Adjustable Fence Height - An (el cheapo) Experiment

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by j3707, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. j3707

    j3707 Songster

    Dec 29, 2009
    Pacific Northwest
    So I've been working the last couple weekends on expanding my chicken run. We got away with free ranging our chickens for a while, but predators seem to be keeping a pretty sharp eye on 'em lately. Plus they kept traveling further from the coop as they got older and I'm not in to having them leave their little gooey presents on my front lawn (or my neighbors back lawn for that matter).

    I still want my chooks to my idea is to set up a paddock system with three ~15x20 foot paddocks plus a common area that connects all three and the coop. I'll plant chicken forage plants, create good bug habitat and rotate the chickens through the paddocks so they are always moving into fresh greens and bugs. Total space will be in the neighborhood of 1000 square feet for four White Leghorns.

    Which brings me to the fence. These Leghorns are pretty darn good fliers. Since their existing coop and attached run is entirely enclosed, I've never had to worry about fence height. Now I do. I also want my cost per egg to remain at or below organic grocery store prices (amortized over a couple years of course [​IMG]) and tall t-posts and chicken wire adds up pretty quick.

    So here's my deal: I bought 5' t-posts and 4' chicken wire for this paddock system. So what kind of moron am I anyway? A 4' fence? FOR LEGHORNS?

    But wait, there's more! I also bought some 7 foot t-posts. Those are for the corners. The idea is to string fishing line, evenly spaced at about every 4 inches, up as high as I need to go to keep the leghorns in. If 7 footers don't work, I'll use tens. I did a test pen with 10 footers for a couple weeks. They tried to fly over a couple times, but the fishing line kind of freaked them out and none of them made it through.

    I finished one paddock today fact... they DID fly over the first try with the 7 footers. As I tossed some mouldering straw in, one chook flipped out in that oh-so-special Leghorn way...UP UP and AWAY....she was outta there. What if I had put in 6' chicken wire and used 7 or 8' t-posts for each post? Just would have been money down the drain.

    I've read some posts about folks using fishing line to keep hawks out...anyone using it to keep chickens IN?

    How's it working for ya?

  2. I had six and a half foot tall fences for my run and that height didn't even slow them down much. I've found my banty roosters on top of my house, and my big shed. On one end the shed is like sixteen feet high. There were times one of my roosters took to roosting in the trees in the woods that surround me. Twenty feet up. I've given up trying to make a fence tall enough...I'll put a roof on my run instead.

    Have you considered clipping their wing feathers?

    Terry in TN
  3. greenpeeps

    greenpeeps Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    Greenford, Ohio
    I had some of the same problems, fence kept getting higher, and hawks. So now the yard has bird netting over it. It works great, and it was pretty cheap
  4. chickenshagg

    chickenshagg THE ALPHA ROO

    Apr 18, 2009
    St. Charles, MO
    Could you clip their wings a bit so they are unable to fly so high? [​IMG]

  5. kota1369

    kota1369 Songster

    Dec 17, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    Quote:Exactly what I was going to suggest. I clipped mine and its the best thing. They can still get around but I rarely worry about them going over a fense.

    The lady with 4 dogs and 4 city chickens
  6. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    I would tie lil flags to the the fishing line so they have a visual deterrent .. We used to do this at a horse farm I worked at to keep the horses from running thru the hotwire fencing.. U can use old rags or that construction tape.. It will help them see there is somethiung up there.. Also I used really cheap deer netting on the top of mine and it was only $15 for 15'x100'.. It has held up to the snow and even a few hawk attacks..
  7. If you are going to try little flags...consider going to a party store and getting one of those plastic table cloths you can get for like a buck in about thirty different colors. Cut it into strips. Hint...cut it before it is totally unfolded. The plastic is pretty durable but lightweight enough to flutter in the slightest breeze.
    Terry in TN

  8. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Quote:Good Idea..
  9. MistyValley

    MistyValley Chirping

    Sep 4, 2009
    Patterson MO
    Quote:Good Idea..

    You can also buy rolls of surveyor tape fairly inexpensive, already cut and on a role. Holds up very well to flag hot wire fencing.

  10. lavacaw

    lavacaw Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    South Central Texas
    I used bird netting (the kind to keep birds out of fruit trees) over some 4 foot fences and it worked fine. Try your local lumber yard garden center to find it. Not sure what all sizes it comes in but I think 12 x 12 is what I have. Good luck.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by