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Fencing query - attaching fence to tree trunks.

 
pollinator
Posts: 2235
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Hi Folks,

I'm looking to finally get my chickens setup this year. I have a great space for a run for them, but given the foxes in my area we need some pretty hefty protection.

The area in question is about 20m long by around 10m wide and is a self-seeded thicket of willow trees, with lots of trunks about 8 inches in diameter. If possible I'd like to use the trees themselves as posts for some, or most, of the fencing. What are people's experiences of doing something like this? I don't care about the trees themselves - if they didn't serve a purpose as potential fence posts and chicken shelter I would probably be giving them a pruning at ground level with the chainsaw. Even then they seem pretty unkillable!

My intention is to fold a run of heavy fencing wire into an L shape, so that the foot of the L rests on the ground on the outside of the run. I'll bang a few wooden pegs in to hold it down, and over time the grass will grow into it. This should stop foxes digging or generally trying to attack the fence itself. For the upper portion I'll run traditional chicken wire, part overlapping the fence wire at the lower level. This should go to a height of about 6ft.


Ultimately this should end up with a leafy canopy, fairly clear understory and then with a decent area for managing compost etc. And then a sturdy chicken coop within the fenced area.

Any thoughts? How is a fence like this likely to age?
 
master pollinator
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You are fine using the trees as posts. It won't kill the trees anyway, the trees will just grow around the fencing, which is no big deal. Harvesting the trees down the road might be an issue as the last thing a person wants to do is run into a fence-embedded tree, but I have fenced many trees, and so has my Grandfather!

I think you are a bit off on deterring fox from your chickens though. As a sheep farmer we have coyotes which are a close cousin, and what we do is, put down 1 strand of barb wire cable at ground level to deter digging. Put up the fencing (chicken wire in your case), then using off-set insulators, put up a strand or two of electric wire on the OUTSIDE of the fence. That will give the fox a jolt of electricity deterring them.
 
gardener
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I agree. My first use of a tree trunk in a cold climate I had questions too, but I just screwed in the wood plank and three years  later I've had to do no maintenance. Trees are fine. Fence is fine. Winter freezes didn't seem to affect it. Coyotes where I grew up, in southern California,  ate threw chicken wire, but I didn't grow up with foxes at the hen house. Good luck!
 
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