Can Roosters Fly? Flying Ability Factors

We rarely see chickens and hens fly, is it because they can not or they choose not to? They usually walk and run as witnessed by many but they have wings which makes you question the rooster’s ability to fly, rightfully so.

So, can roosters fly? You are pondering the question for hours but still can not come up with a right answer but a cheesy punchline instead.

There is more than “yes or no” to the answer, so, read on, dear readers.

Can Roosters Fly?

Yes, they do and they can but roosters are not very good at it. They are labeled as dismal flyers and their flight style and distance will not win them an Olympic gold medal.

They can not fly like a bird, travel too far, or remarkably high. Be it a wing flap, hop, or a full-blown flight, roosters can do it with not much ease.

Chickens never filled the skies for several reasons, however, their ancestors were more adept than the current domesticated breeds.

Scientists believe that selective breeding done by farmers is to be blamed for modern breeds’ ability to fly.

There could be several reasons that affect a chicken’s flying ability; wing-to-weight ratio, small wings, feet better suited to walk on the ground, and heavy flight muscles.

Roosters, being heavier and larger than hens, are pushed further to the “flightless bird” category.

Did you know? Even though chickens can fly a few feet high, the World Record for chicken flight is 301.5 feet, set in 2014.

Why Roosters Can Not Fly?

Each chicken breeds come in different shapes and sizes, some are smaller, active, and more likely to jump higher, whereas others are too heavy and not very agile.

The main reason is that they are not meant, built, or evolved to fly.

Their body is large, heavy and their wings are comparatively smaller which makes it physically impossible to stay in the air for a longer period.

Though chickens are birds they spend most of their time on the ground, even if they get a chance, they would not fly away.

Their feet are better suited for the ground, so, they prefer walking and running. Hens can jump a bit higher than roosters as they are less heavier.

Not only flight roosters can not lay eggs, can crow, can fight instead of chickens.

rooster-flight

How Far Can Roosters Fly?

As mentioned earlier, roosters can not fly too far. Unlike other winged birds, they can not fly country to country or escape danger and death.

Even the best chicken flyers, the better way to put it, are only sub-par flyers at best. Smaller chickens may manage to fly the distance of 50 feet, usually, it is less.

How High Can Roosters Fly?

Like the flight distance, Rooster can not fly remarkably high either. They usually fly to get over a fence, perch on the roof, or get up in the tree to roost.

Roosters never aim for the sky, generally, for the nearby spots. On average, a rooster can only fly around 10-15 feet high.

History of Chickens and Flying

We got the modern domesticated chickens after 10,000 years of selective breeding. Jungle Fowl, the chicken’s wild ancestor, was not a strong flyer either.

They could also fly up into the trees or bush branches to escape predators or for roosting purposes but relatively better than the modern domestic breeds.

Wild Jungle Fowl was hunted and captured by humans for cockfighting, ceremonies, and food. Chickens are believed to be domesticated about 7400 years ago.

As the years went by, Wild Jungle Fowls were domesticated further and people started breeding them to create unique and beautiful breeds that exist today.

The new chicken breeds and human beings developed a harmonious bond, their ability to fly diminished further as they no longer had to fly away from humans.

As poultry farming became a business, humans continued to selectively cross different breeds to increase meat and egg production.

Some large meat breeds were evolved to have more meat on the breasts which understandably made it difficult to fly.

Selective breeding altered the wing to weight ratio gradually which limited their flight ability.

It affected larger breeds more, they are just too heavy to fly, and can only manage short-hop flights.

rooster-fly

Chicken Breeds With Better Flying Ability

There are a few breeds you need to keep an eye on that have the better flying ability. These are active breeds that have not been heavily selectively bred.

Some of the best flyers or active breeds originate from the Mediterranean countries.

These breeds have slimmer bodies, so, their wings can hold up the body more efficiently.

The comparatively decent chicken flyer breeds are Ancona, Andalusian, Campine, Bantams, Catalana, Leghorn, white faced black Spanish, and Sicilian Buttercups.

Breeds like Fayoumi, Jaerhon, Lakenvelder, Ameraucana, La Fleche, old English Game, and Appenzeller Spitzhauben can fly reasonably well too.

If you have been thinking of raising any of the aforementioned breeds, the high fence could not work to restrict them from trespassing the neighbors’ property.

Clipping feathers would be the only way to prevent them from going over the boundary.

Fun Facts Related to Rooster’s Flying

Well, you may or may not be aware of these interesting facts before, find below some fun facts about rooster flying ability.

Chickens can only stay in the air for some seconds before they come crashing down to the ground. The recorded time of the longest flight is only 13 seconds.

There is no exact height or a number to give when it comes to how high can a rooster fly as it depends on breed, weight, and other factors.

  • On average, some breeds can fly up to more or less 30 feet.
  • Roosters can fly at about 10mph.
  • The only chicken breed that can not fly at all is the Silkies.

How To Prevent Rooster From Flying?

There is nothing to worry about at all as they are close to being flightless that there is no need to put them in a cage to keep roosters in.

Rooster has a particular flight pattern; they flap their wings fast followed by faster wing flaps, glides, and motion gliding.

So, stop roosters from flying, do the following

Keep The Pen Covered – If you are raising chicken breeds that are good at flying, cover the pen with chicken wire or mesh netting. You can use plastic aviary netting or deer netting to cover the pen as well.

Make Sure They are Fed – Roosters fly over fences or try to go to the rooftop in search of food or water. Keep them fed and there is no need to worry about anything.

Clip Their Wings – Nothing works as effectively as clipping wings in regards to limiting the chicken’s ability to fly.

Trim a couple of inches from the tips and this will limit their ability to fly even short distances. Roosters do not fly much or high often, so, it should only be done for safety purposes.

Key Takeaway

Rooster can fly but height and distance are not their primary objectives. They do so to get up into low-branched trees to roost or to escape from predators.

Even though they are less capable to fly than other birds, roosters never give up, and keep trying. If the feathery friend is mischievous and ends up in places it shouldn’t, cover the pen or clip its wings for safety reasons.

Resources

  • R Robinson has done his degree in Agronomy and Animal breeding from the CAU (China Agriculture University). He is serving as a livestock expert in local farms.

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