Keeping hens inside the electric fence

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costello

Songster
6 Years
Mar 24, 2013
151
13
116
Hi all:

I have electric fence netting which I'm very happy with. It definitely keeps the predators away. However, I have two hens - my two oldest hens, who I had before the fencing went up - who insist on jumping the fence and foraging in the neighbor's yard. I'm not sure how they get out. Possibly by flying up into a tree. I do know they get back in by climbing on to the deck and jumping back into the yard.

I haven't been too happy about this situation, but they're both pretty wily at avoiding predators, so I've tolerated it. I find that I'm probably going to sue these neighbors, however, and I fear they'll harm my girls in retaliation. I really need to secure these two. It's possible to bring them into the basement, but I'd rather not. They're happy outside.

What about clipping their wings? Is this difficult to do? How much harm will I do if I do it wrong?
 

bugflipper

Songster
9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
228
22
113
If you just clip one wing it is more effective. They flip in a loop when they try to fly. No issues as long as you don't cut meat. To be safe just stay about an inch away from their wing. It grows back so you have to do it again whenever they molt. It's easier to do it by getting them off roost.
 

costello

Songster
6 Years
Mar 24, 2013
151
13
116
I cut their wings this morning (just one for each) using instructions I found on youtube. It makes me a little sad, but it's for their own good. I hope this works to keep them inside the fence.

They like to roost on top of the coop which is about 4' high. I'll need to build them a ramp so they can get up there.
 

costello

Songster
6 Years
Mar 24, 2013
151
13
116
One of the hens was outside the fence when I got home from work tonight. So much for clipping the wing as a solution for this problem. I'm not sure if she can still fly or if they're getting out some other way.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,088
581
Southern Oregon
Honestly, you tolerating this because your birds haven't been killed is beside the point. Possibly sueing your neighbor has nothing to do with it. Part of being a responsible animal owner is confining your animals to your property. Your animals are roaming on other folks' property, and that's not okay. Ever. I'm amazed your hens keep coming home--free range birds that range off their owner's property "mysteriously vanish" around here.

Not knowing more about your set up makes it impossible to give specific suggestions, but it sounds like you need to confine them to a smaller area that can be covered until you can appropriately fence them.
 
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costello

Songster
6 Years
Mar 24, 2013
151
13
116
Honestly, you tolerating this because your birds haven't been killed is beside the point. Possibly sueing your neighbor has nothing to do with it. Part of being a responsible animal owner is confining your animals to your property. Your animals are roaming on other folks' property, and that's not okay. Ever. I'm amazed your hens keep coming home--free range birds that range off their owner's property "mysteriously vanish" around here.

Not knowing more about your set up makes it impossible to give specific suggestions, but it sounds like you need to confine them to a smaller area that can be covered until you can appropriately fence them.

I wonder why people who really don't know much about the situations of others feel free to scold them. You could have resisted the urge to lecture and confined yourself to that last sentence and not left me feeling like I'd just rather not post on this forum at all.
 

WalkingOnSunshine

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
4,210
525
328
Ohio
I wonder why people who really don't know much about the situations of others feel free to scold them. You could have resisted the urge to lecture and confined yourself to that last sentence and not left me feeling like I'd just rather not post on this forum at all.

donrae's right on this one, though.

Sometimes getting good advice from others means hearing something you don't want to hear.
 

costello

Songster
6 Years
Mar 24, 2013
151
13
116
donrae's right on this one, though.

Sometimes getting good advice from others means hearing something you don't want to hear.
At the risk of diverting my own thread...

1. I'm a fairly opinionated person but have learned over the years that giving unsolicited advice is a bad idea. It's usually best to keep my thoughts to myself. First, it turns out that I'm not always right. Second, even when I am right, more often than not the other person doesn't seem to appreciate it. Amazing, huh?

2. There aren't all that many hard and fast rules in life. Maybe it's my law degree or maybe it's because I'm old, but I've learned that dogmatic statements like "Your animals are roaming on other folks' property, and that's not okay. Ever." usually come with many exceptions. Normally I try not to let those kinds of statements provoke me. I feel irritated, but I don't respond. I shouldn't have responded this morning, but I'm dealing with more stress than usual, so my level of tolerance is low.

Donrae offered unsolicited advice without knowing my situation. She offered advice about something I didn't ask about. I asked how to confine my birds, not whether it was a good idea to allow my birds to roam on the neighbor's property. I can think of two reasons why a chicken shouldn't be allowed on others' property: safety and trespass. I've talked to my neighbor more than once about my birds going onto their yard. Each time I was assured it wasn't a problem. In fact, after their dog killed two chickens (on my property, btw), I told the man I was putting up a fence. He said - not once but three times - "no, don't put up a fence, I'll keep the dog confined." I think they enjoy having the birds in their yard for the same reasons I do. They're fun to watch, and they're attractive.

So, that leaves my lingering unease over their safety which I alluded to in my original question. Even then Donrae's statement "Your animals are roaming on other folks' property, and that's not okay. Ever." doesn't apply. Risks are relative. One has to weigh them. In this case, I think my chickens would be safer inside the fence (although I've lost birds inside the fence as well), but until the risk was heightened by possible animosity over a lawsuit, they seemed "safe enough" roaming in that direction. They never roam to the lot to the north or across the street or to the undeveloped land to the back. Just the neighbor to the south's front yard.

Because I sense that at least the husband seems to enjoy them (he tried to raise some chickens himself after I got mine but it didn't work out), it almost feels like I'm doing them a favor allowing them to roam. We don't have particularly good relations as you might guess since I'm contemplating a lawsuit. My chickens (and my new puppy, which they also insist must come visit) are like tiny ambassadors of good will. When he slaughtered his roosters, he brought over the scratch grain he had left. These animals are actually our only positive interactions and retracting the hens is almost like one nation bringing their ambassadors home.

Have I sufficiently responded to donrae's statements? Have I convinced anyone that "Your animals are roaming on other folks' property, and that's not okay. Ever." does have exceptions? If I haven't I don't care, btw. I came for help in keeping my birds inside the fence.
 

JackE

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
758
301
North Eastern Md.
Clipping a wing worked for an adventurist EE, I have. Assuming you properly clipped the flight feathers, is there anything in the fenced area, that the birds could jump up on, then make a easy hop over the fence? Also, What breed of chicken are we talking about? Some breeds really like to fly,(As well as a chicken can fly).
 

WalkingOnSunshine

Crowing
11 Years
Apr 8, 2008
4,210
525
328
Ohio
costello, I do not want to get into a fight, and I will not. I will however, give some background.

You're fairly new here, so you probably haven't seen some of the threads that donrae and I have seen very often.
The "help, I don't keep chickens, but my neighbor does and they're all over my property and can I shoot them/turn them into the dog warden/sue my neighbors?" threads.
The "my chickens free range and now my neighbors are angry/shot my chickens/let their dog kill my chicken and I don't know why" threads.
Or my favorite, the "I want to let my chickens free-range but I don't want them to be near any chemicals, how do I stop my neighbor/farmer from using chemicals on their property?" threads.
And then there are all the threads from people who want to be allowed to keep chickens, but cannot because of a local ordinance that came to be because irresponsible people let their chickens roam the neighborhood.

What seems to be a common denominator for these threads is a poster that has no idea that they should not be allowing their chickens to roam the neighborhood. So if someone says "my hens keep getting onto the neighbor's property, and usually I don't care" then an alert goes off in your brain. It's great that in your specific situation, you are sure that it's OK that your birds are on your neighbor's property. It's not always the case.

If you expect everyone reading your threads to make extra-sure to only give advice on exactly what you want them to key in on and ignore all the other information in your post, you might be in for a bad time. People on BYC are helpful, and when people are asking questions about chickens, there are so many factors involved in giving a good answer that we're often scouring a post for clues about how to best help that person. That means paying attention to all the details and giving the most complete answer. You may get a lot of unsolicited advice here.

Good luck with your birds. Personally, I'd clip both wings. A BYC member (wish I could remember their nickname) spent a lot of time and had some birds clipped one wing and some clipped both wings, and took notes on which birds could get to what height. That person's recommendation was to clip both wings, as those with one wing clipped were often still able to fly. My birds, especially the little light ones like Leghorns, are still able to fly over my 5' fence with only one wing clipped.
 
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