Predator got past the hot wire!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by AlbionWood, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our chickens are in a large yard, enclosed by a 6' plastic-mesh deer fence extending to the ground, with a hot wire (4000V) on the outside about 4" to 6" from the ground and a hot-tape about knee-high. Within this, on one side, we enclosed a run for the hatchlings, using smaller-mesh netting all around to keep the Ravens away. Today we found two dead chicks inside the run, one mostly eaten and another with just part of its head and neck eaten away. The wire was on and the tester still indicated 4000V. I could see where the predator had gone under the fence, somehow avoiding that hot wire, then tried to drag one of the chicks outside but left it just at the fence - maybe got hit by the wire on the way out?

    Can't believe that wire failed to work. I have a live-trap set up and hope to catch whatever it was -I'm betting opossum. Wish me luck!
     
  2. brownegger

    brownegger Out Of The Brooder

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    Do you have any other type of fencing behind the hotwire? I have found that alone it does little to protect but, if a predator has to overcome an obstacle directly behind the wire, they have a better chance of hitting it and getting the message! Sorry for your loss!
     
  3. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, sorry I wasn't clear - there is a 6' tall plastic-mesh fence (square holes about 1.5") on the inside of the T-posts, and the hot wire and tape are on the outside of the same posts, with plastic insulator standoffs. To get to the plastic fence a predator has to get past that bottom hot wire, about 4" to 6" off the ground. Something really small might go under it, but a raccoon would just about have to hit that wire. I do worry about weasels, but this doesn't fit their M.O.

    It's possible the charger wasn't delivering a full 1-joule shock, there was one place where the wire had come out of the insulator and was nearly touching the post. I might need a better fence tester that indicates joules rather than just volts.
     
  4. mjuenem

    mjuenem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is it possible your ground is getting dry? Any electric fence doesn't work without a return path. Check that your ground rod is not disconnected or the area around it dried out. A method of not being subject to dry ground would be to lay a 24" mat of chicken wire flat on the ground under your electric fence wire and ground the mat back to the fencer.
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Many years ago my brother lived on 6 acres, and enclosed a large garden with electric fencing. His dog yelped every time he ran through and got bitten b the fence--didn't stop him going in there--just made him yelp.

    IMO, plastic fencing is unlikely to keep out a determined predator, regardless of being electrified or not. If there is no overhead protection, some predators can leap fairly tall fencing, and of course there are also airborne predators.
     
  6. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not trying to come off wrong here but I have to ask if all you have is a plastic deer fence? IMHO that's just asking for trouble even with an electric fence on the outside.

    When you use an electric fence the name of the game is maximizing the predators exposure to the wires. I have 3 low, 2 middle, and another 2 up high. I used a 2"x4" welded wire fence with a buried perimeter of chicken wire. The fence and chicken wire are attached to the ground of the charger which gives a very hot zap all around the perimeter.

    I'd recommend getting welded wire in place before you have too many more losses.
     
  7. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Might lower your bottom strand and add another strand 3-4 inches to be sure they aren't stepping thru
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Yeah, if it's even close to the fence post, it can cause a dead-short and not deliver much more than a tickle instead of a shock. Putting up several strands will be helpful.
     
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Do you have a meter to check the volts? My wire runs around 4000 to 6000 volts and I test it daily. I have heard critter touch my wire and cry out and they haven't been back.
     
  10. mjuenem

    mjuenem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yeah, if it's even close to the fence post, it can cause a dead-short and not deliver much more than a tickle instead of a shock. Putting up several strands will be helpful.

    Yes the problem is if the wire is out of the insulator, it may touch the post and short out the fence when the predator brushes by. I wrap my wire completely around each insulator. Make sure you pull it tight as you do this because it negates using a fence stretcher later.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011

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