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Electric Fence Option

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Howard E, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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  2. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A single wire 5 inches off the ground is not going to confine a chicken. Even adding a second wire 10 inches up will not prevent a chicken from just jumping over. I use 48 inch high electric poultry netting. It works most of the time. My house sitter just told me that one of the newer pullets has decided to fly over it every day. She stayed in all winter long. The other 9 hens, 3 pullets, and 2 roosters stay inside the netting where they are safe. When I get home in a few weeks I may have to clip her wing if the fox is still around. I just received a game cam as a gift and will set up it to look for the fox.

    I have seen 2 and 3 line electric fences work well. Those are in addition to a regular fence, usually 6 feet tall. The wires would be 5 inches, 10 inches, then at the top of the fence and would be on the outside of the regular fence.
     
  3. RobertPlamondon

    RobertPlamondon Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah, now that you mention it, I need to update my electric fencing FAQ (http://www.plamondon.com/faq_electric_fencing.html) to be less focused on large acreage and more on the full range of tiny-to-gynormous spaces.

    Short version: Single-wire fences work great in really big spaces, where there's quite a distance between the chicken house, the fence, and the place they'd hang out if there weren't a fence. The closer together these three things are, the higher the fence has to be.

    Robert
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Robert:

    Thanks for the reply and good to see you are participating in this forum. You would have a lot of valuable information to share on a variety of topics.

    On the topic of this fence option, I had surmised that yours was a "large acreage" option.......with "large" being a subjective term........as is a "piece of string". How long, exactly, is a piece of string? Would large be 1 acre or 10? My guess is it is relative, with "large" being large enough they are not so confined as to destroy the vegetation to the point they feel compelled to go outside the boundaries to get more? Or else on the outer limits of how far they naturally would want to venture from their housing?

    My daughter started a group of chicks last year thinking she had all hens, but unknown to her, they were straight run, so lost half her laying flock of hens when half turned out to be roosters. When the small run she had the remaining hens in turned into a mud hole, she eventually turned them out to free range on her 3 acre half wooded lot. They covered most of it and were doing fine and having a ball, until the fox found them. It quickly got them all. It still returns almost daily looking for more.

    If she could confine her small flock of half dozen birds or so to half an acre or so, and keep them safe inside even a two or three wire hot fence........she would probably do it. Her problem is all the woods, which canopy over the property lines, so would allow racoons to cross the fence from above. If that doesn't work, she might be able to use poultry netting to confine them into an even more protected area, and if/when they tear that up, move it. This is a daytime problem as she locks them up at night.

    That is the option I intend to be using.......poultry netting in a small confined run area that is part of an expanding garden.....and let them tear it up on purpose. Then move it. But I'd also let them scatter over a half acre or so outside the garden...and area too large for netting, but hopefully could use 1, 2 or 3 hot wires........if they will stay in it and if I can keep all the varmits out. My land area is mostly open, with only a few scattered shade trees.

    The ground based varmits I already know about includes skunks, possums, racoons, bobcats, coyotes and foxes, plus domestic and feral cats and neighbors dogs. With all that to contend with, my plan is to get an AC charged fencer hot enough to rattle their teeth loose if they (varmits) try to cross it.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Long term the fencing alone will not stop predators. The nocturnal racoon and opossum can be beat with good roost protection. Mr. Fox and Mr. Coyote often learn how to get through the perimeter. In my location both predators actively hunt around fencing unless repelled by another means.

    The large concept can very with flock size and quality of the forage base. Wooded areas often have lots of standing edible biomass for chickens, especially during fall, winter and early spring, although the same area is easily depleted of forage once tree canopy closes of leaves out. This problem is pronounced when ground level vegetation is mowed. A problem I have with free-range birds in a wooded area or open pasture is they tend to want to expand range to include edge areas where wooded and pasture come together. The will anchor foraging around low scrub that provides cover.
     
  6. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't trust the fencing you linked to. I have seen the effects of the type of "electric chicken fencing" I link to below and it works! Electric chicken fences keep coons, possums and coyotes out of chicken pens in this part of the country. Many people are using the electric fencing I link to below with great success.

    There are only a few people in our area who installed this fencing. Those folks had to protect a whole lot more chickens and ducks than we have. The only thing they can't keep out with this electric chicken fencing is attacks from above from owls and hawks. Everything else has been repelled long-term by this fencing. And, all of the predators we have here do take the birds of those folks who are determined to let their chickens roam the standing edible biomass.

    Here is a video of an Australian guy doing a great job explaining how they work, how they are laid out and how to test them.



    Here is another guy demonstrating the fencing.



    If you Google "electric chicken fencing" you will find U.S. suppliers of this same material. Many folks around the country use this stuff to great effect and move it frequently to a fresh patch of standing edible biomass like a tractor or along with their tractor.
     
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    One thing to note, is check your local laws... In my area almost every community around me has outlawed electric fences in residential zoned areas, so although some still do it it could cause issues if someone complains or if something happens and you happen to be in a prohibited area...
     
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Big Dude:

    First and foremost, I want to thank you for all the help you provide to others on this forum. I've read a number of your posts and if taken to heart, would be a big help to them. Again, many thanks!! Same goes to the others.....most of you are frequent contributors and offer some really good advice based on your actual experience. Heartfelt thanks for all the advice you provide.

    Having said that, in all fairness to Robert, it appears those of you responding are skeptical, but have not actually tried this system?

    I intend to use the electric poultry netting in close quarters surrounding the coop I'm building.......but also plan to install a perimeter of the single and/or double wire as he outlines to see if that works to keep predators outside the perimeter and away from the netting. May also test it inside the perimeter to see what the hens think of it. Might also try it in some remote area using harmless bait like sardines or cat food just to see what it takes to keep the varmints out. Actually, there are a number of fence options I want to try.

    Of course none of that should be necessary, but unfortunately I'm cursed with a curious mind and want to research this for myself.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I do close to as you describe. Works well against ground predators.
     
  10. RobertPlamondon

    RobertPlamondon Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote: I've used single-wire electric fences for areas between about a quarter-acre and seven acres. I've used poultry netting for areas between about a sixteenth-acre to about an acre.

    Generally speaking, the hens seem to be attracted more by shaded areas than by greenery per se. Escapees tend to prefer my garage to a patch of green meadow, for instance. Of course, if they run out of water or chicken feed, their priorities are different.


    Quote: Chickens will denude the area right around the henhouse regardless of how much acreage they have access to, which is why I like portable houses. It's easier to move the chickens away from the mud than to prevent the mud. I like to fence a large area that leaves plenty of room to move the houses short distances, as required, without touching the fenceline.

    If you were to fence your three-acre lot, that would require a fenceline that's at least 1385 feet long and cost over $1,000 if you used electric poultry netting, and less than $300 for a wire fence using step-in fence posts. I've had excellent results with one-wire and two-wire fences against dogs, raccoons, bobcats, and coyotes. They're supposed to work equally well against foxes. Sometimes we get a bobcat that learns to leap a fence (of just about any height), and raccoons know no fear and will find any gaps in the fence at ground level that they can squeeze through, even at the risk of getting shocked, so the height of the bottom wire is crucial, whether it's wire or electric netting.

    I once watched a coyote pursue a hen that had escaped from an area surrounded by a two-wire fence. The fence headed home, popping right through the fence without noticing it, but they coyote put on the brakes and gave up the pursuit when he got close to the fence. Chickens don't get tangled in these simple wire fences.

    Robert
     

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