You ask yourself: “Can chickens fly?” Well, like most things with chickens: it depends.
Some breeds of chicken can fly and others cannot. And even within a certain breed, some individual chickens can fly, others cannot.
In this article, we’ll look more closely at whether chickens can fly.
What is a flightless bird really?
Flightless birds are comparatively rare – there are only about 60 types of flightless birds on Earth. One of the best known flightless birds, the ostrich, is the largest bird and can run at a speed of over 64.37 km / h.
These massive runners live in Africa and use their 2 inch diameter eyes to spy on threats such as lions, leopards and packs of hyenas. While it may not be clear when these incredible birds lost their ability to fly, there is an evolutionary precedent for it: Ostriches are ratitesThis is “any bird whose breastbone (breastbone) is smooth or raft-like because it lacks a keel on which the flight muscles could be anchored. All types of ratites can therefore not fly. “Other ratites are emu, cassowary, rhea and kiwi.
At the top with the ostrich as the most iconic flightless bird is the sporty tuxedo animal: the penguin. In contrast to ostriches, penguins are Not Ratites. They have the keel on their sternum to which their wings are attached.
While fleeting birds use their wings to fly, penguins have adapted to underwater exploration and instead use their wings as fins, which allow them to effectively navigate the waters where their food lives. In a way, penguins could be considered due to this adjustment volant Birds that happen to fly through a completely different environment than most other volatile birds.
So where do we get pet chickens?
Are chickens really flightless?
What does all this say about chickens? Your chickens have the right tools for the flight. They have (generally) the feathers and the keel on the sternum to which their wings are attached, and they certainly have the muscles for it. With all these details, the question remains: Can chickens fly?
Yes, somehow. And it depends on the breed.
All chickens have strong muscles and flight is one of the few ways this species can be safe Predators. Most breeds are able to perform “burst flights” that are fast and can bring chickens to safety within a few moments. As you probably know, they like to fly to their sleeping places at night, which gives them a good vantage point to see if there are any Raccoons, Dogs, etc. are approaching them.
Since they were domesticated, they have largely lost this ability. Why is that?
Chickens are most commonly bred for two things: eggs and meat. White meat is muscle and it is white meat that our ancestors preferred. The selective meat breeding has maximized the breast muscles of our chickens. In theory, this should make chickens fantastic aviators. In reality, however, this is counterproductive. To fly, birds need light bodies with muscles that are strong enough to support their own weight.
The ideal aviator has a slim – almost sinewy – body: one that is strong enough to stand off the ground and light enough to stay in the air. Sustainable flight also requires perseverance. Chickens bred by humans are rarely bred for strength, slenderness and endurance.
In contrast to ostriches and penguins, modern flightless chickens are not bound to the earth because they do not have the muscles to fly, but because they were bred from them. In other words, we bred our birds to be too big to support much of the flight ability. The average chicken can fly about 10 feet above the ground.
Chickens were similar to wild birds in their flying skills and were never the greatest aviators. They lack the ability to fly permanently, but are known to fly 13 seconds and 13 seconds away 301.5 feet. It may be a short flight, but it will probably be enough to do its job: to remove the chickens from danger.
Which chickens can fly?
Larger breeds of chicken hover much less often because the energy required for a minimal flight can be preventive. However, there are a number of breeds that tend to fly:
are the most famous aviators.
They have slimmer bodies and this is more suitable for the short flights that chickens can reach. Our own Leghorns I love flying in trees.
At night, Araucanas occasionally sleep in the trees. The pointed hoods from Switzerland are a fleeting bird that sometimes takes this adjective literally. Thanks to their smaller size, some bantam Chickens can reach high altitudes for sleeping purposes or if they are ghostly.
Which chickens cannot fly?
There are some breeds that, no matter what, simply don’t stand out. They either lack the feathers or are simply too heavy.
Some breeds, such as Silkies, can’t fly at all – they just don’t have feathers on their wings. To protect them, you need to give them a place to climb. Ours can stand out from maybe 12 inches, and that’s pretty much a big leap for a silk lover.
Our Mille Fleur dwarfs and Cochin Bantams can’t fly either – although they have wing feathers, their wings are too small.
Other chickens like Orpingtons or Brahmaswere bred to be so big that they are just too heavy to fly.
How can I prevent my chickens from flying?
A few times a week, a person in my Facebook group asks how they can prevent their herd from pooping in the neighbour’s yard. There are some simple ways to prevent your chickens from making unwanted visits.
Build a fence
The easiest way to prevent your chickens from flying away is to build a big fence around your chicken coop. This prevents most birds from flying out of their homes.
For the heaviest breeds, you don’t need anything bigger than a 4-foot fence. For the slightly less heavy ones – for example the Mediterranean breeds – you may need to build a 12-foot fence.
Clip their wings
If you want to prevent a bird from flying, another saying comes to mind: “Cut off the wings”, which really means cutting the feathers.
When properly executed, trimming feathers is painless. Once cut, your chicken’s feathers cannot provide the lift needed for flight.
Are you still wondering if chickens can fly? How far did your own chickens fly? Leave a comment below!
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and an expert in sustainable living. She is also the author of Chickens: Of course raise a sustainable herd, that was a bestseller in its Amazon category. Maat was featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance Community chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens Magazine, Backyard poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives with her husband, two children and about a million chickens and ducks on their farm in southeast Missouri. You can follow Maat Facebook here and Instagram here.
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