Electric wire to keep chickens IN

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TabbieFayth, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. TabbieFayth

    TabbieFayth Hatching

    Jan 19, 2019
    Is it possible to use hot wire to keep chickens IN an area? Bare with me, I don't know how to talk short...

    Of my 29 chickens, a fee like to hop the fence. Their yard is about 75x100ft. A few trees scattered plus a "wall" of trees for shade and bugs. We started with a fence of 4ft, but noticed they were scaling the fence and hopping over. Or they would simply jump to the top, land, and then hop down. So we doubled the fencing to make it roughly 6.5ft. And we still have a fee that will essentially climb the fence (take a leap and climb the top foot before resting on top and jumping down).

    I have tried clipping wings. First just one wing, and then both. The fencing is just the hexagon mesh fencing typical for poultry and gardens. So it isn't a sturdy fence, either a solid top landing zone. I have noticed they pace the bottom of the fence before making their escape. Which is why I wonder if placing hot wire at the bottom of the fence would slow them down or deter them away.

    I don't have great photos right now. But you can get an idea of the yard setup in this photo. Wr have to rebuild and the recent snow storm took down one side. They seem to only want to escape from the entry side of their yard, which is funny because the other side of the coop fence was never finished and is only about 3 to 4ft tall lol. 20190116_163105.jpg
    Better Than Rubies likes this.
  2. SniperGoose

    SniperGoose Songster

    Apr 15, 2018
    Central Pennsylvania
    Is it possible? Sure it is. However I personally wouldn't want to use that method. I dealt with the same problem before with my own flock! I used to free range them, but after a fox mishap one day, I decided to officially end the free ranging, and we set up a 4 foot tall fence (chicken wire) that covers around an acre. At first they were fine, but then some started to get over the fence. I clipped some wings, and it helped, but didn't entirely stop them.

    So what I did to prevent them from going over the fence in the area they always did that, is put some tree clippings over the fence (so they were hanging over on the enclosure's side, and therefore the chickens couldn't get over the fence right there).
    To prevent them from wanting to hop the fence, I decided to make the enclosure more fun for them. Obviously there was a reason they wanted to be on the other side of the fence. So I made some chicken hideaways in their enclosure - there were some bushes in there that I covered with a bunch of large sticks that were lying around to the point where it was completely covered and had 3 entrance points on it for the girls. They use them a lot! Another thing I added was perches and stuff to climb on. I put in a few large tree stumps, and some smaller ones to sit beside the large ones. I constantly see the girls on those too. Then I took 2 large chunks of firewood and set them a few feet apart, and found a large tree limb to sit on them. Then I secured the tree limb and I had a chicken perch! I did a few of those perches for them, and again, they use them constantly. I have all of this stuff spaced out in my enclosure, and was careful not to put any of this close to the fence so they couldn't use it to escape if they wanted to lol. I'll also throw in dried up weeds, some extra dirt, etc on occasion. That keeps them all busy and interested.

    I could go on, but you get what I mean lol. Maybe before resorting to an electric fence, maybe try putting something on top of the fence that prevents them from getting over it, then making the enclosure more interesting to them. I haven't had any escapees since doing all that because they simply don't want to escape and are happy where they are. Now I only have 8 girls, and you have many more than that, but I feel like this would help you out! In the end though, it's entirely up to you and you gotta do what you feel is best for your chickens. Best of luck! :)
  3. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Songster

    Mar 19, 2016
    34.560847, -81.154203
    My Coop
    Or you could simply roof their enclosure, either with a solid roof (like corrugated metal or fiberglass) or even just chicken wire or 2x4 welded wire. This would not only make it impossible for them to get out but harder for airborne predators to get in
  4. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Just use deer netting to cover the top. It comes in 7 by 100 foot rolls.
    centrarchid likes this.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have had two neighbors use deer netting like proposed. Birds were contained very well. Other measures needed to keep predators away as one neighbor lost flock in its entirety when netting breached. You need to keep tree branches away and freezing rain can exceed the load capacity. Material can hold up for a three years at least so long as not mechanically challenged.
  6. BantammChick

    BantammChick Songster

    May 8, 2017
    loving this cold!
    Maybe yours would work, but I have electric fence to keep dogs out, my chickens get out everyday, I really don't care, because they only get out to the goat fields. Maybe if you put it low enough for chickens, but mine squeeze out of it.
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have roughly 1 acre bounded by four strands of hotwire in place mostly to keep dogs, coyotes, foxes and raccoon out. Roughly 40 hens free-range the area. About 10 get out routinely. The 30 or so that stay inside have cover patches that keep them occupied away from the perimeter. This would not likely work on smaller setups unless the flock is much smaller. All said and done, as my fence is operated, the chickens are not effectively contained by it.
  8. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    It is true that wet snow or ice can bring down netting. I have used some netting for 10 years or more. Mine is really pieced together with nylon ties right now & I expect a heavy snow will take it down this winter. I have some on standby & will replace the whole deal when I need to.
  9. llombardo

    llombardo Crowing

    Mar 11, 2018
    Are there any trees along the fence line where they are escaping?

    If there is, maybe put netting from top of fence to the lowest branches to block them from going over.
  10. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    This spring I am planning to put up a 4' fence to make a larger area for chickens along with other livestock. I am planning on running a hot wire above the top of my fence also maybe 4"-6" higher. Hope it works. Good luck to you.

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