Hey, everyone! I am brand new to this whole chicken thing, but I'm looking forward to having fresh eggs in a few months! I'm getting my 6 chicks on Monday, and I need to figure out what I'm going to do in a few weeks when they're old enough to go outside. I like the idea of a portable enclosure because I want the chickens to be able to graze as much as possible. I'm debating between a chicken tractor or an electric fence enclosure.
Does anyone use electric fences on a small scale? What I would absolutely love to do is make an enclosure from 50 feet of electric poultry net (from premier 1), power it with a solar energizer, and let the chickens live freely inside of their 150ish square feet of paradise. I would be able to move this around easily as often as necessary. I live in the suburbs of Louisville, and I have not seen any birds that would be big enough to pick up a full grown chicken (though I know they exist). I would cover the enclosure with a tarp for a while they are young and smaller.
Is this a crazy idea? If not, what kind of shelter would I need to build for them to sleep and lay in (nothing fancy, I prefer minimalism)? I have heard that they can fly out, but I have also heard that they won't try to if they grow up in an electric enclosure.
The fence will cost me about $100, the energizer between @100-200, and I would like to build a shelter for under $50 (just for sleeping and laying). I realize that I could build a nice tractor for this cost, but the fence would give them so much more space. Also, the fence can be made into whatever shape needed.
The only downside I see for the fence is the possibility of aerial predator attack. What other downsides am I missing?