Should I fence?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PolloAdoro, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. PolloAdoro

    PolloAdoro Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2010
    Conifer, Colorado
    Hello,
    I am a long time lurker, new member of this site. I have been raising chickens for the past 2 years, but currently don't have any. We had a large bear break into my coop at 2am and it was a total massacre-lost 20 chickens is a matter of 1-2 min. We are now starting over with a new and improved predator proof coop. My sweet husband leveled of an area of trees in the woods for their new home, in an area that will allow a larger outdoor access to the birds. I have about 3/4 of an acre for the birds. My question is -should I invest an electrical fence? I will have about 20 hens and 2 roosters. We live at 9000 feet in Colorado (we get lots of snow), foxes, bears, raccoons, hawks etc. I recently spoke with a fellow chicken owner and he said that an electrical fence wasn't necessary if I have roosters since they will "alert" the hens of predators. He suggested I place a few of those plastic owls with the red eyes up in a few of the trees, and that will help too. I'm talking day time scenario here, as they will be on total lock down in the evenings. So, what do you think? Invest in an electrical fence or no? Thanks for your advice.
     
  2. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    With those type of large predators, I would go with the electric fence.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I sure would. Particularly since you have already had a bear incident.

    Having a roo alert yer hens is not going to do any good whatsoever in the middle of the night (because while it is possible to build a coyoteproof coop, it is NOT possible to build a BEARproof coop, not without high voltage anyhow); and even in daytime, I would not count on everybody necessarily getting away. Specially yer rooster himself.

    If it were me I would fence the whole large area (not just right around the coop -- the further you can stop predators away from the chickens, the less hard they exert themselves to try to get thru the fence) with multiple strands of VERY WELL CHARGED electric that is tested daily with a reliably-accurate fence tester, i.e. a digital one not one of them five-neon-lights jobbies.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    I agree, the only thing that might deter a bear would be electric fencing --high voltage, lots of strands at different heights, and always have it on... But if you have trees near the fencing--a bear and other climbing predators, will climb the trees and drop into the fenced area... Once , We had four large hounds inside a large fenced run. Their feeders and houses were in the center -- one evening, they kept barking and fussing.. I took the flashlight out to see what was going on.. There was a huge raccoon! He had 'tree hopped' from the outside and was coming down the tree closest to te feeder.. If it had been a chicken run--I would have never known it!

    I have a friend who has beehives in the mountains, he had several bear attacks on his hives...he decided he would place an electric fence around them--worked fine for two or three weeks--He went out to find that a bear had climbed the closest tree..the tree had broke under the weight of the bear, fell on the hives, damaging several of them and the bear tore down the fence-- leaving... Since then, he has cut all the trees w/ in 20 feet of the hives and repaired the fence --hasn't had any problems since..
     
  5. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    My guess is that with those kinds of predators, a electric fence would be an absolute must!
     
  6. PolloAdoro

    PolloAdoro Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2010
    Conifer, Colorado
    Well, I live in the forrest-with lots of trees. So it sounds like an electrical fence won't really keep a bear out. I have only seen bears around here at dawn and dusk, never in the mid day (not that it's impossible , just not common) and rarely do I ever see a bear (in 2 years we have seen 1, besides the one that got into the coop at 2am). My plan is to let the chickens out of the barn/run at about 9 or 10am, and let them free range till about 2pm. I can't stay out there with them for 4 or 5 hours. I would then put them back in to the barn, where they are safe for the night. So from the sounds of it, an electrical fence wouldn't suit my situation right? Fox tend to be dusk to dawn hunters- so I'm not too worried about them. My dog will be out there with the chickens. I suppose a hawk could pose a problem- but I don't see my husband agreeing to an a 3/4 acre entire enclosure. Any thoughts? Thank You
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  7. PolloAdoro

    PolloAdoro Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2010
    Conifer, Colorado
    BUMP~anyone? thoughts?
     
  8. Bill D

    Bill D Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2010
    Fayetteville NC
    The trees will help your girls hide from the hawks. I would just make your coop more preadator proof for them at night - hard to build a fence that will keep a bear out.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Black bears do not *often* go up one tree and over to another and then down, to cross an electric fence -- not saying it can't happen but it is not generally a problem when using electric to keep bears out. For one thing bears are pretty heavy and it takes a LOT more in the way of branches to allow a *bear* to cross from one tree to the next than to allow a *raccoon* to do so [​IMG]

    I have only seen bears around here at dawn and dusk, never in the mid day (not that it's impossible , just not common) and rarely do I ever see a bear (in 2 years we have seen 1, besides the one that got into the coop at 2am). My plan is to let the chickens out of the barn/run at about 9 or 10am, and let them free range till about 2pm. I can't stay out there with them for 4 or 5 hours. I would then put them back in to the barn, where they are safe for the night. So from the sounds of it, an electrical fence wouldn't suit my situation right?

    Er, but what is keeping a bear from eating your chickens at dawn/dusk/nighttime? Bears certainly break into coops and barns when they smell yummies in there. Heck, bears sometimes break into *houses* [​IMG]

    Also it is all well and fine to say that 99.5% of the time, raccoons/foxes/coyotes/wolves/wildcats/etc hunt at night -- but realistically, they sometimes DO hunt during the daytime (especially in a] wintertime and b] late spring to early summer when there are babies to feed), and that 0.5% of the time can still lose you a buncha chickens. Go browse the Predators and Pests section of the forum if you don't believe me.

    I would for sure put some serious electric out there, if it were me. But obviuosly it's a personal decision and everyone has to decide how much they care about losing chickens. Do remember that once predators discover they CAN hunt your chickens or break into the coop/barn, it gets much MUCH harder to keep them out in future (as compared to never letting them get a taste)

    JMHO,

    Pat​
     

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