More about simple electric fences for chickens

In a recent post about electric fencing, I talked about one- and two-wire electric poultry fences, but not how to go about making or using them.

Plus, I found a funny video that features a simple electric fence (though with a high wire for horses rather than a low one for chickens).

Benefits of One-Wire Electric Fences

  • You can step over them — after all, they’re just a single wire five inches off the ground — no gates required!
  • You can drive right over the fencewire without turning the fence off. The wire will spring back.
  • If a predator gets inside the fence, the chickens can’t be cornered by a one- or two-wire fence: they pop right through. Usually this means that the flock scatters and the predator kills only one. With a conventional fence, the chickens can’t get away, and predators keep killing until they run out of targets. That’s a tragedy waiting to happen.
  • If a chicken ends up outside the fence, it will eventually work up the nerve to cross the fence to get home. Regular fencing leaves the chickens stranded outside.

One-Wire Electric Fences: Materials

  • A fence charging unit. I use AC-powered units from Parmak. The bigger, the better. Chicken fencing shorts out easily against molehills and growing grass, so you need a lot of zap.
  • Step-in fence posts. These are plastic fenceposts with an iron spike at the bottom. As the name implies, there’s a little step on them so you can plant them in the ground with your foot. Get one for every 20-30 feet of fenceline.
  • Aluminum fence wire. Aluminum fence wire is the good stuff. It stays bright and shiny forever, so the chickens (and other critters) can see it easily and avoid it. Galvanized wire becomes dull and invisible over time. Polywire sags too much for low-wire fences and is annoying to work with.
  • Insulators to carry the zap from charger to fence. It’s convenient to put the charger in a barn or shed and then run the high-voltage wire along a fenceline. At gates, some people use heavily insulated wire buried slightly underground, but I prefer to jump the fence on ten-foot poles (rot-resistant two-by-fours are okay). Use insulators anywhere the wire touches something.
  • That’s about it. I used to use metal T-posts at the corners, but I don’t do that anymore.

    Lay out the wire around the perimeter of your fenced area, and add fenceposts. Tension the wire by moving the fenceposts in or out until the wire goes tight. The wire should be 4-6 inches off the ground. A second wire at about 10 inches is a nice touch but isn’t absolutely necessary.

    The fence works best if you enclose a large area and keep the chicken houses some distances away from it. My fence encloses several acres. If you want to fence chickens tightly, you need something more substantial.

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

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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.

2 thoughts on “More about simple electric fences for chickens”

  1. Please visit my web site. I have everything that your readers need to construct an electic fence.

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