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Thorny Hedges for Predator Deterrence  RSS feed

 
Susan Pruitt
Posts: 88
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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My 1/2 acre chicken yard is evolving and I just finished a 6 ft welded wire fence along the exposed side of the yard.   I'm pretty sure a fox nabbed two of my girls who were allowed to range around the house unprotected so I'm not taking any more chances on true free ranging.   I can't afford electric fencing so I'm wondering if anyone knows if a thick to the ground, thorny hedge like Pyracantha would be another good level of deterrent for foxes and raccoons or will they still dig and find little crevices to slither through?  Also serving as another source of berries for the girls to eat?  It's a mostly shady area so my choices are limited. 
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Susan Pruitt wrote:My 1/2 acre chicken yard is evolving and I just finished a 6 ft welded wire fence along the exposed side of the yard.   I'm pretty sure a fox nabbed two of my girls who were allowed to range around the house unprotected so I'm not taking any more chances on true free ranging.   I can't afford electric fencing so I'm wondering if anyone knows if a thick to the ground, thorny hedge like Pyracantha would be another good level of deterrent for foxes and raccoons or will they still dig and find little crevices to slither through?  Also serving as another source of berries for the girls to eat?  It's a mostly shady area so my choices are limited. 


I wouldn't say it's impossible, but I have very little faith it can be done.  Deer or something like that I think it's possible, but I have never seen anything that would grow thick enough to stop a fox from running thru it.  Raccoons can also go over, under, thru, or around darn near anything.
 
Susan Pruitt
Posts: 88
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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Thanks Todd.   Pyracantha thorny branches are incredibly gnarly, intertwined and have horrible long, needle-like thorns.   I doubt anything would go thru or over it - but you may be right about the difficulty in keeping it thick enough at the bottom.   I looked at pictures of pyracantha hedges and they look pretty solid so I'm wondering if anyone has done this.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The best choice for a living fence/deterent for foxes that I know of is a brier thicket, even then they could locate a path through if the reward on the other side is good enough.
Foxes are very clever, they will dig under, jump over just about anything including electric fencing. I've seen red and silver foxes jump 6 foot fences, I've seen holes that were 2 feet deep too.

In my opinion the best thing to do for this particular critter is to buy two fence wires, a 4' 2x4 that goes 2.5 feet into the ground and a 8' 2x4 that is wired to the remainder of that 4' fence wire that is above ground.
To really discourage the fox I would add 2 hot wires 4 inches apart at the bottom, and two more 4 inches apart at 1.5 feet from the ground.

If you can't bury the fence 2.5 feet into the soil, then bend it so it lays flat on the ground for that 2.5 feet, that way they have to really tunnel to get inside and should you place rocks just inside the fence, well those will collapse on top of the invading critter.

Redhawk
 
Susan Pruitt
Posts: 88
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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Sigh... yes I understand Bryant.   My aging and aching back are just begging me to not do anymore digging - lol!  I'm pretty much an electrical systems dummy and don't know what to buy.  I can figure that out with some research but before then,  do you think I could wire 150 feet for less than $100 ?   Can I just charge the whole welded wire fence which would also keep out the neighborhood kids who are determined to sneak into my yard to retrieve their balls?  Just kidding....sorta
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
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fence chargers  look at the Zareba 2 mile AC charger (under 50.00 at TSC)

as for charging the actual fence; charged wire has to be isolated from ground in order to work, that means you can't have the fence touching the soil or the posts that the fence is attached to if they are touching the soil.

The wire is pretty cheap as are the standoffs to hold that wire. You will want a minimum of 2 ground rods (3 are better) to make sure that any critter that touches the wire gets the jolt.
(kids are critters too)

Redhawk
 
Jessica Milliner
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Location: Just outside of Asheville, NC
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We lost 25 chickens and two ducks to foxes before buying an electric netting fence (we already had a charger). I wish we'd sprung for it sooner, as it would have been a lot cheaper than all the chickens we lost.
Foxes are tricky but electricity is an extremely effective psychological deterrent.

Also rolls of welded or chicken wire aren't that much cheaper once you include the cost of the posts, and are much less reusable. Basically I wish we'd gone for the electric netting sooner amd will always be protecting our poultry with it in the future.
 
Susan Pruitt
Posts: 88
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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Thank you Bryant,  you seem to know something about everything!  I 've already completed my 6 foot permanent fence, partly to contain my flyers rather than worrying about clipping wings on an ongoing basis.   The rocks idea is brilliant, never heard of it.   I have some but might need to import more - nothing but solid clay here - do you suggest rocks in the 4-8" diameter range?   I also agree with an electric wire close to the ground and appreciate your tip, I'm not as intimidated now :)  You're right Jessica - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!   I just won't get new shoes this season, lol.    I'll report back after prime predator season  next spring :)  
 
Jim Fry
Posts: 140
Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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It is my experience of 60+ years that there is nothing you can do that will be 100% effective against all predators. Save one. ...Remove any predator.

I do a certain amount of prayer. I do a certain amount of very clearly expressing my intent. I make it very clear to all spiders that if you come in our house you will die. My house is my space. Stay out. I also make it clear to all spiders that if I see you outside I will leave you alone. That is their space. I do the same with coyotes, foxes, raccoons, possums, weasels, hawks, etc. I will leave you alone, I will not hunt you, if you keep to your space. But the chickens and sheep and goats and rabbits are mine. Bother them and you die. Very quickly. It seems a fair deal to me. Respect each others space. Be clear about the rules. Its up to them to abide by them, because I certainly will. For me at least, all life, all events are connected. If you are very clear about your intent then things tend to work well.  ...So best of luck with your fences. They may work fairly well for a time. But, it is my experience that sooner or later things will fail and you might have been better off dealing with situations more directly.

---I like to tell stories, so here is are a couple of short ones that aren't exactly on point, but they talk a little about four leggeds and two leggeds understanding each other and getting along. I don't know if this is true or not, but I was told that Sitting Bull, of the Húnkpapȟa, got his name because he was brave enough to walk and sit with the bull buffalos (bull buffalos can appear to be totally calm one moment and the next run you over). Sitting Bull was able to let the buffalo know he meant no harm. And they understood and allowed him to be amongst them.

One time I was in the Black Hills. I was up on a hill looking across the valley below. I sat for awhile and then saw an enormous old bull come walking up the valley. He walked, taking his time, until he was directly opposite me. He stopped, pawed the ground for a bit, then looked up the hill directly at me. He pawed again. Then walked on down the valley a little ways. Then he stopped and looked at me again. It seemed a bit strange (actually not strange at all), and then I heard the voice. It said to go down the hill to see what he was pawing at. Now this didn't seem to be a particularly good idea since if the buffalo got a mind to he could run me down easily. But, hey, when the voice says move, I tend to move. So I walked down the hill to the flat were he had pawed the dirt, ...the whole time the bull watching in the near distance. And there, in the loosened ground, were 12 uncovered buffalo bones. The voice said to take them home to Ohio. So I gathered them and walked back up the hill. When I reached the crest I turned to wave and say Thank You, and the bull buffalo shook his head (in seeming agreement) and turned and sauntered off on the rest of his day's journey.

At home one of my gardens is 12 raised garden beds arranged in a circle. I (re)buried those 12 bones, one in each bed. And those beds have grown vegetables like you wouldn't believe. That to me is permaculture. Recognizing the Life in everything, the Spirit in everything, the Wisdom and Knowledge of all things. And working with All, ...the Stones, the Plants, the Animals and the Walking Uprights, to live a more balanced and productive life. So, as I suggested, be clear about what you want. Let all the others know your intent. Then live by it.


 
Susan Pruitt
Posts: 88
Location: North Carolina, USA Zone 7b
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Beautiful Jim.   I understand and agree.   This type of thinking and living in harmony with nature and spirit have become the surprise benefits of my labors in my fairly recent permaculture lifestyle.  I know I can't micromanage every detail of my life or my garden or animals.   That's why I started out giving my girls a great bit of freedom.  Even if I control the hawks and foxes and raccoons there's still snakes and weasels and broken legs and who knows what else so I really don't sweat the small stuff and don't want to keep my girls in a box (prison).   So I'm drawing the line on digging 2 feet down around the entire 1/2 acre perimeter or shrinking their space to a more "practical" small caged area.  I've observed that my inclinations to desperately control things comes from a place of deprivation, and the more I "Let Go and Let God Guide Me", the more peaceful AND successful I am.   Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement!   (Haha-  I gave the daddy long legs free reign in my house last year but grew tired of whispy webs EVERYWHERE - so this year I've issued a decree to stay out or I will show no mercy)

Would love to see pics of that circle garden
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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