Can New Hampshire Red Chickens Fly?

New Hampshire Red chickens are impressive layers and a dual-purpose breed.

But there is plenty more to learn about a given breed of chicken before buying them, not the least of which is their penchant for flying and mischief.

Key Takeaway:

New Hampshire Reds are not avid flyers. Their heavy build, comparable to the Barred Plymouth Rock, makes flying more trouble than it is worth. Instead, these larger birds prefer to stay on the ground and partake in their active nature by walking around the chicken yard, foraging for bugs and worms.

While they are not apt to fly around twenty-four-seven, New Hampshire Reds are capable of flying if they feel the need.

Keep reading to learn about what may cause your docile hens to act flighty and how to optimize the environment for your New Hampshire Reds.

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Why Your New Hampshire Reds Are Suddenly Flying

Bantam breeds like the Sebright chicken are much more likely to spend their time flapping about, perching on the roof of your coop, and escaping whatever fencing you have set up.

However, New Hampshire Reds belong to a heavy breed, with hens often weighing in at almost 8 pounds, and they simply are not good flyers.

Despite this, there are some reasons your birds might be caught flying around and causing trouble:

  • Predators
  • Crowding and stress
  • Inadequate food


The first and perhaps the most obvious influence on your birds’ behavior is the presence of ground or aerial predators. 

If your birds don’t feel safe and want to escape a predator, they are sure to run (or fly) right out of their skin.

Always check for signs of predators when your birds start acting strangely. 

This especially goes for flighty behavior from hens, who are usually calm.

Further Reading: Are New Hampshire Red Chickens Quiet?

Crowding and Stress

Overcrowding is a contributor to this problem as well. Being larger chickens, New Hampshire Reds need their space.

A mixed flock will begin to feel stressed out unless they can spread out. 

This goes for many other chicken breeds as well.

Many dual-purpose chickens, though, are especially susceptible to those feelings of being closed in and crowded due to their larger size.

Because they lack the competitive nature of many other chicken breeds, New Hampshire Reds are sometimes the victims of bullying.

If you notice their neck or tail feathers are patchy, keep an eye out for any in-fighting.

Free-range conditions are more likely to produce happy, healthy birds regardless of size.

However, if birds with a gentle nature begin to cause a raucous by bullying other chickens or attempting to escape their coop or pasture, this is a sure sign they are not fully meeting their needs.

Food and Resources

Finally, even domesticated chickens have the instinct to forage for food.

If their food frequently runs out before you refill it each morning and night, this might stress your birds out.

Take note of your bird’s behavior when she flees the coop or pasture.

Is she eating everything in sight? Is she looking for water?

While it seems pretty basic, keeping food and clean water readily available helps prevent many problems in the coop.

Good Conditions for New Hampshire Reds

To ensure your New Hampshire Red hens are feeling safe and therefore keeping their feet on the ground, there are a few measures to take on your farm.

For one thing, target each of the aforementioned potential stressors.

While there is not much to be done about predators by way of prevention, keeping your eyes peeled for signs of intruders is helpful.

Preparing your space for a backyard flock is also crucial. 

Before you buy any chicks (or any more, if you already have a flock), make sure you have the room.

If you run short on space, the New Hampshire Red may not be your choice for backyard chicken. 

Instead, consider a bantam breed, which will take up fewer feet per bird.

For poultry keepers living in cold climates, coop space sometimes poses a real problem.

The girls spend a lot of time inside the warmth of the coop during winter, and no active birds enjoy being cramped in too small a space.

But hardy birds who do well in colder climates also tend to be bigger breeds of chickens (take the Barred Rock, for example) who require larger nesting boxes and more coop space overall.

Cold winters are tough on poultry as it is. But if you add the stress of crowding, things get worse.

For these reasons, ensuring you have the space before welcoming new chicks to your family is crucial.

More on New Hampshire Reds

Their fluffy appearance is part of what makes New Hampshire Reds so endearing.

This breed of chicken with black feathers on its tail and a large, single comb is simply beautiful.

The color of their body feathers will fade in the sun, leaving them a soft reddish-brown during the summer months.

However, this bird has so much more to offer than a beautiful plumage color and an overall adorable appearance.

For one thing, these hens have excellent egg production. New Hampshire Reds lay up to 280 eggs per year and lay well even in cold climates.

They are well-loved by poultry keepers not only for their egg production but also for their meat production.

Dual-purpose hens are some of the most popular varieties out there.

Take, for example, the Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, and Brahma chickens. 

All these birds are considered dual-purpose breeds, which are very popular in the United States.

After all, having magnificent egg layers who double as strong meat chickens is a win-win situation.

If you are looking for a chicken breed with a unique egg color or the most obscure color varieties, this is not the bird for you.

However, if you want a gentle, reliable, productive hen to add to your flock, the New Hampshire Red is your choice for backyard chicken!

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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