I've had enough. Since my last post all of our guinea hens are gone. Poof. Sucked up by the wildlife vortex. The culprit? Fox and great-horned owl.
While I can't do anything about the great-horned owl (besides making sure every living thing is indoors before nightfall for some reason the guineas started perching in the trees at night...and well...I couldn't really get them down from there or stop them from doing this...but a great-horned owl sure can.) However, I CAN do something about the fox.
I can't say I had much of a choice at this point. After losing countless chickens and now guinea fowl to the local wildlife...and also learning that two neighboring farms have also lost every last one of their chickens to what was likely the fox...enough is enough.
After trying everything else I could think of (trapping, hunting, baiting, watching out...etc etc..I bit the bullet, figured out what supplies I needed and then spent a day installing a simple single-wire electric fence. Ironically, I haven't lost a feathered-friend since that day!! So far...100% successful.
I had previously bucked the idea of an electric fence because I couldn't seem to figure out how to incorporate a three-wire, 4 foot high fence into the fencing that already exists and still be able to access gates and so forth. Not to mention the expense of all of THAT.
One day in my conundrum, I came across Robert Plamondon's blog talking about this very subject. Very informative information regarding his successes using a simple single or double-wire electric fencing. I HIGHLY recommend you read his blog post about the "chicken saver" electric fence.
Made perfect sense to me what Robert was saying about a single-wire fence at just 10 inches off the ground. (Nose level for most chicken predators.) Why hadn't I thought of that??!!
Click here to read Robert Plamondon's blog post.
I went with a step-down version of the Parmak Super Energizer. The one I chose is good for 30 miles of fence instead of 50 miles. Still WAY more than I need...but I like Robert's input regarding bigger is better. I have no problem zapping the CRAP out of any predator that comes sniffing around.
I found the whole process much less difficult than I expected...although one snafu that I dealt with was the electrical receptacle in the barn that I'd be working with. Turns out most electric fence energizers don't work with the type of receptacle that has the test and reset button on it. Otherwise known as GFCI plugs. The GFCI type plugs are supposed to be installed anywhere there is moisture present or humidity...hence why these receptacles are commonly found in barns, bathrooms and kitchens.
I didn't really like the idea of coming home from work one day and finding the barn burnt to the ground because of my war with the chicken predators...so I called the electrician. He swapped out the plug for me and assured me that all would be well with what I was trying to do with an electric fence. (Sure enough...has worked flawlessly since!)
The steps to install my single-line electric fence turned out to be fairly straight forward and simple.
First, I picked out where I was going to put the wire for the fence, figured out where I was going to hang the energizer inside the barn and how I would run the wires to the outside of the barn to the fencing and grounding rods.
I then walked all around the outside of my existing fence and pulled up all the weeds so there would be no issue with grounding because of weeds and tall grass touching the wire.
Next, I placed my plastic fence posts that would hold the wire. And then I ran the aluminum wire attaching it to each post as I went.
Next I pounded the three 6 foot grounding rods into the ground and then finally I hung the energizer and ran the wiring through the outer barn wall and clamped it to the rods and the aluminum wire of course to the other connector on the energizer.
Our barn is incredibly dusty...so I also stapled a piece of a feedbag to hang over the energizer as a shield of sorts. (seems to be working very well to keep dust off).
With the fence complete and everything attached per the instructions from Parmak and tips from Robert's blog...I held my breath as I plugged the energizer in. VIOLA! Just as I suspected...it immediately started clicking (the normal click, click, click you hear from any electric fence) and the digital meter on the front read 13.4. That should zap em!! ( I also took a voltage tester just to be sure the fence was working and tested the voltage flowing through the wire.....yep it was zappin!)
And so far...I haven't lost a chicken yet. Maybe...just maybe...this will do the trick and I can keep the flock size to about 36 birds or so.
Time will tell....