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How Fast Does a Chicken Run?

| Updated August 11, 2017

When it comes to running, a chicken has nothing to be ashamed of, especially when you consider her size. A chicken can run 9 mph on her little legs, which is slower than your cat and potentially faster than your dog, depending on what breed of dog he is. Despite her wings and feathers, she runs better than she flies.

Catch Me if You Can

If you have backyard chickens, you may have wondered just how fast they can run when they take off in a hustle. Though they're not particularly graceful runners, chickens can reach a speed of about 9 mph, not shabby when you consider their size. If your cat is giving chase, the chickens won't stand a chance, because a cat can reach almost 30 mph, easily catching your chickens. If your dog's a little fellow, such as a Shih Tzu, the chickens may have a chance, because this little dog ranges between 6 and 13 mph. If your dog's bigger, such as a greyhound or German shepherd, it's no contest because the larger dogs reach 45 and 30 mph, respectively.

Flying the Coop

The good news is if your chicken needs to elude a predator, such as a coyote, he can fly to help his chances. As members of the family Phasianidae, chickens aren't known for their flying prowess -- this family is comprised of ground-dwelling birds such as turkeys, pheasants and grouse. They tend to get around by walking, but they can fly when they need or want to. Your chickens won't get very high off the ground -- perhaps as high as 10 feet -- nor will they get very far; their flight is usually limited to 40 or 50 feet.

Keeping Chickens Put

If you're worried about your chickens running off or flying the coop, take care to provide your flock a safe spot to bed down in at night. Portable pens and coops offer flexibility, allowing your chickens to safely roam wherever you desire. Keep your chickens well-fed to minimize their desire to wander, run or fly away in search of food and provide them high perches in their coop so they don't leave in search of higher nesting spots.