Can Ducks Fly Over A Fence? What Is The Appropriate Height?

I have a chicken coop and I know their ability to fly and I take precautionary measures for that by surrounding them with a high fence and cutting their feathers constantly. I just added some ducks to my barn and I don’t know if I should clip their feathers to prevent them from flying like chickens or not.

Most of the breeds of domesticated ducks that you buy from chick farms do not fly, or they hardly fly, for very short distances, about 2 feet only! Ducks differ from chickens, as its body is usually heavier, and their wings are smaller and weaker to fly.

However, wild ducks can fly long distances to migrate and search for food. But since we are talking about farming ducks in barns, we mean domesticated ducks here. Let’s talk about the ability of farm ducks to fly and the most important questions related to it in the next lines.

Can Ducks Fly Over A Fence?

2 Ducks At Fence

No, most breeds of domestic ducks cannot fly over fences, as they can at most jump only two feet off the ground. This is because most of the breeds of domesticated ducks that we raise now cannot fly.

It was developed selectively to create breeds that bear meat, which makes them heavy and cannot jump or fly for long distances. Some domesticated ducks can only glide for short distances but cannot maintain sustained, continuous flight.

Why Can’t Domesticated Ducks Fly?

There are 3 main reasons for this:

1. Intensive Fattening Diet

Domesticated ducks are raised with the specific primary goal of obtaining meat. Therefore, work has been done on this since the beginning of hatching ducks, where breeds capable of fattening were selected until we have the current generations that can bring us an abundant amount of meat.

In addition to genetic manipulation, after duck eggs are packed with ducklings with fattening genetics hatch, they are given an intensive diet that increases their weight very dramatically, which burdens their bodies and makes it impossible for them to leave the earth!

2. Weak Wings 

For the duck to fly, it must raise its wings rapidly and continuously for it to rise and remain in the air. But this cannot be done by farm ducks, where the wing is small and light about the weight of the heavy body, so it cannot be lifted from the ground.

So, domesticated ducks often can’t fly as they don’t have wings strong enough to keep them up in the air.

3. Live In Luxury

We cannot generalize that all types of ducks do not fly, but we are talking here about farm ducks specifically. But in fact, wild ducks can fly as they are designed to do so naturally due to the harsh nature of the wildlife in which they live.

They have to face many challenges, starting from the harsh weather, the threat of predators, and the lack of food! So they must fly to survive these challenges.

Wild ducks migrate in winter from cold places to warm places, and they also fly constantly in search of food and water sources. Also, flying benefits them greatly in escaping from predators, as they have no shelter to protect them from these harsh conditions. [1]

Wild ducks fly in too high altitudes, especially during migration from cold regions to warm climates, where some types of ducks fly during migration at an altitude of 4000-6000 feet!

As for the farm ducks, they live in luxurious conditions, where they are provided with warm weather and abundant food, and all necessary measures are taken to protect them from predators.

And since ducks are local beings attached to the families they live with and appreciate the decent life offered to them, they will not need to migrate to warmer weather as wild birds do. Thus, they do not need to try to fly, which is an effort they are indispensable.

The generations of farm ducks continued to evolve in the same way until the current generations of farm ducks do not fly or jump for long distances.

What Is The Appropriate Fence Height For Ducks?

3 Ducks At Fence

Farm ducks usually cannot jump more than 2 feet, but the fence should be 4 feet high to protect the ducks from predators in addition to protecting them from jumping and escaping.

What Breed Of Farm Ducks Can Fly?

Most domestic farm ducks have lost their ability to fly but there are some exceptions of small duck breeds such as Muscovies, East Indies, Calls, ducks, runner ducks, and domesticated Mallards. The most important characteristic of these breeds is that they are smaller in size which enables them to fly.

If you keep any of these breeds, you must secure them. A 6-foot high fence is recommended for them to be fully protected. You can also cut its wings very easily by cutting the primary feathers on one wing, as cutting one of the wings will cause an imbalance in the duck and prevent it from flying.

Pay attention to cutting the main feathers only and not hardening the other feathers because they are necessary for insulation and protection of the skin.


How Can I Keep My Ducks From Flying Away?

You can trim their primary feathers, as this is not a painful process for ducks,  it is like clipping hair in humans. You can easily do it on one wing only as the ducks will lose the ability to fly due to the lack of balance between their wings.

Will Ducks Stay In A Fenced Yard?

Yes, most of the domestic farm ducks will keep in fenced yards because they are unable to fly and escape far. 

Do Ducks Need To Be Fenced In?

Yes, although most domestic ducks cannot fly, It is best to secure them with a fence about 4 feet high to ensure their protection from high jumps and escaping away and to protect them from predators.

What Ducks Don’t Fly Away?

Some breeds cannot fly at all, but can barely glide and jump limited jumps, such as:
1. Cayuga Duck 
2. Ancona Duck 
3. Pekin Duck 
4. Buff Orpington Duck
5. Indian Runner Duck
6. Rouen Duck

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Doaa Salah
The shy one (too shy to put her photo) and the only girl in our team! Doaa is a veterinarian who is passionate about writing content. She knows a lot about animals and birds, as she has been studying them for many years now. Her goal? She is researching and learning to convey to you all the knowledge she have and what's new about farming.