I've been planning to upgrade our chicken run to a Justin Rhodes style "chickshaw" with movable electro-net fencing, and was about to order everything I need to build the new system, when I read something about dry rocky soils making electric fences ineffective. I live in the high desert (2-4inches of rain a year) on dry, sandy, rocky soil. Anyone have experience with drylands mobile chicken systems? Any advice/ cautionary tales appreciated!
I don't live in a dry arid climate but I will offer this and then maybe someone can correct me if I'm wrong. To me the most important consideration is having your grounding area at least moist to make sure the fence is grounded adequately. The effectiveness of the fence will be greatly diminished if this isn't provided. As far as the effectiveness of the rest of the fence line it may not provide the same sting of a moister area but it should at least provide protection. IMHO electro netting for chickens is more about keeping predators out rather than chickens in so make sure you have the suitably spaced netting. A four legged predator with a wet nose will still be deterred by the fence.
One way to help an electric fence perform in dry conditions is to include a grounded wire, or more than one, in the fence. Ideally this is placed so that the animal encounters both the "hot" wire and the ground wire as it touches the fence, and thus gets a good shock anyway. I've never used the net stuff, but I've had good results with wires by making every other wire grounded with four or five strands in the fence.
Alder Burns (adiantum)
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