Using fences to protect and range your poultry

With the weather warming up and the grass starting to grow, I am getting ready to free range my flocks again. It cuts down on feed costs and keeps my yard bug free. There is a problem though. I have dogs. I do not want my chickens to stray too far and I also need to find a way to keep my dogs out. Normal fences will not work for this, as the birds can fly and the dogs can jump. Parmak or Zareba electric fences are a perfect solution to this!

Parmak is a leader in electric fencing and has been in business since the 1920’s while Zareba systems has been in the industry since the 1940’s. The best part is they are both 100% American made. They make many different kinds of wire and chargers. Using lightweight step in posts will allow you to move the fence as you range your birds and will also discourage predators.

Rotating forage areas will improve the quality of your pasture and will prevent over grazing. By moving your poultry often you will also allow the bugs to repopulate and when you move the flocks back you will have a good source of protein waiting for them. There are many different ways to do this depending on if you have a movable coop or not. If your coop is not movable, you can rotate your birds around the coop itself in a clockwise fashion. If you are unable to rotate around your coop you can use electric fencing to make a corridor for the birds to walk through to the new grazing area.

While electric fences are a good way to keep your birds in and to deter dogs, you cannot rely on them to protect your flock. Roller bars on a traditional fence will also help. These provide a rolling bar at the top of the fence which will stop any animals from trying to climb over. The complement to this is to bury wire at the bottom of the fence. Never use chicken wire for this as it is unable to stop predators. Hardwire cloth or cattle fencing buried facing out from your birds will stop digging predators. As they try to dig under they will find the wire. Make sure to secure this to your actual fence or they dogs will be able to dig between the two.

Although not foolproof, using Partak  or Zareba fences along with traditional fences with roller bars and underground wire, will prevent most canine predators from reaching your flock as well as allowing your flock to have a continual supply of fresh forage.

– Danielle Oudenhoven


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6:37 pm | by Richard Jordan

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