Advice: Alaska, Bears & Dogs


11 Years
Apr 12, 2008
Hello everyone, My neighbor and I are thinking about getting chickens this summer. We are new to this and are trying to learn everything we can. We live in southeast Alaska (Juneau) and we are pretty worried about black bears and dogs getting our chickens - especially the bears. We live on a more rural street with plenty of bear traffic at times. I am wondering if there is anyone on this list who can give us advice on building a coop and a fenced in area where the chickens can roam or is this just a hopeless endeavor? Thank you!


12 Years
May 24, 2007
Two foot thick concrete walls that are twelve feet high with razor blade sharp electric barbed wire fencing rolling across the top and the bottom should do a pretty good job of keeping those pesky bears away from your chickens.

Or - get a good cat ...


Ok, so I have no idea how to keep bears out... I hear it's very, very difficult to keep a bear from anything he wants.

I really just wanted to WELCOME you to BYC. Good luck with your problem. I'm sure someone here can help as there are people who have bears in their area.


Chick Magnet
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
Good morning Carrie!

We have black bears, brown bears, lynx, and oh, yes... dogs.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do about the bears except make it very difficult or annoying to get to your birds. We have a double insulated coop inside the wire pen, and the pen is hotwired with two wires all the way around. It's not your typical dog-fence,'s heavy duty. The dogs have learned that it's painful to nose around the pens, but if a bear wants your birds bad enough, it's probably not going to stop it. Do you have your own pet dogs that will act as an alarm? Ours do a good job of alerting us when there's something out there. Other than that, just make sure you keep the pens relatively clean and tidy so you're not attracting the bears.

I think we're lucky in the fact that we have two close neighbors that have sled-dog teams. It's nearly impossible for them to keep their yards clean, so I'm hoping the bears won't be bothered with our birds.

Oh, and keep a shotgun near the front door... bear is yummy


12 Years
Feb 15, 2007
Austin area, Texas
Hi Carrie, Welcome

My mom lives in Douglas and my sister in north Douglas. I think I've heard of someone from this forum using electrified barbed wire for bears; maybe you can do a search of the forum. I'm sure other people in Alaska would have answers too. It always seems in Juneau that certain areas have more bears than they should; maybe people are sloppy with their trash. The bears have always stayed out of my sister's yard, maybe because she has a dog. But she also doesn't keep chickens. Good Luck with your chickens.


13 Years
Jan 15, 2007
Garden Valley, ca
mom'sfolly os right about the barbed wire. It will cut though the hair and get to the skin where the plain round wire won't. I have had my share of run ins with bear and this works for me. My meter only goes to 7000 volts which I top out anyplce I test the fence. When one get zapped, you will know it.
That is when your two trusted friends come out, Smith & Weeson. If they have been zapped you will only get a shot at their back side.
As you know, if a bear wants in, it will get in.


11 Years
Apr 12, 2008
Well thanks everybody for your welcomes and replies. I have to think about this - I'm not so sure if we should do it or not. It sounds pretty hard and that if the bears want to get in they will. Thanks again!


11 Years
Feb 13, 2008
I live in NH, but we have black bears also. Had a problem a few years back, bears getting in coop and eating all they wanted.
needless to say, after losing 35+ layers, I got sick of that game in a hurry. I now have 3 strands of electric fence, at 6"12" and 18" high. NO MORE BEARS! When you see one get zapped, it makes me laugh. is that mean?
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11 Years
Apr 18, 2008
Kodiak, Alaska

I hope I'm not too late to help you out with this.

An electric fence is the way to go. You can run a simple single strand of electrified wire with a solar panel charger that will do plenty to keep the bears out. I work in the bush in Kodiak and we always surround our rafts, atv's, etc with electric fence. For some reason plastic and rubber are like candy to bears.

Once you put your fence up tie some surveyor's tape at different locations on the wire. This serves two purposes. For one, it allows you and anyone else to see where the fence is. Two, bears are very, very curious and they'll be drawn to the flagging. When they investigate the first thing they use is their nose. All it takes is one zap on the nose and they will not come near that coop again!

I wouldn't bother with barbed wire. For one, it will snag everyone and everything that comes by and if it's electrified as well an animal can get caught in it and shocked to death. Smooth wire allows them to feel the electricity but still get away. Also, Alaska's bears have extremely thick layers of fur and the barbed wire would not get through to the skin to cause any damage - only your fence would end up damaged.

A lot of people seem to be raising chickens on Kodiak and the electric wire keeps out even the most determined garbage bears. They are really quite simple to use and can be obtained at almost any farm/feed store.

Best of luck!

Parson's Wife

Blessed Abundantly
12 Years
Jan 22, 2008

Hello! I've always wanted to see Alaska (in the summer) not big on lots of snow for prolonged periods of time... lots of pictures!!

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