Electric Fence and Chicken Runs

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by plapczynski, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. plapczynski

    plapczynski Songster

    Feb 3, 2008
    Chillicothe, OH
    Background information. Planning on 25 birds for now. We have 2 barns tied together the first is 25' X 17' which will be the main coop, birds will be locked in this building at night. Barn 2 is 15' x 15' with open wooden siding (very drafty). The birds will have to go through barn 2 to get to the run and barn 2 can be used in inclement weather as a small run.

    Right now the run will be 15' x 40' and I am planning horse fencing (2" x 4" holes) that is 4' high. My fence posts will be spaced about 8 feet apart with 2x4 boards running at the top and bottom of the fence for support. I will also run 2" aviary netting over the top, the netting will be propped up in the center and attached to the main fence by the top 2x4's in the fence.

    I am rural and our predators can vary. I was planning on running 3 strands of electric fence at 6" 12" and 24" to attempt to keep out the non-flying predators. Our fencer is rated for 50 miles and is a large unit that has at most 2 miles of electric fence on it now.

    Any opinions or comments?

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:As long as you really DO lock 'em into the first barn at night, this should be plenty good for anything except bears (about which you can't do much) and weasels. It's not unreasonable I think to take your chances with the weasels, at least to see how things go.

    Our fencer is rated for 50 miles and is a large unit that has at most 2 miles of electric fence on it now.

    You may have a problem there, but unfortunately you prolly won't be able to tell for sure til you wire up the new fence and try it.

    That 'charges X miles of fence' thing is MEANINGLESS for all practical purposes... it assumes near-perfect ground conditions and the best possible single-wire conductor. That is, a 50-mile charger might indeed charge 50 miles of 6 gauge aluminum, in a swamp, with 100% perfect insulators and no weeds ;> You know? In real life, we usually use poorer conducting fence material, use multiple strands, and have less than ideal conditions of ground and insulators. It is common for chargers to poop out at far far far less than what the ad copy says.

    As a reasonable quick guesstimate, if you have access to an ACCURATE, DIGITAL fence meter (the $75 ones, not the little ten buck jobbies with four or five neon lights, which are notoriously unreliable). See what charge you have now on the end of your main fence -- if it is 3500 J or so, or more, you may be ok adding more load, but if it is less, then there is some considerable chance that adding load is going to take the whole fence down to where it doesn't have enough zap for your existing stock, much less for predators.

    Otherwise, I am afraid all I can suggest is to wire up the new fence and, you know, see what happens ;P Consider using aluminum fence wire rather than anything else, it has quite good conductivity and is easily available.

    You might actually be able to reduce down to 2 strands rather than 3, if that helps -- I think a more usual arrangement would be something like 6" and 18", both of 'em set out from the fence on standoff insulators.

    Good luck,


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