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CRAZY idea for invisible cheap chicken containment

 
Brian Moolman
Posts: 12
Location: Port Elizabeth, Nanaga area, Eastern Cape, South Africa
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Ok so I was listening to Paul's podcast with Toby about animal problems to solutions.

The basic message is for every animal problem, there's another animal thats can provide a solution.

So I was working in my garden yesterday when it came to me. Our farm house is one of those ones that are encircled by a driveway, now the driveway also marks the border of my dog Zulu's boundary limit (he has one of those invisible fence electric collar thingys). Our chicken coup is on the other side of the boundary and they don't dare walk over this invisible barrier coz Zulu likes to pluck there tail feather out for them (Nobody messes with Zulu) .

So I was thinking if this dog barrier can keep the chickens out the garden couldn't  you use the same principle to keep chickens in where you want them, like on a chicken paddock shift system. Is this crazy or cruel or something, I'm not sure.

Here's how it could work. You set up the border wire in a circle/square around wherever the chickens need to be, u place some flags or something so the dog knows where it can't go and chickens know where their foraging border is, then you get a type of dog that will sit all day and make sure those chickens never get out. I'm pretty sure a jack russell will have no complaints doing that job.

At night the chickens are locked up in there moveable coop, then the next morning the coop is moved and the new forage zone setup before the chickens are let out. Dog in place then out the chickens go!

I think its possible for this to maybe work but there are surely some issues with it.

- training chickens to recognize their border
- fatalities to slower learning chickens
- battery on collar could go flat on you

The upside is the dog is likely to deter predators away especially if you have 2.

So what do you think?
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Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1532
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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I've got chickens and dogs, and I've experimented with the invisible fence thing.  I think it might work pretty well.  ONe thing though, if the wire gets to where it is leaking its signal and or the signal is weak, then sometimes the dog gets through......

I've thought a lot about portable grazingg system for chickens and haven't got one worked out, so you've got me thinking... trouble is, I would need the right kind of dog. My big komondor is not likely to sit there all day, and I've trained her not to chase the birds....
 
Brian Moolman
Posts: 12
Location: Port Elizabeth, Nanaga area, Eastern Cape, South Africa
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Yeah iv been mulling this over in my head the last few days and the more I think about it the more unsure I am it will work. TOO many things to go wrong, its only a matter of time before your dog figures out a way in and that will end in disaster.

Was fun thinking about it though, really need to find a cheap fool proof solution, I live in South Africa and I can't find any of that electric netting stuff anywhere, seems like there is not enough demand for it here.

Maybe livestock guardians are the only answer, here where we are there are loads of predators like jackals, lynx, african bush cat, mongoose, hawks etc. etc. It just seems those lgd are really big and will cost a lot of money to feed for a few chickens for the house.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1532
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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wow, South Africa.  long ways from Western Colorado.  I don't know how big an area you are trying to have for your chickens or how often you would  want to move them.  I usually come back to the idea of portable fencing, which is what the moving invisible fence is based on too...

What I've found is that, with my 2 acre piece, adjacent to a national park where we have coyote, mt lion fox, skunk, roaming neighborhood dogs--  our local predator population, I have my perimeter fenced to keep my LGD in, and after 2 years she is fairly reliable about not harassing the chickens herself, though through the years of puppyhood we lost several of the flock to accidental puppy caused death.  Anyway, how it is working now is the big dog barks often enough to notify ALL predators that the pickings are not as easy as they might think, here at my small holding.  She keeps the predators away, except the skunks, who have scored more than one direct hit.

My endeavor in trying to put boundaries around the chickens has to do with wanting to keep them from eating my garden plants, and keep them off of some areas to allow the feed plants to regenerate.  Chicken tractors are too small, to confining to high maintenance here in our arid climate with brilliant burning high elevation sun....  moving a poultry wire enclosure even once a week seems like a lot of work, especially when you consider if you don't put something over the top, they will just fly out......

I guess we just have to keep schemeing. 

keep us posted on any new ideas, something is bound to work eventually/
 
                        
Posts: 508
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I don't know if these guys ship out of the country and I have had no personal experience with them but their website looks interesting. They do say  talk to them if you live somewhere other than in the lower 48 States so they might ship overseas  They show chickens (and most other farm creatures) being fenced in with various versions of their electrified netting.
http://www.maxflex.com/horse_fence.htm

There are probly other outfits as well if this one doesn't suit.

Nice dog btw.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2523
Location: FL
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Crazy ideas sometimes are not all that crazy.  Some of the greatest discoveries in science have resulted by someone saying "huh...that's funny."

Sometimes on the projects I work on we encounter an obstacle where repeated attempts and different methods fail.  The problem is tossed around all the men for suggestions.  They come up with some crazy answers, but when regular efforts dont work...try crazy.
 
Tim Canton
Posts: 175
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great looking dog...

try kencove....they say they ship internationally........perhaps you could order it to a us address and have someone ship it to you from there??

alternatively if the dog you use respects fences and wont break through  you could just move a fence for the chickens

although looks like your buddy could step over a 4 ft fence if he wanted.

what about training a small dog like a jack russel if its only daytime protection??  wouldn't almost any dog keep predators away during daylight if they could leave the chickens alone??  I must admit I have zero knowledge on the hunting habits of a bush cat or mongoose...
 
Jorja Hernandez
Posts: 78
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Man, Zulu is GORGEOUS! I wouldn't mess with him either but I'd sure like to cuddle on him for a bit. Boerboel, yes? I've always wanted to meet one of those but they're rare here in the States.

As for the hot fence, I've known some dogs to shoot right through them and then get 'stuck' on the outside. Sounds like something a JRT would do. Not sure about the chickens, it might depend on how tasty the out-of-bounds stuff looked. Do you keep their wings clipped?

 
Andrew Ray
Posts: 162
Location: Slovakia
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Hi, I'm new here, and I'll jump in on this topic.

I've been thinking through invisible fences for goats.  I have an old radio fence which I'm going to try using.  Anyway, in my research into what is the state of the art, I found that there is now an invisible dog fence which boundaries can be set by computer in fairly complex shapes.  Of course, it also has a hefty price-tag of around $1000, but if someone had that money to throw around you could make a circle around the chickens without needing to move around electric fence wire.
 
Jack Shawburn
Posts: 230
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Nice dog - a pity his spirit will be broken by that thing around his neck.
 
please buy my thing and then I'll have more money:
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
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