Electric Fence Questions?


9 Years
10 Years
Jan 24, 2010
Our coop is almost finished, just a few more things to do next spring and we can get our first flock, I'm excited. Thanks to the many suggestions and ideas I got from BYC I feel like we have been able to predator proof adequately, ie 1/4" hardware cloth around bottom of coop, and across the bottom, will have same on all the windows when we install them next year, everything attached with screws, hardware cloth attached with screws and washers. etc. The coop is very secure but my only fear is from the bear we have in the area. They usually only come around when we have a bad year like this year, so dry! We have lived here for 15 years and I've only seen them about three times. Last week one broke down the fence in the back (dog fencing, meant to keep my dogs in, not even an annoyance to a bear), and knocked over my bird feeder hangers (no feeders or bird feed on them at all as I only feed them in the winter), he also dug thru one trash can, didn't find much as we have several worm composters in the basement so very little food waste goes in the trash, he smashed the side in on another trash can but the lid held on and he didn't get it open, DH had to use a jack to pop the can back into shape.

So anyway I'm concerned about bears so I've been researching use of an electric barrier, fence or hotwire. I have no experience with electric fences so I'm clueless and need some help. We will have power to the coop.

Our coop is 12'x12' with a 4'x8' garden shed on one side and a 4'x8' coop storage area on the other, the storage area opens up into the coop area so there is no "outside" entrance into the coop area, other than the clean out door, without going thru the storage area. The windows will crank out so the hardware cloth needs to be on the inside so I think the windows will be a weak point if a bear wants in.

I want to run electric fence around the entire coop and the run but I need to get in and out of the garden storage area and the coop storage area and also the door to the run. If you run something permanent what do you do get access to the doors?

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. I feel confident that we can outwit dogs, cats, snakes, raccoons, etc. but the bears have me worried.
Oh I feel for you! So far, no bears on my property, but they are in the area. Electric should work for you if it's strong enough. They make gate handles so you can go through a door. Pretty simple to wire it to your main line, attach the gate handle, then make a loop of wire on the other end so you can hook the gate handle into. Do a search for electric fence systems, they may have a much sturdier method than mine. Good luck!
Let me know if there is an electric fence that will keep out a bear. You woulds have to put up several wires high and hope he touches his nose to it. I have an old mustang who uses his mane to push on the fence so he can get just a litle outside of his area. Sometimes he gets bit but I guess he feels it is worth it. Is he dumb or smart? WOW bears. SOOO glad I don't have to deal with that. I have seen vidios of them opening a car door. GOOD LUCK! And really let us know what you find.
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For bear, you need a high powered charger. One that puts out something in the range 10 - 13 joules ($250-$400). Takes strong posts for the wire as well. Standard chargers just won't do it.

ETA...I am assuming you have woods, brush and weeds to contend with regarding an electric fence for bear. If everything is clear sailing for the wires, then appreciably smaller units such as a 2 -3 joules unit may well suffice. They will cover a 50 mile fence if the wire was heavy enough. Just think in terms if 50-100 mile fence requirements to get the power you need. And then go more if your wire is not free of debris. jmho.

Scroll down until you find your needs met and fits your budget... http://electric-horse-fence.com/electric_fence_chargers/ac/ac_powered_1.htm
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I have been using electrci fences to keep bears out for years, sometimes even that doesn't work. If a bear wants in, he will get in. What I found to work best is to run the electric though barb wire. The smooth wire is insulated by the hair, where the bards slip though the hair and hits the skin. Some will tell you to place bacon or peanut butter on the hot wire. First you should check out the kind of set up you will need, so go to fence.com , zarebasystems.com or redspn'r.com
The peanut butter is to train the bear to stay away by giving him a first good jolt right through the tonge.

While that sounds horrible, we have found it is very important to train your local varmits to respect the fence.

We have seen predators running along the side of our fence, being very careful to stay at least 5 feet away. At that moment, the fence was not on, but the local predators had all gotten jolted at least once and respected that the fence.

Not that we leave it off very often.
We have used the "hot dog" trick to train them to the fence. It works!

ETA Re below: My fences get walked and checked every evening if the voltage is off. You are right. Assume nothing.
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I used the "meat" on the fence to try and train a few coyotes in the area to stay clear. They had been coming in on the south end of my property where my horse usually didn't dwell much. One night I was out in the pitch black and I heard a faint "snap.....snap....snap....snap". I walked the fence to find the issue and sure enough found myself walking toward the meat. I believe I used bacon that time. Seems a praying mantis decided to try for the meat, or at least investigate the smell. His forefront was on the fence but his hind legs were on the T-post grounding him out, and shorting through his body. Just another reminder that electric fences need checked now and then.

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