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Ask our experts: electric fences to deter foxes?

PUBLISHED: 11:21 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:21 08 June 2018

Chickens ranging safely behind electric netting

Chickens ranging safely behind electric netting

Archant

Can a fox jump over the fence? Will my chickens be hurt?

Q. My husband wants to make a chicken run using electric netting. He reckons it will be better than building a normal run as they’ll get more space, we can move them around to new grass, and they’ll be safe from foxes. I don’t like the idea of the chickens being hurt if they touch the fence, and surely a fox could easily jump over it. What do you think?

A. Anne Perdeaux says: If properly installed and well-maintained electric poultry netting is a really effective way of keeping chickens safe from predators. While foxes are indeed capable of jumping, their natural instinct is first to climb, burrow under or find a way through a barrier. When a fox touches an electric fence, the unpleasant but harmless shock swiftly delivers the message that chicken is off the menu! Electric fencing won’t harm the chickens either, and they are so well-insulated by their feathers that it actually has to be powerful enough to contain them. Children and household pets quickly learn not to touch the fence, but small creatures can sometimes be at risk if they become entangled in the electrified net. Disconnecting the second horizontal wire can help prevent this. Electric netting isn’t suitable for waterfowl (they tend to try and walk through it) or horned animals, but is ideal for chickens, allowing them extra room to range and access to fresh pasture.

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