We started looking around at electric fencing for chickens a while back after a few customer enquiries and found a lot of great advice online.
But overall we thought it must be a bit daunting with just the sheer volume of information out there, so thought we would have a go at putting together our own short guide to protecting your chickens and setting up a decent fox deterrent.
Electric fencing will work more as a psychological deterrent than a physical one as most predators that come up against a regular non powered fence will try different approaches to attacking it. Trying to dig under, climb over or even look for something to use as a platform to jump into an enclosure but one quick shock from the mesh of an electric fence and the predator will give anything that looks like that fence a wide berth.
Once you have a fence set up they’re also a great way to keep some of your more energetic birds in if you like to keep them in a house but also want to give them room to roam during the day. We’ve seen a few birds make a bid for freedom over what the owner thought was a reasonable height non powered perimeter whatever it was made of.
Not to mention they’re very portable too. So you can just keep moving your chicken house around, unplug the fencing pull the posts out and push everything back in at the new location. A lot easier to manage and more flexible than a regular permanent fencing solution.
So What Do I Need For the Complete
Electric Fence Setup?
The Electric Fence Energiser (and power supply)
Every fence setup for poultry or any other livestock for that matter will need an energiser, most will pull their power straight from a regular 12 volt battery or mains but you can also get solar power setups which we have never tried in all honesty so can’t really comment.
Our favourite electric fencing energisers that we always recommend for chickens and most birds are the Gemini range which you can find out more about here…
You will find energisers come in a variety of joule ratings depending on how many fence sections you want in your setup. Also the joule rating will dictate how much power leakage your fence can handle while still being effective. A general rule of thumb is to get an energiser a bit more powerful than you think you’ll actually need.
The majority of poultry netting on offer out there is made from polyurethane with thin metal filaments running through the horizontals. We also supply everything as an electric fencing kit and it comes complete with posts, ground pins and four corner posts.
You basically set the fence mesh up in any configuration you want then attach the energiser to the netting and the ground. The not so tech bit is when the fox comes sniffing around and touches the fence it will close the circuit between the netting and the ground giving the fox a shock.
And finally the earth stake to complete the setup which coupled with the fence creates the open circuit needed to make the fence fully operational.
Why is My Electric Fencing Not Working?
Most problems with electric fencing setups, especially those for chickens can be rectified relatively easily due to the simplicity of the setup.
First off and it seems so simple but so easy to overlook. Just check the energiser is turned on and normally most will have a power indicator. The Gemini range has a small led light that flashes to show there is a charge.
Also you will be able to hear a small ticking sound every second or so from the fencing if it’s working correctly, there are some very handy electric fence testers out there that can give clues as to where the problem is stemming from.
If you’re not getting power to the fencing energiser it’s time to look at your power source. If you’ve tested your power source on something else and know it works but the energiser still doesn’t seem to work you could have a faulty energiser.
If you have power to the energiser just check the perimeter of the electric fence to see if something is touching the bottom of the netting. This includes undergrowth, any small debris or if it’s touching or being blown against something larger nearby like a shed or even the housing you’re keeping the chickens in if it’s too close. Also look for signs of wear and tear along the fence.
Sometimes if a fence is wet and becomes slack it can also try to bridge any space between an earthing point which could be grass or weeds and the fence itself and will normally create a different sound to the normal click you will usually hear from a correctly operating fence.
Also check if the soil around the ground pins and stake is too dry? If the soil is excessively dry or even sandy the earth system the fence tries to create may not be conductive enough to close the loop and create the shock. This is probably another of the most common reasons for a fence to not be as efficient as it can be.
Just Another Option to Keep Your Chickens Happy and Safe
Some keepers see all of this as purely a deterrent against predators but some, as a way to give them a more portable option on how they like to keep their chickens. Either way we hope you enjoyed our first little guide. We can see a few more of these coming on in the future as they’re a great way to help our customers.