electric poultry fences, and combining different breeds/ages


11 Years
May 15, 2008
upstate NY
Hey, all

I have two coops, both occupied at present. They are adjacent, they share a fence. For various reasons I don't want to combine my current flocks. One of the flocks was supposed to be my self sustaining dual purpose birds, until my roo died suddenly in November. NOw, of course, if I want a self-replacing flock, I need another roo, and also want a few more hens of that breed. My chosen breed is known for its good maternal instincts and strong broody tendencies...but I've had some problems with the birds I got from a specialty hatchery and this time I want to try another, more commercial hatchery who has a decent reputation with this breed. However - I'm concerned that many hatchery birds have the broodiness bred out of them, and that if I get birds from there, they won't have the instincts to raise the next generation for me. So, what I'm thinking is, working with the 25 chick minmum, I would get 12 of my main breed and for the other dozen, mix up a couple of breeds known for the traits I want, especially broodiness/maternal instincts, and hope that I get some decent broody hens/moms out of it. I'm thinking Cochins, Speckled Sussex, and Silkies for the broodies (roos would go into the freezer).

Okay, there's the basic situation (which is flexible, partly based on y'all's input!). Now - I need a place for the young ones, and neither coop is really big enough for another 25 birds, even for a couple of months between brooder box age and roos to the processer age. We want a tractor of some sort anyway, so what I was wondering is, what if I built a moveable coop to use for a roosting area initially, surrounding it with electric poultry netting to provide enough room for daytime foraging for that many birds. Then, after the boys go off to freezer camp, the pullets and one roo can join the existing flock in their coop. My older laying hens (four and one roo) could go into the moveable coop and their coop could be turned into the broody/chick house.

What about the electric poultry netting? What keeps the birds from flying out? all my chickens fly at least four feet up onto perches when they want, and some fly up onto my shoulder, which is about five feet. Also, what about our hawks and owls and foxes and coyotes and so on?

Also, what about combining multiple breeds in one run? My current dual purpose birds are mellow and not aggressive, but I don't want anyone hurt....

Anyone have any suggestions/input? If I'm going to order chicks, I need to do it fairly soon, so I get the breed(s) I want. Thanks!


8 Years
May 6, 2011
Michigan Upper Peninsula
I run 200' x 200' four foot high electric poultry netting from Premier. Once in a great while a bird will jump the fence, yet remain nearby. When this happens I open an end and herd the bird along the perimeter until it reaches the opening, which the bird will usually go into. None of my birds have their wings clipped, and inside the fencing there will be a couple hundred plus chickens of various ages consisting of leghorns, easter eggers, black copper marans, cuckoo marans, production reds and cornish cross. I band their legs with colored zip ties to mark the age groups.

When you have a lot of birds, it is easy to introduce new arrivals because they can easily get lost in the crowd.



9 Years
May 22, 2010
All of my hens are mellow and get along.Introduce the new ones in the run first for several days and then put them in the coop at night.

Beth K.

8 Years
Nov 22, 2011
The Funny Farm
I have Premier's electric poultry netting, and nothing is stopping them from flying out, really. It's just hasn't dawned on them, I guess. Pekoe, one of my Black Australorps, got out somehow and was frantic to get back in. She ran up to me as soon as I came out. So, over all, I think keeping them happy is what keeps them in.

I have Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, & Black Australorps and no harm has come of come of combining them.

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