Running an electric wire atop a board fence?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by NickyPick, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cypress, TX
    I've been having predator issues lately. I'm sure of coons, for one, because of the carcass being left, minus the head & crop, but the other is leaving an exploded pile of feathers and no carcass at all. I'm leaning towards a fox or coyote for those, but hopefully its not an owl. These attacks seem to take place mostly in the mid to late afternoon. I really need the hens to spend the day out in my horse pens as their main purpose is fly control, but if they're getting picked off one by one every couple of days, it's hard to let them out. :(
    So, I'm thinking of running a hot wire above the top board on the fence. Hopefully it will keep these critters from climbing over (and keep the hens from going over too). Anyone have any pros or cons to this? What's the best wire set up to use? How far above the board should I set the wire?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The predator has to make contact with the ground for it to work. You can try a strand 12-18" off the ground or invest in poultry fencing that is hot. What else do you have to deter predators? The pile of feathers sounds like an owl or hawk.
     
  3. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    I used to free-range chickens in a pen with miniature horses and goats. I had welded wire fencing around the pen/pasture, with a board on the top and bottom of the wire. I had a hot wire on the inside at about shoulder height to the goats to keep them off the fence, and a wire on the outside at about 8" from the ground to keep predators out. I had a wire about 6" above the top, too.

    I had the odd hen that could still get over the 4' high fence, even with the hot wire. I lost a few birds when they got hung up on the hot wire (one duck when it reached through the fence and got its beak on the wire on the outside).[​IMG]

    As Percheron chick said, the scattered feathers do suggest a hawk or owl. Do you have a rooster? The boys can do a pretty good job of sentry duty; they have certain calls for specific predators, and warn the others when danger is spotted.
     
  4. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well fudge. I was really hoping that would work. I have 2 roosters, but they don't seem to do much other than get the rest of the flock back into the barn when someone gets attacked. The coop & run are secure, but I have the hens free to range the horse pastures during the day as their primary purpose is fly control. The EE's and dark cornish are still light enough to fly, so they're the ones going over the fences (which are 5 1/2 feet high).

    I'm hesitant to point at a hawk. The only ones seen around here are the red shouldered hawk and they are smaller than my hens. We have barred owls around, but, I've never heard them hooting before 4 pm and whatever is leaving the exploded pile of feathers is getting them before then. The fox - half the neighborhood has seen at one time or another. I've got her on the game cam going over the fence, both in daylight and night - same with the coons.

    I have had some success with trapping the coons, but none at all with the foxes.
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your chickens don't need to get into the pastures to be of benefit. Mine rarely wander into them (the guineas venture maybe 100 yards into them) and I have seen a measurable decrease in the fly population over the years. Do you stockpile manure or have a decent compost pile? Letting them have access to those will do wonders to interupting the life cycle of flies and other pests. If you are loosing chickens to predators, it's not feasible to let them out in the pastures. Restrict their area with an electric poultry fence or a portable chicken tractor. Drag the pastures to spread the manure and dry it out.
     
  6. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks - I'll remember that when I move in a couple of years and my horses have access to 18 acres. Right now, though, I do need the hens in the pens. I had to keep them locked up for a lot of last spring and the difference in flies was measureable. My compost piles are back in the woods, so I don't feel comfortable letting any of the hens back there as it would just make it easier on this predator to pick them off.
     

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