Electrify your Chicken wire/ Welded wire

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dixygirl, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. dixygirl

    dixygirl Songster

    May 14, 2008
    I know that with my 2" electrical tape it can not touch the ground or it wont work. Weeds, limbs or grass can't touch it or it doesn't really shock. I read on here about people connecting a fence charger to their mesh fences. Is the same true there, that your fence can not touch the ground?

    The way I understand it is the fence carries the hot wire and the earth itself is the negative pole because has the grounding posts hammered in the ground. So it makes an open circuit. When you touch the fence and are standing on the earth at the same time, you complete the circuit and all the charge flows through you and down through your feet to the earth. Now if you wear really thick rubber shoes you can't feel it. Also if weeds are touching the fence, they distupt the zap between the wire and the earth and you don't feel anything if you touch it. So if the fence itself is touching the ground it seems to me that it won't work. It would have to be up off the ground and with no grass or weeds touching the fence either.

    What do others think. Has anyone electrified their chicken wire?
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Don't do it. First, because there is just no reason to -- a couple of intelligently-placed single wires will do the job just fine.

    And second, because you would have a tough time getting a sufficient charge on chickenwire (or hardware cloth or any other mesh) because of the MASSIVE ELECTRICAL RESISTANCE that all that wire will cause. (The total resistance of the fence is more or less equal to the sum of the lengths of wire in its run - a 4' high piece of 1" chickenwire would have roughly 50x the resistance of a single strand of its wire, and furthermore because it is pretty thin wire it will have extra-high resistance due to *that* too.) Realio trulio.

    And if you oversize the charger in an attempt to push charge thru all that wire, you may create a dangerous shock hazard on the part of the fence nearest the charger.

    Furthermore, not that it really matters since #1 above is such a totally crippling problem, you would have a hell of a time attaching chickenwire so that it was both securely-mounted *and* totally insulated from the posts and the soil. And then things could just dig under it anyhow, or weasels could duck under the gap between it and the ground.

    Summary: don't even think about it :p

    For most predators, wires at 4-6", 12" and 18" will do the job as long as they carry a reliably good charge. Just do it that way.

    If for some reason you still really want an electrified mesh fence, dig the pennies out of the sofa and buy a good brand of electronet (I would recommend Premier brand, but there are others that basically work too). They are not super cheap but they are made of low-resistance materials (and without any more wire than necessary) so they will work as long as your charger is sufficient (they draw a LOT more than an equivalent tape or wire fence though). However you will need a way of keeping the ground beneath the fence 100% free of weeds and grass growing up. For a run, probably the most sensible thing would be to put down pavers, which would also be somewhat anti-dig.

    I can't really think offhand of any situations where you would NEED electronet in a permanent run, though, rather than conventional run fencing plus a few electric wires.

    Good luck,


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