My Chickens Flying Out Of The Brooder!

Chicks Can Fly! (sort of)

Okay, this was a surprise…

A few days ago I walked into the room where our brooder is housing 7 chicks until they’re ready to be moved outside to the coop. I startled them (walked in the room too fast?). And guess what one of them did?

The little stinker (actually they don’t stink) took a running leap and flew up to the top edge of the brooder! I wouldn’t exactly call it flying for any significant distance. But it was just enough to make the 16-inch brooder wall for an escape attempt.

I said, Uh-oh…

How to keep chicks from flying out of their brooder

Immediately by brain kicked into gear.
Must. Stop. Chickens. From. Flying. Out.

Fortunately I had a window screen that was just wide enough to fit on top of the brooder! Perfect!

Our “ISA-Brown” chicks are 3 weeks old. This is going to get interesting. Especially during daily chores of food & water re-supply.

Or, when Mrs.J is in there picking up the birds once-in-awhile — making “friends” with them…

Or, like just this morning when we were changing out the pine shavings. They get scared and want to fly away. Oh my…

It’s all part of the fun I suppose, right?

3 Week Old ISA-Brown Chickens

It’s amazing how FAST the little fuzzy yellow chicks grow out into feathers. They are getting bigger, fast. Which is speeding along my efforts to get that chicken coop and run – finished!

I briefly shut off the Red Heat Lamp to take these pictures with natural lighting:

They like to eat.

I wanted to point out how I’ve raised the height of the brooder feeder. Instead of setting directly at ground level, the height helps to reduce their flipping half the food out of the trough into the pine shavings… and their stepping into the trough holes.

Anyway, that’s my chicken update.


  1. Ken, yes, I can relate. My chicks are just 2 weeks old and can fly to the top of the brooder. I think mine is not as tall as yours, the other day I placed some plastic chicken fencing on top secure with clips. I like your screen idea. I just propped up my waterer on a block of wood, so it does not become a potty.
    I took a little nap with Ruby chick sleeping on my neck.
    Wish I could post a pic, she’s so cute, calmest chicken I ever met.
    Best wishes to you and your peeps :)
    PS did you try freeze dried meal worms yet?
    They go nuts, fun to watch :)

  2. Great chick pics, Ken! Yes, they can fly. I keep my broiler chicks in stock tanks with deep sides, and I still have a framed hardware cloth cover over each tank. Mostly to keep predators out, but later to keep chicks in!

    If you are going to keep them in a fenced area outside, be aware adult chickens can get some loft, too. Poultry fencing for egg layers needs to be taller than for the broiler chickens. Mine is 6 ft., and that seems to work fine.

  3. Yes Sir, Chicks can fly, as can Chickens.
    But the question becomes “can Pigs fly”? All depends on the Gin LOLOL
    Good…. no GREAT morning to y’all, tis going to be a wonderful day for sure.

  4. Thanks for the chicks update. It does look like a fun learning experience to me .Enjoy.

  5. Wow, they really are growing fast! Thanks for the update and pictures.

  6. I keep an old window screen on top of my brooder also. I set my feeder and waterer on scrap pieces of 2×6 lumber. Keeps everything cleaner. Speaking of…it’s on my list to clean the brooder today.

  7. Hi all, yes I also use an old window screen to cover the initial holding/brooder pen because of the “pop ups”. I wish I could remember which chicks were the best at popping up into the air. Our chicks stay inside for about a week. Then we move them to a heated outside room into a larger, covered brooder that my spouse built. I will note that he only made the sides 18 inches high. His reasoning was the chicks are little. My request was for 3 ft high sides. I won’t complain too much because he was trying to help. He did make the brooder large enough and put a removable divider for me because sometimes I am hatching out several batches and need to keep separate for a bit. Finally, we move the chicks outside to a pen with a heat lamp. When old enough, they are moved to an even larger area and then no heat.

    We also use chunks of wood under feeders and waterers. And I put a few marbles in my waterer for the first few days. The chicks tend to peck more in the water with the little shinies even though we always dip everyone’s beak when they go in.

    We really enjoy the chick and duckling season but love it even more when mommas raise them. I start with duckling hatches because they are the sturdiest and grow the fastest. We have Ancona ducks which is a wonderful breed that provides us with an egg every day from mid March until about mid October.

    You will truly enjoy having your chickens Ken. They will eat weeds and bugs, give eggs, and they are relaxing to watch. We used to have a bantam that would come knock on the door calling my spouse to come get her and hold her.

  8. Mine do the same, I passed by a home throwing away a kids pack and play with mesh sides and hard floor and high sides. Going to revamp it tomorrow and use it now and for future chic raising.

  9. Our Isa Brown’s are now almost 9 weeks old and they got big fast. We used some left over chicken wire to cover the big tank we had them in. Now we’ve moved them to the chicken house. The previous owner built a 12×10′ room off the garage for his dogs and I’ve built some roosts and a place for nesting boxes. They are free ranging in the yard, on the deck, even knocking/pecking at the door to come in. Unfortunately they crap everywhere :-)
    They know enough to go back into their room if it starts to rain or when it starts to get dark so I can lock them up for the night. I don’t know which is more funny, to watch them fly across the yard or watch them run…. Can’t wait to try that first fresh egg!


  10. They are so cute. That brings back good memories of my raising chicks adventure.

  11. Yep, they do like to fly up and perch on the side of the tub I had mine in. I used one half side of a broken doggie gate to keep them in.

    They are now outside in a small enclosed pen area with an old dog house for shelter. I am using a 100-watt bulb for a little heat as the red heat lamp is too much for the dog house. I might have baked chicken !!!

    And boy do mine like the freeze-dried mealworms. I have 6 adult chickens and a duck and that is their 3:00 treat. And they let me know when it’s 3:00. The little chicks are picking up on that now.

    Oh – my duck had not laid an egg in over a year. She is 8 yr old. I figured she was done. I got an egg yesterday !!

  12. Ken,
    ok. maybe I am a bit late to the game here but…… why don’t you just clip their wings? What I mean is, gently clip the flight feathers on ONE WING only. Why one wing?? makes them unstable when they fly, and they can’t control where they go. It tends to keep them from flying as much. You could do this to that one ‘troublesome bird escape artist’, or the whole bunch. I did this years ago when I raised chickens and was not around during the day to catch the ones that got out. I realize that you may want them flight worthy so they can escape danger once they go outside. the flight feathers grow back fairly quickly. Just a thought. YMMV.

      1. Ken,
        Does not hurt them to clip the ends off their flight feathers, but yeah, I get you on not being able to do that to a chick. It does work, and I have done it with chicks and full grown birds, for their own safety mind you.

      2. Ken, minerjim,

        Sort of like the joke about the wealthy rancher who went to check on his oil interests in Saudi Arabia. He met a Saudi prince who talked him into buying a string of camels to carry back to his ranch. The rancher hired two caretakers to come back with him and look after the camels.

        First night, in the bunkhouse, the cowboys asked the camel keepers what they had been doing that day. One answered “Castrated two of the young camels.”

        One of the cowboys asked, “Really? How do you boys do that?”

        “Well,” one replied, ” you just find two good sized rocks, crawl in between his legs so he can’t kick you, once in position, slam the rocks together as hard as you can.”

        The cowboy cringes “Damn! Don’t that hurt?!!!”

        “Not unless you get your fingers caught between the rocks.” the Arab replied.

  13. Great chick pictures. Made me smile. My chicks are scheduled to arrive early May…meanwhile the other 50 are laying like crazy! Now that the FULL privacy fence is in (all 510 feet of it) we were able to rec0nfigure the chicken yard with the portable gate fencing. Big dogs love having a whole yard to come and go in, and chickens like not having the dogs in their space!

  14. Finished the inside walls of the coop today (they’re going to be spoiled –> foam insulation between exterior and interior walls).

    Hopefully finish the rest of interior tomorrow (roosts, flooring tiles), and then start on the construction of “the run”. Lots of work for eggs! But it’ll be worth it in the end…

    1. Ken,

      Make sure the chickens can’t get at that foam. I once insulated my coop with foamboard insulation scraps. the chickens got a hold of some of it and it basically clogged up their gizzards and they could not put on weight. live and learn.

      1. Thanks for the heads up. Interior sheathing covers the walls, but there is some edge exposure at the coop door at the ramp…

  15. NOTE:

    For those of you raising chicks right now, you might want to secure an adequate amount of Starter Feed for the duration – till switching over to Layer Feed.

    Why? Because evidently there are a LOT of newbies doing chickens right now (due to the Covid, and food supply concerns thereof). It appears that many locales are out (or nearly out) of Starter Feed as a result.

    How do I know? Well, someone on the blog mentioned yesterday having difficulty finding feed. So I decided to go ahead and purchase enough to feed my starters for another 12 weeks or so – until switching them over. Guess what? No Feed! There are two TSC stores, each about half an hour away. None. Gone. There were two 5-lb bags of non-medicated feed. That’s it.

    Anyway, I thought I would give you a heads-up on this apparent shortage of Chicken Starter Feed. I wonder how wide spread this is?

    1. Ken,

      Some info on chicken feed:

      Starter feed has 20% protein, compared to 16-18% for layers/broilers. Layer feed contains about 4% calcium, which little chicks don’t need, and which might harm them in excess. There are some other mineral difference, but I don’t know all of those.

      It might be necessary to do some research on dietary needs, and grind your own. Not too difficult if you have a small flock. I know some have done that around here, as I’ve seen them pick up orders at our local mill.

      When I let one of my Orpie’s hatch out chicks, I didn’t know about that chicks aren’t supposed to eat adult layer feed. None of mine suffered any noticeable ill effects. Not to be taken as advice to feed them big chicken food, just anecdotal experience.

      Once upon a time, nobody bought feed like we have today for their chicks. Wonder what they fed them?

      I’m going by our mill today, and will check the status of starter there and see what info I can get.

      1. Farmgirl
        As I recall my dad’s sister feed her chickens(babies also)left over scraps from the kitchen. The only grain they received was ground up corn from when she was making cornbread.
        They did not have any special grains or feed per what they sell in the market place today. The chickens also had to earn their living by eating the bugs around the property.
        Her flock may have been no more than 20 birds at a time. Not only that but chicken dinner was a special affair, since one was taking out a producer of eggs for protein. They only had one rooster at a time, all the others ended up in the stew pot or canned, do not call a freezer at their home.

    2. UPDATE:

      I lucked out today. One TSC store up here had gotten a 50-lb bag of starter feed. Well guess what — now they don’t (have it anymore). Because it’s now sitting next to my brooder. Problem solved (for now).

      1. For those lucky enough to have 🐓 and might be having trouble finding feed. Was at Walmart today and while navigating the one way aisles went down the aquarium aisle and saw they had some chicken feed not sure if it’s what any of you need but I had no idea they even carried it thought I’d pass it on

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