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Tina C

The great escape - chickens jumping over the netting!

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We have had Cluck the Snow Chicken and Josephine (Smokey Jo) Chuckles for just over two weeks. I work from home, so they usually spend their days free ranging within an area enclosed by Omlet netting. At the weekend we decided to let tham have a wander round the garden, supervised by myself and 5 year old Layla. We all had a great time particularly when Chuckles wandered in through the French windows a couple of times. Layla managed to entice them both into her playhouse too - not sure what they got up to in there but it has made her love them even more. But now we have a problem. Cluck has escaped from within the enclosure twice this morning. Didn't see the first attempt, but thought she had slipped under the netting as I had not put the pole into the ground properly. Just heard them clucking and looked out of window to see them both pacing the perimeter. Then I saw Cluck take a few quick paces, flap her wings and jump over the netting. Her wing was clipped on arrival but I have noticed she likes a big jump now and then so she was obviously limbering up for today. Apart from making the area smaller so she does not have a runway (at the moment they are half on the lawn and half under a horse chestmut tree and some shrubs) I can't think what to do. Our garden is not enclosed enough to let them get away with this behaviour. We have a beech hedge along one side and no gate at the front of any kind. Guess I will have to get something higher to keep them in. Any advice? Gates and fencing would be the obvious route but too expensive for us at the moment - and I do not want to get rid of that 50 year old beech hedge...


I have given Cluck a stern telling off but now she knows she can do it she is bound to try again....


Also - my daughter insists that I do not let the chickens out without her being present. This means I have to wake her up most mornings but I feel she probably needs that extra half an hour's sleep. It won't be a problem soon but what time does everyone let their chickens out at this time of the year? Is it cruel to keep them in the eglu till 7.00 or 7.30?



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I leave the eglu door open at night so they let themselves out into the run when they are ready, which is about 7am these days. I only let them out into the garden when it is properly light.


I often let my girls out at 7.30/8 - when my OH isn't on earlies and can't let them out when he leaves at 6.30 - and they dont seem to mind. I often catch them napping through the day, so I assume that it's no hardship for them to have a lie-in in the morning!


I tried leaving the eglu door open, but Bertha is poorly at the moment and it just made her cold worse, so that's a no-no now.

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Well that's a pickle, isnt it?

Electrifying the netting would certainly teach Cluck to respect it very effectively & very quickly - maybe you wouldnt even need to do it for long?

However - and it is a big however - there is Layla to consider.

I wanted to protect the perimeter of our backyard by electrifying the net. I had researched all different types & sizes of energizer - got all the way to purchasing one & bringing it home - & then it sat on the kitchen table for 2 days.

I just couldn't trust myself to NEVER make a mistake leaving it on at the wrong time, or my 4 year old daughter to NEVER touch it. And even if she never did - I would be a nervous wreck worrying about it!

So back to the farm store it went . . .

Which, of course, does not help you out at all!

I think you might have to keep her in the run until you can scrounge enough s"Ooops, word censored!" timber/ netting/ helpful DIY inclined friends/neighbours to come up with a suitable enclosure solution.

Put the word out among your friends for help - maybe you could invite folks over for a brain-storming session, with drinks, deviled eggs & custard tarts! 'A Parole-Board Hearing For Cluck' - with a picture of a chicken in convict stripes . . .

Its amazing what ideas people can come up with, when looking with a fresh eye at your situation - maybe somebody has just the thing, lurking at the back of their shed, that they want to get rid of . . .

I know this does not really answer any of your questions. If you decide to go the electrifying the netting route - I'm sure it would work. Just remember to consider your own emotional reaction to the energizer - you may be much less neurotic than I am - but I just worried too much for it to be a good solution for us.

Good luck, & I hope the universe spits out the perfect solution for you, and all your girls!

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Well, what a great day that was! Spent the next few hours watching for any more attempts at flying, but they had decided to settle down. Got Layla home from school, nonchalantly opened the egg port, not really expecting to see anything after all the excitement of the weekend and there it was - our first egg :!:


We know it was Chuckles that laid it as Cluck is too immature - her pink comb is only just peeping through, while Chuckles has got a lovely red one and has been flattening herself for both me and Layla over the past few days.


Maybe Cluck's escape was an attempt to find me and give me the news????


Waiting for another now, so we can make an 'omlet' to share. Layla is going to take the first one in to school tomorrow to 'show and tell' - its their Harvest Festival so thought that would be a good day to talk about it.


Am not going to worry too much about the netting just yet but at least you all now know they CAN jump over it - or do I just have an exceptionally athletic chicken? (So when are the Chicken Olympics????)


(Trying to get signature sorted out...)

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We made the fence higher (overlapped 2 chicken wire pieces) as Susannah is a little horror! :roll: White chickens are known for being flighty aparently. I have an old thread called the great escape with Susannah perched on a huge fence.

Ours didn't jump so much as fly on the fence then fly down the other side.

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The omlet netting is flimsy anyway - and she did not touch it but went straight over the top - I was quite impressed that she managed to get so high but have been busy reading the other posts about white chickens getting airbourne so she is not so unusual. As there have been no further attempts I am keeping cool and hoping that she scared herself when she realised she couldn't get back in....

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Our newish hen, Harriet, is a real pickle - when we first got her, she discovered the top of the eglu run as a safe place to sit away from the other three, while she was settling in. However, since then she has also discovered how great it is for her to fly over the top of the Omlet netting fence (which surrounds the eglu run to make a larger run) from her vantage point. And since then, she has enticed the other three up onto the eglu run to have a go too! (they NEVER went on top of the eglu run until she came along and egged them on (excuse the pun!)). She escapes numerous times through the afternoon when I let them out into the bigger run, often encouraging Daisy to have a go too and succeed. She is very naughty! :roll::lol:

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Hi there


We started out with a very nice open run taking up a third of our lawn when we got ourhens a year ago. I would leave them in the eglu at night with the run closed too and they woukld have free run in the open area all day. (our dogs keep any potential foxes away.)


Then the escapes began and I was terrified I wouldn;t knoe they were out when I let the dogs out so we added height to our chicken wire fences and to our gate entrance to the run. Still the escapes continued. So we added a length of wire at the top and just dipping inwards and raised the gate soem more......


This finally did the trick. But looking out in the Spring I was depressed to see Colditz in my garden - not the tidy rustic affair I had intended them to live in.



So hubby and I bought a rooofed pen (12ft by 9.5ft) cleared and levelled a one side of the garden and put mesh round to fox proof it (should they get so brave..), gravelled around it and landcaped it to create a feature. The eglu house is stapled to the outside of one side and is left open all the time. The girls go in and out of the eglu as they please getting themselves to bed and up in the morning. They have everything a chook needs in the run - shrubs in pots, old bits of coppice fencing, big clay fower pots with soil and sand in,ledges, dry soil (as there is a plastic sheet over half to keep rain off that bit) and soil that gets damp that I dig over to let them find worms.


They come out in the garden when I am around and so have becoem even more friendly becuase I am always around when they are out and about exploring. one of the many pluses is that they can be left really easily for up to three days. The dogs and I have the garden back. The girls now are so friendly that they like to come into the dining room (and peck your toes!)and will sit on the mat in the sun next to my dogs for a sunbathe (much to the indignation of my sun worshipping Henry!)


And I am not looking at a brown lawn surrounded by a Colditz fence.


The eglu run meanwhile has done sterling service on its ends in three sections protecting my tomato plants (that I grew up the side of the chicken run) from the hens.


My advice - try and build a run if you have a garden that is as open as you describe. Once they have learned to fly and it is rewarding to them (lots of new places to explore and food items to forage) they will not forget. My hens wings were clippped - it made no difference at all.

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I don't have the Omlet netting, just chicken wire fencing I got from Countrywide, staked in with bamboo canes.


Geri has been escaping for weeks and weeks now - jumping on to the top of the Eglu, a couple of limbering up type bounces and ...away she goes - its funny to watch her doing though and to hear her clucking when she'e airbourne!


We got round it this weekend.


I moved the Eglu into the border under the tree (mainly to save the lawn while the weathers with us) as we finally had a mud bath after the rain last week.


Their enclosure has now been expanded to half the garden with a lot more lawn area to give it more space to cope with two hens pooping and scratching at it all day - poor lawn!


Molly doesn't seem too put out just yet that her playing field has been shortened, not that she's been out much playing in the rain!


I've still not forgiven Geri for destroying half my vegetable patch when we were on holiday the other week!

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It's like you've seen my lawn

(if you read brown for mud)


Do you have any pictures?


Yeah it was a lawn before then and it was mud very soon after.....


But now (since the hen house/run we installed in the Spring) we have a lawn again (battered by three dogs...) but it has grass (and weeds) and needs cutting...and the hens get to eat it and scratch about on it for at least an hour a day - usually longer. So I think we will have a lawn all winter this year.


If youmean pics of the run/house set up there are one or two pics in my album in the Gallery - I don;t know which page it is on as I have not been able to access the Gallery for months! (unless I do a temp guest thingy!) Anyway the album is called Maxhen's pics so you could have a trawl through and have a look if you would liketo!


If you mean pic of the lawn then just hink muddy waste are and that'll do it.... :shock::lol:



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I was worried that our bottom fence was not high enough so I made it taller by using bamboo canes with netting in between. the netting is black mesh designed for climbing plants...it comes on a roll from the garden centre and costs a few pounds a metre. its plastic and hardy but as its fine you can't really see it from a little way a way. When the omlet man delivered our girls he was impressed by our fencing and said that firstly the girls would not be able to get over it, and secondly that they would forget that they could fly by next year and then not attempt escape. Also, he said foxes don't climb flimsy fencing (although I would never be complacent about that).

The mesh with canes would be a cheap way forward even if temporary.

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I am still in a quandary. Do not want to go down the route of electrifying the fence because of children using the garden but keep reading posts about foxes and am getting nervous. We are in a town but have open land close by and I know there are foxes in the woods at the top of the park (about a mile away) because local dog-owners have told me there is fox poo up there. I love looking out of the window and seeing my chickens in their patch of the garden but there is only Omlet netting between them and the fox. Came home last Friday to find grey feathers all over the place. I knew the chooks were in their run but my heart still stopped as it could so easily have been them (turns out it was probably the killer cat from over the road - who likes to sit and watch the chickens - and one of the collared doves - but there wasn't much left to identify it).


Cluck still escapes from time to time but as I am now more vigilant about shutting them in the run, even when I go out for 10 minutes, I am not so worried about her escapes now as I am around to send her back in. And I know she won't go far without Chuckles. But I am in the house working while they are free-ranging - if the fox wants them he will get to them before I can. Will think about netting solution described above but will it deter/slow down the fox if he does come a calling during the day?


By the way the slaughter did not put Chuckles off her egg laying - we ended up with 4 eggs in her first week and another one yesterday - what a super little hen she is.l

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