electric net fencing v.s chickens, and a lamb ?

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I recently got a couple of lambs and was talking to the lady that I bought them from about fencing. We were discussing electric net fence and she said that she wouldnt use it anymore because she had a free range chicken that got part way through it and got caught and was electrocuted. I wondered if this was a freak accident or if I would have the same problem since my chickens walk through the cattle panels into the small paddock that I have set up. Any thoughts? Would be a nasty thing to have happen. -after 2 weeks of leading the lambs in and out and tying them I decided it was time to research some fencing :) On that same thought one of the lambs is really tame and already leads very well the other is very skiddish and I have to chase her around and catch her then she either drags me or I drag her to where we are going. Her mother was very quiet, is there still hope or will she always be jumpy? Or is there a trick to making friends? Thanks

-- Tami Bowser (windridg@chorus.net), May 09, 2000


I have seen a bird (starling) killed by a regular wire fence as well as the net types. But never anything as big as a chicken. When I used it for sheep, the occasional free range chicken that got "bitten" as it was going through merely accelerated to warp speed for a few moments. GL!

-- Brad (homefixer@mix-net.net), May 10, 2000.

I've seen a blue heron killed by regular electric fencing. I'm not sure how much they weigh -- they are mostly legs and neck -- but must be close to the same as a hen. But as I mentioned in another thread I wouldn't use net fencing again. We had a lamb and a goat kid discover that by pushing up the bottom strand with their nose (bottom strand isn't hot) they could crawl out underneath with the hot wires sliding harmlessly over their backs. Of course, then the rest of the flock copied them, and they'd all get out. Also, when spooked, they would try to jump right through the netting, and of course get tangled up and pull posts out, and the netting would go down and then the whole flock would run right out over the top of the downed fence. If we hadn't gotten the tangled one loose quickly it would have strangled, and of course, rather quickly the fence had been cut to shreds as we had to cut it up to free the animals. This happened a number of times, not just once. We only actually lost one lamb that way, but if we hadn't been home most of the time, would have lost more, I'm sure. Anyway, there has got to be a better solution than the net fences (although our pasure was absolutely great, with the animals being moved daily in intensively managed grazing).

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), May 10, 2000.

By the way, our geese would walk through the net fencing with no harm done -- not to get in, but the couple of times we tried keeping them in it, they just walked out with no harm done. Might be the charger that made the difference.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), May 10, 2000.

If the ground was wet from a rain shower, would that have made the electric shock worse? I think it does.

-- Pat (pmikul@pcpros.net), May 10, 2000.

I think it depends on the type of electric fence/charging system you have. We have seven strands of hot wire (New Zealand, Gallagher brand name). The charger sends out intermittant pulses of electricity. I understand that in order for a shock to occur, the animal has to be either grounded and touching one wire (i.e.: sticking a nose on a wire), or touch two wires simultaneously (like going in between). Small birds perch on the top wire and don't get shocked. Chickens trying to get through, touching two wires get shocked, but get through, like Brad says, at warp speed (and don't do it again! Same with our ducks, but not the geese as they are too big)... I have never lost an chicken, probably because the shock is intermittant and releases them for a second (after they get the message). Coyotes have tried to go through the fence, and have left howling (also neighbor dogs). The wires are pretty tight, so hard for anything to get through, and it's 4 feet high (can get it higher). I think it's great for sheep, not great for horses. You can get it at a feed store usually, and install it yourself, or have it done for you. If the power goes off, the fence is still pretty tight, but it might be smart to have a backup if you aren't around when that might happen.

My lambs have different personalities, and some will follow me, and some are just ornery. The more you handle them and feed them, the more likely it is that they will do what you want them to. Good luck.

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), May 10, 2000.

I'm considering ordering a special electric net fencing that is advertised specifically for keeping poultry in. It sends a pulse rather than a continuous charge. The ad claims this is for "maximum control of most animals large and small" apparently including sheep. I assume it must be safe for the chickens, but hopefully efective for keeping them. I'm hoping to rotate the chickens intensively through the paddocks following the cows and then sheep. I would welcome anyone else's advice on this, myself.

-- Jonathan Lindvall (Lindvall@BoldChristianLiving.com), May 15, 2000.

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