I'm putting up electric wire for hogs on an existing 3-strand barbed wire fence- one hot wire 12" from the ground and another 24". It encloses about 2 acres. Will that keep chickens in and predators out reasonably well? I don't want their free range to include my yard and the road.
Add a strand of 4-prong barb wire right against the ground to keep the pigs and dogs/coyotes from rooting under.
If the wires are closer than 4" together, you might keep birds in, but that is only a maybe. Poultry netting is pretty small for a reason.
Nothing to stop birds or predators from going over the top, but they have to be motivated to do that, especially if they got bit by the electric already.
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I know Geoff Lawton shows moving his chicken tractor from place to place and setting up an electric fence to keep them in on one of his videos. The fence is powered by a solar panel on top of the chicken tractor. Pretty neat setup - although perhaps different from what you describe below - his looks like more of a "small animal wire" fence. You can see it in the below video at about 8:13 minutes.
There are electric fences which are meshes, but I haven't tried them so far. It depends on your chicken weather they are flighty or not. And you want to keep Mr. fox out and he's so smart. He managed to open a sliding door at our chicken house....
I have the 42" electro-net fencing and even after clipping their wings some still get out. I haven't yet seen them escape so I don't know how they are getting out. However I do know there are some coyotes in the area and they have not yet lost any to them, even though I don't close up the coop at night, so maybe it serves as predator protection. I wish I had spent the few extra $$ for the 48" fence.
I was under the impression that feathers were a pretty poor conductor, so unless the chicken stepped on it, or rubbed really hard, it wouldn't do any good. I've only used it to keep predators out and for that it seemed to work pretty well.
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
posted 5 years ago
They do pretty much have to hit their head on the fence to get the shock, but since they are pecking at things on the ground they learn quickly.