Electric fencing and free-range birds

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by n.smithurmond, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. n.smithurmond

    n.smithurmond Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2009
    North Georgia
    Does anyone have experience using high tensile electric fencing to keep free-range flocks contained? I'm not referring to poultry netting. We are going to fence about an acre (to start) and the cost of netting is somewhat prohibitive. I have read that there are folks using just two strands and clipping wings to keep birds contained and predators out.
  2. Ryan81986

    Ryan81986 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 9, 2009
    They make lower strength power supplies for electric fencing, for dogs, cats, raccoons etc... It should be strong enough for the birds as well. Ace hardware sells it online and they can order it in the store for you as well. As well at the other supplies you will need (insulators, wire,etc...)
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Not sure what is meant by "lower strength", remember that it takes *higher* voltage to keep out raccoons and dogs and coyotes and such than it does to merely contain cows and horses. You need like 4-5,000v for reliable predator protection (more if bears or very determined 'repeat offender' predators are involved) - thus you should also invest in a good quality, ideally a digital, fence-tester to make sure your fence is running sufficient voltage at any given time. (It WILL vary over time).

    Two strands of hotwire is not going to keep predators out, not predators in general anyhow (esp. not the doglike kinds). Two strands of hotwire could be used to bolster an existing moderately-predator-safe fence, like no-climb mesh, of course. But if the whole fence is high tensile strands (not mesh), you need more than 2.

    As far as the chickens go, the principle behind using electric to contain free-range or pastured poultry is not so much that it really *thoroughly* keeps the birds in as much as it (correctly designed, like with electronet) keeps fourlegged predators OUT, and if a chicken decides to fly over the fence then that is just one of those things, you know? An expectable source of some losses. Like hawks, which will not of course be deterred in any way by electric fence.

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. kcravey

    kcravey Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009
    East Texas
    hmm let us know how that goes! I have an electro net I use with a solar charger. On a cloudy day, I had a pitbull come in and go UNDER it and got most of my chicks! [​IMG]
  5. n.smithurmond

    n.smithurmond Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2009
    North Georgia
    I'm not as concerned about predators as we have a LGD (or at least a Newfoundland who THINKS she is a LGD). As long as the chickens stay inside the fence with her they'll be safe from four-leggeds. There is no existing fence, we're on 14 acres and just starting out. I planned to run 5 strands as it will also be keeping in the newf, just heard the two (strategically placed) lower strands are enough to deter chickens with wanderlust. Has anyone else had luck with this type of fence?
  6. rittert3

    rittert3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2009
    Ks (Manhattan area)
    If containment is what your after 4"x2" welded wire would probably be most economical you could also angle it in at the top to help deter fly overs but chicken ARE very hard to contain and an a fly over now and then will help. Its very expensive to fence that much area and keep all you birds in. I tend to a favor a large yard attached to a chicken house.
  7. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I did a 2000 sq ft run. 6' tall 2x4 welded wire fence set in cement. 5-mile fence charger (4 KV). I put up 4 courses of hot wire, beginning at 8" and ending at 42". I added a 24" tall roll of chicken wire inside at ground level to keep chooks from poking their heads thru fence) So far, so good. Nothing overhead to discourage hawks or owls. But we do have a large resident population of crows to keep airborne attacks down to a bare minimum. So far so good there too. Have never had the first chook escape by a flyover. I have seen my barred rock runt fly to the top of my 5 ft garden fence one day while I let her in there with me while I was working. I was astounded to see her fly to the top of the 5 ft fence and perch on the top wire !
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I have read that there are folks using just two strands and clipping wings to keep birds contained and predators out.

    They lie!
    Mine will walk right through a 7 stand fence anytime they want​
  9. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    I agree, that's not going to work for containment of any bird, they are too stupid to know the difference and will go right threw it. It works well for keeping out predators, but they still get threw every now and then. Get ya some chicken wire, 2 inch, fence it in, put 2 strands around the bottom, one at 6-8 inches the other about 10-12 inches above that, that gets the diggers, and the chewers.
    Now I always run it here, but use 6 inch insulators to keep it away from the birds, as I have had pheasants, touch it(back in the day) and fall over dead, just another reason why this will not work for bird containment (yes low power "pet safe" chargers too) Speaking of which, they don't work worth a Darn for predators either, you have to have the full strength cattle chargers for long hair critters like fox, coyotes and coons. Also, depending on what you have, they can still half way fly or flip even with clipped wings
  10. n.smithurmond

    n.smithurmond Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2009
    North Georgia
    OK, I caved and ordered the electric netting. It won't be an acre but at least they'll have 1600 sq ft we can rotate. We'll add on later! We just moved onto 14 acres of woodland without a single fence, so we have our work cut out for us to be sure. High-tensile is the way to go for us, just not for the chickens I suppose. Thanks for the input folks! [​IMG]

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