Electric fencing

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NickyPick, Oct 21, 2016.

  1. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Question for anyone who is using electric fencing to keep the chickens in an area. Since most electric fencing I've seen is only about 4 feet tall - how do you keep the chickens from flying over? My girls fly over my 5 1/2 foot wood fence in the horse pen with ease.
     
  2. racinchickins

    racinchickins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are a few things involved. I pretty easily keep mine in a 4 foot electric net fence.

    1. Make sure they have plenty of room in the pen per bird. Crowding will prompt a need to head for greener, (but less safe) pastures. Lots of places to hide within the pen helps too.

    2. The only issues I've had are when I had too many roosters and the dominant roos would chase the bottom-most roo until he finally flew out of the fence. Any chicken faced with constant harassment will probably eventually fly out. This was in a pen that had hens too. I'm thinking of trying a separate pen with just my roos I'm growing out and no girls to see if the lack of hens to compete for cuts down on the harassment.

    3. Most importantly, Any solid fencing is an invite to fly up and check out the landscape. An electric net fence looks very flimsy and it is difficult for a chicken to judge exactly where the top of the fence is, so they won't try to fly up and land or roost on it. And since they cant tell where the top is, they don't even try.
     
  3. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My flock ranges mostly in a 2 acre horse pen, so there's not much crowding. Most of the flyovers are from the "grass is greener" mentality. I've lost more EE's to the woods behind, even with a wing clipped. I really don't want to have to clip everyone's wings.
     
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have an area as large as 2 acres, there are some options. One is a simple 1 or 2 wire fence. Robert P who posts on BYC now and then is an advocate of a simple 1 wire system for enclosing large areas, claiming it works to keep the birds in and predators out. I tried it and moved on up to a 2 wire system, and while that may have been effective on the birds and most varmints, I found our little house dog was able to defeat it by jumping over it. If he could, I figured a fox or coyote could just as easily, so I upped that to a 4 wire system and since doing that, have not seen anyone go past it. Fowl or varmint. Top wire is still no more than 18 inches or so off the deck and I simply step over it. No gates needed.

    You would not think a low wire system would work on birds, but it does. They don't like getting shocked anymore than anything else does and once they realize it is there, and recognize it as a barrier not to go near, they avoid it. My birds didn't fly over it, then stepped on it. With one foot on the wire and one on the ground, their foot got it and they would launch in the air, and still be cackling 30 seconds later. So there is a learning curve associated with it. Like everything else, the birds have to experience it, then learn to avoid it by not going near it. I can't tell if they all have to experience it or once one does, word gets around. Do chickens communicate like that? I'm firmly convinced some birds can and do.

    If one does get on the outside and wants back in, they either punch through or simply hop over it. So its no physical barrier at all, but that is the nature of most electric fences. They are not a physical barrier. They are a mental one. The exception to this being the plastic netting hot fences, which are both physical and electrical. What they do is shorten the learning curve. They are also more effective for close quarters. They are also more expensive and require a lot more maintenance.

    As others have noted, you help the fence by not putting your birds next to it. You put the shade and cover and green stuff in the middle away from the fences. This also helps with predators, as if the birds are in the middle away from the fences, approaching predators may still be in the sneaking closer mode when they encounter the fence. Too close and they may be moving fast and rushing the birds when they encounter the fence, and may not get shocked or if they do, not notice it in the frenzy of their attack.
     
  5. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The 2 acres is where we are now, but we'll be moving to 18 acres, hopefully next year. I'd like to be able to move the hens around the place, but with my current experience, I'm having trouble seeing that a 4 foot high fence would keep them in.
     
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With an electric fence, height is not the deterrent. The electric shock is. As stated above, once they get zapped a few times, they stay away from it. Yes, they can easily hop over it, but tend to stay away from it. They don't know a fence from anything else new they encounter in the yard, they only know if they go anywhere near that horizontal shiny thing (the hot wire), they get a painful jolt.......so they don't go near it. That is the nature of an electric fence with all that encounter it, including those of us who set them up. Once you have been zapped by a really hot electric fence, you won't make that mistake again....at least not on purpose.

    BTW, this is Robert's website and explanation:

    http://www.plamondon.com/wp/faq-simple-electric-fences-chickens/

    Again, I started out with the 2 wire system on a garden / chicken run area of about 50 x 100 feet. It was keeping the birds in and raccoons out, but the little house dog (who is a runner.......) found he avoid the fence by either hopping over it or I also saw him jump through it. When he was airborne he was not grounded, so didn't get a shock. I added two more wires to get them up to about 18 inches and he no longer tries it. I've seen him get right up to it and you can tell he is thinking about it, but in the end, always "chickens" out and runs the other way.

    On the other hand, if you don't think this will work for you, the alternative real fence used to build chicken yards a long time ago was a 5' or 6' high fence made from no larger than 2" x 4" welded wire. By making it that tall, and clipping one wing, they kept most birds in. Much more expensive, but that is the tall physical barrier option.
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    I use poultry electric mesh fencing and it is not turned on....My Birds stay in...I have large breeds though...To heavy to fly that high...Once in a Blue Moon one flies over.....It all depends on the Birds I think?

    Cheers!
     
  8. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. I'm feeling better about getting some when I move. With 18 acres of grass and tons of bugs, I relish the thought of being able to move them around and still be able to keep my overly excitable Aussie away from them.
     
  9. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Try this....Set it up..Turn it on and put two Chickens in the fencing....Your Aussie will get zapped and learn to never touch the fence..I have an older Aussie/Border Collie that has to be chained up...His herding instinct is too strong...Your Birds will also learn to keep away from it...

    Best of luck..

    Cheers!
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    You mentioned the "grass is greener" mentality....that may be some of it.

    folks look at a nice green pasture and think the birds will simply love that area. Fact is, chickens aren't grazers. They didn't develop on the prairie, they're from the jungle/woods. Open spaces full of short grass are not their preferred environment. If you have access to lightly wooded areas, or areas with shrubs or long grass, they might hang around better.
     

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