two layers of 2"x4" electrified mesh?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by k2panman, Jun 20, 2018.

  1. k2panman

    k2panman Chirping

    I'm thinking about building my first chicken coop - a newbie to chickens, but I've been doing a lot of reading here on BYC (Mahalo nui loa to everyone who contributes here - fantastic information!)

    I have built houses, parts for rocket ships, etc, and have lots of tools, so construction is not a big deal but I generally stick with the KISS principle.

    My choices of building materials are somewhat limited on the Big Island of Hawai'i. My main predators are the Indian Mongoose and feral cats, maybe a neighbor's dog. We have no other varmints here - no snakes, no skunks, opossums or raccoons.

    I want to build a coop for chickens to roost at night, going to let them free range on 5 acres during the day. I can use 1/2" mesh 19 gauge hardware cloth or I was thinking about using two layers of 2"x4" 14 gauge mesh offset so the holes look like 1"x2" - separated by a few 1x2's (3/4" spacing) and put an electric fence charger on the grid. Hex chicken wire, according to what I've read here on BYC is out.

    The electric grid would do more to scare the critters away I think. It would be a little more complicated to build, cost would be about the same.

    Any thoughts on this are appreciated. Crazy, not or ?
  2. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    1x2” is a really big hole when the power goes out..I don’t like to depend on power I’d rather use the hardware cloth with holes smaller then a feral cats paws... they can pull chickens partly threw ☹️

    Make if Fort Knox so you don’t have to worry that during that storm the power went out .
    This is the opinion of a farmer with some electric fence that doesn’t always work
  3. k2panman

    k2panman Chirping

    Good point - power outages! I'm on grid here, and being at the end of the line, we'll get some outages. And then there's also component failure - if it can break, it probably will at the wrong time. So rather than go with buying a backup fence charger, the hardware cloth is a better design.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Not sure you could electrify that set up?
    @Howard E would know.
  5. k2panman

    k2panman Chirping

    The inside panel would be tied to the negative output of the charger and earth ground, the other panel 3/4" away and on the outside would be tied to the positive output of the charger. When a critter touches the positive panel, they complete the electrical circuit either thru their legs contacting the earth, or by touching the negative panel. Either way, they get a good shock and learn not to come back pretty quickly. The education part would be good for any stray pets that come by.
  6. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

    Aug 30, 2017
    Poplar Bluff, MO
    My Coop
    Much easier to just run a hot wire around the outside and ground the fence. Put one low for diggers, one about 12" for sniffers and reachers and one near the top for climbers. A wood structure is easy to use screw in insulators. Put chicken wire on the inside a foot or two high to keep the birds from sticking their head out and getting shocked.

  7. k2panman

    k2panman Chirping

    Thanks JT, I think that would be easier. I'm going to go with the 1/2" mesh hardware cloth - wish I could find it cheaper than $.62 / sq. ft.
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    JT has described the usual setup for an electric fence surrounding a coop. Works well for the usual suspects, most of which you do not appear to have.

    Since your main concern are a mongoose, dogs and cats, another possible E FENCE solution that might work is to hang a 2' high span of good old chicken wire on insulated fiberglass posts. The posts would look something like this:

    Such a fence leaves the chicken wire HOT, so nothing is going to tangle with it. Size is much smaller than most electric poultry netting, which a mongoose might be able to slip past.

    Trick would be in getting it close enough to the soil line to keep a mongoose from slipping or digging under without getting zapped. Getting and keeping it that close to the soil line is the challenge. Weeds, grass, mole runs, etc. will all pop up to short it out. A line of patio pavers or similar under it might work.

    You won't need both hot and grounded fences. Build it as described and any attempt to climb it will start with them standing on the ground (soil) to get shocked.

    None of these electric solutions or any other fence solution will protect from any attacks from above.......hawks, etc.

    Then, if you want to provide a controlled, safer yard area, surround it with a multi wire electric fence. This works well for dogs and cats, etc. This is for the daylight hours when the birds are out and about. A true free range flock is always at risk of being wiped out at any moment. Always.
  9. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    Also, you need not worry about power outages. I use fencers powered by 12 volt batteries. They last a couple months between charges. A battery powered unit is every bit as hot as the AC versions. In many ways, it is a far better option.
  10. k2panman

    k2panman Chirping

    Thanks Howard, the electrified chicken wire sounds like a great idea. One question Terri had is "what if the chickens walk up and touch the electric fence when they are outside the coop?" I was thinking to turn it off before letting the hens out. However, I wanted to have an automatic door. But those who come home late and try to get in would get an unwelcoming shock! Guess it might teach them to come home on time, or run them off like a runaway teenager.

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