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Fence Quandry

 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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Hi.
I'm getting chickens for the first time next month. 10 of them. I've already built a fenced in area with pallets and they have access to an indoor area with all the amenities a chicken might need.

The next thing I'd like to do before they get here is to set up another area that is semi-movable where I can put them during the day. I will be around, so there's not so much of a problem with predators.

My options are:

1. meter-high wire fencing with stakes.
2. electric fencing which would necessitate more involvement/knowledge of electricity and potential mowing around a new area.
3. durable plastic fencing with stakes, potentially more than a meter high.

Wire fencing with stakes would cost me about the same as the electric fencing, minus the whole battery-inverter thing (120 euros). The durable plastic fencing with stakes might be the cheapest option, since I can probably get the fencing for free - maybe even the stakes too. The grid on both the wire fence and the plastic fence is tight enough for a chicken. Not too worried about flying. We've been told they tend to stay on the ground.

thanks for the help.
Willliam

ps: another related question: how important is closing the door at night and keeping them 'locked' inside? Would just making perch areas high enough be okay? I really would like to get out of tucking them in at night if I could.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1304
Location: Central New Jersey
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Well, there are ways and there are ways. So far, I have been getting away with not locking up my hens most nights, but it would appear that my suburban neighborhood is very low on predator pressure. It might be ok where you are, or it might be a horrible tragedy.

My hens don't give much of a thought to going right over a meter high fence. If you think chickens won't/don't fly, you could be in for quite the surprise

I use deer netting as a lid to keep my girls from going to visit the neighbors, which can get us all into trouble when it happens.

Another point about putting a lid on - aerial predators. The other day my wife and I were out in the back yard, looking at the sprouting garlic and listening to the chickes, just generally enjoying one of the first nice days - and we noticed two Large hawks soaring about above us. They could definitely take on our hens, they would probably like to take on our hens - but, one, the hens may have noticed the hawks, because they were not out in the open anymore, and even if the haws tried - they would hit the deer netting and that, I hope, would prevent them from getting to the hens and make them not want to try again.

Which fencing in your area? So much depends on what you have to protect your chickens against. I am spoiled, and I appreciate it, in that, so far, we have had no predator problems.
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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I think predator pressure is low. Not seeing much in the way of hawks or foxes and other people in the area have chickens uncovered during the day. As for the night, I've put multiple perches in the indoor portion so they can get up high. Hopefully higher than any predator, even if cats might be able to get up there. Dogs and foxes would be discouraged, I think.

I've been assured by the owner that the chickens don't fly. We're going to give it a go with meter/meter and a half fencing and see where it goes.

Wire would keep them in, but would durable plastic be okay? Or would they pick at it until they found a chicken-sized hole?

Thanks.
William

 
Danielle Pannhurst
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I've had great success with my portable electric fencing from Premier. It takes my hubby, 3 year old son, and myself, about 15 mins to move the coop and 200' of fencing. The down side is the initial investment to buy. Gah! That was an unexpected expense but worth it considering my birds are unharmed.
I will say I'm glad we got the new fencing with the extra poles space at 6' instead of 12'. I can't imagine how flimsy the netting would be without it. I also like that it's incredibly easy to add on as many lengths of fence as needed up to length the energizer (we call it The Zapper) will service.
No knowledge of electricity or serious wiring is needed. You just connect the clips and it's working!
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I am also a huge fan of electric fencing. I've never seen a chicken that wouldn't fly over a fence sooner or later. The electric fence helps a bit. But the bigger reason is the dog problem. Someone somewhere lets their dog out to roam. They will find my chickens every time. But the electric fence keeps them at bay.
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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Yeah, dogs are a problem. People are always walking by the field with their dogs, not always on leashes.

For now I invested 40 euros in plastic fencing. We'll see how it works.

I'm a little wary of leaving anything out in the field because word has it that things get stolen if they're not bolted to something, an electric battery would be more tempting than a fence and some iron stakes.

Actually slightly more scared of the people than the animals, once they smell free meat walking around.

William
 
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