Electric Fencing: Simpler is Better

Electric fencing has been around a long time, and has been used with chickens since at least 1960. The methods used then still work today.

The earliest mention I’ve seen of electric fencing with chickens was in a 1960 issue of “Egg Producer” magazine. The electric fence consisted of a single strand of wire 4-5″ off the ground. That’s it! This single low wire was enough to hold in the hens and discourage predators. Sometimes they added a second wire at 8-10″ off the ground, but it was mostly just for show.

I’ve tried it, and it works! And I got independent verification by stumbling across a site that talked about keeping raccoons out of your sweet corn. Same deal.

I once watched a coyote chase a hen that was outside the fence, but come to an abrupt halt when the hen raced past the two wires. The coyote stopped so fast I almost expected to hear tire squeal! Clearly the fence intimidated it to the point where even the prospect of a certain meal didn’t tempt it.

I cover this more fully in a follow-up post about electric fencing.

I also have an Electric Fencing FAQ with more details.

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this issue. Most of my posts are based on input from people like you, so leave a comment below!
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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

5 thoughts on “Electric Fencing: Simpler is Better”

  1. I just put a 3-D electric fence (as shown in the Premier fencing catalog) around my garden to keep the deer out, and my dog refuses to go under the lines even though they are higher than her back. Apparently she touched it once when I wasn’t looking 🙂

  2. I bought electronet after we lost half our flock to a grey fox. He started coming several times a day, once at 4pm right to the front door! I don’t like that the birds cannot freely roam the yard and flower beds like they used to, but it has been 2 months and I have not lost a bird. The netting is easy to set up, easy to move, and works to keep the dogs out as well as the birds in.

  3. i’ve been using a double strand of electric wire as robert suggests for six months now.

    the area i enclose is approximately 100 X 70 feet althought the chickens (hens) are only using about half the space. I live in the illinois country side with coyotes, hawks, coon, and foxes and havn’t lost a chicken to a predator yet.

    the fence does an excellent job keeping the birds confined. while a bird occasionallly hops the top wire, it always finds its way back in because it doesn’t want to stray from the flock.

    the cost is a fraction of what traditional fencing would have been.

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