Electric fence in Winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DRutt, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. DRutt

    DRutt In the Brooder

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    Does anyone have any ideas on how to use an electric fence?
    Can it be used in snow or will it ground out from the snow?

    Thank you for the help!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Making Coffee

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    Are you asking about regular wire and a fencer or the poultry netting. I don't have the answer for either. We don't run ours in winter. The poultry netting you could contact the manufacturer and ask.
     
  3. Crs1

    Crs1 Songster

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    We run an electric wire rope around our fence we have a total of 4 strands around the fence. It gets pretty cold here but we haven’t had much snow the last few years but if it does snow we would have to remove the snow from the wire because it would short out.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    How deep does your snow get? With cattle we use electrified fencing year round without grounding out in snow less than about 18". With chickens where intent is to keep smaller predators like foxes and raccoons out, then a 6" snow can be problematic. Even when you loose a few days of fence function, it can still be worth investment as many predators in area will be reluctant to challenge fence for fear of being zapped.
     
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  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    My chickens aren't interested in walking in snow, so even an inch or two keeps them in their covered run and coop. I'd bet that many chickens feel the same way, so having the fence fail in deeper snow may not be a problem at all. The birds aren't out there anyway.
    Mary
     
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  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Our livestock fencing is 2"x4" woven wire, 48", with about six inches of ground clearance, and hot rope or tape on the top, 6" above that. No electric fencing at ground level, so no issues.
    Mary
     
  7. RWise

    RWise Songster

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    Yes snow will short it out if it gets deep enuf.
    What predator/s are you trying to keep out in the winter? Most of what I would use an electric fence for hibernates,,,cept dogs and cats.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    No.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I've used electric netting, not electric fence. @Howard E is an expert on electric fencing.

    Electric netting is not reliable in snow. I asked the manufacturer about that but did not get into why. They quickly said netting is not reliable. With electric fencing it is going to depend on how it is configured.

    For any electricity to work as a deterrent the critter has to complete the circuit. With netting and some fencing the earth is the ground so the critter has to touch a hot part of the wiring and the earth. If you are putting strands of electric wiring on some wire mesh but insulating the electrical part from the strands the wire mesh may be the ground, depending on how it is hooked up. Or you might run ground and hot wires in a manner that the critter will touch both of those. Lots of different ways to configure it.

    If you have a dry snow and are depending on the earth as a ground, the dry snow can insulate the critter from the earth so the circuit cannot be completed. No shock, no deterrent. If you have a snow wet enough to conduct a current and that snow is in contact with a hot wire then it can be shorted out and not work. It is OK for the snow to touch a ground wire as long as it is not touching a hot wire and the critter can still complete the circuit.

    That does not mean that electrical is totally worthless in snow as long as it was in place and working before the snow. When a critter is shocked a time or two it learns to not challenge that fencing, whether it is hot or not. So the fencing tends to keep them away. The problem with that is that you always have the risk of a critter showing up that has not yet been shocked. When there is snow on the ground most wild critters are not weaning babies and sending them out to search for new hunting territory but new ones can still show up. And dogs can show up at any time. That is why it is not reliable.

    Do you have a specific configuration in mind? We may be able to help. Or you can call the manufacturer and chat with them about how to set it up.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    Nothing is absolute. Use of partially effective systems is not a bad setup as you can still reduce losses.
     

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