NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)  (Read 3972 times)

wannabesmallholder

  • Joined Jan 2017
Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« on: January 29, 2017, 11:02:16 pm »
Long story, but I'm planning to buy some poultry electric fencing to keep sheep away from young fruit trees for a bit. Chickens are next on the livestock "shopping list", and plan to fence them in with electric fence, hence forward planning and getting the poultry electric fence now so as to kill two birds with one stone.

A few questions, if anyone can help?!

Im a bit confused about what battery to get. The electric fence kits seems to come with a 12v energiser. I think I need a 12v battery? But they all have different amp values - does this matter/make a difference? (Wish I'd paid more attention in physics leasons - no idea what the volts and amps are!!)

As with all things in life, there seem to be a variety of different prices you can pay for this fencing. As a general rule, is it a question of "you get what you pay for" and I should just buy the best I can afford, or unreality is there little difference between the "standard" poultry netting and the "super deluxe professional" version? I don't want to pay extra just for the sake of it, but would be annoyed if I end up with a fence with problems when a hundred quid or so more would have prevented them.

Do "hot gates" work and are they easy to use?

How difficult/time consuming is it to put up the fencing? Is it a two man job?

Are there any particular brands to go for?

Many thanks for your advice.

Voss Electric Fence

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2017, 11:28:03 pm »
Which breed of sheep do you have?  Sheep have a horrible tendency to get caught, either by their horns or by their fleece, in electric mesh.  They then twist and turn trying to get free, wrapping the mesh tightly around their heads and throat, and can kill themselves easily that way, or if they are caught in the mesh for a long time they will be harmed by the electric current.  Both have happened to us in our early days of keeping sheep.  We only use electric fencing now to make a temporary, non-electrified run-in funnel for a catching pen.  I never leave sheep unattended with electric mesh.


There will be others who have never had a problem, but this is my experience.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

wannabesmallholder

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2017, 08:03:10 am »
Oh gosh @Fleecewife I hadn't really thought of that. Thought that if they market electric sheep netting it would be ok for sheep!  :-[ What about other types of electric fence - are they any good for sheep or are all types of electric fencing a no no? Hasty rethinking of fencing plans....

We are getting Ouessants (very small primitive breed) and will only keep the ewes, which are polled. They are supposed to not bother fences too much, but I don't know whether this is the case or not.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2017, 12:18:12 pm »
Sorry, I don't know the answers.  The only electricrified wire we use is a single strand in front of permanent mesh and stob sheep fencing, to stop tups smashing the fencing up to get to their rivals on the other side, during tupping time.


There are people on here such as @kanisha who keep ouessants and may be able to help.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2017, 12:37:39 pm »
I have never used electrified netting for fencing. I do use in a section that doesn't belong to me electric tape ( four strand )  This works as long as the sheep are primed to an electric fence  but you need to keep on top of regrowth of grass and watch that your pasture doesn't get sparse. Also the sheep are never in that section overnight and  if I am away for any period of time (more than a few hours )

To be honest for the situation you describe a roll of standard wire mesh fencing  would be fine  for ewes  (a  height of 1 metre is generally adequate) . Tap in  a few posts and fix fencing, would work out probably  cheaper and less hassle than electric fencing.
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2017, 12:43:23 pm »
We were told that sheep need to be introduced to electric netting as lambs, otherwise they can charge through it and get tangled up as said.


You will probably find the biggest problem with netting is it sagging between supports and shorting to earth. You will need earth stakes and an earth circuit as well. We doubled up on our support posts but still had a problem.


Once the net is in position and they have learned it hurts it can be left off most of the time, but ours then got chewed to bits by rabbits!


You will need a 12V 'Leisure' battery, which is a battery designed to store a lot of energy but not deliver the huge car-starting current. These can be bought from caravan centres as well as electric fence suppliers. Our fence unit is a Rutland, which has performed well but was housed in a shed to keep it and the batteries dry. You will really need two batteries, the second to use when the first one needs charging. Our batteries are 120Ah, which on our energiser unit last about a month- they take 3 days to charge with our little charging unit though and are very heavy.

Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2017, 01:01:12 pm »
A leisure battery as they are designed to run down without the trickle charge that cars give a battery.

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2017, 02:46:10 pm »
I keep polled sheep (Ryelands) and routinely use electric wire with them and have used electric netting too.

For your use, where a break in would be a nuisance rather than a catastrophe I'd opt for poly posts and 3 strands of electric wire along with an energiser and 12V battery, or if you have a sunny spot a solar powered energiser.   You need to strim under the bottom wire occasionally as once the wet grass touches the wire the battery can go down very quickly. The reason I would do this rather than electric netting is it is cheap and versatile to move and you are bound to need it again at some stage.

I've never had problems with electric netting with my polled sheep but it is a pain to keep the grass from shorting it as more troublesome to strip up to it.

The energiser and battery can be used for the chicken netting in the future and is the most expensive part of the system. However, unless you are planning to move it around I would use chicken wire for a permanent structure rather than electric netting for chickens. You'll get lots of different opinions on this not least of all depending on if there are many foxes about.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2017, 03:38:05 pm »
I have run stock fencing with a single strand, i try and reinforce the idea just after shearing, as their fleece is a good insulator, but occasionally I've left the fence unpowered,  (battery down) thinking, like the goats they would continue to respect it. Nope. I've ended up with sheep tightly trussed up, luckily each time something has made me walk over to double check, and saved them.

wannabesmallholder

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2017, 05:12:10 pm »
Many thanks all - food for thought, although I'm
more confused now than when I started!! Would be good to try to get this right from the start though, so really appreciate your comments.

The complication is that we intend to get chickens, if not this year then next, and planned to have them free ranging in the orchard (currently newly planted fruit trees). So the fruit trees would be fenced in with the poultry netting, keeping fox out of the chickens and sheep away from the young trees. With time, would plan to put up more permanent fencing in the rest of the paddock to allow rotational grazing for the sheep (the paddock is only an acre, including the orchard).

So I planned to use the poultry netting to divide the paddock initially and then turn it into a pen around the perimeter of the trees when we eventually get chickens. Trying to avoid the expense of two different types of electric fence as it's so expensive.

Actually, when I originally started on deciding fencing options, I had thought I'd prefer not to have poultry netting. So looked in to fencing the perimeter and adding fox-proof electric strands to the outside top and bottom of the perimeter fence to keep the fox out, but this seemed to be getting complicated and possibly not successful so I abandoned that idea. Do you think this is something I should revisit?

Where we live is pretty rural and I'm sure there must be foxes, although I've never seen one actually on our land. I'm sure they would come soon enough once the hens arrived.

The problem is, if Im thinking of more permananet fencing, a further, immediately pressing complication is that our man who is coming to fence the perimeter of the paddock is very booked up and won't be able to fence it all by the time the sheep arrive next month. Weve agreed that he will fence  half of it in time, with the assumption that I would keep them off the unfenced bit with the poultry netting.  :-\ So regardless of whether I go with more permanent fox-proof fence or not, I still need a temporary solution to keep the sheep in one half of the paddock. Am loathed to spend £300+ on something that won't be used long term!

Can you hire electric fencing?

Any other ideas welcome (if this long and complicated explanation has made any sense at all!!)

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2017, 06:12:43 pm »
Well mine have been on a paddock which has stock net on two sides and a three wire electric fence on the other two sides since September and had the same arrangement through last winter.  Whatever fence arrangement you consider someone will have a horror story but if you drive around and see what people are actually using in your part of the country that tells you something. Also ask the person you are buying them from what they have used as that will tell you what they are used to.

wannabesmallholder

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2017, 06:20:11 pm »
Thanks. They are not used to electric fence at all I don't think. This might be a silly question, but would a 3 line wire electric fence keep chickens in/foxes out?

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2017, 06:45:56 pm »
It might be a bit outside of your plans but have you thought about putting up some fencing yourself? If you've only got a 1 acre paddock and that includes your orchard  then you may well want it subdivided to rotate grazing. You could knock a few posts in and run stock netting across the paddock to keep the sheep in the area your contractor can't do.

We use stockfencing to keep our chickens in. You could run some electric wire across if you want to keep foxes out. We haven't had any fox issues and the chickens stay locked up securely after night.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2017, 07:06:01 pm »
No it won't, You'll need poultry electric netting or chicken wire for that. But if you have an acre do you need it at all for chickens?  If you are getting dozens of chickens you might but if you are keeping say 20 chickens or less they won't wander off your acre if there is food and water and unless you have a bad fox problem they don't usually attack during the day, so the main thing is they have a good secure house at night. Ours have an automatic pop hole and rarely wander more than 100m from the hen house and are invariably in bed by nightfall. With free range chickens you may lose the odd one occasionally but the devastating attacks tend to be when foxes get into the enclosure and the chickens can't get out. Answer is don't have an enclosure.

wannabesmallholder

  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Advice on poultry electric fencing (for sheep!)
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2017, 07:22:34 pm »
@pharnorth that's a good point and one I'm coming round to. Think maybe I'm trying to protect against a predator that may or may not be a problem and perhaps I need to see what kind of a problem it is before putting in full defences? I guess this involves accepting we will lose some hens before we get it right? You are right - we will have less than a dozen hens and I'm sure they won't wonder too far. In fact, all the people who have free range hens around us have them wondering around with no protection, although when I say "round us", I don't know of any with a couple of miles, so can't say what our local fox will do. I do have memories as a child though of our little bantums being wiped out in broad daylight when free ranging only 5metres from the house, so I think if the fox is bold enough he will have the during the day easily.

This still won't solve short term problem of needing to fence off the bit without a perimeter fence though.... @Dans - it's a good idea, but I have to say I'm a bit intimidated by putting a fence up myself - I wouldn't say I'm much good at DIY and with 2 small children am also short on time for projects..... maybe I need to bite the bullet and have a go, but can see it being rubbish!!  ???

 

electric fencing ..poultry

Started by john and helen

Replies: 1
Views: 827
Last post November 16, 2014, 09:27:58 pm
by john and helen
Electric Fencing

Started by Goldcraig

Replies: 2
Views: 1506
Last post October 05, 2012, 09:56:17 pm
by Mel Rice
Is this electric fencing?!

Started by Drummournie

Replies: 3
Views: 1462
Last post November 11, 2012, 03:53:12 pm
by Ina
Electric fencing

Started by Backinwellies

Replies: 8
Views: 2191
Last post June 26, 2013, 08:47:56 pm
by lachlanandmarcus
Installing Mains electric fencing

Started by MiriMaran

Replies: 3
Views: 1923
Last post July 06, 2010, 09:14:13 pm
by supplies for smallholders

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS