Electric fence with chicks and hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by zaapoole, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. zaapoole

    zaapoole In the Brooder

    May 30, 2016
    Hi, I have six five week old chicks and recently I have been putting them outside with our adult chickens that we already have for about an hour each day so they can try to get used to each other as eventually they will be moving in with them. However each time I have turned off the electric fence when the chicks are in the space.
    This is probably a really stupid question but I am quite concerned that the chicks spend a lot of time near the edges of the fence and I am worried that when they move in and I turn the electric fence on they will get a shock.... Can chickens even get electric shocks? Should I keep the fence on when I take them out today? Or wait until they are moving in....
    Help please!! It may be really stupid but I just want to check whether they can get a shock or not... Thank you

    *also a few time ps when we have out them in together some of the adult hens have pecked the chicks only once or twice but is this also normal? Apart from that they seem fine together if not a little frightened of each other (adults seem to be more scare of the chicks!) and are getting better each Day so I assume the pecking is normal?

    Thank you!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Wouldn’t you feel stupid if you got a chicken hurt because you didn’t ask a question? Don’t be ashamed of not knowing something, we all have to start somewhere.

    Yes, chickens can get a shock from an electric fence if they close the circuit. Their feathers or down will insulate them but if they touch it with bare parts like combs, wattles, or feet and probably the beak they are not insulated. That doesn’t mean they will be hurt or injured.

    I don’t know what your electric fence looks like, what wires are hot or what is the ground, so it may be challenging for them to close that circuit with parts that are not insulated. I use electric netting so any chicken standing on the ground that touches the hot part of the netting with some body part not insulated gets shocked. The openings are large enough that chicks walk through that without getting shocked until they grow too big to fit, usually around 7 to 8 weeks of age. Their down and feathers insulate them.

    When an adult touches the hot part with comb or wattles they get shocked. They make a startled sound, jump back, then go about their business. It doesn’t hurt them but they do notice it and it is not pleasant. It surprises them more than anything else. The current is very high voltage but very low amperage. Amps are more dangerous that voltage. I’ve been shocked by that netting a few times.

    The big safety feature with electric netting and electric fencing is that it is not a solid steady current. It pulses. My netting pulses about 50 times per minute. This means the animal getting shocked can turn loose. With a steady current they can’t turn loose and that could kill them. I have had some critters, like a couple of snapping turtles and a snake, get tangled up in my netting and unable to turn loose. One turtle and the snake died. The other turtle recovered and walked off after I got it loose. I don’t know how long they were tangled up but probably a pretty long time for the two that died. I’m not going to tell you there is absolutely no danger but really, how hard would it be for a chicken to get tangled up where it can’t let go? That’s never happened to my chickens with netting, and that’s probably much more likely with netting as compared to an electric fence.
    1 person likes this.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I use electrified poultry netting and high tensile wire where chicks with and without hens come into contact with fencing. As indicated by Ridgerunner above, some reptiles and amphibians have a hard time with the netting and they do not have to bite it or get wrapped up to get into trouble. With chickens including chicks, make certain the netting fencing is kept tight (no rolls) so chicks do not get exposed to more than a flat surface they can easily bounce away from in response to shock. Very small chicks seem to do fine but juveniles (intermediate sized) can try to force their way through the netting and get caught. This latter issue something some free range Cornish X producers have complained about but I have seen with panicked birds and those naive to shock fence can deliver.

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