Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: electric fence/mesh/wire  (Read 4860 times)


  • Joined Nov 2013
electric fence/mesh/wire
« on: January 18, 2014, 10:14:13 am »
Hi all....

I am considering purchasing some electric mesh to allow our hens to free range more away from the static run and house we originally built, for two reasons mainly to allow the ground to recover from the abuse they give it in the fixed run and also to give the hens access to some grazing.

Is there fencing that is more suitable than others or types to avoid,

 i welcome comments thx


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 10:51:21 am »
We use the standard poultry netting you can get from Hotline or Mole Valley or wherever. I have 2 50m lengths to make 100m for the main pen. The good thing is that if you have the space you can move it around to rest ground. There are some things to keep in mind though. You will need a good powerful energiser to run this stuff. You will need to make sure it's really well earthed too. The second thing is that as soon as the grass starts to grow, it will short out the fence. It's very difficult to keep the lower strands off the deck, especially on a sloping or undulating field like I have. We have gone some way to solving this by snipping the connector to the lowest strand as recommended by Hotline. So this means regular lifting of the fence and strimming. I have an idea this year that I'm going to pt a length of 6" Damp Proof Course under the fence to keep the grass from growing and shorting it. The problem with this is that the grass at the edges tends to push up and turn the DPC into a channel which holds water. But I think I can solve this by taking up a bucket of stones every now and again and weighing the edges down. In time, the grass should die off. I have also considered trying to pick up old slabs or floor tiles wherever I can to put under the net. This all makes it less portable of course.

I would also recommend a proper post at each corner of the net so you can  strain it up and keep it tight. Guy ropes do not work all that well as the posts are bendy and tend to go out of shape over time.

I have to be honest and say that it's been a pain the whole year. You are trying to keep the grass off all summer and trying to stop the fence getting blown over all winter.

An idea I have had this year which would work out cheaper probably than electric netting is just to use standard posts every 5m or so, with those plastic temporary posts in between to make a bigger run. Then run multiple strands of metal wire around it so they are very close low down and not so close higher up. I think the chances of a fox getting through are minimal but I have yet to prove that. He won't jump it if it's on and he can't dig as they always dig close and he would get a whack. I don't think the birds would get out either. Benefits would be less maintenance and it would need less power to keep it working well. I have yet to try it.


  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 11:09:35 am »
I have a couple of 50mtre runs of flock net which I use for the sheep to strip graze areas. We have a mains unit which gives a much more reliable and effective zap then our old battery unit used to. It tends to burn any grass which touches it so a neat line appears where it has been.
If you only have a battery unit then quickly strimming the grass down along the fence line every couple of weeks might be less trouble than it seems.
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 11:34:16 am »
It doesn't take long to strim, but it's another job and with the return on eggs, you need to be careful you don't spend all day on your chickens, fiddling with this and that.

Tala Orchard

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • North Cornwall
    • Tala Orchard
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 11:51:18 am »
To do without strimming the best way is to lay wide DPC plastic under the fence using the spikes on the fence posts to hold it in place this stops the grass shorting the fence.

The initial cost is a bit high but when you consider the time saved and the fact that it can be used ove and over again it is a real saving.

Pigs are human tooo


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 01:05:40 pm »
I haven't seen a net yet that had sufficient posts on it. We have just bought two 50 metre Mole valley poultry nets. They are cheap but poorly made. It seems the operation of moulding the cross joints has severed the cords in many places -about 5 on one net and 20 on another. Fortunately the conductors are intact but we have had to make a lot of repairs. The post spacing is just under 4 metres and there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of being able to keep the bottom two conductors off the ground. Recon on doubling the number of posts but I think 1.5 metre spacing is a better minimum. A sheep net would be fine and we have one fitted with twice as many posts which only works with driven wood anchor posts at either end and the net pulled back to them to tension it. As said the big problem is the lower wires shorting out. Nets seem to be designed to work on ground as flat as a bowling green with grass shaved accordingly. Fortunately we were not planning on electrifying the Mole Valley nets anyway.


  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 10:19:24 pm »
Sorry to be argumentative but damp proof membrane plastic is not a good investment, it goes brittle and breaks down in just a year or so. I know this because we tried some of our leftover bits as weed suppressant round fruit bushes and even using mulch over it, once the hens scratched it away the sunlight destroyed it.
With hindsight we should have realised it is designed to be buried in concrete and doesn't need to be UV stable .... great thing hindsight, lol.
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 12:34:53 am »
I have an idea this year that I'm going to pt a length of 6" Damp Proof Course under the fence to keep the grass from growing and shorting it.

Is it just because it's narrow that you're looking at DPC? I've no idea of the price comparison but would a weed control fabric not work better? Then the water will go down through it and it'll be UV stable too. Poultry tend to chew it up a bit though - and it is in much wider sections (not sure you can buy anything under a metre wide although it's easy (but tedious) to cut.


  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 01:56:38 am »
An idea I had was to use dpc under the fence but cut chipboard in strips to cover it.  Easily picked up free from freecycle etc. used chipboard is a scrap material. It would quickly get soggy and heavy but would protect  the dpc. The only issue is what chemicals would leech from the board.


  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 05:58:14 pm »
The chipboard would work on it's own, as would old carpet, but weed control fabric sounds like a good plan to me. It's relatively cheap and designed to do the job you want it for without breaking down.
Just out of interest though, as it sounds as if you are planning something long term, why not put in proper posts and chicken wire? you can still run an electric wire round the whole lot using plastic screw carriers made for the job. I bought a bag of 100 for about £22 not long ago and they can be re-used as many times as we like.
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners

Cactus Jack

  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Tortosa catalunya
    • stevel100
Re: electric fence/mesh/wire
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2014, 09:14:32 pm »
As wooden posts here in Spain rot in about two years or less I use steel reinforcing bar, very cheap to buy, and insulate it with old hose pipe. Works a treat


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