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

Merrymouse

Crowing
Jan 8, 2017
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Massachusetts
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.
I have a mixed flock and yes some heavy slow white ones as well and they are pets. While I would hate to lose any I think the benefits of happy chickens, healthier eggs and less feed bills outweighs the risk at this point. Of course if something takes my favorites Ill be singing an entirely different tune:hit
 

Merrymouse

Crowing
Jan 8, 2017
1,224
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Massachusetts
The chicks zipped right through until they were about 2wks
Good to know. I usually hatch chicks in winter or very early spring so I dont usually put them out until they are about 4 weeks old anyway so that would be ok, I just hatched some out this past weekend but this is the earliest I've ever hatched.
 

NatJ

Songster
Mar 20, 2017
396
889
146
USA
My hubby is getting annoyed that they are destroying his garden. So basically my hobby is ruining his hobby.
Might be easier and cheaper to fence the garden than the chickens?

Plus I don't think my neighbors would be too pleased if my chickens wandered into their yard.
Yup, that probably calls for fencing the chickens, although it also depends on how close the neighbors are.

You might be able to let the chickens out shortly before dark, and then they won't have time to wander very far before they come home again to sleep (adjust what time they're let out until you get the right results.)

Another option is to teach the chickens to come when called (it's easy: call and give treats) and then stay out there with them, and call them back every time they get to the neighbors' property.

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.
For that, you'll have to make sure that your dogs respect whatever fence you put up, and that you trust them to respect that fence. ("Respect the fence" meaning that the dogs do not try to get through it. Some dogs will always keep trying to find a way through, some will try and give up, and of course electric fences affect dogs differently than physical fences.)

While I would hate to lose any I think the benefits of happy chickens, healthier eggs and less feed bills outweighs the risk at this point.
If it were only the feed bill--you can buy an awful lot of feed for the cost of any sort of fence! But I see that it's not just the feed that matters to you.

I see why you think a fence for the hens is the best idea, and I think you're probably right. I'm just throwing out a few other ideas in case they turn out to be useful (ignore them if they are NOT useful!)
 

ChocolateMouse

Crowing
6 Years
Jul 29, 2013
2,754
5,688
387
Cleveland OH
Please note that if you have a lot of hawks, I disagree with the experience that hawks will only take one at a time. My experience is they will kill multiples, up to several, before finally flying away if not spooked or the chickens can't or won't take cover. I've lost 4 in one day due to hawks. So make sure that if you don't have a top that you're taking other precautions.
 

Molpet

Crossing the Road
Premium member
Sep 7, 2015
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Good to know. I usually hatch chicks in winter or very early spring so I dont usually put them out until they are about 4 weeks old anyway so that would be ok, I just hatched some out this past weekend but this is the earliest I've ever hatched.
I usually use broodies

I find the e nets on FB farm swaps for about 1/2 price
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
234
419
102
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
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.
My birds travel no more than 100yds from their coop, usually max of about 75yrds. I had to fence my garden with an 8ft high welded wire fdnce to keep the deer out. It is very effective against my chickens ;). Introduce your dog slowly and supervised to the chickens to see if it has a high prey/chase drive or not. If so, be patient, and it can be helped with regular calm exposure.

If no one will be around for 3 days a week, how will they be secured at night?
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
12,200
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California's Redwood Coast
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.
E(lectric)-wire (just metal wire that conducts electricity) is an electric fence and I live in heavily forested area and use it successfully just fine... Sticker shock not required...


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My solar charger has a meter built in so if I notice it not being pegged hot then I walk the line and find the problem. Having the meter built in I check it daily...
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These insulators go on T post easily, which install and remove easily if you change your mind about placement. Yes, it kept my ROOSTERS from making it to my hens... they were very determined by RESPECTFUL of the E fence!
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ETA: The woods and such don't short it out. They are poor conductors of electricity and more like slowly drain it... as far as I can tell AND remember. Howard E has some really good posts on the subject.
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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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.
I hope someone comes along that does use it in your type of terrain.
I do not, but having other fence(Tposts with 14ga 2x4ww) thru the woods.....
....I do know will be difficult to install and keep maintained.
When a tree falls in the woods,
doesn't matter if you hear it or not,
it can still wreck your fence....not to mention those pesky saplings and vines and.....
 
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