Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Use an Electric Dog Fence to Protect Your Chickens

How to Use an Electric Dog Fence to Protect Your Chickens

When you own more than one type of animal, the trick is getting them to coexist peacefully. Chickens are excellent animals to raise, and they can contribute so much to your homestead. If you also have dogs, however, it’s important that your dogs are taught not to treat your chickens like playthings or prey.

Some dogs’ hunting instincts will cause them to hunt your chickens, and other dogs might chase your chickens for fun, which can lead to accidental harm or death. If your chickens are bothered by your dogs, their egg laying patterns will be disrupted. In order to protect your flock of chickens from your dogs, you have many different options. An electric dog fence is one way to separate your animals, and there are various uses for it, as well as a few things to consider before taking that route.

Divide Your Yard
If you have one large area that all of your animals use, an electronic dog fence can be used to divide your yard and keep your animals separate. If you already have a traditional fence around your yard, it’s easy to install one boundary wire in between sides to separate your chickens from your dogs. For example, you can cut your yard in half (or in whatever percentages you choose) with one underground wire. Your dogs can be kept on the side closer to your home, while your chickens can occupy the further section (since they don’t need to come inside).

With an electronic dog fence, you have lots of options for dividing your property. If you don’t have a traditional fence already installed, you can use an electric dog fence to create a “dog zone” that’s any size or shape. Creating custom zones with an invisible fence is easy to do yourself. A wire gives a lot more flexibility for custom boundaries than a rigid, traditional fence.

Enclose Your Coop
You can also take another approach to separating your dogs and chickens: creating a perimeter around your chicken coop. An electric fence can be placed around your chickens’ coop and run so that your dogs are kept out. This allows your dogs to have free use of all the space in your yard except for the chicken coop area. An underground dog fence will warn your dogs with a beep first, and then a mild shock, when they’re getting too close to your chickens.

Another option is to use a wireless dog fence to enclose your coop and run. Wireless systems are even easier to install because they don’t involve digging and burying a wire. They’re great for chicken coops, too, because they often use circular perimeters, which fit nicely with the size and shape of most coops.

Add Extra Protection
It’s important to remember than an electric fence alone isn’t enough to separate your dogs and chickens. While an e-collar will keep your dog in its own zone, it will not stop your chickens from crossing over the boundaries. Because of this, an invisible fence is best used as an extra layer of protection in addition to other safety measures. A tall fence may be required to keep your chickens inside their own safe zone. An electric fence along a traditional fence will stop your dogs from digging under, jumping over, or going through the other fencing.

An electric dog fence also will not stop outside animals from entering your chicken coop. Foxes, bobcats, raccoons, and foreign dogs can still cross over underground dog wire. Other tactics like raising your coop, installing motion lights, and using bird netting may be necessary.

Choosing a Fence
There are many different types of electric dog fences that can be used to separate dogs and chickens. If you have electricity for warmth or light in your chicken coop, an electric dog fence can use the same power source. If you do not have a nearby power source, you can purchase a solar panel for as low as $100 in order to power your electric fence.

Installing a Fence
Just about anyone can install a DIY electric fence over the course of a weekend. The total cost of a self-installed wired fence can be as little as $300. If you hire a company to install your electric fence, you’ll spend more than $1200, and most traditional fences cost more than $2000. If you’re on a tight budget, a DIY electric dog fence allows you to still afford quality, reliable fencing to keep your chickens safe from your dogs. The process is easy for even a beginner to do, and installing your own fence will give you intimate knowledge of how the system works. Although electric fences don’t typically break, you would also be able to do your own repairs.

After you’ve installed your fence, the most important factor is training your dog. You must be consistent with training, and you must follow the training instructions to the letter. It typically takes 15 minutes twice per day over the course of two weeks to train your dog on an electric fence. After they learn the boundaries and lose interest in your chickens, they won’t feel the corrective shock of the e-collar again.

If you need to protect your chickens from your dogs, a DIY electric fence is an excellent option to consider. It can help you keep your chickens safe and create harmony between all the animals on your property.

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  1. What a great article. You mentioned the dog will hear a beep first then get a mild shock...can this be adjusted depending on the size of your dog? How affective is it? I did go check out the PetSafe unit and seen it had good reviews. And the instructions for installing the dog fence was great. Thank you

  2. We have 3, yes 3 bird dogs-English Springer Spaniels. Moriarty's Invisible Fence installed ours. It was pricey but we had 4-5 acres zoned for them. Plus we needed 3 collars. You can dial this fence up or down depending on the temperament of the dog. Also has battery backup. Training is the most important aspect. We never had anyone leave the yard and it's been 7 years. We don't use it for our chickens since they all free range together. Again it's all about training. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Everyone should be as conscientious with their animals and pets. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Thanks for the great post. We do not have dogs, but have strays that sometime get into our property. This is a good idea to protect our sweet Cochin Bantam chickens.

  5. We had a dog that is now living with our son. This dog is a real escape artist and if we had an electric fence he would probably still live with us. We live inside city limits and Dash would not stay in the backyard no matter what we did to contain him. Now he lives in the country with our son.

  6. Thanks for sharing your information for fences. Panel fence is more helpful to us.


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