Newbie - electric fencing question

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Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by barleymo » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:08 pm

Firstly hello to everyone. I'm Sam. My hubbie and I are soon to be first time hen owners and I have a few questions I hope someone can answer.

We are looking to get some electric poultry fencing (36m) and are finding it a bit confusing about what we need to purchase. As we plan to move the fencing around the garden on occasions, we are looking at portable fencing that runs off of a car battery. Can anyone tell us what we need to purchase in order to do this, ie. do we only need a leisure battery, the fencing and an energizer? Do we need to leave a gap between the bottom of the netting and the grass in order to prevent it shorting out?

We live in a rural area surrounded by fields and Mr Fox will definitely pay a visit, so we need to ensure our girls will be totally safe.

We are having one of these coops/houses installed : ... hicken-Run

As we haven't owned hens before, we are going on a chicken for beginners course next week. We have also registered with the BHWT and will be collecting 6 ex-batt (enriched cage) girls in 3 weeks time.

This forum is invaluable for people like us as its full of great advice and information. But I'm sure we'll be asking many more questions as the weeks roll by so I hope that's okay.

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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by Icemaiden » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:17 am

Hi Sam.
Welcome to the forum & good on you for rehoming via the BHWT. I started the same way.

Your girls will be fortunate to have such an expensive coop to move into, especially with the electric fencing to give them a bigger run. You'll have a great time watching them learn to be "real" hens. Don't be worried if it takes them a week or so to get the hang of putting themselves to bed; they'll never have had the chance to go out before, so it'll all be new to them.

My main advice would be not to let them out to free range until they'll follow you when you rattle a tub with corn in it. Having never been out before, they won't miss it, whereas if you have to try to catch them to put them back into the run, they'll get stressed. It's very tempting to let them out too soon!
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by dinosaw » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:09 am

Hi Sam, a leisure battery will be fine for 36m, in addition you will need an energiser with earth stake and your fencing, you need to keep vegetation levels down around the bottom of the netting but it isn't necessary to leave a gap as the bottom line isn't live. Here is some advice on poultry netting from the flyte so fancy site ... dvice.html

And here is a 36m electric netting kit that they do that should fit the bill ... g-Kit.html

Obviously have a search as there may be better deals around, I only gave the link to them as I have used them before and found them to be pretty good.
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by Margaid » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:41 am

Hi Sam,

Welcome to the forum.

To answer your question about electric fencing, in addition to the netting, battery and energiser you may find the following useful which flashes a red light if the fence isn't working. I found it invaluable when for some reason I had forgotten to reconnect the fence on leaving the enclosure,

and this ... nce+tester

which tests the fence voltage and will indicate if it' shorting out somewhere or damaged.

One thing I intended to do but didn't get around to was to put a strip of Damp Proof Course material underneath the netting. Closely woven landscape fabric would probably work as well. Provided it doesn't get puddles on it when it rains, it will keep the netting from touching the wet grass and saves the hassle of trying to keep the grass short. It will of course temporarily kill the grass and you may not want the yellowing strips in your garden.

Make sure you have plenty of double pronged poles - they are good to use at corners. My enclosure was more of a circle and I also used guy ropes and pegs at intervals to help hold the 100 metres of netting taut.

On the subject of batteries, you need a Leisure battery, not an ordinary car battery. They are more expensive but are better suited to the job. Remember your protection is only as good as the battery powering it and I think it's possible to get a solar powered trickle charger. Without getting too involved in the technicalities of voltage and current, a normal car battery is designed to give a short high powered burst to start the engine. A Leisure battery is designed to run things like lights, fridge, TV in caravans and motorhomes where constant lower power is required - exactly what you need for your fence.

I had a Gemini 80 energiser which would work with either battery or mains (I was mains powered) and would easily cope with my 100m of netting.

One cautionary note about the house and run. If my maths is correct the run size, including the area under the house is about 6.5 square metres. The recommended minimum space is 2 square metres per hen, and 4 is better. From your post it looks as though you intend to have them out in the electric enclosure, which with 36 metres of netting gives them about 80 square metres in which to scratch about. From what I have read about ex-batts it will take them time to get used to the big outdoors, but too little space and problems such as bullying and feather pecking can occur.

Enjoy your hens and have fun, but make sure your inoculations against "MoreHens" disease are up to date!!

Lost the post before I submitted it so had to re-write and have just seen Dinosaw's - no time to edit this!
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by 3441sussex » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:59 am


Welcome to poultry keeping.

You just need a battery, energiser, earth stake and fencing. The lowest strand is not electrified and is intended to touch the ground. I don’t use the guy ropes that come with the fencing, but hammer a wooden fencing post into the ground at each corner. I tie a piece of baler twine around the wooden fencing post and attach it to the plastic post to keep the poultry fence taut (posts not touching each other). I cut the grass short around the base of the fencing and then spray it with Roundup or equivalent.

Hope this is of help.
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by valeriebutterley » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:50 pm

Hello barleymo and welcome,
Hope I can help on this topic, as I have recently spent hours browsing for electric fences.
Having looked and looked, it seemed to me that the best buy was a complete kit, then all you need is a battery, or a waterproof lead out cable and an electric supply.
I decided not to do it, as my soil is very stony and I would not be able to get the spiked poles sufficiently deep into the soil for it to work. Luckily I tried non electric fencing with poles first (as Omlet sells), and found it impossible to get the poles into the ground. Also where I wanted the fencing there were shrubs and bushes, and it seems that undergrowth is a no no, as the net will touch it on the bottom.
All the best with your new girls, part of your joy with them will be their transformation as they wind down and repair, and give you loads of wonderful eggs.
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by barleymo » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:12 pm

Thank you all so much for your comments and recommendations. We're going to look at some fencing kits tomorrow following the suggestions people have made about the type of kit to buy.

Very excited about getting our girls. I'm sure we'll be totally won over by hens and will no doubt be rehoming more in the future.

Enjoy the Easter holidays.
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by BabyBantam » Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:58 pm

You could try for kits, they seem to be reasonable in price and I've always had good service from them. I would say though, that you need to make sure you have a covered area within the run, as if you have buzzards above, the net will not protect your hens from the skies. Good luck and welcome :)
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by chris1000 » Wed May 31, 2017 3:17 pm

Has anyone experience with this gadget? ... gital.html
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Re: Newbie - electric fencing question

Post by Margaid » Wed May 31, 2017 6:44 pm

I had one of these (see my post above. No hens in the foreseeable future so gave it to a friend. A lot cheaper, but maybe you get what you pay for. ... nce+tester
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