Update: Anyone seen a missing chicken?

Back in late September, I wrote about the “excitement” that ensued when a couple of my chickens – a Sussex and the Americuna – flew the coop.

At the time, I had my sheers out and was ready for a good ol’ fashioned wing-clippin’.

But I ultimately decided not to.

Chickens certainly aren’t the poster-birds of graceful and elegant flight, but they can flap their wings and gain some altitude for a reason: to increase mobility.

If any of the chickens happen to get out of the pen again (or if a predator gets in), being able to gain some speed and height could help them survive.

Instead of clipping their wings, I decided to give them more room: I’m letting them roam the entire fenced-in garden area. About 1,500 sq ft.

In their daily dealings with each other, the chickens have the occasional squabble. Usually ending with one bird flapping her wings to scoot away. In the pen around the coop, there’s really nowhere to scoot but up – and over the fence. This was probably the cause of the Great Escape.

With all the room in the garden, the chickens can scoot horizontal and not vertical. And the increased space also reduces the amount of potential squabbling because the birds aren’t always bumping wings.

Bottom line: no clipping, more space has been a good decision so far. No more escapes.

Not to mention, the chickens also started laying not long after they got the run of the garden. Connection?

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