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Chickens Not Respecting the Electric Fence

 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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Hello All,

I have two sections of the electro-net fencing (165' each) and a .5 joules charger. I've recently let my 2 month old chicks out to roam in the area enclosed by this fence and I noticed them squeezing through it without any indication that they are feeling any discomfort. This fence charger is supposed to support 3 sections of this type of fencing. However I suspect that the chicken's feathers are insulating it from much of the electric shock so it just doesn't feel it. I know I have to go around the fence and mow to minimize the grass contact and that will help, but I don't think it will be enough. Last year I was running with just 1 section of fence.

I considering going up to a 2 joules charger but am unsure about impedance. Is this something I need to worry about? Most of what I'm finding are low impedance units.
 
Jeff Mathias
Posts: 125
Location: Westport, CA Zone 8-9; Off grid on 20 acres of redwood forest and floodplain with a seasonal creek.
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Hi Jerry,

The electro-netting is really meant to protect the chickens inside from things getting to them from the outside; so the smaller spacing is actually to stop smaller predators like foxes which would not bother larger livestock like sheep. As you have found out electro-nets don't really deter birds much at all unless it is raining or they try biting on the netting. Unless you have a real need to keep the chickens out of an area I would not worry about it. They will get big enough to be contained by the fence eventually and if you have serious predators the chickens will learn that the fence is safe and stay within it.

On your charger: If I recall correctly for poultry netting you want .5 joules of charger per 165' of fence. So two sections would need a 1 joule charger at the minimum. Low impedance chargers are what you are looking for they are much more forgiving of shorts etc. The best way to check for shorts and know exactly what kind of charge you are getting anywhere on the fence is to get a fence tester. Remember none of this is really going to keep in the chickens though; as you have surmised the feathers are exceptionally insulating.

Jeff



 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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Yeah I really need to find a way to keep the chickens in. I lost about a dozen birds in a few weeks due to them leaving the fenced in area. That really dropped my egg production and it wont come back up for months as I didn't have and chicks growing up.
 
Phillip Swartz
Posts: 38
Location: Upper Midwest - Third Coast - USDA Zone 6a/b
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Don't expect electric net fencing for poultry to contain chickens that young. You may try something to keep their attention focused inside the fence. Obviously something is drawing them to the outside. Maybe treats?

Also, you could try a fence with positive/negative wiring. This means that every other horizontal wire is positive and every other is negative. You'll have to connect one set of wires to the + terminal on your charger and one set of wires to your grounding rod. This may work better for poultry but I've never tried it.

Have you tested your fence? Is it properly grounded? Sometimes I just touch my fence to make sure it is delivering the shock needed to deter predators.
 
John Pollard
Posts: 125
Location: Ozarks
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Poultry netting is pretty cheap. I would put some of that a foot inside of the electric. Of course while chickens can't officially fly, they can fly enough to go over 4 or even 5 foot high fencing unless you clip a wing but that lowers their chance of getting away from predators. In this case aerial predators.
 
Joseph Lewis
Posts: 21
Location: NE Missouri
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Like Jeff stated the net is to keep the chickens in, the electric charge is to keep the predators out. Chickens cannot be kept in with electricity alone. I have tried with much hotter fencers and the combination of a bird brain and feathers will keep them from respecting the fence. You have to keep the chickens in mechanically, even a very hot well grounded fence will not keep a chicken in, been there and tried it.
 
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