Electric Fencing for Chickens: The Positives and Negatives
The use of electric fencing for chickens has become a popular form of poultry protection and containment, in fact the wide availability of such fencing has transformed the way many owners now rear their poultry.
When it comes to chickens, fencing is used by owners not so much to keep chickens contained, as they are often left to roam as they please, but to keep their many predators from attacking them.
The positives of electric fencing for chickens:
Unlike traditional chicken wire, which is normally wrapped so tightly when the enclosure is built that moving it is almost impossible, electric netting is fully portable and easily transferred to other areas. This is particularly useful when there is a need to relocate some chickens, or you have a new flock arriving that needs to be kept separate.
Foxes are by far the most frequent predator of chickens, keeping them out is vital. Fencing that is designed for larger animals will not suit your chickens because the gaps between the wires are far too wide and will allow the fox through or the chickens out. Electric fencing for chickens is designed in a netted structure with very tough, small holes which are impossible for a fox to fit through thereby keeping your poultry safe.
Electric fencing is made from newer, purpose-built materials that are able to withstand the wear and tear of the elements, animals and predators. This makes electric fencing particularly good for keeping chickens as there are far fewer repairs required, predators are unlikely to prise or force gaps in the fence as they will receive a shock.
Chicken enclosures are often small so the cost of buying electric fencing for chickens can be quite expensive if you choose the wrong supplier. Most suppliers will work with you to ensure you get the fence you need, but off the shelf products often dictate lengths and dimensions meaning you can end up with more than you need. More traditional fencing solutions can also offer cheaper alternatives especially for small enclosures.
The major flaw with such fencing is that by its very nature it requires electricity. In the event of a power cut, intermittent power or a broken fence link, predators can get through and attack your animals. Fortunately electric netting is just as reliable as traditional netting even without a current, but if you have spent extra for the fence then its a pain when it malfunctions. This encourages predators to try their luck, either attempting to jump or prise the netting.
Even though there are negatives in using electric fencing for chickens, the benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh those negatives. This type of fencing is very reliable these days and offers any chicken owner a fantastic way of protecting your poultry.