Electric Fencing for Chickens: The Positives and Negatives

The use of electric fencing for chickens has become a popular form of poultry protection and containment, in fact the wide availability of such fencing has transformed the way many owners now rear their poultry.

When it comes to chickens, fencing is used by owners not so much to keep chickens contained, as they are often left to roam as they please, but to keep their many predators from attacking them.

The positives of electric fencing for chickens:


Unlike traditional chicken wire, which is normally wrapped so tightly when the enclosure is built that moving it is almost impossible, electric netting is fully portable and easily transferred to other areas. This is particularly useful when there is a need to relocate some chickens, or you have a new flock arriving that needs to be kept separate.

Tight Netting

Foxes are by far the most frequent predator of chickens, keeping them out is vital. Fencing that is designed for larger animals will not suit your chickens because the gaps between the wires are far too wide and will allow the fox through or the chickens out. Electric fencing for chickens is designed in a netted structure with very tough, small holes which are impossible for a fox to fit through thereby keeping your poultry safe.


Electric fencing is made from newer, purpose-built materials that are able to withstand the wear and tear of the elements, animals and predators. This makes electric fencing particularly good for keeping chickens as there are far fewer repairs required, predators are unlikely to prise or force gaps in the fence as they will receive a shock.

The negatives:


Chicken enclosures are often small so the cost of buying electric fencing for chickens can be quite expensive if you choose the wrong supplier. Most suppliers will work with you to ensure you get the fence you need, but off the shelf products often dictate lengths and dimensions meaning you can end up with more than you need. More traditional fencing solutions can also offer cheaper alternatives especially for small enclosures.

Intermittent Power

The major flaw with such fencing is that by its very nature it requires electricity. In the event of a power cut, intermittent power or a broken fence link, predators can get through and attack your animals. Fortunately electric netting is just as reliable as traditional netting even without a current, but if you have spent extra for the fence then its a pain when it malfunctions. This encourages predators to try their luck, either attempting to jump or prise the netting.

Even though there are negatives in using electric fencing for chickens, the benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh those negatives. This type of fencing is very reliable these days and offers any chicken owner a fantastic way of protecting your poultry.

Interesting Facts About The Electric Fence

The electric fence has been being used for more than one hundred years. Ranchers first started using the electric fence as a way to keep cattle in and keep them from being injured by the fencing material. Barbed wire was the most frequently used cattle fencing before the invention of the electric fence, and barbed wire could be dangerous to the animals.

The electric fence that is widely used today was first created in New Zealand by inventor William Gallagher. In rural locations the use of electric fencing will keep animals inside the perimeters of a pasture, but the signals that operate the fencing also can interrupt radio stations, internet signals, and television reception. When interferences such as these are noticed there is usually a problem with the fence within a mile of the interception problems. When the fence is examined somewhere within a mile there will be a portion of the fence that is having an arc or a spark in the hardware.

Regular maintenance of the fencing can prevent the short circuits that cause interruptions in the reception of radios, televisions, and internet service speeds. Insulators should be frequently checked and replaced when they are bad, and all vegetation growing near the fence should be trimmed so that it cannot touch the fence and cause a short circuit.

Electric fencing is as good at keeping things out of an area as it is at keeping things inside an area. Cattle and horses are often contained with the use of this type of fencing, but these animals are also kept safer because the fencing keeps predators outside.

Many people who raise animals that are often subjected to attack from predators utilize the electric fencing to keep their animals safe. This includes chicken farmers, rabbit farmers, and even the breeding and birthing areas of all farm animals.

This type of fencing can be established outside of a child’s fenced play area to keep wildlife and nuisance animals from penetrating the area where the child will be playing. You want to establish a perimeter fence between the electric one and the area where the child will be playing to safeguard the child.

The use of electricity in hidden fencing is popular for homeowners who want their perimeter to be clean, and yet want their animals to be kept in. Many dog owners use the hidden fencing to keep their pets from leaving a certain area. The fence material is buried beneath the ground. The animal has a collar that they wear to trigger the fencing when they get to near.

When the animal gets within a certain distance from the fencing perimeter their collar will trigger an alarm that stops the dog from crossing the underground fence. If the dog continues forward after they hear the alarm a shock will be administered through their collar. The animal quickly learns to associate the alarm with the pain of the shock and they stop when they hear the alarm sound.

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