Do Chickens Dig Under Fences?

Chickens are undoubtedly an unpredictable bunch.

Chickens are called ‘flightless’ birds when they are known to jump over fences more than six feet high easily.

And, it’s hard for novice chicken owners to believe that chickens can dig holes, very deep ones at that, under fences or wherever the urge takes them to do so. 

But, to answer your query, chickens can and often do dig holes.

These girls will do so for many reasons, including taking a dust bath on a hot day to cool themselves down.

So, let’s look at why your fowl might be digging holes under fences without further delay.

Carry on reading

Do Chickens Go Under Fences? (In Detail) 

Chickens go pretty much wherever they wish to go.

In most cases, chickens don’t jump over fences, but if they get the urge to look at the other side, you’ll witness your chicken take leaps like never before.

Similarly, chickens do go under fences by digging holes. 

It’s not like your chicken has suddenly become an escape artist, but if it feels like digging and decides to choose a spot close to the fence, you might find your bird on the other side.

Your chicken’s tendency to dig may seem incredible for the first-time pet parent of chickens

But, it’s all true.

Yes, you are right to assume that your chicken will not be able to do so simply because it lacks the physical attributes to help it pull off such a maneuver.

But, chickens are extraordinary creatures when it comes to accomplishing marvelous feats.

Check out my article – How high should a chicken fence be?

Do Chickens Like To Dig?

Yes, it would appear that chickens like to dig.

Most animals, such as dogs or even rabbits who love to dig or burrow, have physical features granted to them by Nature to achieve their daily chores with relative ease.

Although chickens are not so blessed in that area, nothing will hinder your flock if they wish to do something.

Chickens have clawed toes and skinny feet; hence, chickens should technically suck at digging.

But, chickens love to dig so much that they can dig reasonably deep holes when they please.

In many instances, chickens aren’t digging to flee your dominion or pull a Houdini.

They just like to dig, and they often choose to burrow in corners as it is safer in a nook than in an open field.

If you take a good look, you’ll find small holes dug in the coop corner or the corner of the house.

If you’re wondering why your chickens have suddenly taken to digging, you need not worry yourself.

All chickens like to dig; chickens of all species, sizes, or ages will often revert to digging without any essential task. 

They dig because an internal driving force propels them to dig.

Chickens dig to create safe spots to lay eggs too.

Fowls dig to dispel boredom, and they dig to refresh themselves with a nice dust bath and, very rarely, you will come across a chicken who will dig because she doesn’t like you and wants to make a run for it. 

If your chicken is constantly digging or maybe trying to escape

You may be thinking how you can stop your chickens from digging right?

Let’s find out how you can do this

How Do I Get My Chickens To Stop Digging?

Perhaps, the more relevant questions to ask are, should you get your chickens to stop digging, and how do I get my chickens to prevent digging under the fence.

To answer the first question, no, you shouldn’t try and get your pet fowl to stop digging altogether.

You can’t get a dog to stop chasing its tail or a cat from being curious.

So, if you’re attempting to curb your chicken’s instinct to be a chicken and behave like a chicken, that’s akin to making a waterfall flow upward.

There’s no defying gravity.

But, if you simply don’t want your chickens to get under the fences and get hurt in the process, you can do plenty of things to prevent such a scenario.

Placing bricks or large rocks at the base of the fence line will impede your chickens from digging under the fence.

Moreover, you can take the initiative to place about a foot or two of the fence (mesh wire, plastic chicken wire, or chain link) underground to stop your chickens from escaping their enclosure at least.

Or you can plant some strong-smelling herbs close to the fence, such as paprika, garlic, or chilies, right at the base of the fence. 

Chickens don’t enjoy the scent of these bitter, strong plants and will invariably choose to dig someplace else.

Do Chickens Burrow?

Seeing as how these beauties aren’t exactly known for their agility or graceful form, when the chicken digs, many believe it’s trying to bury itself or burrow.

So, you can loosely say that chickens burrow as they dig and continue digging deep enough holes into emerging from one end of a fence to the other side.

But, in reality, your chicken is fundamentally having a good time at digging. 

Why Are My Chickens Burrowing?

Chickens burrow when they want to – it’s an activity they enjoy indulging in, and so they indulge.

Here’s a thing about chickens, they don’t do limits  – they eat without limits, they free-range without limits, and they dig without limits.

But chickens burrow for more meaningful reasons too.

Chickens take dust baths during the hot season to cool themselves down.

But a dust bath also helps them keep away the parasites and bugs that would otherwise cling to their feathers and groom themselves.

They burrow safe, hiding spots for their eggs in the absence of coops.

Furthermore, chickens burrow to sharpen their claws or when they are looking for a mealy morsel of worms.

They also tend to dig holes or burrow when they feel socially awkward.

Chickens don’t file defamation cases against each other or crib; they dig.

Wrapping Up 

There have been instances when chicken owners have lost some of their flock due to chickens digging under fences, and for that cause, many take precautionary steps to stop their chickens from such a practice.

Here’s the thing though, it’s a futile attempt to get a chicken to stop digging – it’s a natural inclination and one that assists in life.

A more worthy and helpful endeavor would be to get your chickens to stop digging close to the fence so they can’t escape, get lost, or worse, get hurt.


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