I wasn't entirely sure before visiting it whether this footbridge even existed. The main source of information I had was a reference in Gillian Nelson's excellent Highland Bridges book, which didn't have a picture but made the bridge sound worth a visit.
It spans the River Lossie, in Elgin, some way to the north of Craigellachie Bridge. We parked on Oldmills Road, from where a narrow passageway takes you down to the river, and this bridge. I don't think it has a formal name, so I've called it Maryhill House footbridge as that's how it's referenced in Nelson's book.
I love these little 19th century lenticular footbridges. They are the epitome of lightweight design, still a ready source of inspiration to a modern designer. I'd be pretty certain that this one was designed and built by the firm of Charles D. Young and Co. since it so closely matches the diagram given in their 1850 brochure:
Young's brochure describes the structure as follows:
The principle may be generally described as self-supporting ; a strong wrought-iron beam on each side of the pathway, slightly arched, is separated by iron brackets from a tension-bar below, of corresponding strength, and deflected in a curve exactly the reverse of the former. Both of these, namely the beam above and the tension-bar below, join at each extreme, and are securely 'keyed' together; the effect of the principle being that the greater the pressure on the bridge, the firmer it becomes; the intervening brackets so acting as to set off the strain of the one against that of the other.One great advantage of the Tension over the Suspension Bridge, is its requiring comparatively little mason-work or other outlay for abutments, as it may rest merely on the bank, or a facing composed of either stone or timber. The brochure mentions an example at Hassendean Burn (near Hawick), built in connection with the now-gone Edinburgh and Hawick Railway. It suggests a price for their Tension Bridge of 20 to 25 shillings per linear foot of span, if for pedestrians and horses, or £3 to £6 for carriages and carts.
Clearly, their structural understanding wasn't quite right, as the bridge may become "firmer" under higher load, but it would also be more highly-stressed and hence liable to failure. From a modern perspective, it can be thought of as a lenticular truss, or as an underspanned self-anchored suspension bridge, where the deck sits above the main suspension cable, which is in turn anchored into the deck rather than into the ground.
I visited another of Young's lenticular bridges at Roxburgh Viaduct in 2010, which can be fairly confidently dated to 1850, so the Elgin bridge must be of similar vintage. There's also a very fine lenticular footbridge at Denham Court in Buckinghamshire, with the same triangular struts, variously attributed as built circa 1850 or 1870, and quite possibly by Young as well - I can't find a picture online, but there's one in ICE's London and the Thames Valley - Civil Engineering Heritage book.
I can find nothing to dislike about this bridge, it's a pure delight.
Double Leaf Swing gate
High Security Chain Link Fence
These type of fences are used for Airports, Military installations, jails, Power and telecommunications installations, etc.
In this fence the height varies from 2.4 to 3.4 meters and a double crank with 6 rows of barbed wires and a roll of Concertina Barbed Tape which can fully stainless steel, Galvanized and different sizes which have sharp blades so that no intruder can get through these fences. Some installations they used on the ground also used the concertina barbed tapes rolls so that there is no chance anybody can come near to this fence.
Gates can be done as single leaf swing type, double leaf swing and sliding type gates infilled with chain link mesh, etc.
With chain link mesh system we can build up various types of play courts for tennis, badminton, volleyball, football, etc. which also can be covered with shade nets for privacy
WELDED MESH FENCING SYSTEM
Welded mesh fencing system is more decorative and expensive than chain link fence but mostly used on gardens, parks, children play area, etc. It is manufactured with certain set of standard panel system which is connected
The same types of different security systems are available and can be fabricated/installed in welded mesh fence system also as chain link fence systems.
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Good fences make good neighbors, especially when those fences keep your prized Hereford bull from paying a visit to your neighbor’s registered Jersey cows. But farm fencing isn’t only about controlling the perimeter. Here on our rural homestead, I see a landscape of diverse animals and terrain. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the thought of having to keep it all organized, safe and healthy. There are hardly any tasks as daunting or as essential to the vitality of a farm, be it just a few horses or an intense multi-animal operation, as having a trustworthy fencing system.
One might argue that it is possible to physically contain animals within a fence, but the fact of the matter is that physical barriers are difficult and expensive to create. And even the best wire fences only provide physical containment for a while … usually long enough to become a psychological barrier. An animal thwarted by a wire fence will eventually quit testing the fence … until the grass looks so green on the other side that the pressure builds to the point of fence failure. Without a memorable psychological reminder that messing with the fence is unpleasant, virtually any farm animal will test, push, root, rub and eventually break or find a way through, under or over the barrier.
One the most effective and humane forms of fencing uses an unpleasant electrical shock to remind animals that they want to stay away from that fence. Electric fencing is effective as a stand-alone barrier or as part of virtually any other kind of fence. Most folks will use a combination of electric and some physical barrier, as both methods have pros and cons. I prefer electric fencing for larger areas because it affords flexibility as well as being easy to install at a reasonable price.
Installing an electric fence can be intimidating for those new to the process. In reality, an electric fence is one of the most reliable, safe, least expensive methods of animal containment available.
There are many ways in which to design an electric containment system, but the core principles are relatively universal. First you need something that produces the electricity, somewhere for it to go (conductor) and finally, a way for it to return (ground).Energizers
To produce the charge needed to power an electric fence you will need an energizer (also known as a fencer or charger). Energizers exist that can be powered with either AC (plugs into an outlet) or DC (uses a battery, solar panel, or both) electrical current. Most farm-fence energizers use that electricity to deliver a short pulse of very high voltage and low amperage current to the fence. Most of these so-called short-shock chargers deliver a powerful burst of electricity in a concentrated voltage for a fraction of a second every two seconds. Many emit a steady "tick tick tick" along with the pulse to let you know that it is doing its job. This burst quickly dissuades the curious animal from further exploring its escape route and ensures that they do not receive too much of a shock.
Energizers are categorized by how many acres or miles of fence they will charge. For instance, a common fencer might charge 20 to 30 acres of land and cost between $80 and $90. Smaller energizers are available that can charge up to 8 or 10 acres, so you have the flexibility to find a solution that meets your specific needs. One thing to keep in mind is that the number of acres or miles the charger will power is for a single line only. and many animals require a multiline fence. I find the mileage rating to be far more effective when researching fencers.
Since electricity likes to travel in circles, sending a pulse down the fence wire is only part of the story. With a properly working electric fence and nothing connecting the hot wire to earth, the electrical circuit is open … it’s like a switch that’s turned off. That electrical pulse then travels the full length of the fence and dissipates. When an animal (or non-attentive rancher) touches the hot wire, the pulse travels through them and into the ground where it is conducted back to the energizer's ground pole through ground rods driven into the earth. The guttural burst emitted from the unsuspecting beast is evidence of the switch being turned on … the electrical circuit is complete, but usually for only a split second.Grounding systems
One of the most important things to understand about electric fences is grounding. Your animals will only feel the 8,000-volt shock if the pulse passes through them and returns to the charger. You can facilitate routing the electrical pulse back to the ground terminal on the charger in a couple of ways.
The first, an Earth Return System, uses steel "ground rods" that are pounded into the earth near the fencer and act like a homing beacon once the electricity exits the fence through its unwilling host. The number of ground rods that are required depends on the strength of the energizer and the type and moisture of your soil. Plan on about 3 feet of 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch steel pipe per joule of output (copper ground rods work well also but are more expensive). The benefit of an Earth Return System is that an animal need only touch a single line to receive a jolt. The downside is that the environment plays a large role in your fencer's ability to deliver adequate shocks on a consistent basis.
Since the Earth Return System depends directly on how grounded your animals and fencer are, you will need to monitor your system routinely. Dry or frozen ground has an insulating effect, which prevents the full power of the electrical pulse from making its way back to the charger. Conversely, if you are standing in a puddle and decide to kneel down while working on the electric fence, take care not to let your head come in contact with the hot wire. When you come to, you’ll realize that you experienced an abnormally powerful shock (yes, I speak from experience) because both you and the charger had a good connection to a highly conductive soil.
The second grounding method takes a bit more understanding and requires multiple wires, but it will leave you with a safer and more reliable system. This Wire Return System employs one or two lines to deliver the pulse, and a third that connects directly to the energizer’s ground terminal and a series of grounding rods. In order to receive a full shock, the animal must touch one hot line and the ground line. This method is more reliable because the earth alone is not required to conduct the current back to the charger. The down side is that you need more ground rods, and this fence will be somewhat more vulnerable to short circuiting.
Short circuits occur when a hot wire inadvertently comes in contact, or partial contact, with a good ground. For example, an old steel post and barbed wire fence can easily be reinforced with a single electric wire. But when the deer jump the fence, there’s a chance they will inadvertently wrap the hot line around a stretch of barbed. When that happens, the pulse will have a direct route to the earth … so if an animal touches the hot wire it will feel a tickle at best. Likewise, if your steel gate shocks you, it is receiving a pulse through some short in the system. Shorts are readily detected with a volt meter designed for testing fences. We have 4,000 volts, which is a good minimum voltage, but we’ve seen sheep actually laugh at that amount before they leapt through the fence. We try to keep it around 6,000 to 8,000 volts. If your charger shows 8,000 volts when not connected to the fence and 6,000 volts when connected, there is likely a short. It might be as simple as wet vegetation in contact with the hot wire … or the hot wire coming into contact with a wooden fencepost.Fencing materials
Now that we have a basic understanding of how the electricity moves through conductors we can detail how to build the fence and some of its star players. Electric fencing conductors include high-tensile and low-tensile solid metal wires and conductive composite materials such as poly wire (a twine-like material made with fine metallic wires and polypropylene). High-tensile wires resist breaking much better than any of the other conductors and are best used for permanent paddocks and perimeter fences. High-tensile wires, when used properly, can deliver a consistent charge and withstand significant physical shock load. If your cattle get spooked and hit the high-tensile fence, it will continue to stretch long after low-tensile wire will break and boards will shatter. In addition to the physical barrier, the animal receives a couple brief reminders that the fence is not to be tested under any circumstance. The result is that both fence and herd remain intact.
Poly wire and low-tensile metallic wire are best used for temporary subdivisions and in other places where you will need to create and then tear down the fence in short order. These fences can be charged by clipping their conductors to those of the more permanent perimeter electric fence, or they may be charged with a portable energizer.Putting it all together
How you suspend the wire depends on your application. Always use a sturdy post (wooden or composite) when working with long stretches of line or multiple lines. As far as styles of corner post setups go, many different websites and publications are available to help find a solution that meets your needs. If you are putting together a smaller paddock, spaded steel posts will work just fine. I caution the use of any steel post, however, as it is very easy to have a stray wire touch the metal and cause a short. If you do decide to go this route, you must be diligent in finding the short if you lose fence power. Also, I would argue against using barbed wire. First, if it is an existing wire, it well may be corroded and rusty, which will significantly reduce the ability of the electricity to travel through it, and second, if an animal (especially a thick haired/wool variety) gets tangled in the fence and is unable to free itself, it would surely receive lethal doses of shock.
Connecting the wire to the post depends on the type of post you are using. Insulators are connectors that separate the post and the wire, thereby allowing the electricity to flow freely through the wire and not into the post, which creates a short. A wooden insulator is nailed on, and the wire threaded through. A second option is to cover the wire in a weather-resistant coating (rubber, nylon, etc.) and affix it to the post with a heavy gauge staple. For metal posts, there are a few different options, but they all follow the same clip-on style. Also, it would be wise to purchase an Electric Fence Tester that allows you to see how much power you are getting out in the field. These are relatively inexpensive and well worth the purchase, as an oft-tested fence creates peace of mind. All of these supplies are available online or at your local farm supply store.
Many advanced configurations, including gates and paddock switches are available and can make your system highly tailored to meet your specific and ever-changing needs. Always remember that your fence demands respect and, with a basic operational understanding, it is not an overwhelming task to install one yourself this season. Give it a try. I think you will be pleased with the results.
Just don't kneel when you are working with a live fence.
Andrew and Rebekah live on a fourth-generation farm in Omro, Wisconsin, where they are transitioning to an organic, grass-fed meat and produce CSA along with educating friends and family on the wonders of raw foods.
Rebekah Sell lives on a small plot of land with her husband, Andy, on which they are hoping to build a sustainable homestead. With a small business and four kids, life is always interesting as Becky and Andy live fully the idea that the journey is the reward. Find her on Google+ .
Note: This article is undergoing a number of edits in anticipation of converting it to a members page. It is now different than it appeared in the original post.
Seems to me that about 90% of the problems folks seem to have with predators and varmints of the furry kind (raccoons, possums, skunks, foxes, coyotes, dogs, cats, etc) could be resolved by use of an electric fence of some type. There are a lot of references to it, but not much in the way of how to. With this post, I hope to resolve some of that.
First comes the concept of what is an electric fencer and how does it work. Short answer is it is an electric device, powered either by plugging it into an electric outlet, or connecting it to a battery. The fencer amplifies the electric charge thousands of times to send a short burst or pulse of thousands of volts down the fence line. Simple graphic is as follows:
Fencer is connected to the ground, literally the ground you stand on, and also to the fence. The ground and fence are the conductors that comprise the circuit that delivers the electric shock. The electric fencer sends a charge down the fence and unless something is touching the fence and the ground at the same time, nothing happens. Fencer recycles / reloads and fires again. about one burst per second. you hear it as an audible "click. click. click". It is only when the fence and ground are contacted at the same time does the circuit close and the voltage is felt by whatever closed the circuit. Essentially, whatever it is that touches the fence and ground at the same time becomes a switch that completes the circuit, where it is felt by the recipient as a painful electrical shock. It could be you if you are dumb enough to touch it, but hopefully it will be the varmint you are hoping to deter. It could also be the birds confined within. But whatever it is that touches the wire and ground at the same time will act as a switch, close the circuit and the recipient will feel a jolt as all those thousands of volts cut loose on it. The higher the voltage, the greater the pain that is felt. To really act as a deterrent, you don't want that to be a tickle. You want to knock their socks off. You want their first and all subsequent encounters to be as painful as possible, such that they quickly get the notion that whatever is on the other side of that fence is not worth it. So if you are a chicken, you stay on the inside. If you are a varmint, you stay on the outside. You want to leave them with the impression that absolutely nothing is worth crossing that line and getting zapped.
Done right, one can almost envision a scenario where a varmint could associate the smell of poultry with the jolt they got from the fence and decide to avoid it completely. Smell a chicken and run away? Maybe not as far fetched as it may seem. A varmint does not know what an electric fence is. If chickens are new to the area, and to the varmint, they may not know what a chicken is either. They only know if they touch that wire, it's going to hurt and hurt bad, and that wire is found near chickens, so they may learn to associate the pain they feel with chickens. We can dream can't we? The caveat is, it has to hurt and hurt each and every time. So in the world of raising chickens, an electric fence can be thought of as like the biblical reference to Moses and the goats blood over the door. it is what signals death to pass you by.
In the world of electronics, electric fencers are an enigma. When manufacturers and users describe them, they tend to rate them with reference to the term "joules". Electric fencers are one of the few electronic devices I can think of that are rated or referenced in "joules". So what is a joule? As defined.
joule |jo͞ol, joul|(abbr. J )
the SI unit of work or energy, equal to the work done by a force of one newton when its point of application moves one meter in the direction of action of the force, equivalent to one 3600th of a watt-hour.
Hmmmm. I'm no engineer, but that sounds like a way to measure or relate power to work output. In this regard, it would be similar to other terms we are familiar with, such as horsepower (used for engines and electric motors), foot pounds, PSI (pressure per square inch), etc. So if that is true, then the rating of a fencer in joules should be a measure of the power a fencer puts out. If fact that does appear to be the case, such that a fencer with 1 joule of output is stronger than a fencer with only .25 or .5 joules. That is what most references will say, except at least one (Parmak) says on it's FAQ page that "joules" is a meaningless measure, except they then go on to use it as such. Confusing to the max.
(Note: Joules is pronounced like "jewels". I prefer to think of it as rhyming with jowls, which also rhymes with "howls" and "yowls", which are the responses I want from my fencer).
So if Joules is not the end all factor, how do you rate these fencers and select for power. A better measure of the effectiveness is voltage. Voltage is what delivers the hurt. An article from Kencove helps explain this in greater detail:
So with this in mind, fencers are often rated as to the miles of fence they are able to charge, so it stands to reason then that one way to select them is to see how they are rated as to amount of fence they will charge. Some say only a mile or so of fence. Others 5 or 10 miles. The ones I use are rated for 30 miles of fence. 50 mile fencers are common and at least one local farm supply store offers one rated for 200 miles of fence.
Second term you need to be aware of is "low impedance". In terms we understand that simply means the fencer has the ability to overcome a fair amount of contact with weeds and brush. things that normally would bleed off the level of shock to nothing. and still deliver a potent shock. Almost all fencers we want to consider will be low impedance fencers that deliver a short burst of high voltage measured in milliseconds.
A fencer rated for 30 miles of fence or more, and a rating of 5 joules or higher, is going to be a pretty potent weapon in your fight to keep varmints away from your fencer. Note. this is probably double what most will say is adequate or enough with most topping out at around 7,000 volts. I'm not a fan of either of those terms (adequate or enough), which to some animals, may almost be tolerable or at the least, not effective as they have fur to shield and insulate them from a mild shock. That is not the response I'm looking for. I want the effect to "intolerable" to any and all of them.
A third term to be aware of is "induction", which is referenced in the Kencove article above. Induction is the bleeding over of the electric pulse from a hot wire to a ground using only the air as the conductor, and happens when the voltage gets cranked up so high it is almost impossible to contain. It really wants to make that jump from hot to ground, so much so it may do it through the air. (A spark plug in a gasoline engine is the prime example of this). I"m OK with that. In fact, with predators, I want to push it to that level. Fur may be all I get to work with, so if it will jump through air, it may also jump through fur.
So after all that, what fencer should a person use? Generally, fencers come in two versions: AC units that are plugged in to an outlet and DC versions that run off a battery. Pros and cons to each.
AC units are generally the hottest and run at higher voltages and thus generate the most zap. They can do this since they are always plugged in to a power source and don't have to moderate anything to save battery power. In short, they "floor it". pedal to the metal and let em have it. And with AC as the power source, the power never runs down as it might with a battery powered unit that looses it's charge over time. They can be grounded by weeds and grass and can keep going and shock right through all that. That is on the plus side. On the negative. they are plugged in. So they have to be located close to an AC power source, which may or may not be close to where you want your fence. Also, the ones I'm familiar with all say they have to be mounted inside a building so as to be protected from the weather. Imagine an electric device like this that gets wet. it can be damaged or may damage you if it somehow shorts out and you touch it. Also, I've heard it said. and I called to ask and this was confirmed. if the device is plugged into a GFI outlet, any shock it delivers to an animal can trip out the GFI breaker, shutting down the unit. By code, nearly anywhere you would install such a fencer is going to require a GFI outlet, so if you used one in this situation, it is almost designed to fail. That's not good. Probably the best use for an AC powered charger is inside a barn, shed or home, used with a long distance of fence (10 acres or more) that is more or less permanent. It could also be mounted inside a permanent chicken house with a permanent fence running from this house and protecting a sizeable area for the flock to run around in.
To get around the GFI issue, forget code and do not use a GFI outlet. Dedicate a circuit to it that is not used for anything else and mark it as such. An AC unit also needs to be protected from a lightning surge, which will fry it's circuitry. Lightening damage comes from both the AC power source and also from the fence itself, so protection needs to be installed from both directions. A surge protector on the front end and lightening arrestor on the fence side. A lot to like about AC units, and a lot not to like as well.
DC Units come in two flavors. Simply tied to a battery, or to a solar powered battery. In general, these are not as hot as AC units, and likely they do this to conserve battery power. Solar powered chargers will keep a battery hot for a long period of time. maybe always, but tend to be more expensive since you are buying not only the fencer, but battery and charger all in one unit. But if you also have to buy a separate stand along battery and a charger, then when you add all three of those together, the solar unit is not as expensive as it may seem. But as to battery powered units, the nature of fencers are they really don't use much power except when they are actually delivering shock, so unless they are grounded somehow, they are not pulling much juice. A fully charged deep cycle battery may last a month or two between charges and a solar powered unit may indeed be able to keep up with the juice required to run a fencer.
I'm using 12 volt fencers that connect to a deep cycle lead acid battery. These fencers are rated to deliver up to 13,000 volts, and mine are.
These are made by Parmak in Kansas City, and sold as rebranded units by our local farm coop. They are the Parmak 12 battery powered units. They pack a wallop. I put a fence tester on them and they do deliver the 13,000 volts shown on the meter. That would hurt. I once saw a cow touch her nose to a single wire fence powered by a fencer like this. she was about 50 feet or so away from me when it happened. I saw a blue spark jump from the fence to her nose and I heard it snap. I also heard her grunt and she didn't stop running until she was about 100 feet or so from that fence, where she turned back to stare at it, wondering what it was that hurt so much. That is what you want the varmint to experience and you want the same response.
As to fencers, I don't want to get caught up in brands. there are lots of them on the market and I suspect they all work and work well, provided you get one that packs a wallop. A tickle doesn't count. A wallop strong enough to loosen their teeth will. Whatever you use, make sure it packs a wallop. This is especially important with varmints, which tend to have a longer fur, which protects them to a certain point. It does not protect their nose or tongue if they can be tricked into licking the fence, but if they were to try to crawl under it, it might.
Key to get good performance from any fencer is the need to establish a good ground. Connecting the fencer's positive hot wire to the fence is easy. No loss there. The ground or negative side, however, is the other half of the circuit and needs to be every bit as good, since the ground. again literally the "ground you stand upon" is the conductor for the negative side of the circuit, serving the same purpose as the fence wire does.
So what constitutes a good ground? The short answer is "enough", and it is utterly amazing the lack of understanding as to what constitutes enough. Enough is simply a good enough ground to act as a conductor between the hot wire and the ground you stand on such that the full potential of the fencer is realized. The best way to measure this is with a fence tester. If you test your fence and you are at your fencer's full potential, you have a good enough ground. You could add 100 more rods and it won't get any better. Enough is enough.
To give some examples of how poorly this is understood, I would like to offer three examples of how fencers were being grounded. All three examples are presented as videos. The first is by an end user and the other two are by folks who make and/or sell this equipment:
On the above video, notice the extreme this guy went to to establish what he thought was necessary for a good ground. More on this one later. Grounding the middle wire is an important consideration for some fence installations.
Below, aside from seeing how poultry netting works, fast forward until they get around to setting up the chargers and note the difference between what they use for a ground, and what the first guy did. Note also what type of ground is used to test the fence. If that is all that is required to test a fence, how much is required on the front end to deliver it? Hint: the same amount.
In general, what establishing a good ground means is you need enough. For some, they see the need to pound a long metal rod. or rods. into the ground at the fencer's location. Some will pound in multiple rods and even try to locate them in wet areas or even pour water on the ground near the ground rods to enhance the connection. That may be required in areas where the ground is dry and you can't get good contact, but if that is the case, then ground the animal is standing on isn't a good ground either, so other options may need to be considered. BTW, the "ground" used for my fencer shown above is a 100 foot section of woven wire fence, with steel fence posts set at 10' intervals. So the ground I used for this setup is about 8 or 9 steel posts driven about 15 inches into the ground, some in wet locations. I'm maxed out on my fencer's ability, so my ground connection is good and my fencer is HOT!
If you go to a local farm store, you are going to find two basic types of fencing materials. They are poly tape or poly rope, and wire.
In general, poly tape is intended for horses as it is wide and thus visible to them. They can easily see it. It looks like packing tape, and is made of plastic, except it has small threads of wire running through it that carries the current. Horses don't have fur to protect them so they feel the shock and are sensitive to it, so the fence does not have to carry much current to be effective. The cheap poly tapes don't carry much current, and have limitations on how long the fence can be and still be effective. about 200 meters or 650 feet or so. More than that and they suggest a better grade of tape. Yes, they do make different versions, some with higher wire count so are more effective, offer less resistance to current and can handle longer runs. These are also more expensive. Poly tape and turbo tape. there is a difference.
Poly ropes work the same way, except instead of tape, they use rope with wire spun into the fiber mix. Some as small as 1/8" and as with tape, the better stuff with higher wire count is larger in diameter in the 3/16" range. Same issue with metal counts. The smaller stuff has less metal and is less effective. Larger stuff, more metal, so more effective and for livestock, also more visible. Poultry net fencing uses the same type of rope, except it is woven into a fence with multiple strands attached. More on this in a moment.
For our purposes, wire will generally be found as one of two options. The first is a lightweight 17 gauge aluminum wire; the second is 14 gauge galvanized steel, which is not lightweight, nor is it very flexible. Once you get into large pastures for large livestock, wires may get larger still, like #12 or so. These may be stretched tight (high tensile) and permanent. If you really want to make a permanent electric fence, you could consider going larger and heavier. It will be more durable.
Wire offers almost no resistance to current, so can be used for really long runs. miles long runs. with almost no drop off in wallop. Wire is shiny, and thus visible, the heavier steel wire being more visible and durable than the lighter aluminum.
What you won't find in the local farm stores is electric fence poultry netting. You will likely have to get that online. Two most common sources are Premier 1 in Iowa, and Kencove, which is based out of PA:
Poultry netting is made of the plastic rope, with wires included in the plastic. It is woven together to make a fence. The horizontal bands are hot wires. the vertical are inert plastic used to create the grid and to hold the thing up and together.
Fence looks like this:
The strands of wire in the fence looks like this:
Once up, it looks like this:
So if this fence is hot and anything. bird, varmint. you. touches one of those green bands, they are going to get zapped. So birds stay in and varmints stay out. Setup right, and for small areas, this is probably the most effective fence going, but does have it's share of problems. Which are? It is temp. you set it up with step in posts, which are built into the fence. That is good in that it goes up quick, but over time, tends to sag under it's own weight. Also, the bottom strand is not hot, but the second strand is, and the second strand is only 3 inches off the ground. Any weeds, grass, etc, not to mention a fence sagging enough to touch the ground will ground itself out, reducing the shock it delivers, and shortening the battery life. But since it is temp, you pull the posts, move it off to one side, mow tight to the ground and then set it back up. A weedeater will do a number on one, so be careful if you try that. You could also clear a pathway for it using Roundup or some such plant killer. You might try that if you want to put it up and leave it up for long periods of time. A fence of this type works well with tractors as a way to enlarge a pen surrounding your portable coop. You would want to couple that with a portable (meaning DC powered ) fencer.
This fence, for the area it covers, is also the most expensive. Fence shown above came from Kencove. 164' fence, 48" high and it was roughly $180, plus shipping. So 164' of fencing would enable a protected perimeter of 164 feet. Roughly 40' x 40', or 20' x 60', 10' x 70', etc. The closer to square you are, the more interior square footage you get. You can also tie them together to expand the area covered.
Wire and poly rope cost a fraction of that, so can be used on larger areas, in fact they may be best used for larger areas, and for a couple of reasons. First is the cost factor. A person could fence in an area of several acres for less money than a single poultry netting would cost. At least as far as fence that would keep predators out. But that comes with a caveat. it may not keep the birds in. Some say yes it will, and others say no it won't. I'm in the camp that says it all depends. Depends on what? Mainly how large is the area being fenced in. Large enough, probably it will. tight quarters. maybe not.
To elaborate, laying hens, which is what I'm referencing here, only want to range about 100 yards or so max from their home base. generally their coop. So that is about 300 feet in any direction, or if the coop is centered, 300 feet in any direction, so 600 feet square. That is roughly 8.2 acres. So with no fence at all, a free range flock of birds may not venture outside that range, fence or not. If you put up a fence around such a large perimeter, the birds may never venture far enough to find it, but a predator coming from outside that enclosure might. Depending on the terrain, it would be an easy task to build a simple fence to keep them out. It would like like this:
This fence is what a fellow I know is using to keep raccoons out of his sweet corn patch. It uses two strands of poly tape, the lowest set around 5 inches or so off the ground, with a second about 10 inches or so above that. A raccoon trying to breach that perimeter is likely going to hit it with his nose. again, he does not know what a fence is, he only sees a horizontal object to crawl under, over or through. But likely as not, he will touch the fence one way or another on his first encounter and when he does, he gets zapped, and zapped hard. So he decides nothing is worth that and goes off to forage elsewhere.
As shown, this is being used to protect a patch of sweet corn, but the same concept applies to setting up a perimeter to protect a flock of birds. Varmint is on the outside, birds on the inside and he has to get past that fence to get in. Can he do it? Will he do it? If hot enough, and painful enough, probably not.
Realistically, this may be all the fence that is required to keep most of our varmint predators out. If they can't go under it and can't go over it, what else is there? Simply establish one of these as an barrier that they cannot cross. (Keep in mind, a tree canopy is a highway for raccoons to get over it. Go up one tree and come down another. so you would have to either fence all those trees in, or fence them all out).
This is a similar fence I'm using on my garden, which also has sweet corn in it:
Instead of poly tape, I'm using 17 gauge aluminum wire, the lowest set about 5 inches off the ground and is suspended by white plastic step in electric fence posts. The second wire is 5 inches above the first. As per my fence tester, this fence is packing 13,000 volts of wallop. To date, it is holding. Within 48 hours of setting this up I went out early in the morning to find my the fence was down. Fencer was still running and till shocking, but at a reduced rate because it was now grounded. But fence had been knocked off the insulators so something hit it hard. Judging from the stank, the first varmint to encounter my fence was a skunk and the jolt he got was enough to not only cause him to knock my fence loose, but also he let loose on the ground, hopefully from a fence induced incontinence. No issues since.
I managed to hit this fence with my weedeater and it knocked things loose. If this is intended to be more permanent, the heavier 14 gauge galvanized steel wire is stronger and more durable and will stand up to more abuse. It is also more visible. It is not as flexible and not as easy to use, but is more durable. In my case, I plan to switch to a lawn mower and simply mow under it, moving the step in posts as needed to get a clear pathway.
Flagging tape was added after lady I'm married to forgot it was there (this light wire fence is not as visible as some) and walked into it. If not for the fact they were wearing some fairly thick flip flops, she would have gotten zapped and my life may have ended. So I added the flagging tape as a visible reminder. One could also add some string above it to get the same affect. But as is, it is protecting and can be easily stepped over by those who know it's there (people that is).
So in addition to keeping varmints out, will it keep chickens in? Some say yes, some say no, I say it depends. This fence is set around a garden area of about 50 feet square. The birds will be free to test it, but so far, they have not ventured this far out. However, at nearly 9 weeks of age, they are now large enough they will not be able to slide under it without touching it. So once shocked, they may learn to respect it and not get anywhere near it. So on the ground, probably it will keep them in. Will it keep them from flying over it? Probably not. if, and this is the big IF, they are so confined that they feel compelled to escape the enclosure and fly over it, OR, are somehow startled by a dog, predator, etc, that is on the outside and bum rushes them into a panic induced flight that takes them over it. But I'm told the same issue exists with the poultry netting fence. birds inside can be induced into a panic flight by a charging dog, etc, that takes them outside the pen where they can be caught. They don't make one high enough that most birds cannot fly over if they really wanted to.
BTW, a good reference to some of this also comes from this website:
Robert is a BYC member and sometimes poster. I have found his site full of good reference materials, written by someone with considerable experience in raising birds at a large enough scale that it really matters.
In conclusion, for the predator issues most of us face, at least from the furry varmint kind, a well designed, well installed electric fence may solve the vast majority of them.
Make it tight enough they can't avoid it, and MAKE IT HOT.
Edit: If you have gone as far as you can go with electric fences and the animal continues to persist as a problem to be dealt with, you may need to consider trapping. For a companion article on trapping, go here:
Edited by Howard E - 7/14/16 at 8:42am
I don't have power to my coop so I think i will look into a solar set-up with the mesh fencing, it would be good to put around the coop and my (small) garden.
You can do a solar powered battery, in which case you would not have to worry about recharging. I had the battery and I have a charger, so I simply got the 12 volt unit, no solar panel. And yes, in my opinion, these are the way to go with a remote pen area. I would not want to run a hot wire cross country to get to it. Also, if you have to trouble shoot it, you have to walk back and forth to turn it on or off, or install a gate or interrupter switch at your fence, or have help. I don't have help.
You can add a solar panel to any battery, but unless it is a regulated panel setup as a trickle charger, it could easily overcharge your battery and damage it. So if you get a solar panel model, it may be best to shop for them incorporated or included with the charger. An integrated model. They are more expensive, but may be less trouble in the long run.
BTW, not advising one way or the other, but Parmak offers the same charger I have with a battery and solar panel included. Look for one with comparable or even greater zap to it. Don't make it tickle. make it hurt. When a coon or fox touches it, you want to extract the "yelp heard round the world"!
Edited by Howard E - 6/29/16 at 2:31pm
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