Even the most delightful birds are sometimes troublemakers in their own way!
I’ll never forget the afternoon from my childhood when one of our Fayoumi hens flew right up onto the roof of our house and refused to come down until it got dark.
If something this crazy happened with one of our other birds, can it happen with a different breed like an Orpington?
Orpingtons are heavy birds that have a hard time flying. They can’t get over the fence or up on the roof of the coop like smaller, flightier birds often can. Their body-to-wing size is not ideal for flying, so their wings simply can’t carry their weight over fences or other obstacles.
For a lot of chicken keepers, this is excellent news.
A good, hardy bird like an Orpington is always an exciting addition to your flock, and it’s even better knowing they won’t get into trouble with you!
Keep reading to learn how much flying Orpingtons are capable of and what to do if your chickens fly out of their run.
Can Orpingtons Fly At All?
Considering how large Buff Orpingtons get by even one year of age, it is very unlikely they will ever fly over your fence.
However, they can fly a little bit, especially younger than one year.
When the rest of your chicks are just learning to fly, your Orpingtons will flap along with them.
Once they get over six months old, they will start to fill out and lose their flying skills.
Before they gain weight, your Orpington birds will be perfectly capable of clearing a 4’-foot fence just like any of your other feathered friends.
This is the case for a lot of heavier poultry breeds.
Plymouth Rocks have a similar problem due to the shape and size of their bodies, for example.
While some birds, such as White Leghorns, can fly to a considerable height, larger birds are lucky to make it a couple of feet off the ground.
Orpingtons don’t have the wing strength to lift themselves after reaching a certain age and size.
Couple this with their docile personalities and strong laying abilities, and Orpington chickens are easily one of the most desirable breeds!
Further Reading: Are Orpington Chickens Quiet?
Why Raise Orpington Chickens?
Orpingtons come in different varieties, but the most popular is easily the Buff Orpington.
These docile birds are found with feathers ranging from beige to lavender color!
They have beautiful, dense feathers which help protect them during the Winter months.
Their hardiness is another of their appealing traits, especially because it helps them to lay eggs in winter!
Further Reading: Orpington eggs and what you need to know
Many chickens quit laying during the coldest months of the year.
But Orpingtons are great for cold Winters and keep laying in the snow.
Provide them the basics of feed and clean water, and you will get between 3-5 eggs per week from your Orpington birds!
All this, and they are a great family bird!
If you have small children or a flock of gentle birds, Orpingtons are perfect for you.
Just be mindful of their broody nature.
They don’t pick fights.
But if you want to swipe an egg out from under a broody Orpington hen, she might get irritated with you.
Broody hens, however, are great for chicken keepers who like to hatch their eggs.
So, Orpingtons have a lot to offer!
Chickens Who Fly Well
If you want to raise birds who are excellent flyers, or if you want to know which breeds to avoid, we’ve got you covered.
This is our short breed list of some of the strongest flyers in the poultry world:
Some birds can fly as high as 10′ feet in the air without breaking a sweat!
Remember, chickens don’t usually fly excessively high or far, even if they are capable of it.
They fly into trees or other places where they want to perch. But they don’t tend to fly over distances or for long periods.
It simply isn’t in their nature.
The Struggle of Raising Chickens Who Fly
As cool as it is to watch chickens fly to impressive heights, it’s very frustrating to keep a lot of good flyers in your coop.
This is especially true if you keep your birds in a fenced-off area and don’t want them to get out.
My mother kept very few flying chickens when I was a child, but the ones she did have liked to fly over the fence and get into our vegetable garden!
If you let your birdies free range and don’t have anything they might get into, there’s nothing wrong with keeping some flighty chickens.
However, if you need to keep your birds well-contained, consider sticking with Buff and Lavender Orpingtons and other heavy, docile birds.
It’s possible to still keep a mixed flock without getting birds who fly over the fence all the time.
Orpingtons alone come in so many color varieties; they would make a beautiful flock of birds on their own!
And if you stick with them, you’ll never have to shoo a hen off the roof of your house.
Keeping Flyers Contained
There is no magic trick for keeping your flightiest hens in their run.
However, buying heavy breeds of chickens and giving them access to open space, feed, water, and shade in the summertime will certainly help!
When your birds get curious and want access to what lies outside the fence, you’ll start having issues with escapees.
To avoid these issues, make sure they have all the needed resources!
If they can take their dust baths and hide in the shade during Summer, your birds shouldn’t feel so inclined to fly out of their pasture.
Of course, some birds are simply troublemakers and can’t help themselves!
But if you truly don’t want your chickens to escape, the only guarantee is to buy docile and heavy breeds such as the Orpington, Plymouth Rock, or Brahma.
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