Meriel Younger from talks you through her own experience of electric chicken netting for her hens.

If you have no boundary for your hens and they free range, they take a chance on meeting a fox face to face. Unfortunately, there is only one winner in this scenario. However you could be lucky and have no predators in the vicinity. Where we live, we have seen foxes stalking our hens from the surrounding fields. For peace of mind, we decided to keep our hens in a secure pen.

We looked at a few options and decided on a 50m x 1.22m Hotline mains operated electric netting fence kit. It fits our garden as it is green (so unobtrusive) and it is a decent height (so not easy for a fox to jump). It has worked well over the years and keeps the foxes out and the hens and bantams in.

Our ground is flat and we have mains power nearby, so for us electric chicken netting has been the right choice. We found it easy to install and maintain ( just need to keep the grass off the second line up). It has also stood up to the winter gales and storms because we have used the guy ropes to support the netting and keep it taut.

What to consider before purchasing electric netting for hens:

  1. Is your ground flat or undulating? Electric fencing can be installed on almost any ground but if it is undulating you may need to use more posts, more guy ropes and possibly put something under the net to prevent it from shorting.
  2. What length and height of electric netting do you need? We would always recommend netting of 4” or 1.22m tall. It is taller than a lot of nets on the market but makes it a lot harder for the opportunist fox to leap over. Before purchasing pace out the perimeter to ensure you get the right size of netting
  3. Are you going to use a mains or battery operated system? How far away is the mains socket from the start of your fence (once you know this, you know how much lead out cable to get)? Do you already have 12v leisure batteries and a battery charger if you are going down the battery operated route?
  4. Gateway? You will need to access the enclosure. There are a few different netting gateways on the market. We prefer the netting gate as it is all electrifiable whereas the ridged gate has parts that have no zap!
  5. Opportunist fox? Ensure that your electric netting is not near to any objects that a fox could jump up on to and then leap into your hen enclosure.

How effective is electric chicken netting? It is not everyone’s choice and will not suit every set-up but it worked for us and for our hens. Careful planning is the way forward with any electric fencing project. If you are considering electric fencing protection for your hens get in touch – we can talk you through the electric fencing mine field! 01620 860058

This question & answer was taken from the April issue of The Country Smallholder magazine. For more expert advice from The Country Smallholder, subscribe here.

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