My husband and I are preparing to get our first chickens ever and we're trying to learn as much as possible before buying some. We just want 4 layers to supply us with eggs. We have an acre + of yard fenced in for horse pasture, with not a lot of yard outside of it (we're surrounded by woods on three sides, and road up front). The fencing is three strand electric rope on a small charger box that cycles the current (so it gives you a pop, not a continuous shock). While we plan on building a coop and a safe little yard next to our barn for the chickens, I would like to let them free range when we're at home to look after them. Needless to say, this is a chicken paradise, with plenty of grass, and even more bugs (horse poop attracts a lot, you know), plus cedar trees to roost in and pine cones to play with. We're also planning on putting in a garden, so if I don't kill everything, they should also enjoy a summer of vegetable scraps. However, I read on one website that an electric fence can kill a chicken. Does anyone know if this is true? Mind you, ours isn't exactly strong; it's not like we're keeping in a bull. Our last cat shocked himself on it a couple of times to no permanent ill effect. I was hoping that the bottom strand, which is close to the ground along the road frontage, would keep them from getting out in the road. The fence around the house is up a bit higher, so they could go under it and get into the driveway (which is mostly grass, actually) and around the barn to fool around and mow where we can't let the horse do it for us. Which brings up a second question: do I need to try and keep them out of the garden, or are they actually good for it?