Electric fence vs auto door for nighttime protection?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 7, 2009
Kingston Springs, TN

I'm taking the plunge and am getting ready to buy my first chicks. This is my first post here. I've been working on building a portable chicken house that can be moved with my lawn tractor. I could use some experienced guidance about the best way to keep predators out of my coop at night when I don't get home until way after dark. My plan is to have them in a run during the day.

I was thinking about the electric fence option (netting) so it could be moved easily but have been sort of discouraged since it's so pricey. Of course, I could always build a wire run. The land here is pretty hilly so it could be a challenge to get a tight enough fit with the ground to keep the predators out - that's how I got on to the idea of electrified netting. Then my husband said maybe an electric door is another option. I've looked at the electric door discussion on this site.

The netting and electric door options are more expensive than what I want to spend but we have roaming dogs, racoons, foxes, cats, hawk and the usual other assorted wildlife you find in a rural, wooded area.

What do you recommend?

Thanks for whatever comments you can make. All will be appreciated.



11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
Willis TX
I have a new coop arriving tomorrow, and I've been debating the same thing. Right now I have to lock up the hens every night and let them out the next morning, which means rain or shine, and you never get to sleep in.

I've looked into the automatic pop-hole door (and even applied to be a distributor), but they cost about $100. The alternative is the electric fence, but that costs just as much. So I guess I'll just monitor this thread and see what other people think.

By the way, I tried covering the whole chicken yard with bird netting, which kept out the hawks and owls, but barely slowed down the coons, possums, and bob cats.

Kathy in Texas


11 Years
Sep 9, 2008
My concern with an electric door would be that one or more hens get distracted and be locked outside the coop. Since I no longer have outside guard dogs, I don't think I could be comfortable unless I knew everyone was securely locked in at night. I'm ending my chicken hiatus very soon and my plan is to build a safe coop with a small secure run that will do until I get out in the morning or if I'm called away. They will have a much larger, less secure area to use when I'm available which is most of the time. I just noticed that you get home pretty late. I think I'd put a bottom on the tractor and let them out when possible. You may still need a strand or two of electric wire to stop the dogs.


Free Ranging
11 Years
Oct 16, 2008
how are you going to run electricity to a movable pen?

does the elec door go shut on a timer or by some sort of electric eye sensor ??


10 Years
Mar 12, 2009
This is my first post. Just discovered this site today!
We started with our first 6 hens about 7 months ago. We have an additional 11 pullets that are about 2 1/2 months old.

I had coon problems when we first began. I bought a hot wire fence device that just plugs into the elec socket. Ran the wire all the way around the yard on top of the fence and have had no problems since. Keeping my fingers crossed though.

My son was sitting outside one evening a while back and witnessed a coon try to climb over the top of the 6' fence and get shocked by the wire! What a feeling of satisfaction! The coon let out quite a wail!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 7, 2009
Kingston Springs, TN
Hello all,

I'm back. Thanks for your responses. Seems there are a good number of us with the same question. I could go either electricity or solar or battery to power the electric door or electric fencing so I have some options. I realize with the electric fencing there would be no top cover to protect the hens from the hawks and other large predator birds.

If you have a solution for that little issue, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Still thinking - the premier fencing looks very portable. I'm wondering how durable it is? Anyone used it long enough and moved it for a while that can weigh in?

Thanks again,



12 Years
Feb 8, 2007
Ontario Canada
I use vegetable garden netting over the top of my run and hot wire around the outside of it. Works very well for me, and I don't close the pop door at night either

Swamp Roo

11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
Quote:Same set up here. I won't say so far so good, that would just be inviting trouble. I've had one squirrel get in, but I think squirrels are electric proof. Good thing they aren't bullet proof. I like the idea of the auto door, but eventually I'll need too many to be cost effective as compared to just adding more hot wire. I might get a door for the eventual "prize/pet" chicken coop.


Chauntecleer's Keeper

10 Years
Feb 28, 2009
West Little Rock, AR
I have had great success with an electric fence. I have a pen that is about 150 feet on a side (about 600 linear feet). I have a hot wire that runs along the top. It cost a lot less than an automatic door, and will probably last longer too. No moving parts.

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