Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Poultry and Pets => Poultry FAQs and other Information => Topic started by: animal mad on May 16, 2010, 19:27

Title: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: animal mad on May 16, 2010, 19:27
I am renting a field which  i am going to but breeding pairs/ trios in runs and houses to produe hatching eggs and chicks. my problem is i am worried abot foxes and badgers. i have been told that two strands of electric is enough as long as the energiser is 2 stored joules and then someone else said that i should enclose the houses in poultry netting., so i am confused. i have just bought some bantam orpington which has taken me a long time to find and i dont want to loose them.any help would be great.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: carolbriar on May 16, 2010, 21:10
Hi, I have a 6' wire mesh enclosed run with a skirt that comes out about 15 inches.  I also have an electric wire which goes round the outside with a 1 1/2 or 2 joules current.  We live in the country and in 4 years have only seen 2 foxes wander through our garden - unfortunately one was today at about 3pm!  It strolled through with a baby rabbit in its mouth.  As it got to the chicken run it stopped, looked and then continued on.  I am hoping that it won't be back and that all the rabbits about us are better eating for it than my girls! I also shut the girls in the coop at night.  It has made me feel very uneasy.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: Spana on May 16, 2010, 22:16
I dont know  the sort of area you want to protect but I can tell you what we have done.  The chickens free range through our cattle yards and a grassy area where their houses are.  I have electric poultry netting -8 rolls- run off the mains round all the open sides.   This has worked really well,never had any trouble but its close to the house and people are about all day.
Down at the lake- about 100yards from the house- where our ducks live a semi-wild life, again poultry netting - 10 rolls- plus and extra 18inches of electric fence wire added to the top and still foxes get in.  Ive never seen them get in but have seen them go out lots of times and they clear the 5-6ft of electrified wire no sweat, just like a race horse :ohmy:

If i were starting again I would have the whole lot enclosed with the highest wire netting fence possible  with a good 2ft spread out over the ground on the outside to stop them digging in and one strand of electric wire about 6inches off the ground about a foot out from the fence.

What about houses and enclosed safe runs  for each breeding group.  Much safer for them and a much more cost effective option.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: gsc on May 18, 2010, 07:24
Spana, Would love to see some pics if you have time.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: Spana on May 18, 2010, 11:00
No problem, not sure which bit you would like to see.  Let me know if different from this :)

This is   the poultry netting with the added wires.  The extra wires are electrified but I suppose anything jumping over will not be earthed so I'm not sure if its necessary.

(http://i41.tinypic.com/nr12bp.jpg)

OH build a strong gate, the electrified wire goes over the top, and it means we can get in and out without messing about with gates made of poultry netting

(http://i39.tinypic.com/2s63hwi.jpg)



Got my favourite little Muscovy in there :) sorry the pics are so big but the wire doesn't show on smaller pics :)
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: gsc on May 18, 2010, 11:04
Many thanks - very useful.

Should get a chance to play with mine today and try and make some decisions.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: joyfull on May 18, 2010, 11:13
thats brilliant Spana, I always thought standard electric fencing was too low.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: Spana on May 18, 2010, 11:22
It doesn't show clearly in the pics but were the blue pipe slips over the black netting stake a bent nails goes through the blue pipe and the netting hooks on to that, to hold the netting up :) Its all been up for about 7 years . :)
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on May 18, 2010, 12:32
thats brilliant Spana, I always thought standard electric fencing was too low.

There's no point in making electric netting over about 4 feet high because it works by the fox or whatever animal you are confining touching the live wire whilst also touching earth (ie the ground).  Foxes can't climb nets (they aren't rigid enough) but they can easily jump them.   It all depends on how educated and bold they are.  Effectively the extra height on Spana's fence need not be electrified since it's just acting as jumping deterant.   If you are going to create perminent runs then a net isn't the best solution and a high wire fence which is too high for a fox to jump is best.  You can then use electric guard wires spaced off the fence at a couple of heights which will stop climbing and a low level wire spaced out from the fence to deter digging.  The main wire fence needs to be earthed so a climbing fox will get zapped when they touch the electrified guard wire and are in contact with the earthed wire fence.

Foxes don't like being enclosed so their escape is hampered so are less likely to jump a fence close to people than in a more remote spot.  Having a plentyful supply of rabbits pigeons and pheasants also helps.  A bit like having the only burglar alarm in the road.

Baiting a net with a strip of bacon wrapped round is a good idea as this educates foxes to avoid them otherwise they will regard them as just physical barriers they can easily jump.

I use electric nets a lot as I move my runs on a rotation system and this is the sort of situation in which they are best suited as they are quick and easy to erect and move and I've never lost a bird inside a net in 10 years in a rural location. 
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: Spana on May 18, 2010, 13:20
[
Baiting a net with a strip of bacon wrapped round is a good idea as this educates foxes to avoid them otherwise they will regard them as just physical barriers they can easily jump.

I

What a brilliant idea, i would never have thought of that and of course you are right, its the first zap on the nose that stops them :)
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: woodburner on May 18, 2010, 15:10
Lots of good tips in that post. Thank you hillfooter! :)
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on May 18, 2010, 20:29
[
Baiting a net with a strip of bacon wrapped round is a good idea as this educates foxes to avoid them otherwise they will regard them as just physical barriers they can easily jump.

I

What a brilliant idea, i would never have thought of that and of course you are right, its the first zap on the nose that stops them :)


Having said this I've never used the baiting technique though I've seen a report of a research project which looked at various techniques of using nets and their sizes which also included baiting.  The key was to zap the foxes and generally this occured naturally as the fox probed the net with it's nose before attempting to get over.  I guess the baiting is double insurance.

I must say Spana your net looks very impressive and particularly the gate which must rival the Great Gate at Kiev!

One problem I've found with nets is that rodents tend to gnaw through the bottom no-conducting strand and I need to spend a good deal of time each time I move it repairing the breaks.  The only way I've found to do this effectively is to splice a length of polywire in the break using copper wire stripped from a mains cable.  After 8 years it's looking a bit ragged now.

Best regards
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: cornishgirl on May 18, 2010, 22:33
Very impressive gate system - have taken notes.....
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: gsc on May 19, 2010, 05:24
Very impressive gate system - have taken notes.....
Lol - I'm lazy - will just pop back to this thread when I need to.  Very useful.  Thanks.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: animal mad on May 19, 2010, 17:39
thanks that will give me something to think about, all the birds are housed in enclosed houses and runs, but i will encircle the whole area in poultry netting just to be safe. only 2 days till the new birds come so i had best get busy.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on May 19, 2010, 18:07
I didn't mention how much power is needed but usually net / energiser suppliers give you a guide on this.  I doubt that you will need more than 0.5 joule power for upto two 50 metre nets but it's always good to go for a more powerful one as this allows expansion and isn't as badlly affected by long grass.

For anyone reading this 50 m nets are more economic than 25 and I always use one 50 metre net arranged into two runs but forming it in a figure of eight (two 7.14 metre squares).  Two confgurations are possible without cutting it. A "spiral' wrapped" one (starting on the mid point of a long side and proceeding CW or anti CW) with only one external access and the other run being accessed from that or a "closed S" formed one with two external access in opposte sides to each run.  Each run has a shared central side so needs 7 sides ) 50m divided by 7 gives approx 7.14 metres per side for each run.  This provides an alternating run system!

Use 6 tree stakes, one for each corner spaced 0.5 metre or so outside the net to support the corners.  These are best laid out first before you deploy the net. Corner net insulated posts need to be guy roped to the stakes using an insulated cord.  Nylon or bailer twine is ideal.  You will need a 15 insulated post net, buy some extra insulated posts if needs be to do this.

 Happy electric netting.
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: cornishgirl on May 23, 2010, 22:07
Any chance of a diagram of this - lost me at first twist!
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on May 23, 2010, 23:14
Any chance of a diagram of this - lost me at first twist!

Here's a diagram and a photo.
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: gsc on May 24, 2010, 04:23
This is a great thread.

Got my first 4 hens yesterday and set up my first electric fence using 50m sheep netting.

My first question I think is answered - tree stakes at the corner - although the top layers of the net seemed looser than the bottom wire which kind of makes the fence sway a bit.

Second, the metal clips at each end - are they for fasteners?  Plus I had 2 yellow plastic pegs and I have no idea what to do with these.

And finally the voltage tester I bought confuses me greatly.  It says you can test on the energizer as well as the fence but I can't get a reading on the fence, even up at full wack.  The energer reads 1000-2000v depending on the level.  I know it's working well as all three dogs kindly tested it for me  :ohmy: :D

It has 6 levels from 1000v to 10,000v.  This I don't get when the battery is only 12v.  The energizer has 15 settings and is supposed to be a good one.  At least the dogs thought so  ;)
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on May 24, 2010, 10:54
The metalclips are a rather crude way of shorting all the strands together so that instead of one big spiral the conductors are jointed to togther at each end, at bit like the wires on your grill pan.  Thus if one wire breaks that strand will still be energized from opposite ends and only if there are two breaks on the same run will a section be isolated and hence not powered.  The tabs on the connectors are for joining two nets together to create a larger enclosure.  You are supposed to be able to insert the male tab in to the female slot at the back of the next net connector.  At the ends of the nets I always wrap the bunched up conductors which are crimped together around the crossing strand of the net at each end (entrance as in the diagram).  I also think it's a good idea to short the strands mid sides by using some copper wire stripped from an old supply (3 inline) mains cable (not a stranded power lead).  Twist the wire around the top strand over 4 inches then take it down to the next conductor twist round at least twice and so on until all the strands are connected.  This improves susceptability to breaks.  Also when repairing a break using poly wire lashed to the net strand with copper wire twisted round it is much better than the useless crimps they give you for repairs.  Position the energiser where ever is most convenient usually on the stake by the entrance gate.    You can clip the energiser to any strand of the net but I recommend you lash a bit of copper wire arround it first and if possible short to all conductors as described above.  Alluminium foil tightly wrapped round a conducting strand over about 4in length also makes a good effective terminal to clip your energiser to.  Problem is if you don't do something similar and you use a crock clip to connect the energiser there's a good chance you might only energise one (or none) of the stainless steel strands in the wire reducuing the net efficiency.

Voltage issue - the meters you buy as testers are very crude and measuring very high voltage pulses accurately requires complex and expensive instruments so the testers are just indications at the best.  Chx are very well insulated by feathers though their combs aren't, so need a higher voltage setting whereas foxes pigs etc are less protected so a lower one should do.  Follow the recommendation of the energiser manufacturer as there's no advantage in using too high a setting which just uses up the battery charge quickly and is susceptable to being shorted by long grass.  Use a weed killer spray to keep the grass down along the net or regularly lawnmower it.  If you use the strimmer make sure the net is moved well back as inevitably the strimmer catches the net and makes a big mess of it.

The yellow plastic pegs are a waste of time.  They are intended for guy ropes so if you lay the net as one long section you can (in theory) use guy cords to tension them.  The insulated poles the net is strung on are usually very bendy so they won't support corners which is why I recommend tree stakes. You can tension the net by ensuring the insulated posts are in a straight line (important) and using two horiziontal guys at each corner to a tree stake driven firmly into the ground.  Make sure the posts are positioned well outside the corner (0.5m) so guys have plenty of scope for tightening so this way you can tension the top strand by pulling out the top corner of the net if needed.  You will need to reposition the insulated posts to ensure there's a post at each corner to tie with a nylon guy to the stake.  Be careful to avoid breaking the voltage carrying stainless steel strands woven in the poly wire when you reposition the posts.  To stop sagging at posts you can tape the vertical insulated strands with pVC tape to the insulated posts.  Never allow the net to touch a wooden stake or you will short it reducing efficiency and increasing battery use.

At the entrances to the runs tie two or three nylon 'laces' to tie the loose post to it's adjacent post on the crossing net.  Spring the untied post aside and step through to enter the run don't bother with fancy gates.

All the best
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: gsc on May 24, 2010, 10:58
Many thanks for that - you make it all sound so easy :)
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: cornishgirl on May 25, 2010, 21:50
Many thanks for this hillfooter, has given me some new ideas!
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on May 26, 2010, 00:49
And finally the voltage tester I bought confuses me greatly.  It says you can test on the energizer as well as the fence but I can't get a reading on the fence, even up at full wack.  The energer reads 1000-2000v depending on the level.  I know it's working well as all three dogs kindly tested it for me  :ohmy: :D


The net is made from strands of nylon into which are woven 3 (or for the better nets 5) stainless steel conducting wires.  It's the stainless steel conductors which carry the voltage and the nylon cord is just there to provide mechanical support and strength.  Just putting a small pointed probe on the net you are not sure to be contacting a conducting wire as these are woven in the nylon strands.  To improve your chance of contacting a wire you can tightly wrap a copper wire round the strand over around 4 inches or tightly wrap and twist a strip of alluminium foil round the net and measure on that.  This contact problem is why I suggest twisting copper wire round the net strand and clipping your energiser to that.  Better energisers have a wide clamp to connect to the net which increases the chances of making good contact.

HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: gsc on May 26, 2010, 05:53
Thanks Hillfooter.  New poultry net will hopefully arrive today and will try a figure of 8 for 2 pens and see how we go.

Must fathom out a sensible way of getting in and out.   ;)

BTW, What is a suitable  setting for poultry.  My energiser goes 1 to 15 suggesting 10-15 for cattle and horses.  I had it on 6 but the girls just popped straight through.  The dogs all got caught and created merry hell so it must be working well enough.

I guess if it works for dogs it will deter a fox and just using the correct netting will keep the hens in?
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on May 26, 2010, 10:04
Thanks Hillfooter.  New poultry net will hopefully arrive today and will try a figure of 8 for 2 pens and see how we go.

Must fathom out a sensible way of getting in and out.   ;)

BTW, What is a suitable  setting for poultry.  My energiser goes 1 to 15 suggesting 10-15 for cattle and horses.  I had it on 6 but the girls just popped straight through.  The dogs all got caught and created merry hell so it must be working well enough.

I guess if it works for dogs it will deter a fox and just using the correct netting will keep the hens in?

Start them on the max and once they get used to it you can reduce it.  I'm really surprised they don't suggest a setting.  I'd suggest at the energiser output (open circuit not connected to the net) you will need a voltage of 8000V or loaded when connected to the net or measured on the net of 2500V minimum.  I'd go for a 0.5 joule energiser min., which will cope with two nets, or preferably more powerful.

I noticed that you have ordered netting uitsable for sheep and I wonder if that's a wise decision as it won't be high enough for chx or foxes and also the mesh size will be much too large for chx and if they are going through it (which they shouldn't be able to without a struggle which will certainly ensure they get zapped) then this will be a problem.  Chicken net needs to be 1.05metres minimum and preferably 1.2m with close mesh near ground level increasing vertical spacing as it gets higher to save material & cost.  Also is your energiser spec'd for chickens?  

You can find out more about the voltages you need from the Rutland site which is worth a trawl through.  They produce some top quality electric net gear and have a very comprehensive catalogue with every accessory you might need aimed at the commerical farmer so they aren't the cheapest.  I use their stuff and it's very good.  I also use Forcefield and Fenceman which are suitable for leisure use as are countless others I presume.
 
http://www.rutland-electric-fencing.co.uk/PageSelectingAnEnergiser.aspx

Getting in and out is easy read my last posts above.  Just bend the springy insulated post aside and step through.  If you want to take a barrow through uproot the post they are easy to pull up.

Regards
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: gsc on May 26, 2010, 20:17
Many thanks - all very useful info - a lifesaver.
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: pigeonpie on June 25, 2010, 11:24
Really useful information.  Thanks.
Just wondered if anyone else has had a problem with unsuspecting good guys getting caught up in the fence?  One night we were woken by the most horrendous screams that seemed to be coming from the chicken coop.  We ran outside to find a huge hedgehog had got himself entangled in the wire and screaming his head off as he continued to get shocks.  We quickly switched the fence off and untangled him and put him in a quiet place to recompose himself.  All was quiet so we went back to bed.
The following night we were woken again by more screams and once again found the big fella trapped in exactly the same place.  We now put a barrier across that particular area so he can't get to the fence and so far we've had no more problems. 
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on June 25, 2010, 12:39
Usually when we hear screaming from the net it's the mother in law trying to get at the gin bottle we keep in there away from her clutches!. 

Strangely these days hedgehogs are virtually a creature of the urban suburbs.  When we lived in town we had lots of hedgehogs which came to eat the windfalls from our orchard but since moving to the country we never see them.  In 15 years I can hardly remember seeing one whereas they were a noisy daily visitor to our suburban garden.

I don't know if there's an answer to your problem beyong putting up a barrier and a sign "No access for hedgehogs".   I'm sure Beatrix Potter could have solved it!  One idea might be to use a beeper like the one Force Field do for testing a fence.  This is a small key fob device which is self powered and is triggered by the electric field pulsing so doesn't need to be physically connected.  It produces a high pitched beep.  It would need protecting against the elements as it's not weather proof.  Can be useful as a personal warning device too to avoid shocks.  Older people find the hi pitched beep difficult to hear though.

Here's a link which talks about the effectiveness of fences I came across just yesterday. FYI
http://www.agrisellex.co.uk/fox-fencing-trial-3165-0.html

HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: pigeonpie on June 25, 2010, 14:24
Ha ha, love the gin bottle idea! 
We live in a small village with our garden opening on to fields so they're definitely not urban hogs.  We have a whole family of hedgehogs who regularly pay us visits.  The dog still hasn't worked out what they are and what they do when she comes across them on her last thing at night trip around the garden!
Putting a barrier across does seem to have worked but I guess time will tell.  We only use the electric fence at night, so that once the girls are tucked up safe and sound in their home they are relatively secure so that we can leave the pop whole open.  The rest of the time they free range (even being known to find the one gap in the fence of the orchard and take themselves off round the village).  In the meantime I'll have a look through the beatrix potter books and see if I can find a handy hint!
One of the funniest things I ever saw with the effectiveness of the electric fence was shortly after we got our ex-batts.  They were still getting used to all the free space so we were keeping them in the electric fenced area.  I had popped out to the village shop.  When I came back I noticed all the girls crowded round the fence staring at something and making little croning noises.  On closer inspection I found a headless pigeon leant against the fence.  I can only assume a cat had caught the pigeon, tried to run off with it, hit the fence and shouted "oh *" dropping the pigeon and running off without it's catch!  The chickens seemed most concerned for this very quiet feathery thing!
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on June 25, 2010, 14:57
It's nice to let your chx roam unrestrained but beware.  We only used to keep them in an electrified run at night like you and let them free range the paddocks adjacent to their run during the day with no problems for over two years.  Then one afternoon we had a fox attack.  She obviously had young and was teaching them to hunt.  fortunately we only lost one hen and another lost her tail feathers when the cub grabbed her by the tail.  Thinking it was a  one off we allowed them out again the next day and the fox returned at mid-morning and took another bird.  After this we restricted them to the net and for the last 6 years or so we've had no more problems.

We actually now have automatic pophole openers/ closers which also operate the energiser to save battery life.  I've two versions one is just time controlled and the other is both time and light level controlled both designed and built by me.  They each can operate 4 houses.  It's a simple matter to energise the fence when the door is open and switch it off when closed.  It's even easier to do when you have a mains supply in an out building you can use rather than having to power it from a battery.  Well worth investing in and fun to do too.
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: pigeonpie on June 25, 2010, 15:12
Thankfully the garden and orchard are stock fenced and then also surrounded by hedges so not so easy for the foxes to jump over although I realise that this would not stop a determined fox.  Before we had the chickens we used to get a fox barking outside our bedroom window most summer nights but since I sent my hubbie out to pee round the garden and fenced off the front so they couldn't get up the drive in to the garden we haven't seen or heard any.  I know it is a risk but the girls are so much happier having so much ground to run over and luckily I spend a fair bit of time working from home and so the dog is often out and about in the garden.  The chicken house is right outside our bedroom window (we're in a bungalow so it really is only 10ft from our bed!) so if the fox decides to strike at night we'll hopefully hear before he even manages to get in.  We have thought about an automatic opener though, perhaps it is something I should invest in or set the hubbie to work on.  We built a secure covered run which is attached to the hen house so that they could have access to that at all times and then we would open the door from that to the electric fenced area when we got up and then let them free range when we wanted them to.  The girls disagreed with this decision though.  They would spend most of their time from waking up to being let out shouting at the top of their voices.  The fact that they had more space than most chickens have to live in, plenty of food and water, lovely scratching and dust bathing areas and were safe from predators didn't seem to impress them.  And the fact that their house and run is so close to our bedroom didn't impress us!!! 
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: Knight Family on July 08, 2010, 08:11
Very Very good Posts HF. I was going to leave my run as one big one, however I'm thinking now to split it in the figure of 8.

Need to understand the posts and your gate system, but trying to read a forum post at work with lots of people around may not be the best idea :tongue2:

Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on July 08, 2010, 16:59
Just another little tip.  I just installed a new net and noted it wasn't working too well so I checked the bottom electrified strand to ensure it wasn't touching the ground and sure enough I found an insulator post which didn't have the bottom of the post well covered by the plastic insulator and consequently the bottom electricifed strand was wrapped round the metal prong which was pushed into the ground.  This shorts the net to ground making the high voltage pulse ineffective and using a lot of battery power.  Ensure the bottom strand is well cclear of the exposed metal pronge.  Tape up the net on an insulated post using insulation tape if it is sagging at any point so it does touch a metal post or the ground.  Note the very bottom starnd is not live theis is just a tensioning cord,  The next one up is electrified.

HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: drcarrera on July 14, 2010, 14:36
We were thinking of getting an electric fence to give our chucks a decent area to roam when we're not around to watch over them free-ranging in the garden, and this thread is really useful!

We were a bit converned about a few things, though :

1) Is a 1m high fence two short? Not just that foxes may hurdle it, but that the chucks could escape over it? Our three-month old bantams can already get on to a 60cm fence quite easily, so it seems quite possible they could scale a metre when they'e fully grown!

2) How do you protect against airborne predators - we have a lot of raptors and crows here and lost a 6 week old chuck to a crow a few weeks ago.

3) My wife's worried the chucks could be injured or permanently traumatised by getting electrocuted!

Chris
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on July 14, 2010, 16:07
We were thinking of getting an electric fence to give our chucks a decent area to roam when we're not around to watch over them free-ranging in the garden, and this thread is really useful!

We were a bit converned about a few things, though :

1) Is a 1m high fence two short? Not just that foxes may hurdle it, but that the chucks could escape over it? Our three-month old bantams can already get on to a 60cm fence quite easily, so it seems quite possible they could scale a metre when they'e fully grown!  No it's not high enough however most chx aren't flighty enough to want to fly out.  The max height you can buy and I'd recommend is 1.22m.  Note that this isn't high enough to prevent foxes leaping it however the value of a net is it's deterant power.  Foxes will investigate it first and for that they use their noses.  Once zapped they steer clear for good.  That's why it's important that when you first put it up it works effectively and is left on 24hrs for a while at least.  Some people recommend baiting it with bacon wrapped round.

Remember nets over about a metre have no shock benefit as you need to be touching both the fence AND the ground, or a grounded conductor, at the same time.  Which is why birds can happily perch on high tension overhead cables without getting a shock.  Birds or foxes can't alight on or climb nets because they don't offer any support unlike fences and that seems to deter them too.

Flighty chx, and bantams can be, you can tackle by clipping one wing but make sure you check it's absolutely necessary before you do as a clipped bird also can't escape preditors so well.

2) How do you protect against airborne predators - we have a lot of raptors and crows here and lost a 6 week old chuck to a crow a few weeks ago.  Never known a bird to take a L/F chx though it's theoretically possible.  Chicks are vulnerable though.  I live in the country and we have Kestral, Sparrow Hawks, Buzzards, Red Kite, as well as crows and not even lost a chick and we put them out at 7weeks usually.  Again local conditions might vary.Not having open ground around which allows an easy glide path in helps with raptors.  Some risk is inevitable unless you want to make their run like Alcatraz.  Predator birds are a low risk in my opinion and not worth imprisioning your chx for.

3) My wife's worried the chucks could be injured or permanently traumatised by getting electrocuted! No need to worry on this count.  Again it's good to ensure they get zapped when young.  Make sure you get a net with a close mesh at the bottom.  My bantams are adept at limboing under the net they've learnt that the bottom strand isn't electrified and they put their heads under this and lift it up.  You can stake it down if you're worried.  

I'd recommend the Fox Buster premium net from Electric Nets Direct for a good strong close net though not the cheapest, for bantams it's good.   HF

Chris
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: drcarrera on July 14, 2010, 16:26
Many thanks for the reply, HF - really useful stuff!  :)

For some reason I'd imagined nets would have alternate live and earth strands so anything touching two adjacent parts would get a shock - didn't realise they relied on a natural earth.

Hopefully our birds are too big for crows now, but they are terrified of them probably because they remember them killing their sister. They're often getting pestered by them in their enclosed run, and we're paranoid about them ourselves, seeing as we'd only left them for about a minute when we lost one last time. Unfortunately they're too observant and quick for me to get one with my air rifle!

We get buzzards a lot as well, but not sure they'd go for a chicken.

Chris
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on July 14, 2010, 17:33
For some reason I'd imagined nets would have alternate live and earth strands so anything touching two adjacent parts would get a shock - didn't realise they relied on a natural earth.


Chris

"Live" and "earth" is terminology usually applied to 240vac mains terminals and wires.  Just in case anyone reading this assumes you can connect mains electricity to a net please note a net is connected to an Energiser designed to incorporate the regulatory safety standards and made specifically for the purpose.  It is perfectly safe with an energiser though will cause an unpleasant jolt. 

NEVER connect mains to a electric fence or indeed anything which can be touched.  As this would be potentially lethal for any animal including people and in any case would not serve as a replacement for an energiser.

HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: Knight Family on July 23, 2010, 15:11
Well I've got my electric fence which is great caught Mr Fox twice now!

However over the last 5 months we have have 8 power cuts normally for not very long. Until last night about 10pm we had a 5hr approx power cut, so the electric fence would have been down.

Luckerly for us Mr Fox did not come to us but he did to our friends down the road (All were safe inside thank goodness), but this then adds the question is there any way you can dual power or have a backup of battery if the power goes off??

Any help would be great thanks!
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on July 23, 2010, 17:35
Well I've got my electric fence which is great caught Mr Fox twice now!

However over the last 5 months we have have 8 power cuts normally for not very long. Until last night about 10pm we had a 5hr approx power cut, so the electric fence would have been down.

Luckerly for us Mr Fox did not come to us but he did to our friends down the road (All were safe inside thank goodness), but this then adds the question is there any way you can dual power or have a backup of battery if the power goes off??

Any help would be great thanks!

Easy peasy.  Pretty much all energisers are powered off +12V and those that are mains powered have a plug top power supply which generates 12V which is then run to the energiser.  To have a backed up system you need to replace the plug top power supply with a 12v battery which you can keep on perminent charge.  So if the mains goes the battery still retains charge and keeps your fence up.  Once mains returns the charger replenishes the battery charge.  All you need is a 12V battery to power the energiser and a charger to perminently charge the battery.   The battery can be a car one for this application since it's never going to be fully discharged.  (You'd need a leisure battery if it were going to become fully discharged if there were no charger attached).

NOTE THIS CAN ONLT BE DONE FOR A 12V POWERED CHARGER WHICH HAS AN EXTERNAL PSU, USUALLY A PLUG TOP TYPE OR A "RAT IN A SNAKE" TYPE PSU.

I'll post detail on how to do this if you like when I've more time.  In the meantime could you tell me what your energiser make and model is or better still post a link?

HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: Knight Family on July 23, 2010, 19:05
Thanks HF that was my thinking, but i always thought the battery should not be on charge all the time (but I suppose its not really)!

So just to confirm my Hotline HLC80 Gemini  which is daul charge has the battery powing it via the correct leads. Then a normal car charger topping up the battery.

Yes, I gues its best to have a trickle charger not a fast charger ......
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on July 24, 2010, 01:02
Thanks HF that was my thinking, but i always thought the battery should not be on charge all the time (but I suppose its not really)!

So just to confirm my Hotline HLC80 Gemini  which is daul charge has the battery powing it via the correct leads. Then a normal car charger topping up the battery.

Yes, I gues its best to have a trickle charger not a fast charger ......

The HLC80 is just such an energiser as I've described which can be mains or battery powered (it's not unique in this regard despite its sales blurb selling this as a major feature).  It has a plug top 12V psu with a lead which plugs into the energiser and they also supply a replacement lead to use with a battery which can also plug into the energiser.  Using a battery with a charger you  have a choice of how you can run the cables

1     You can site the battery adjacent to the charger indoors (an outhouse or garage for example) and run a cable from the battery to the energiser which is located by the fence.  You can 'extend' the battery lead they provide to do this using old mains cable.  

2    You can site the battery adjacent to the fence and energiser and run a long charger lead to the charger situated in an outhouse.  Again using old mains cable from the charger to the battery

3    You can site the charger, battery and energiser in an out building and run the high voltage cable out to the net.  To do this you'll need a special high tension cable called a 'run out cable'.
This has the advantage that all the active components can be secured and are protected from the weather.  Although the energiser can be outside I prefer to protect it from direct sun, rain and snow (but don't enclose it so condensation can form).  The disadvantage with this arrangement is that it's usually more convenient to be able to switch the power off at the net itself rather than have to enter an outbuilding to do this.

I use method 1 for some of my runs which are close to an outhouse (stable block)

It's best to use a modern charger which will automatically switch to a trickle when the battery is at full terminal voltage.  Effectively what happens is that the charger will effectively supply the energiser current and the battery will charge up to the charger terminal voltage which won't do it any harm.  

A Technical explaination you can ignore unless you're interested
If you have a modern charger which indicates when it switches to trickle (or shows when the battery is fully charged) you will notice it switching back and forth between charging and fully charged (or trickle charge).  The reason being the charger will charge the battery up to its set terminal voltage and them switches to trickle (or shows fully charged).   The trickle current won't be sufficient to supply the energiser and the battery will supply the extra current needed causing its terminal voltage to fall.  When it has fallen sufficient for the charger to detect it needs to switch to full charging again it will switch modes back to charging and the cycle will repeat itself.  The battery will cycle between charging for a short period and them discharging for a short period and so on.  It will never be seriously discharged which is why a car battery will do the job rather than needing a leisure battery.
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: jonotaylor on August 03, 2010, 11:31
I have electric netting for my chickens, but the distance between the supplied posts seems to be too far - the net tends to sag in between the posts.
I just investigated  buying 13 additional purpose-made posts to attach in between the existing posts, but it is going to cost nearly 60.  Does anyone have any experience with alternatives, e.g. would garden canes work, or would they short the circuit when wet?
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: hillfooter on August 03, 2010, 15:11
I have electric netting for my chickens, but the distance between the supplied posts seems to be too far - the net tends to sag in between the posts.
I just investigated  buying 13 additional purpose-made posts to attach in between the existing posts, but it is going to cost nearly 60.  Does anyone have any experience with alternatives, e.g. would garden canes work, or would they short the circuit when wet?

You need to lay the net so the side s are dead straight and the corners are anchored to a post as I've suggested.  The net needs to be tensioned tightly between the anchor posts.  Use your foot to stretch the bottom taut as you push in the prong and the guy ropes at the top should be pulled tight and probably also have one or two inbetween the top and bottom to tension the net.  Don't let the net actually touch the wooden anchor post but space it off the last insulated post and tension the insulated post to the wooden anchor post.  It won't sag if it is erected correctly. 

You can buy extra posts if you like or you can make some if you have the right materials laying around going free.  You need metal posts with pronges and an insulator you can make from a plastic pipe such as a water pipe or conduit or a plastic hose at a pinch.  Not insulation tape is not good enough you really need some thick plastic insulation.  Canes are no good both from a mechanical strength perspective or from an insulating perspective.
HF
Title: Re: electric fence not sure what to do.
Post by: pigeonpie on August 13, 2010, 13:39
I have electric netting for my chickens, but the distance between the supplied posts seems to be too far - the net tends to sag in between the posts.
I just investigated  buying 13 additional purpose-made posts to attach in between the existing posts, but it is going to cost nearly 60.  Does anyone have any experience with alternatives, e.g. would garden canes work, or would they short the circuit when wet?

We bought some extra poles from the local farm supplies shop.  They are green, about 4 1/2 foot in height and are listed as electric fencing posts for horses.  They cost only a few pounds each.  I suggest you shop around.