Meanwhile, chickens are not only kept on the farm, but they also find a new home in many gardens. If you have decided to keep chickens and you want to keep your animals in a species-appropriate and responsible manner, you should also offer them as much outdoor run as possible in addition to the chicken coop. The animals need a lot of free space for pecking and scratching as well as fresh air and sunlight. However, the birds can’t just roam free everywhere, as they face numerous dangers. For protection, the right chicken fence is the one you build free-standing in the area. You can choose a fence with or without electricity. Chicken fences, unlike closed enclosures, do not have a roof.
You can find out what you need to think about when building a chicken fence in our guide.
Why is a poultry fence so important for your chickens?
You should erect a secure poultry fence because free-roaming chickens are exposed to many dangers:
If your chickens are allowed to run around without boundaries, they are at risk from surrounding traffic. They will quickly be hit by a vehicle or cause accidents due to drivers taking evasive action. If you keep your chickens at the edge of a forest or a field, you should consider that there are foxes and martens on the way, which are predators of the chickens.
In our guide Protecting chickens from foxes – this is how you can learn more about fox deterrence. In addition, your own pets such as dogs and cats can also be a source of danger for the chickens if they are not fenced in. In addition, if kept without a fence, there is always a risk that the poultry will run away and never come back. Fenced poultry also stays away from the neighbor’s property, so you don’t experience unnecessary disputes with your neighbors.
For the night hours you lock your chickens in the chicken coop. There they can sleep safely from the attacks of their enemies.
How high should a chicken fence be?
The question of the right height for the chicken fence cannot be answered in a general way. The heavier the breed of your chickens, the less they will tend to fly. Therefore, when choosing the right fence height, the chicken breed plays a crucial role:
Very heavy meat breeds, due to their weight, almost can not fly. Therefore, for these animals low fences with a height of about 1 meter are quite sufficient. For medium-weight chickens, which are also not particularly prone to flying, a height of 1.20 to 1.50 meters is ideal. Small and light breeds are more inclined to fly. Here, a height of at least 1.80 meters is required – better yet, opt for a height of 2 meters.
How deep should you bury the chicken fence?
A solid chicken fence should be sturdily fixed between the fence posts and buried in the ground. This will prevent the chickens from scratching under the fence. For an effective fox defense you should bury the fence at least 80 centimeters, because foxes dig very deep.
When do you need to cover the fence for chickens?
For chicken breeds that are very skittish and good at flying, roofing will ensure that the chickens do not escape. For example, it is advisable to install a chicken fence with a roof for the flighty bantam and Brakelhuhn bantams, as well as for the Altsteirer and East Frisian gulls. Furthermore, for feather-footed chickens as well as crested breeds you need a solid roofing. They protect the delicate plumage of the birds from dirt and diseases in adverse weather conditions.
Additionally, roofing for all breeds of chickens provides protection from birds of prey such as hawks and buzzards. Your chickens can no longer be attacked from the air in a covered run.
What material do you need if you want to build a chicken fence?
A chicken fence has to withstand certain challenges on a daily basis, as chickens are curious and have a strong beak and sharp claws. Therefore, the selected material must be scratch-proof and “peck-proof”.
Visually appealing is a solidly constructed chicken fence with posts made of wood or metal. Once you’ve built it, you won’t have to do much maintenance. However, wood has some disadvantages. If it is exposed to moisture and rain for a long time, it starts to rot. That’s why you need to treat it repeatedly with wood preservatives.
Building a permanent fence with wooden or metal posts is also time-consuming and expensive. Furthermore, it is not mobile. Moving the stakes and slats is cumbersome and difficult. If you also keep chicks, you will need to reinforce the wooden fence with wire mesh to prevent the little ones from escaping through the narrow gaps between the slats.
As an alternative to the permanently installed chicken fence, you can opt for a poultry net.
What are the advantages of poultry netting?
You can use the poultry net in a mobile and flexible way, which is to your benefit and to the benefit of the animals in many areas:
You can adjust the size of the run in the garden or on the farm according to your needs. You can set up the poultry net according to the seasons – in winter in a place protected from the weather and in summer under trees.
By changing locations, you can protect the turf of the meadows and offer variety to your animals. A mobile poultry net is quick and easy to set up and take down. There are non-electrifiable poultry nets as well as electrifiable nets for extra protection from enemies. When the mobile chicken fence is rolled up, you can store it to save space.
What mesh size for the chicken fence should you choose?
Poultry fences come in different heights, lengths, thicknesses and mesh sizes. If you are raising chicks or keeping small breeds of bantams, you should go for the smallest mesh model possible. Since chickens spend most of their time on the ground, a small mesh size is appropriate, especially in the lower part of the net. In order for the fence to provide reliable protection, a mesh size of 50 millimeters has proven itself in practice.
Why should you choose a fence for chickens with electricity?
If you want to completely ensure that your animals cannot escape from their limited run and they are protected from foxes and martens, you should choose an electrified poultry fence. High quality models are manufactured by Patura or Kerbl, for example. A fence device supplies the chicken fence with electricity.
Fencing devices draw their power directly from the wall socket, a rechargeable battery or a battery. The deterrent effect of the harmless electric shocks prevents birds from leaving the fenced area and predators from entering from the ground. If a fox or marten is startled by an electric shock, they will stay away from the chickens in the future.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
If you’re putting up an electric chicken fence, you’ll need to post electric fence warning signs to protect passersby. You should mount them in a clearly visible place. They should be visible from a distance. If small children play near your poultry’s outdoor area, electric fencing is not appropriate. Children are curious and like to touch everything.
In order to keep your poultry in a species-appropriate manner, you must ensure that they have sufficient free range. With a poultry fence you can limit their free range and you prevent the birds from running away. In addition, you protect them from attacks of other animals such as foxes and martens, but also from dogs and cats. The advantage of poultry nets over fixed chicken fences is that they can be quickly and flexibly erected and dismantled. You can choose between electrifiable and non-electrifiable poultry nets. In general, you should adapt the outdoor area including the fence to the respective chicken breed and the conditions on site. This way, the chickens can feel comfortable without any restrictions and will certainly lay an egg every day.
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