All info appreciated. Thanks.
All info appreciated. Thanks.
Well your not really alone, you have all of us here! Yes, hot wire or electric poultry netting around your coop/run is a very good idea. I have a few strands of hot wire around my pasture area and the run. This has made the difference between dogs getting in and dogs getting shocked on the nose and leaving at top speed. Works just as well for many other critters as well.
Using 1/4" hardware cloth on your coop to cover windows and vents is also a very good idea as many predators can easily rip right thorough chicken wire. How you fence your run should depend on what you have as far as daytime predators. We use chain link and have a heavy duty shade cloth cover, birds are in a very secure coop at night and this is sufficient for my area in the daytime.
About electric fence. . . . I've used it for decades, still do, but there are some misconceptions about it. Most electric fence including netting and high tensile, is not a physical deterrent to an animal, it is a psychological deterrent. That means in practical terms, that an animal from horse down to raccoon, who hasn't been shocked has no fear of it, no avoidance reaction. An awful lot of animals, the first time they get shocked, are as likely to jump forward and run over or through it as they are to back off, and then they are inside with your chickens. For it to be most effective you need to "train" the animals who have your chicken coop in their "territory" to stay away from the fence, whether that's the neighbor's dog or the raccoon from the woods half a mile away.
When you first install electric fence, including netting, you want to bait it to attract (yes I mean attract) the animals you want to control. Do this BEFORE you put chickens inside. If it's dogs or raccoons that are the problem, put strips of tin foil on the hot wires every so often along the fence, low enough to be convenient for them to sniff, and put a dollop of dog food or cat food on the strip. Be prepared to find some of your netting knocked over in the morning; set it back up and rebait. After your fence is staying up and your baited foil is untouched for a week or so, you've got the message to the local predators. You can still have a problem if/when a new one moves into the area, but that isn't likely to happen unless somebody kills the ones who have your place in their territory. They will also teach their young to avoid your fence. Keep in mind though, that if you start leaving it uncharged, eventually one of them will figure it out. A lot of animals handle new things in their environment by "cautious curiosity"; they try it and if there's a reward like chicken dinner they have learned to return. If there is negative reinforcement of getting shocked, they learn to avoid fence. But if there are attractive smells and sights like chickens fluttering, somebody will eventually have another go to see if the fence still bites.
To the bemusement of my farmer neighbors, I used this method to successfully train the local deer herd to move their routine travel path and stay out of my garden and fruit trees using only 42 inch high portable electric netting (peanut butter bait for them). As finances allowed, I replaced the netting with 2x4 inch wire mesh with just 2 electric tape strands on the outside. The deer could easily jump it but I've had no damage in 2 years. Also no more coyotes or raccoons.
So, electric fence works, but you have to put some work into it too.