I'm about to start building a coop for the chickens I'm planning on getting.They are going to be at the bottom of a farmyard,in an area backing onto open fields/paddocks.It is rife with foxes here,so they will have to be well protected during the day & shut up overnight.The area itself is about 80ft x 50ft,and I really need to move them about on it to prevent parasite build up ect.
The coop itself shouldn't be much of a problem,but to stop them wandering/being eaten,I'm not sure what to use-wire fencing,electric fencing or both,so any suggestions would be very welcome.Thankyou.
Standard chicken-wire is cheap and if you sink it to a depth of 1ft or more into the ground and have it 8-10ft high then it will keep all but the most determined things out. On the downside, it will start to rust below and at ground level after 5 years or so. But if you are going to shut the hens into a very secure henhouse every night, then it will do.
I've recently started using 50m of electric poultry fencing for my meat birds, so far it's been effective at keeping the chickens in and predators out. However, it's only a metre high so some chickens would fly or jump out, certainly my laying flock would. I have also discovered that chicks up to 10 weeks old, when startled, will squeeze through the mesh whether the electric is on or not. The lowest live mesh wire is about an inch off the ground so the grass under it has to be mown regularly. You'd also need a really big electric unit to power such a long length of fencing.
Hard wire mesh is excellent, rats can't chew through it and it's much more rust resistant than chicken wire. As a result it's damned expensive!
If you are wanting to move it electric is the way to go.
I have a 50m poultry fence, my 16 week old cotswold legbarX went over and through it (saw her go through the larger higher holes) several times, she is a bit calmer now though.
You would need a energiser that runs from a leisure battery (car battery) and a decent one is around £100 for charger and £40ish for battery, plus you will need back up batteries inside (9v) and a recharger for the car battery. you would need 2 50m nets (or 1 50 and one 25 for a slightly under your estimate size) my energiser can run up to 3 nets. I recharge it around once a month.
Thankyou.It seems electric is the way to go.I'll have to ask my dad if he has any electric fence batteries I can 'borrow'.
I'm very pleased,as the garden chickens,that we only got on Saturday,have started laying already.I thought it would take them ages to settle down,but they aren't scared of the dd's and peck around quite happily.They all took themselves off to bed tonight too-fantastic!