Duck and Electronet; ducklings and electronet

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckiesrule, May 27, 2012.

  1. duckiesrule

    duckiesrule In the Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    Western Massachusetts
    I have 2 week old ducklings and I need to start preparing for their outdoor accommodations. I am in the process of building a duck house and I debated between a permanent wire fence and an electric net fence. I live on the edge of the wilderness and am very worried about predators of all shapes and sizes.

    I decided that I would skip right to the electric net fence (electronet) to protect them from predators. However, I am worried that the electronet will not be enough to deter predators at night. I have heard that ducks would rather not go in their house at night, so I am wondering whether the electronet would keep them safe if they were to stay out of their house at night. I have plans to cover the area enclosed by the electronet with deer netting to protect from aerial predators. So, I'm wondering whether I also need to create a permanent outdoor enclosure with wire fencing that is connected to their duck house.

    Also, at what age can ducklings be enclosed in electronet? I bought poultry netting so the space between the openings near the bottom of the fence are closer together. I was thinking that I could put them in the fencing without it being electrified until they are older, but I dont want them to get used to the unelectric fence ... Does anyone have experience with electronet and ducks/ducklings?
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

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    I know there are a few at least, here, that do, and I hope they check in soon.

    Meanwhile, I appreciate you thinking ahead about this. [​IMG]

    I have no trouble getting my ducks in at night. But I keep them very close. Even if you let them range a bit, if you feed them treats regularly just before you want them in come late afternoon or early evening, they will become accustomed to coming in for treats, and there they are, all you need to do is close up for the night.

    Many ducks bring themselves in at night.

    They need Little Fort Knox. We live in perhaps a similar area, with a long, long list of predators. Half the year the ducks are in the walkout basement pen, half out in their duck house and porch.

    I use half inch hardware cloth, fencing top, bottom and sides, keyed locks, and electric fence tape (equine).

    This year before putting them back in their outdoor house at night, I want to drive the ground rods farther into the soil to increase the jolt on the fence. Raccoons have been very active around here this spring.
     
  3. Tahai

    Tahai Songster

    Hi duckiesrule, [​IMG]

    I've been using electric poultry net fencing for about 2 weeks now, and below are my thoughts and experiences. This is fence I selected: http://www.kencove.com/fence/Electric+Net+Fencing_detail_NPCG.php. I know there are other companies that manufacture net fencing. The prices are all about the same, so it comes down to other little factors. Because I'm in PA, and so is this company, I decided to keep my money close to home.

    1. No I don't believe the net is strong enough to protect against a determined night predator. Lock them in their house at night.

    2. the minimum recommendation for fencer strength is .25 joules - low impedance. If you plan to deter larger animals, I suggest you go higher. I use 1 joule for 160 ft of net, and it delivers a good kick.

    3. ducks are mostly not affected by the electric charge - the feathers and bill insulate them.

    4. ducks generally respect the fence as a barrier, but will, when in a panic, charge the fence, and get entangled. I've had this happen 3 times (a human has been the panic trigger each time [​IMG] ).
    • I put them out at 5 weeks (fence not on, and I was home all day to supervise). When I was herding them into the pasture, they didn't understand the concept of gates yet. Some of the ducks wiggled their way through the 3.5" openings, but some became entrapped. I spent 5 very loud minutes working wings and feet out of the squares, worrying the entire time that I would break a wing or a leg, or have to cut my very expensive, brand new fence.
    • At 6 weeks, they took offense to my new head-scarf and rushed the fence to get away from me again. Only a couple made it through the holes, about half couldn't make it past their shoulders, so backed out and ran away. About 6 of the smallest (probably the ones that were able to wiggle through at 5 weeks) got themselves trapped. Another 5 minutes of loud worry.
    • At 6.5 weeks, my brother decided my ducks needed socialized more, so he stalked them around the pasture trying to catch them (because chasing them all over the pasture will make them trust humans, apparently). A handful of them charged the fence to get away, and only one got partially stuck up to the shoulders. It would have been able to back out, but my brother snatched it up quickly.
    • I expect that by 8-9 weeks, entanglement will no longer be a concern.

    5. The net fence will not work in snow for 2 reasons.
    • the snow will short it out
    • the snow will accumulate on the wires, flattening the fence

    6. They never send enough poles. Plan to spend another $20 at TSC for electric fence posts. This is the variety I chose, as it has tabs to attach to the netting: http://www.tractorsupply.com/sun-guard-ii-fiberglass-step-in-post-3602233

    7. It is difficult to provide aerial protection for an area this size. If birds of prey are a concern, consider a permanent structure.

    I have 13 Welsh Harlequins, and 3 Cayugas. The area encompassed by one section of net fencing is more than adequate for their needs, as long as you move the fence every couple of weeks. Remember to mow the pasture area to keep the grass young and tender. Ducks will not eat old or tough grass, only the seeds of mature grass.

    Also, it's the WH that get entangled. The Cayugas have been too big to get their shoulders through since about 6 weeks old.

    *a side note: One of my co-workers bought a similar net from another company to use with her meat chickens. She could not keep the chickens in the fence, as they would just barrel through the holes, despite the fact that it was connected to a horse fencer. We've come to the conclusion that these net fences (3.5" holes) are good for standard size adult chickens and ducks, but not effective for bantam size or adolescent chickens, and only minimally effective for adolescent or bantam size ducks.

    Hope this helps in your decision making. Best Wishes,

    Tahai
     
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

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    I have noticed these advertized in the magazines and have been curious myself, while i have no personal experience i would lock them in a predator proof building at night, honestly, they get used to it and will be more than fine. Most of mine even go into the barn at dusk on their own and they are all free ranged birds.

    and thank you Tahai for your review![​IMG]
     
  5. I have 4 sections of 4 ft tall poultry net from premier that I've used for over a year now for ducks, chickens and geese. Mine has graduated spaces so the spaces by the ground are smaller than the ones on top. Now that the I just made a small single section without a charger inside the other three sections right now, with my young ducks in it. They are about 7 weeks old, and some could still get through the fence when scared. When they get a bit bigger, I'll hook up the charger, and at about 4 months I'll put them in with the geese. (The geese have goslings right now, and they aren't tolerant of the new ducks) If they aren't scared though, they respect the fence fine and scamper around doing their ducky things.

    My adult ducks from last year do great with the fence -- never get entangled, leave it alone, and stay inside it. I have Welsh Harlequins, and mine don't fly, so that makes it simpler. They can't squeeze through it when chased either. They get shocked when they bite the fence, and that seems to teach them to leave it alone. The geese are more likely to test the fence - they like to chew on things and if I leave the charger off too many days in a row, they think it is a chew toy. Right now, they have so much grass that they don't care about the fence. I really like having the four sections -- makes a much bigger area that everyone is happy in.

    My bantam chickens and my Black Jersey Giant hens, and Cochins leave the fence alone as well - don't try to squeeze through it, and don't fly over it. I had one barred rock hen that was a wanderer, and she flew over it, so I clipped her wings. The geese do fine in it, but during the breeding season when the ganders are fighting, the ganders can get cornered by the fence and get tangled in it. That is the only time I've had anything get tangled after all the birds got used to it. The goslings stay with their parents, or they certainly could get through it.

    We've had a foot of snow and the fence has still worked although not as well. It didn't flop over.

    We have coyotes, loose dogs, and many raptors around. We haven't lost a bird since I put up the fence and we live near the river, and a couple wild areas where animals can travel. I don't know that it discourages raptors much, but I do make sure to include some trees inside the fence when I put it up.

    I love the fence . . . it looks okay, is fairly sturdy, and it is MOVEABLE. It is so nice to be able to move the birds onto new areas. However you do have to keep the fence line mowed. If the grass gets tall the fence can get tangled, and the charge won't work as well. Getting the best charger that you can is important - one made for the poultry net . . . and get a good tester so you can make sure it is working. Pay attention to the specs about how many grounding rods you'll need and how deep they will be. The information with the net says it can be put up by one person -- which is true mostly -- but two makes it much faster and easier! My husband and I relocated 2 sections to a completely new area in about a half hour or so.

    Tahai is right though, you'll want more posts! And I found these nifty velcro ties that are excellent for tying the support poles to the fence.

    My birds are loose inside the netting at night - ducks/geese. The chickens go to bed in their moveable chicken houses. Eventually I'll build a duck house and have the ducks sleep in there - mostly so I can gather eggs in the morning without trying to find them . . . If you feed them in the house it is fairly easy to get them into the habit of going inside at night. It depends on your comfort level with maybe losing a bird. I feel like the net is effective and adequate but the only 100% sure thing is a locked pen with hardware cloth that some of the other posters recommended.
     
  6. fowl farm

    fowl farm Songster

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    My ducks put themselves away each night and all I have to do is close the door. I had to chase them in the first few nights and fed them in there, but I feed them outside now with no issues. They're still fenced, so I don't know what will happen after they can fly out (we're not clipping wings because we live on 50 acres), but hopefully it will just be routine and they'll come back.
     
  7. duckiesrule

    duckiesrule In the Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    Western Massachusetts
    I've been reading that there need to be 3 grounding rods buried 6" into the ground, but that doesn't make the fence seem that easy to move ...
     
  8. My grounding rod is 4 ft long, and you hammer it into the ground till less than a foot is showing. Most of the time, I can leave the charger and grounding rod in place and just rotate the fence to a new section. If I have to move the grounding rod, I hammer on the side and then pull it up, and it usually comes up just fine. I've never heard of having 3 rods and only hammering them in 6 inches -- but at least they would be easier to pull out that way. I usually can get my grounding rod out pretty easily since we have such a wet climate, but in the middle of dry spells it can be a bit tricky.
     
  9. Tahai

    Tahai Songster

    I think it depends on where you live, and how damp your soil is. I have clay and gravel soil, which is reasonably damp most of the year. I use a 4ft piece of half inch rebar as my ground, and pound it into the ground about a foot or two.
     
  10. duckiesrule

    duckiesrule In the Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    Western Massachusetts
    Sorry, I meant 6' ... haha. The diagram showed 6' rods almost entirely buried ...
     

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