Chickens and flying can be a confusing topic. Can they or can’t they fly? How far can they go? Are there breeds that don’t fly? Let’s take a look at 8 breeds of chickens that can’t fly and everything we love about them.
Can All Chicken Breeds Fly?
Before talking about chickens that can not fly, let’s talk about this flight. Most chicken breeds can fly to some extent. But none of them can fly very far or high. How high can chickens fly, and how far can chickens fly? The most agile chickens can fly up to 10 feet tall and distances up to 50 feet. That isn’t far compared to other birds, but for a chicken, it’s just enough.
Why Can’t Chickens Fly?
A bumblebee flies even though their body to wing size doesn’t match. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the chicken. The modern domestic chicken has a large body and small heavy wings. Chickens can not fly because their wings are powerful for their size but not enough to lift them. So, as a result, no chicken can fly like other birds in the air.
Can Chickens Fly Over Fences?
Can chickens fly over a fence, even if they can’t fly well? The truth is that a fence is no match for any chicken. Most chickens can quickly fly over the standard privacy fence. And small chain link fences are a breeze even to hens that can’t fly.
If your chickens can fly over a fence, can chickens fly away? They might not pick up and fly when startled. But they will use what little flight they do have; they will use it to get away. That means gliding over every fence on the street is possible.
8 Breeds Of Chickens That Can’t Fly
Now let’s talk about some birds that don’t fly as high or as well as others. These chickens have outstanding qualities. You will have a hard time choosing just one.
The first chickens that can not fly are the Orpington. If you want a calm chicken and get along with everyone, this is your answer. These chickens are one cool bird that doesn’t start fights and makes a great family pet. The Orpington is also the perfect urban bird because they are quiet things that barely make a noise.
And to make them even better, they are winter hardy and lay beautiful eggs. You will get about 200-280 eggs per year, and you get them in the winter too. No matter if you raise hens for eggs or meat, the Buff Orpington fits it all.
Rhode Island Reds
Rhode Islands are typically a docile breed that gets very plump. They don’t fly well due to their size, but they require a special owner. Some Rhode Island Reds can be a little snarky, and they typically sit at the top of the pecking order. So if you have a hardy flock, these birds are for you.
And if you were wondering about their egg production, they are troopers. These winter layers can lay up to 300 eggs per year, so you will never run out.
A popular favorite among kids is the Wyandotte. These fluffy chickens are docile and friendly. They will follow anyone around the yard and chat with them about anything. You will love your Wyandottes like family, and with their long lifespans, they make the best pets.
But they are a pet that earns their keep. You can get up to 200 eggs per year, or four eggs a week. So you can enjoy your hen’s company while also enjoying their eggs.
Barred Rock Plymouth
Another docile chicken is the Barred Rock. These chickens get along with everyone and anyone. Whether it’s other chickens, pets, or people, these birds are incredibly mellow. Even the roosters are happy and friendly birds, which you don’t see much in males.
Barred Rocks are also popular dual-purpose hens that lay around 280 brown eggs a year. So you can enjoy your hen’s company and their eggs too. If you get enough of them, you might even make a small profit selling their eggs.
One of the largest chickens is the Brahma hen. These large ladies are known for their mild temperaments. They also do well in smaller spaces and don’t have the drive to get out. So you can have your Brahmas in the yard or closed run without them getting restless.
But what really sets these chickens apart is that their adorable looks. These chickens have thick plumage that makes them great for winter. And they only lay eggs in winter. So if you want guaranteed winter eggs, a Brahama will lay about 150 eggs from October to May.
If you want a quiet bird to raise in your backyard, you should really consider the Cochin. These hens are one of the quietest chicken breeds. They are also friendly birds that don’t have a problem with human interaction. Cochins are the perfect hen for any family.
But these hens aren’t high producers. They only lay about 150-180 eggs per year. However, these hens make the best mothers. They go broody often and love to hatch any clutch you give them.
One of the hardest breeds around is the Australorp. These chickens survive in all climates and withstand every disease. The Australorp was developed in Australia, which tells you everything you need to know about their sturdiness. But did you know that they are also charming birds?
These chickens don’t fly well, and they are quite the layer. Most Australorps lay about 250 eggs per year. But the record is 364 eggs in one year. Who wouldn’t want that?
And finally, the only truly flightless birds are the Silkie. These chickens have the cutest feathers that fluff out everywhere. And these feathers are what prevent them from catching wind beneath their wings. Your Silkie will make a friendly and docile addition to your yard.
Silkies are also one of the lowest egg-producing chickens. They only lay around 100 eggs per year. But they make up for it by being fantastic pets and bringing you joy and entertainment. Plus, they are the smallest birds on this list, so they are worth it!
Benefits Of Non-Flying Chickens
Besides keeping the flock in the yard, what are some other benefits of these breeds? Most of these chickens are some of the most docile birds you’ve ever met. They are generally calm-natured and love people. So they make the best backyard chickens for any family.
But you might not have noticed these 8 breeds of chickens that can’t fly are also huge. They are plump little girls that make great egg layers and dual-purpose hens. So if you are looking for fresh meat, these girls have your back.
Downside To Chickens That Can’t Fly
You might be thinking that things couldn’t be more perfect for chickens that can not fly. But there are a few things to consider.
A lot of these large birds get bumblefoot and foot injuries often. You will have to keep plenty of roosts close to the ground to prevent accidents and do daily foot checks. Most people find that they have to clean the coop more frequently to prevent infections like bumblefoot.
While these chickens can’t fly, they can still jump pretty high. How high can chickens jump? Even the largest hens, or chickens that can’t fly can jump 4-6 feet. So if your fences are around this height, your chickens will still get out.
Another aspect to consider is that most of these hens will still fly for the first year of life. Once they fill out and reach maturity, then you won’t have to worry. But until then, you will need to keep them locked up in a run.
And finally, you will have to consider predators with flightless chickens. A chicken that can’t fly shouldn’t free-roam without a run and protection. So even if you want your hens in the yard, a well-protected run and coop are still required.
If you already have chickens that fly, there are a few solutions to keep them from flying off. Most people make covered runs to keep them in the yard. But some people still prefer chickens that can’t fly for other purposes. To do this, you can clip your chicken’s flight wings. How high can chickens fly with clipped wings? Most chickens can’t get taller than 2-3 feet off the ground.
How is this done? The best way to do this is by cutting the first ten feathers on one wing. Your chickens can still get away from predators, but not out of your yard. If you find that your chickens still get pretty high, you can clip the other wing as well. And remember, this isn’t permanent and will need recutting every molt.
Did You Find Your Dream Chicken?
With these 8 breeds of chickens that can’t fly, there’s something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a pet, egg production, or fresh meat, there are plenty of flightless choices. Since they are all so docile, you could get one of every breed without an issue. You can have a collection of them all for the best of everything.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!