When owning active birds, there is always a risk they will use their wings to escape enclosures.
This exposes them to dangerous predators outside of the safety of your backyard flock or farm.
If you’re considering getting Marans chickens, you want to know how to keep them safe.
Maran chickens have short wings, allowing them to fly short distances. They are flighty birds, but their heavy bodies and short wings do not let them fly for very long at a time.
Keep reading to learn more about Marans and how to keep them from flying away.
All About Maran Chickens
Marans are heavy chickens known for their dark brown eggs, friendly nature, and cold weather tolerance.
Related Post: How To Help Maran Chickens In The Cold
They come in both standard and bantam sizes.
- Standard Rooster: 8.5 pounds
- Standard Hen: 7 pounds
- Bantam Rooster: 2.3 pounds
- Bantam Hen: 2 pounds
They have short wings they hold close to the body, which makes it harder to fly than other breed types like Campines or Leghorns.
However, they can still fly short distances with their wings.
They’ll never be able to migrate, but some have a penchant for flying to the tops of fences and walls.
They’re even more likely to fly if they’re threatened or attacked, especially Bantam breeds.
This heavier breed is on the larger size, with tight or hard feathering.
This means the feathers are short, narrow, and more rigid.
Marans do not look fluffy like some other ornamental breeds.
Their medium to large single combs is typically upright, although some hens have partially floppy combs.
They also have red earlobes and medium wattles.
French Marans have feathered feet, while English Marans do not.
With their thick, beautiful plumage, they prefer cold climates.
They are also rather heat-tolerant and have great resistance to diseases.
Overall, these hardy birds make a beautiful addition to your flock.
Further Reading: All about Maran chickens’ looks and breeds
While there are various personalities within any popular breed, Marans are not known to be aggressive.
They are sometimes skittish and flighty, but they can only fly short distances.
Mostly, this heavy breed is sweet, docile, and friendly.
They will often greet their owners and even follow them around, especially if you spend time with them as baby chicks.
Because of their calm disposition, they do well in mixed breed flocks with little fighting.
They also make a great choice for backyard chicken.
Luckily, they enjoy free ranging but also do well in confinement.
As excellent foragers, they enjoy scratching around in the dirt and exploring the area.
Most color and pattern varieties blend in decently well, so they are safe as active foragers.
However, if your varieties stick out in their environment, they will be safer kept in a chicken run.
This active breed is not noisy, so they are fine in a backyard even if you live in town.
As a dual-purpose breed, Marans are good for meat production and egg layers.
They start laying around 5 or 6 months old.
As reliable egg layers, they will give you roughly 170 to 190 eggs per year, which can range between 150 to 200.
Their egg color is brown, sometimes the color of dark chocolate.
Since this is a cold hardy breed, they are excellent winter layers.
They also make good mothers and tend to go broody, so expect a steady supply of chicks from your reliable layers in their nesting boxes.
How Do I Prevent Maran Chickens From Flying Away?
If you end up with a particularly flighty Marans, don’t fret.
There are multiple ways to keep your chicken from flying off alone.
The process of flying is very complicated, despite how effortless birds look when they glide away.
To fly properly, chickens need special feathers to catch the air.
The most important feathers are the primary flight feathers.
Many backyard chicken keepers will clip these feathers to keep their birds from taking flight.
This process is fairly easy, as long as your friendly chicken is relaxed and docile.
Spread out the wing completely and find the primary flight feathers.
They are at the front of the wing and are the longest of all the feathers.
Depending on the breed, they are a different color from the other feathers.
There are usually ten of them.
Using clean scissors, cut the feathers.
Many chicken owners only clip one wing since this will disrupt their balance if they fly.
After a molt cycle, you must clip the mature feathers every one to three months.
If you don’t, your chickens will be able to fly again.
If you want to avoid clipping wings, another option is to stop them from getting over your fences.
Chickens are not the best at flying, especially compared to non-friendly birds.
They can only fly so high for so long before they need to come back down to the ground.
Because of this, they can’t get over high fences.
Watch your flighty bird and see how far up she can get.
Add wire fencing or mesh to the fence until it is high enough to match it.
Typically, it should be between a 4’-foot fence and a 6’-foot fence to keep your backyard flock inside.
Chicken Coop Run Enclosure
A run enclosure will prevent your animals from flying away if all else fails.
Runs give your birds many of the same benefits they would get from free-ranging.
They have fresh grass, room to run around, and access to bugs and things to forage.
At the same time, the enclosure also keeps them safe from any predator attacks.
Make sure there are at least 4′ square feet per chicken and access to clean, fresh water.
When you take all the necessary precautions to keep this intelligent breed safe in your flock, you won’t have to worry about them flying off anywhere.
Instead, they’ll be content to explore along the ground.