Electric fencing for horses - safe for chickens?


In the Brooder
12 Years
Sep 21, 2007
Embarrass, MN
I've done some searching on this and I've seen mentions of electric fencing for chickens, but I'm wondering if the fencing I've set up for my horses is safe for my chickens. I used tape up top and 17 ga wire, the lowest strand at about 22". I have two chargers - a Fi-Shock 15acre, and a Zareba 15 mile - and I don't know the voltage of either. I just put it up yesterday and then thought about the welfare of my chickens.

If one of my girls touches that low wire, is she going to just get an unpleasant surprise, or is she going to drop dead? My chickens rarely venture over to where my horse fence is, but I'm sure it's bound to happen. If it poses a danger to them, I'll have to figure something else out. Does anyone else have electric fences for livestock who can comment on their experience?

Have used electric fence for different livestock and seen just about anything, including chickens hit it. Startled but not hurt. It has no amperage so no danger. They make an electric net fence for poultry. I have read about it but never gotten to actually use it. Any should be safe.
The voltage will differ depending upon how wet your ground is for starters. I've got a Zareba 5 miler up. The chickens land on it from time to time and I've only seen one get zapped. She screamed and took off flying. No harm no foul. She also hit the t-post at the same time which really grounded her. They don't get hit hard or often when they land on the wire since they aren't grounded most of the time. The wire is so thin and they're not comfortable trying to balance on the 17 guage either. Hope this helps. L
Yes--if you LIKE fried chicken.
Yes, electric fencing for horses is pretty safe for chickens. If they get killed by it (rare) it tends to be b/c they got stuck in it, which can happen with electronet but is not likely with your horse fence unless there is a wire mesh fence right by it. Chicken feet are not terrifically good electrical conductors, and a single zap does not usually do anything bad to them (it's getting stuck and hit over and over and over that can do an animal in, even a large animal or person).

If you have just set this fence up, make sure you are testing it at least once a day with a fence tester. The five neon lights jobbies are notoriously inaccurate, but if you are just trying to keep horses in, they are more or less ok. If you are trying to keep dogs/coyotes *out*, you really need to make sure you are always running 4-5,000v at all times and it would be real smart to invest in a digital fence tester, which will not mislead you into thinking you're ok when you're not.

Good luck, have fun,

I have electric wire running around the bottom (6" up) and top of my 5 foot tall outter fence. It was easy to put on because we already had a horse and mule that we had to use electric fence to keep in. It has quite a shock to it too. My mule is a bit stubborn and likes the green grass on the other side better. So we extended it to protect the chicken yard. I let mine out in the afternoons to "free range" and I have had several land on it, jump on it, and get stuck on it. I only saw one little silkie who got stuck and zapped several times before I could get her out that looked like she had some paresis (paralyzed) in her leg. She was over it in about 5 minutes. Now I bumped it one time and my whole arm was paralyzed for about five minutes. It hurt, but like little Blackie I was okay within 5 minutes.

**No horses, mules, chickens or humans were harmed in making of this post. **

I laugh at the foxes who come up at night and try the fence, HA, HA, HA got you!!! No easy chicken dinner for you. They never try the pasture as my mule is vicious to predators.
I have 16 gauge wire running on the side at the top of a 4 ft high wooden and wire fence to stop the hens from traveling into my bigger yard with the grass, plants and vegetable garden. It is charged with a Gallagher Fence Master Jr. It is the smallest one they make. When they land on the fence to plan the next portion of their trip into the big yard, their little toe touches the grounded wire part of the fence and they are startled and jump back into their yard. They can break the circuit if their little toe falls off the wire portion of the fence that completes the circuit as a ground. But once her toe or foot touches it again, they make some noise and jump off fast.

I don't have to turn it on anymore, they wait for an invitation into the big yard.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom