High Tensile Electric Fence

OwensChickens

Chirping
6 Years
May 31, 2013
116
1
73
We are wanting to improve and expand our run fence. We originally free ranged, but with domestic dogs and just about every wild predator around, that did not last long. We quickly needed a fence. We used some cheap field fence and t-posts that we had laying about. That worked until our last bob cat attack. We then added a hot wire (pain in the rear with such flimsy fence) to the top and rocks on the inside. I want to add a lower hot wire, but I would probably need an insulator per foot. Here are a few pics of the fence and the area we would like to expand in:






We want to fence an area that is approx 120' by 60'. We want to keep it a rectangle for ease. We are thinking about using a high tensile electric fence, using 2-3" wire spacing on the bottom 2 feet or so and growing from there. I would be using a positive/negative system similar to this:



We know this will stop a four legged predators, but will it keep chickens in?

Our other more expensive options are no-climb horse fence with hot wires ($$$) or electric poultry netting ($$$ and durability issues).
 

4 the Birds

Songster
9 Years
Oct 15, 2010
1,490
101
163
Westfield, Indiana
It looks like you are on the right track. It would seem that the electric poultry netting would be the faster and easier to install than the tension wires. My preference would be the no climb fence just because it is VERY strong and it would offer a good barrier even when the electric was down. We have had non electric tension wire fencing on our property in the past and dogs shot through it quickly when chasing rabbits or field mice. Having it electrified would not slow them down. As far as keeping chickens "in". They tend to stay put if you offer them plenty of space and after they get use to the area. Our heavy breed chickens can fly straight up 7 ft onto the shed roof but they stay inside the 4 ft. high perimeter fence. Your existing field fence may be fine as long as you don't have small young birds that can shoot through the fence. I would stabilize the fence posts so they are well anchored and just add a high hot wire and a low outside hot wire. Good Luck!

 

OwensChickens

Chirping
6 Years
May 31, 2013
116
1
73
We definitely would like to do the whole thing in no-climb. It is just cost prohibited right now. The fence itself is about $1.30 per foot, then tposts about every 6-10 feet. We would still need to run hot wire and insulators, but those are fairly cheap. This fence should last and hold up over time.

The electric netting would be nice and might be an option we go with. The Permanent runs about & 1.70 per foot including posts, minus corner posts. While there are plenty of good reviews there are also plenty of poor reviews. Mostly the fence not holding up in weather and dogs and coyotes not being stopped by it (I am guessing that it was a grounding issue).

The high tensile electric fence would be the least expensive, wood corner posts that are braced plus 1 more on the long run. Then cheap (er) fiberglass posts along the line. The wire is somewhat more expensive, but not much and it should last. I can make it so I can disconnect the bottom strands during snow. My only concern is if the birds can get out. I know they can fly over, but will they squeeze through? We currently have this issue with the field fence.
 

atevan1

In the Brooder
Nov 16, 2015
13
0
34
So what did you end up going with? Someone brought up dogs running through the high tensile fencing, which I'm a little concerned about. But overall it sounds like a great way to go.
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,610
3,239
286
Missouri
So here would be my suggested modification to the OP's idea for a high tensile fence. This is the actual fence I have around a garden area.



This is now a 4 strand hot fence. Bottom strand runs about 4" to 6" off the deck, with additional strands spaced 4" to 6" between, mostly to align with spacing options on the step in posts, which both insulate and hold wires up. A person could easily add more wires. The wire viewed is 16 or 17 gauge aluminum fence wire........light in weight and effective, but not as visible as the 14 gauge steel wire. For a true high tensile wire, you would want the 14 gauge or even higher in the 12 gauge range (much more expensive). Would this fence repel a big, crazy dog rushing it? Probably not. If he hit that hard, he would take it down. So if that was your concern, go heavier (in the range of 12 or 14 gauge) add more wires, and go higher. And make it hot!



How wires on a fence like this are tensioned. Those ratchet tensioners cost less than $3 each, and use a special wrench handle to turn them. They just spool up the wire. On a long fence run, these should be put at the halfway mark in a long run, so they tension both ends equally. If you use these and really crank up the tension, you will need to brace your corners. This need not be a big deal. A screw in ground anchor holding out a steel post is all you need. No need for double corners and such for a fence of this type. You can add them if you want, but don't need to. Connect the fencer to the hot wire and make each lower wire hot by clipping each wire to the one above it. That way you can easily drop the wires from bottom up for snow, grass, etc. (temp solutions).

You could fence in several acres with a fence like this for not a lot of money and it would only take a few hours to put it in place.

You keep it clean with a weed eater or a sprayer of RoundUp.



So does it work? Initially, the birds go under and through it, but eventually, all of them get zapped by it. Once they do, they tend to avoid it. As in don't go near it. In that regard, you can help them out by the way you manage your pasture. Look at the picture in Post 2 of this thread. That wide open pasture area. Notice the lack of shade and other cover. So the birds want out of it and are gathering near the fence to find a way to escape, looking for "greener pasture" elsewhere. On a fence of this type, what would help immensely to keep birds in is to install a row or cluster of dense shade and cover smack dab in the middle of that pasture area. For the plantings you could use clumps of ornamental grass, shrubs, bushes, etc. Or even tall annual garden plants. Corn, sunflowers, okra, sudan grass, etc. That is where the birds would gather and tend to stay, which is as far away from the fence as they can get. This does two things, it keeps the birds away from the fence (so they tend to stay in) and keeps the birds away from the fence so any dogs, predators, etc. cannot be right next to them......separated by only a few feet. There they would be in an "kill crazy" attack zone, so the fence is going to be tested. Farther away in the middle, the dog or predator is likely to still be in sneak mode......trying to get closer, when they encounter the fence and get zapped. The larger the fenced in area is, the better this would work.

BTW, I have had a running battle with a small house dog who tested this fence early and often. He really wanted OUT. With only the bottom two wires, he simply jumped over it. I then spaced them apart and he jumped through it. Once the top two went on and the gap was narrowed, he goes near it, looks at it, makes a few false runs at it, and gives up. Too much risk. Also, with a fence of this height, I have seen setups where they will smear a glob of peanut butter between a square of tin foil and drape that over the fence. Deer that encounter it will smell the pb and lick the foil. Ouch. Folks are using nothing more than this to keep deer out of gardens. In some cases, nothing more than a single hot wire about 2 1/2' off the ground, with the foiled pb bait.

If you were looking for a more permanent and secure fence, this would be my suggestion:



That is 2" x 4" wire, held up on steel posts about 10' on center. It can and should be at least 4' high and 5' would be better. It is fastened a few inches above the ground so you can weed eat or spray under it. To keep varmints from going under it, you mount a hot wire on stand off insulators on the OUTSIDE near the bottom (posts have to be reversed to they face out). That keeps diggers at arm's length from the fence, so not likely to go under it. Then add a single hot wire on the top, so any climbers are not going over it. Do not include a board of PVC fence panel as shown here (this is a horse fence), as birds will see the solid board, think they can land on it and fly up to it and thus fly over it. Then be helpless on the outside.

It would not stop a weasel, but would stop just about any other land based predator. The interior shade plants and other stuff is for protection from hawks and such......at least for large pasture areas too big for netting over the entire thing.
 

atevan1

In the Brooder
Nov 16, 2015
13
0
34
Great information. I've built a Tpost and welded wire fence before. However, the property we're buying is 13 acres and I'd like to fence the whole parcel and fence off ten one-acre paddocks. Looks like a 4 or 5 strand hot fence is cost effective and will keep most animals in or out. When we get a LGD we can train him on the fence. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

atevan1

In the Brooder
Nov 16, 2015
13
0
34
Or maybe even a 7 strand. Closer together at the bottom and widening on the way up.
 

CzyChikenMath

Songster
Jun 2, 2017
109
71
117
Hammonton, NJ
It looks like you are on the right track. It would seem that the electric poultry netting would be the faster and easier to install than the tension wires. My preference would be the no climb fence just because it is VERY strong and it would offer a good barrier even when the electric was down. We have had non electric tension wire fencing on our property in the past and dogs shot through it quickly when chasing rabbits or field mice. Having it electrified would not slow them down. As far as keeping chickens "in". They tend to stay put if you offer them plenty of space and after they get use to the area. Our heavy breed chickens can fly straight up 7 ft onto the shed roof but they stay inside the 4 ft. high perimeter fence. Your existing field fence may be fine as long as you don't have small young birds that can shoot through the fence. I would stabilize the fence posts so they are well anchored and just add a high hot wire and a low outside hot wire. Good Luck!

Hi atevan1! You posted one thing I really haven't read before. It simple and it was good to hear since I'm just started in this April and have so many - once they get use to the space, they say.....I have tried many 'tricks'. It's high 80's most of the time now, so we set a long Mister in the center, and dry area too, their dust bath pool, wading pool, the shade, the food, the treats, coops... Nothing near the fences and yet I use Premier I fence with the bottom 3 inches lined in chick sized hole (newer stuff). The larger holes hold in the birds close to full grown. It's electrified ..it's a huge area (several fences joined), varied grasses and flowers and a real good diet with proteins and so forth and we move it around but it is so frustrating. It's 250 chickens so it's a little bit hard to get all of their wings to clip. I do notice that the bigger ones do seem to be staying more although their wings are clipped, one side only. I guess if I can get their wings clipped a couple times then maybe they will just get use to the area.... Then the fencing might work. Right now it's Premeir 1's chick shock or no shock- fence is a nightmare that will cost me a bundle to return and exchange for just the regular electrified chicken fence. The chicks and pullets/cockerels walk right up the fence and out the holes. Even with extra posts.... Active little buggers. LOL. I was wondering what you thought of this idea... http://www.plamondon.com/wp/faq-simple-electric-fences-chickens/ I have fox now and coyotes, and have land in the Cherokee national forest we will move to in a few years. Obvious not going to stop bears. I really don't want to loose any of my babies.. but the financial reality we all face.. maybe this might work.
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,610
3,239
286
Missouri
Robert is a sometimes poster on BYC. Perhaps he will weigh in?

I tried his 1....then 2 wire system. Those did not work for me as far as stopping predator traffic and deer...... but 4 wires do. The only additional expense of 4 wires over 1 or 2 is the expense of the extra wire. The same posts and fence charger works for 1 or more wires.

I think Robert has said the larger the area, the better it works.....at least as far as keeping the birds in. The larger the area, the less pressure there is for them to want to roam away from their home base. And perhaps those simple 1 and 2 wire fences would have eventually worked for me if I had been more patient? I did notice with the 1 and 2 wire systems, the birds got shocked when they stepped on the fence. You would see one launch straight up, then stand off in protest. Rather than an instant fix like electrified poultry netting is, maybe these 1 and 2 wire fences work best over time? You can speed that up with predators by baiting the wire so they are sure to find it......with their nose.
 

CzyChikenMath

Songster
Jun 2, 2017
109
71
117
Hammonton, NJ
Robert is a sometimes poster on BYC. Perhaps he will weigh in?

I tried his 1....then 2 wire system. Those did not work for me as far as stopping predator traffic and deer...... but 4 wires do. The only additional expense of 4 wires over 1 or 2 is the expense of the extra wire. The same posts and fence charger works for 1 or more wires.

I think Robert has said the larger the area, the better it works.....at least as far as keeping the birds in. The larger the area, the less pressure there is for them to want to roam away from their home base. And perhaps those simple 1 and 2 wire fences would have eventually worked for me if I had been more patient? I did notice with the 1 and 2 wire systems, the birds got shocked when they stepped on the fence. You would see one launch straight up, then stand off in protest. Rather than an instant fix like electrified poultry netting is, maybe these 1 and 2 wire fences work best over time? You can speed that up with predators by baiting the wire so they are sure to find it......with their nose.
Thank you :) I did read/see that about baiting... good to have a second opinion. I like just being to step over....busy around here! well most of our time now chasing poultry that walked up and through electorate. lol. did you do the exact height he suggested.. i think 5" then 10"... that is the only other real difference i see in this theory of fencing, and it might make a huge difference,
 

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