Electric fences and poultry


As a child, I can vividly remember my father keeping Rhode Island Red chickens in our backyard. We were encouraged to take care of them because they were an integral part of family life. Needless to say, the best part of each day was collecting the freshly laid eggs, so fresh and so tasty!

This first encounter has left me with an enthusiasm for poultry farming and in this article I hope to impart some of my knowledge and experience in poultry farming.

electric fencing

What better than chickens to be able to roam free in a garden, field or orchard and scratch in search of worms, larvae, slugs, snails, etc.

You can buy a large number of chain link fences these days, my preference is for Gallagher or Hotline fences who can supply complete poultry fence kits or just netting.

Buying an average electric poultry fence kit will cost you a few hundred pounds and will cost approximately £8-£15 per year to run depending on the kit/energizer you buy.

The net is made of polyurethane with metallic threads that run along the horizontal lines, this in turn is mounted on PVC poles.

To charge the network, an energizer is connected to the network and to earth through a ground rod; this forms an open circuit. When an animal comes into contact with the net, it completes a circuit and is shocked. This is why the net itself does not need to be installed in a circle or square, it can be erected in a straight line if necessary. The energizer produces a high voltage pulse approximately once per second. Foxes, like most animals, investigate their surroundings and are often shocked long before they are anywhere near the roost. Although the net is not very high, once the predator has been shocked it is unlikely to make the same mistake again.

Move the net regularly, this is to ensure they have clean grass to drill into.

Electric Fences – Basic Components

1. Energizer – Choose the Energizer that best suits your needs.

2. Grounding system – Install a system that is properly grounded – this is extremely important!

3. Net: choose the correct net length for your needs; 25m and 50m rolls are typically available, but you can add additional lengths as required.

4. Posts or Guy ropes – To reinforce the corners.

5. Connectors: to connect between the network and the output cable.

6. Output cable: to connect from the energizer to the network

7. Testers – Test the operation of your unit, the grounded system, and the fence itself.

The poultry house

My preference here is for the coop to be on one level, younger stock will always be able to climb the coop ladder, but older stock sometimes have a hard time.

Make sure you buy a large enough coop for your breed, the Buff Orpington is a large breed and will need a large coop and hatch.

Make sure the nest boxes are dry and lined with a good layer of straw.

Perches should be set at a level suitable for all ages and should be regularly inspected for red mites.

Weekly cleaning is dusty, smelly and therefore unpleasant but MUST be done, droppings can be composted in the garden if required.

Position the house roughly in the middle of the poultry netting area, this is because the chickens will use the house as a launching site to fly over the netting.

red mite

I have seen some large infestations of red mites which is a sad site to find, I have often been asked to see a chicken coop because they have a poor hen and only find red mites.

Red mite is a small mite that feeds on birds mainly while they are sleeping, treat with a proprietary treatment such as Poultryshield or Diatom, mist or mist as directed in the coop.

You MUST be very regimented regarding regular treatments to eradicate red mite!

poultry breeds

There are many breeds on the market for every taste, I personally have purebred chickens: Light and Buff Sussex, Welsummer and Rhode Island Red.

What I would recommend is that you visit a reputable poultry market to purchase your livestock.

In Salisbury, auctioneers from the southern counties hold a market every month. Go to their website and click on the Sales button to see the sale dates.

If this isn’t a sensible option for traveling on sale, surf the Web or check your local newspaper for new stock.


My father always said that if you let poultry dig in the grass they won’t get coccidiosis, so I always allow my chickens access to the grass and/or fresh grass clippings and to date I don’t I have not experienced coccidiosis in any flock. mine.

Chickens are very healthy birds. However, keep an eye on your chickens’ behavior, droppings, and food consumption. Any bird that looks bad, has a messy tail, or loses its feathers should be thoroughly checked.


No article on poultry farming would be complete without a section on predators, particularly the fox.


Open the coop a half hour after sunrise or later and be sure to lock up the chickens a half hour before sunset. If the fox gets in, it will usually kill ALL the cattle! You must complete this task 365 days a year because the day you get lost will most likely be the day the fox comes in and it’s not a pretty picture.

Magpies, Ravens, Ravens

I have seen a small number of chicks taken by Magpies and Ravens. The chicks had been placed in a small circular pen on grass, but the pen had NO top cover. The magpie stormed the pen from the air and with lightning speed flew away with a chick, never to be seen again.


In certain places within the UK I have heard that badgers are a problem. Personally, I’ve never had any problems with Badger, but keep in mind that if he lives near wooded areas that are known to have badgers, then he be on guard.

Finally, I hope this article is of interest to you, if you would like more details on any aspect of poultry farming, please contact me as below.

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