electrified poultry netting

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ruthraf, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. ruthraf

    ruthraf New Egg

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    Aug 30, 2014
    I just joined Backyard Chickens and have been raising chickens for 6 months now. We have just started getting eggs! We were letting our chickens free range in the yard while we are home until a couple of weeks ago we had a fox attack. Luckily, he only got away with a mouth full of feathers and our 3 hens escaped relatively unharmed. I feel like they are pretty safe when in the coop/small run because we have extra locks, two layers of hardware cloth and a 1 foot deep hardware cloth apron. We are looking for the best way to keep them safe, but also give them some more room. We were thinking about using the electrified poultry netting, but have some safety concerns.
    1. Is it predator-proof/safe enough to leave the chickens in during the day if no one is home?
    2. It talks a lot about shocking predators which is great, but I am worried about it shocking my chickens and also my 4 pound puppy. How dangerous is the shock to small animals and children?
    thanks!
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have such plus small children and myself. It is very effective against ground dwellers except for weasels. Chickens quickly learn to avoid contacting the fence by getting shocked. My son got zapped a couple times before he figured out how to behave around it. I have been zapped multiple times while doing yard work but still alive.


    Biggest concern during day will come from hawks that come in from above. You may go a long-time before a hawk comes in but some folks get hit hard once hawks figure you out. Then other options operating within fencing need to be considered.
     
  3. ruthraf

    ruthraf New Egg

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    Aug 30, 2014
    thank you, that is very helpful! I will keep my eye out for hawks.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’ve had electric netting for almost three years and my only loss was one to an owl when I was late locking them up after dark. I’ve got all kinds of hawks flying around here but they’ve never been a problem, but some people have big problems with hawks. No system is going to be 100% safe but I’ve been quite satisfied with the electric netting.

    I don’t get much snow here. I’m not sure how effective it is in snow.

    One problem with it is that if it grounds out, it is not effective. Weeds and grass growing up through it will ground it out, especially when it is wet from dew or rain. That’s where the management issue comes in, you need to keep the grass and weeds from growing through it. One strategy is to move it and mow very regularly during the seasons grass and weeds grow, sometimes once a week here. I finally wound up spraying round-up under the netting to stop stuff from growing into it.

    It does not send out a continual current. Instead it pulses about once a second. Since it pulses that gives whatever touches it a chance to turn loose. That’s what keeps it from being deadly, they can turn loose. I’ve had a possum and a snapping turtle get tangled in it where they could not turn loose. They were jerking every time that pulse went out. When I got the snapping turtle free (yeah, that was exciting) it eventually crawled off. The electric pulse was not what killed the possum, though it did immobilize it and made dispatching easier.

    Chickens feathers insulate them against that current but if they touch it with their combs or wattles they will get zapped. They jump/fly back and squawk, then go about their business. They do eventually learn to not touch it, which means the grass grows up that much faster under it. I’ve also been zapped several times and am still alive. I don’t know how dangerous it is to someone with a pacemaker or some underlying condition, but to reasonably healthy people it is not dangerous, just unpleasant.

    Many ground predators could just jump over it if they wanted to, but the normal pattern is that they sniff it or lick it to investigate first. They get zapped and run away never to return, forever convinced that fence is built of lightning. It’s quite satisfying to hear a stray dog or coyote yelp then run away unhurt with a strong fear of that fence. After that the fence doesn’t even have to be plugged in to deter them. The problem is that predators are always bearing young or people are abandoning dogs. Each generation has to learn for itself, so it always needs to be plugged in.
     
  5. ruthraf

    ruthraf New Egg

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    Aug 30, 2014
    Thanks! This is super helpful. I know that nothing is 100% safe, but I just want to do everything I can to keep out the predators. Hopefully the hawks will stay away, but I know the fox will be back. We didn't want our puppy to get shocked but she is always on a leash anyway. She is not quite 4 pounds and I am much more worried about a hawk getting her than the chickens for now! I did see one hawk in the area but it looked smaller than the chickens and hopefully would focus on other prey.
     

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