy farming!
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Thursday 22nd of April 2021
We used to have two white leghorn hens. One early evening, when we went to lock all the hens in the coop for the night, the two white ones we missing. All of our hens free-ranged, so we went looking around their stomping ground (our backyard), but to no avail. All of a sudden we spotted them - about 12-14 feet high up in a tree!! We soon found out these ladies could fly, fairly far, and - for a chicken - very high!! In fact, all of our hens would fly over our six-foot privacy fence, including the heavy Orpingtons, the Araucanas, the Rhode Island Reds, Golden Comets — any kind we’ve had, actually. Some of them did it to get to our front yard, and some of them did it to go through backyards and visit a few of the neighbors to both sides of us. They would hang out and visit with them for a few hours, then come back home!
Friday 23rd of April 2021
Wow Sonia! I used to have some Australorp chickens that chose to roost in a Hibiscus bush every night, but it was only 6ft high. It never got a chance to grow either - covered in chicken poop!
Sounds like your chickens are the social type - just going for a cup of tea in the afternoon :D