Electric fencing, do you really need it vs non electric fencing

BDutch

Crowing
May 19, 2015
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My Coop
My Coop
I want my chickens to free range behind their coop which is wooded. I've been thinking about this for years and this is the year Im going to do something about it. So, do you all think regular fencing like the Premiere one No Shock Hen pen fence will work good enough if I only let my chickens out during the day and they are cooped in a secure run and coop at night? I would go for it and spend the big bucks to get the regular premiere one electric poultry netting but my area is rocky and full of trees, stumps and sapling. So my concern is it would constantly short out from the bottom part of the fence coming into contact with saplings and ferns etc. Also, I must admit Im a bit intimidated by the set up and use of the electric fence. Also its pretty heavily wooded so I don't think a solar powered energizer would work. Do they have other options? I do have electricity in my coop and I want to run the fence right off the coop. Ill upload a pic of my property so all you experts can let me know which option would work for me. Help me get this project done, its been on my mind for at least two years! :bow Thanks so much.
Great area for free ranging. For the chickens you don't have to clean it. :gig You probably have a chicken missing from time to time if there are predators. But we can't predict if or how many losses you will have.

I had no losses at all in the past 5+ years, letting my small chickens free range a couple of hours during the day. I keep them locked up in a coop with secure run at night. In the morning they are free to step into a descent run with netting on top through a pop door with a chicken guard. When I am around the house i open the run door to let them free range.

My chickens flee when they see a dog and seem to know a neigbor cat is not a danger for them. They are good in hiding and can fly a bit. We don't have many predators here that hunt during the day. Just a fox now and then, and also hawks are spotted not far from here. But I always check if they get home because I know there is a risk when they don't come home.

If you choose to let them free range its important to choose a breed thats fit for this task. -> not white, heavy or pet chickens.
 

Merrymouse

Crowing
Jan 8, 2017
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Thank you all for your insight. I guess I should have stated my purpose more clearly. I want the chickens to be able to free range to get bugs and all that good stuff, plus maybe they wont go through as much feed at least in the summer. Plus I do let them out in my yard now when Im out there with them and they love it. Happy chickens=good eggs. But I have a few reasons for wanting them contained. My hubby is getting annoyed that they are destroying his garden. So basically my hobby is ruining his hobby. Plus I don't think my neighbors would be too pleased if my chickens wandered into their yard. The other reason I want them
contained is I have two dogs, one is a retriever and one is a bird dog (English Setter) Surprisingly they are very good with my chickens and never bother them BUT I don't trust them 100% especially if I was not out there for the day while working etc. Plus as others have mentioned I think just having my dogs in and out all day (doggy door) it keeps some of the predators away. I have never seen evidence of anything trying to get in my coop, no digging, no footprints in snow etc. But we do have plenty hawks. And I have seen all other predators on my husbands trail cam but rarely to they come too close to the chicken coop.

I understand there is always the risk of predation with any fence. Especially from above, like hawks or anything climbing a tree and jumping into the enclosure. My runs are secure with a roof but I could never make a roof over this area. When the foliage comes in there are lots of hiding places and I planned to make some low flat shelters that they could run under if they were attacked to help.

So I guess I want to know has anyone used an electric fence in this kind of terrain successfully. Im just worried it will be constantly shorting out. Also it may be a nightmare to install with all the obstacles in the way. Thats why I kind of want to get it set up before the foliage comes in.

Thanks all, you've already given me plenty to think about. I will try to post pictures and follow up when I get it done.
 
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Merrymouse

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My adult birds free range through woods and fields with no barriers whatsoever snd they put themselves to bed each night in a secure coop. I then just shut the door and release them again in the morning. In 3years of this practice, i have only lost 1 bird (adult 12lb rooster) in broad daylight, middle of the day. We have plenty of predators from fox and coyote to Bobcats and bears, so lack of predators is not the cause of my success.
I give credit to my dog. He has no clue he's doing it but his presence alone and scent has kept the predators from roaming through our yard until after sunset when the chickens are safe in their coop. We did not have him when the rooster was taken.
Good point, I do think my dogs roaming the property keep most predators away.
 

Merrymouse

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I have the hen pen and shock or not from preimer. Chicks can go through the hen pen so I was using it around the garden. Something chewed through it.

I like the shock or not. The chicks can't get through the 3/4" chick guard on the bottom. I have 2 solar fencers that I switch out this time of year and they get about 10 hrs of sun and go dead when its cloudy for days. If you have electric a AC one would be better, unless you have lots of power outages

If you have trees lots of Predators can go through the tree canopy. And of course hawks
Hmm I thought the hen pen had smaller holes on the bottom of the fence to keep chicks in? Ill have to go back to the website and check. I don't like that something chewed through it, hmmm.
 

Merrymouse

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It looks like the no-shock fence is meant to control where the chickens can wander (keep them out of your garden, or off your porch.) But when I looked it up, the page says it will not stop predators.

So it all depends on what you want to fence to do--contain the chickens vs. protect them too.
I guess I want a little of both. I understand either method will be 100% but certainly its better than nothing at all.
 

Merrymouse

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Hi there. :frow

That no shock hen pen looks fairly short term and bunk to me.. doing nothing to keep even ground predators out like fox, dog, raccoon, coyote, etc. Though it MAY work to retain your hens.

I personally would skip the poultry netting and go with E wire... keeping a line clear enough for it isn't that hard (especially since switching to wire instead of poly no fear of weed whacking it), it's affordable, easy to set up with T post, and effective WHEN wires are placed properly, doesn't break down in the weather. As stated by others it still won't do anything for aerial predators or those that climb overhanging trees.

I have tons of power outages so went with solar. Had to replace my battery after about 3 years for $45. Would much rather have ac instead... maybe I will switch after we get a whole house generator installed.

Yes, our dogs and own activity does make a huge difference.. but it's always good until it's not... and my hens are MORE replaceable than my roosters. I have kept birds free range for about 10 years and only lost my first chicks last year. The hawks are persistent here this time of year.

Good luck, it looks like a splendid place to forage! :)
Thank you. Ill have to look up E wire. I have no clue what that is but ill check it out:thumbsup
 

Merrymouse

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That being said, its a risk. Are you willing to take it and accept the possibility of losing a bird or two or all of them?
If you choose to electrify or not, if you are building a large open top enclosure, search some other threads here. Some great responses to this question were provided.
To me, its not worth the expense of the fence. The dog and myself are around during the day and they are secured at night. So despite the high variety and population of predators, I am not concerned. Your lifestyle may be different and allow for more isolation and opportunity for predation.
Unfortunately there are at least 3 days a week where no one is even home at my house and I mentioned in another post here I also want to contain them for other reasons ie:my dogs, my hubbys garden and my neighbors etc.
 

Merrymouse

Crowing
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Electrified rope is super stuff, from Premier1supplies.com. They have good products and advice, and the rope is less expensive that the poultry netting. Set up properly, with a HOT charger, it works very well, and is visible, where wire fades into the background.
Mary
Ok sounds good, I will look into that also. Thanks:highfive:
 
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