How high should my fence be?!?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by stav1981, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. stav1981

    stav1981 In the Brooder

    May 23, 2013
    Hi peeps,
    I am nearing the end stages of my coop constructions, I am wondering how high my fence should be to pen them in? I am letting them free reign in my garden however I want to portion off parts of my garden I want to grow for vegetables. I am planning on getting sussex chickens If that helps. What will be the lowest height fence I could get to contain them. Their will be nothing they can jump on inside the pen just grass and a few toys. Thanks in advance
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’m not going to give you a hard and fast number because there isn’t one. Some people can keep chickens contained in a 3’ high fence. I’ve had full grown full-sized hen get out of a 5’ high fence. Right now I use 4’ high electric netting and they stay inside. They easily jump/fly up to a 5’ high roost so they could get out of my 4’ high netting if they wanted to, but they don’t have the motivation.

    What provides that motivation to get out? Some chickens just don’t take confinement well. There are breed tendencies but any breed that is supposed to take confinement well may have some chickens that just won’t stay penned. Each chicken has its own personality. Breed tendencies are just tendencies. They don’t all follow those tendencies.

    One chicken may be trying to get away from another chicken. It could be a hen trying to get away from an amorous rooster or a pecking order fight. If they are trapped in a corner they may just go vertical. The only time I have any problem with my electric netting is when I have several teenaged cockerels going through their pecking order/flock dominance stuff. Occasionally one winds up outside the netting.

    One thing I noticed with my electric netting. If I configure it long and narrow instead of pretty square I have a lot more escapees. I think they get trapped in a corner and just can’t run away so they go vertical. So make it as big as you can and try to make it wide enough so they can run away if trapped.

    Something else that happens to a lot of people. Chickens like to perch and they can jump/fly up a lot further than many people give them credit. If the top of your fence has a rail or anything that looks like a good place to perch, they may just fly up there for fun. Who knows which side they will hop down on? So don’t have anything at the top of the fence that looks like a good place to perch. That includes a top rail or a fence post. Just have your wire sticking up a few inches above any support.

    There is a lot I don’t know about your unique situation, your specific chickens, or the size and configuration of what you are fencing. I’m not sure if you are trying to keep them in a pen or out of the garden. That’s two different situations. A lot of fencing material comes in 5’ heights. I’d suggest that for both to start with. Something reasonably predator resistant for the pen but something cheap like chicken wire for the garden.

    If that does not work out for the pen, you have a few options. Build the pen high enough so you can put a cover on it but still walk under the cover. You don’t need expensive fencing material to keep them in, cheap chicken wire or even bird netting over the top.

    You have another option too. Since your pen fencing should be fairly substantial, take another piece of stiff fencing maybe 4’ or 5’ high. Attach that to the top of your fence overlapping the fencing maybe 18”. Attach the bottom of the top piece about 18” below the top of your existing fence. Then attach it to the top of the existing fence. Hog rings or just wire works. The fence should be stiff enough that it stands on its own, thus raising the height of your pen a few feet and giving them nothing that looks like a perch to land on. I’ve done that and it worked. It also didn’t look that bad.

    I hope this helps you some. We keep them in so many different circumstances and conditions, with different flock make-ups, and each chicken has its own personality and each flock has its own dynamics that there is not one answer that covers us all.

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  3. stav1981

    stav1981 In the Brooder

    May 23, 2013
    thank you ridge runner.

    I will go for 5 foot I think. The garden is quite substantial and well over the area 3 chickens would need so running away will not be an issue :)

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