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How High Should a Chicken Fence Be to Keep Chickens In and Predators Out?

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

  1. Predators – How many predators prowl in your area?
  2. 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?
  3. 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.

1. Predators

chickens-foraging-behind-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

  • Foxes
  • Coyotes
  • Possums
  • Wolves
  • 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
  • Skunks

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?

Chickens on traditional free range poultry farm

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

best-chicken-fence-height

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

chickens-goats-on-farm-behind-fence

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!

The author took these photos of a baby black bear in his backyard a while back during New England’s first snowfall for the season. The bear was snacking on his birdseed-stuffed wheelbarrow!

Tips for Keeping Black Bears Away From Chickens

Black-bear-backyard
This photo is from earlier in the summer. The big bear must be the baby black bear’s mama? (Or papa.)
  • 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!

protecting-chickens-predators

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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11/30/2022 05:42 am GMT

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Author

  • Mike D

    Mike is an ex-tech nerd who now lives the outdoor life. When not studying the best outdoor tools and gardening hacks, Mike enjoys spending time in nature - miles away from the nearest coffee shop, video game console, or wired internet connection.

Sonia Wood

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!

Elle

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

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