Can Roosters Fly? True or False?

Chickens have wings but they will mostly stay on the ground where they use their feet to walk, run and scratch the ground looking for tasty grubs and insects. So, can roosters fly?

Flying is a common phenomenon with birds. This is their main way of moving from one area to another as they look for food and other basic needs.

Although chickens belong to the family of birds, they are regarded as flightless. While most people would expect them to fly, they mainly walk and run only using their wings as the last line of defense when fleeing.

But having wings, does not guarantee flight. These birds will not be seen soaring up on the air like eagles and swifts.

Let’s indulge further and know whether chickens can fly.

Can Roosters fly?

Roosters can only manage to take off the ground and fly for short distances. These male chickens are not completely flightless like ostriches and emu because they can manage to lift off the ground by flapping their wings.

Their bodies are heavy with thick muscles and short wings making flying hard for them. However, when they run and flap the wings, they will manage to fly for short distances for only a few seconds.

Can chickens fly?

The word chickens is a general term for both male and female domestic fowls. The hens or female fowls are lighter in weight compared to roosters and thus, can fly much better though not for long.

All these birds have feathered wings just like other birds that fly well like Icelandic pigeons do. However, they lack other features that make flying easy like hollow bones, stream lined bodies and thin body muscles.

However, chicken flying is common especially with light breeds like Lakenvelder, Hamburg, Ancona, Andalusuian, Catalana and Campine chickens.

These chicken breeds are easily scared and when alarmed they will jump and fly trying to flee to safer areas. Additionally, they jump fences easily and sneak in the garden or even roost on tree branches.

What causes chickens to fly?

Chicken flying is not common. However, it will only happen for a reason because these birds have adapted to spending most of their time on the ground.

So, some common causes that make chickens fly include:

To avoid predators

This is one of the main reasons that will trigger flight in chickens. They will flee by running and then lifting off a few feet from the ground when fleeing away from chicken hawks and other threat.

Free ranging chickens will in most cases flee by flying trying to get to the nearby coop or thicket to take cover and hide.

If a possum or someone gets inside a chicken run, easily scared chickens will jump up high and flap their wings flying for safety.

When roosting

Most perches and roost bars are located 2-3 feet above the ground. This is because chickens are not afraid of heights and prefer to sleep perching on something.

Some notorious chicken breeds and small turkey breeds will even fly and roost on top of trees and fences.

If the roost bars are too high, chickens will jump and flap the wings trying to get to them and perch on top.

Reaching for treats

When tasty treats like strawberries, cabbage and broccoli are put in a chicken treat ball and hanged, small chicken breeds like bantams will jump and fly to get a share.

I saw my Australorp chicks flying to get the soft shoots of weeds in my vegetable garden. They did this several times until they munched on all the shoots.

For fun

In some instances, chickens will just fly for fun and out of curiosity. They will do this trying to see what is hidden on the other side of the fence.

Roosters will fly and scale short fences and walls if they can hear hens cackling. These boys will do this in order to get a chance to mate.

When fighting

Roosters will jump up and fly as they fight with each other. Those that rank low on the pecking order will fly as they flee from the dominant ones.

This is common where there is more than one male chicken living in the same run. A single rooster should live together and mate with ten hens to avoid fights.

If you have several rooster chickens, put them in isolation pens to avoid cases of bullying which can lead to serious injuries or even death.

How long can roosters fly?

There is no exact height that a chicken can fly. Some light weight rooster breeds will fly high but not for more than 30 feet above the ground.

Heavy chicken breeds like the Dong Tao and Columbian Wyandotte roosters will only manage to lift off a few inches from the ground.

These chickens have thick body muscles, big bones and dense feathers making them too heavy to fly.

So, how high can they fly?

A rooster will not fly for more than 10-15 feet high. Normally, they will only fly to get to the nearest spot they are aiming.

Roosters will fly to flee from predators, roost on perches or tree branches and get a favorite treat high above their heads.

Chickens are not very general when flying but they do it for a specific reason. In most cases, the height that any chicken can fly will be determined by the reason to do it.

What to do if roosters fly

Sometimes, if you let roosters fly they can get in your vegetable garden or in your neighbors compound.

Flying anyhow can frighten other chickens or encourage them to roost on trees and fences which will leave them exposed to predators.

So, what do you do if you have chickens that fly?

Clip their wing feathers

Clipping wing feathers is a good way to render your chickens flightless. However, this should only be done to mature and old feathers leaving the juveniles grow.

Use sheep shears and cut the edges of these feathers. Be careful not to tear the skin or clip the wing of your bird.

Meet their needs

When congested, chickens will act flightily because they will fight and bully each other. Give these feathered friends enough space to live freely.

Make sure they have enough food in their feeders and clean drinking water. Hunger will propel these birds to fly out of their coop to look for food.

Boredom is another big reason that can make chickens result to flying. Buy them nice chicken gifts and toys to keep them busy.

You can also toss tasty treats like zucchini and mealworms to keep them busy pecking at something before night fall.

Do not frighten them

Chickens can be easily scared and this will make them to flee by flying. Scared chickens can die of stampede or shock leading to heart attack.

They can be scared by barking dogs, loud bangs, possums, children and starting motor engines. Avoid anything that can frighten them and make them fly.

Use a chicken roof netting

Putting hawk netting over and around your chicken run is a good way to contain these birds. It will prevent them from flying and scaling your coop wall.

Chicken netting is good because it will allow free air circulation and enough light in your chicken coop keeping it illuminated.

Allow them exercise their flight muscles

Chickens will try to flap their wings to exercise their flight muscles. This is good and healthy and you should allow them do it.

Most chicken breeds are heavy and they have been bred to lay lots of eggs and offer much meat. The wild instincts that were in their ancestors have been bred out.

At the end of the day, they will not fly away but just around the backyard.


Roosters have wings like other birds. However, their wings are small and cannot sustain to hold their heavy bodies in the air.

However, they can only manage to flap and lift of the ground a few feet but not to fly away like other flightily birds.

Allow your chickens to exercise their flight muscles because it is good for their health. They will not fly away but lift off for a few seconds.

Do your roosters fly? Share your thoughts with us.

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