Electric fencing for chickens and dogs

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hypnozze, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. hypnozze

    hypnozze Chirping

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    Hello everyone!

    I am new to electric fencing and would like to install one in our property in order to keep my chickens and dogs inside of it. We have foxes and hawks and at the moment our chickens free range on 4 acres around our house. One of our dogs is also free ranging and does not wander far, however due to this reason one hen has been taken by a fox some time ago. Our other dog is a true protector but he would wander off away if given the chance so I would like to put up an electric fence around 4 acres which would keep my chickens and dogs together (they get along wonderfully). And would also like to use it in winter - we have snow and frost, and it gets till -20C (-4F) here in the winter.

    My question is - how many strands of wire should I use and at what height? And is metal wire a good option? And what kind of fence sticks (posts?) are best? Wooden stakes are pretty expensive but are those white, plastic ones strong enough to hold up and at what distance should they be positioned? And will this fence work in the winter? One of my dogs is a good jumper so I am worried he'll get over a lower fence. The highest fence plastic sticks are 140cm (4ft 7). Chicken electric netting is out of the question because it is super expensive here and only about 1 m (3 ft) in height. The total length of the fence would be around 350 m (1148ft). Forgot to mention that I am about to get guinea fowl for pest control so I am hoping the fence would keep them in.

    Some photos of my dogs and chickens who need a fence.
    DSC_0340.JPG DSC_0218.JPG DSC_0251.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  2. trumpeting_angel

    trumpeting_angel Crowing

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    Premier One, a manufacturer, has a website that answers all these questions. In detail!

    There are some folks with major expertise in this who are likely to weigh in.

    Good luck! Your dogs look like they enjoy taking the afternoon off to run around!
     
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  3. Parront

    Parront Crowing

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    As a dog owner who has owned chickens, and plan to again, I will be getting electric fence all around our chickens. When I went to a chicken owning friend's house with my dog for a visit I was worried that the dog would go for his chickens. He said no worries, just watch. When my dog -- a Brittany Spaniel bird dog -- saw the chickens in their run, she ran full speed to go get them. I was going to call her, but my friend said just wait. Dog nose just touched the wire about 6" above the ground and the dog did a mid-air U-Turn. The rest of the week she would not even LOOK in the directions of the chicken pen. She only touched it one time, and no interest in chickens ever after, not even in other places. I think she thought that the chickens inflicted that pain. I could not believe it. I will run 3 wires around the chicken pen, one 2" high and one 6" & one along the top for taller predators. Hope my (long-winded) story helps you.
     
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  4. trumpeting_angel

    trumpeting_angel Crowing

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    Oh, I just noticed your comment about the Guinea fowl. A fence won’t keep them in. They have to be carefully trained to their coop (6 weeks) before they can be let out into the run. Some careful owners let just one or two out to start with, gradually increasing, knowing they won’t leave because they’re strongly flock-oriented. Apparently they aren’t nearly as domesticated as chickens, and often just take off and go live in the trees, or at your neighbor’s house. And of course, they are picked off quickly by predators if they won’t come in at night.

    But they love to eat ticks! And they warn the whole neighborhood when a predator is near, or something unexpected happens, or the wind blows. I did a lot of research because we really want tick control, but we decided that as beginners we’d better wait in the Guineas. YMMV
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  5. hypnozze

    hypnozze Chirping

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    Thank You! :) Yes, this helps me, though I think I am going to run 4 wires because my dogs are a bit larger. I will share my experience as soon as we set it up.
     
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  6. hypnozze

    hypnozze Chirping

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    Thank You for Your advice! Yes- I also want to keep guineas for tick control and plan on keeping them in their secure run (with overhead netting) and coop for at least 4 weeks, maybe 6 if You recommend that. I have guinea eggs in the incubator at the moment so have time to set up the electric fence :) Actually, last year I got my first chickens specifically for tick control, kind of wanted the guineas but also felt that I wouldn't handle them. This year it looks like the chickens do not help with the ticks so finally have decided in favor of guinea keeping.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Yes, Howard E is the expert on here, though there are other good people on this topic. I've used electric netting and for your situation you do not want to use it. It's not just the cost, it is the maintenance.

    The way the electrical fencing works is that the critter has to complete the circuit between the hot wire and the ground. You can make the soil the ground or part of the fence. A traditional way is to do both. I've had baby chicks walk through electric netting, their down or feathers insulate them so I would not trust strands of electric fencing to keep chickens in. If you run strands of the special electric hot wire around a wire mesh fence on insulators the hot wire is insulated from the metal mesh fence (can be pretty inexpensive mesh), and the metal mesh and the soil are the ground, especially if you use some metal posts and hook it up right.

    There are sites on the internet to tell you how to hook them up and the elevation to place the hot wires. You typically want one pretty low to stop digging predators, one higher up to get the attention of most others, and a third at the top to stop climbing predators.

    Chickens often like to perch on things. If the top of your fence looks like a good place to perch they might fly or jump up there just to perch and who knows which side of the fence they might hop down on. If you make the top of your fence a wire (either mesh or a strand) instead of a rail they typically do not fly up there or over the fence. That's why netting can be so short and still keep them in. My electric netting is about 1.3 meters high.

    Many critters can jump that height, but they typically don't without checking it out first. They usually check it out with their nose or tongue. Then they leave the area.

    Snow can cause a problem, either insulating the critter from the soil or shorting the hot wire out if it is a wet snow. That's another reason wire is better for you than netting. I don't know how deep your snow gets but you may need to disconnect some hot wires at some time. As Parront mentioned above, once they are bit they tend to stay away, so ever a fence grounded out is still a lot of protection, but new critters are being born and weaned on a regular basis and new dogs can show up any time. There is always some risk.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019

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