Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hens on the field

The electric fencing kit I ordered following last week's fox attack arrived very quickly but it took me a couple of days to digest the instructions. There was something grey and photographic which showed me how to unroll netting and stick stakes in the ground. There was something in very small type for the technically minded telling me where to stick the energiser (that's the thing which converts the power from the battery into pulses....I think.) and what to attach the various clips to. Finally, by dredging up enough schoolgirl French I could read what to do with the little light thingy which flashes in the dark to show me it's all working. Not too difficult after all.

I did a fair bit of pacing - I know my best-ever stride is exactly a metre - to achieve a square of my 50 metres of netting. Stakes were stuck in, ditto corner posts. I made a little gate too. Then because all the instructions stress that any vegetation touching the green netting would 'short' the circuit we laid plastic damp-proof course along the bottom. This of course showed that my 'square' was not exactly erm, square and wandered all over the place. (Alan did a lot of sighing at this point.) Alan did manly things like hammering in the earth spike and attaching guy ropes to the corner posts - all those years as a boy scout were not wasted after all were they? I should add that he came to help at the eleventh hour - as I was fixing the last corner post and had nearly finished the job. Apparently I shouldn't have done it like 'that' - I should have done it like 'this'. It's said that a little help is worth a lot of sympathy (by whom?) so I resisted clocking him over the head with the mallet and shut up. Patient, moi?

We attached the battery to the energiser and the energiser to the fence and 'thwack' - as Alan didn't let go soon enough and leapt back clutching his thumb we realised we had power. Hurrah.The hen houses were rolled into place and the birds released into their new home. It does look pretty good.











After a week's confinement in tiny runs I'd like to think they were delighted with their new surroundings. They're in the lee of the hill, have sun and shade and should be out of the worst of the prevailing winds. I've incorporated a big log pile for shelter and added interest.

















I've left the small run in in case they need to get out of Mr Buzzard's way. Mr Buzzard has been hovering lately and won't be deterred by a bit of netting - he'll just drop in. We hope the birds will now be safe from the murderous fox too of course.

None of them are laying at the moment - the old ones are going through the moult and the young ones are not quite mature enough. Shouldn't be long though.

A clutch of Fabergé eggs would be very welcome. Can you manage that girls? It would go a long way towards to recouping my expenses.

10 comments:

Lindsay said...

Very good luck with the fence - it looks very efficient. Over the years we have had lots of heartache when Mr. Fox decided to pay our chickens a visit.

Nikki-ann said...

Good luck with the fence :) I once caught my shoulder on an electric fence while climbing through it (after being told it wasn't on) and woah I got quite a whack of a shock!

Nan said...

That fencing really should work, for two reasons - one, being electric and two, the mesh fencing. I haven't read enough of your blog to know, but I wonder if you have other animals? Our hens are part of a group of farm animals, and they have never, knock on wood, been attacked. I wonder if goats or sheeps were in with your hens if that would keep the buzzard away? I'll be spending more time here. I know you commented on my blog, and I'll be back to visit.

Cait O'Connor said...

Good luck with the fencing and the hens who are gorgeous by the way. We have lost hens to the fox and given up keeping them now, still get tempted though....

elizabethm said...

Fencing sounds pretty serious and yes, somehow I always should have done it like this, not like that. Sounds like you were more patient than I am! I have learnt either to get him to do it in the first place or to do it completely while he is out!
Our birds aren't laying either now and I am really missing the eggs. I had some shop bought ones this morning with a shell so thin you could practically break it by picking it up.

paula said...

Hello - it's funny isn't it how you see a name in the comments of another friends' blog and you kind of think of them as theirs. It wasn't till after a comment from elizabethm that I was spurred onto to visit you and leave a comment - getting over the feeling you're someone else’s property!

I'm thinking of restocking with hens - the last lot...oh it's too complicated - and it's good to see how others keep them. I really want to move them about (mobile ark?) and don't know if I'd have the time/patience for electric netting - worth thinking about though. Look forward to the progress.

ChrisH said...

I laughed at the Faberge eggs - your girls ought to manage one after everything you've done for them. Well, you are a very handy person to know with skills like that!

Nan said...

Me, again. I just emailed my husband asking if he would consider doing a post on my blog (he's done a few so far) about electric fence, after reading this post and then Elizabeth's and Paula's comments. Granted, we do not have foxes, but there are occasional roving bands of coyotes and the horrific fishers. And we've not lost an animal or chicken in twenty years. I'm so excited to have found all your blogs so I can spend some time among country women an ocean away.

Mopsa said...

Yup! That's the way to do it - and I might nick that damp membrane idea...

GeraniumCat said...

My OH, just back in from shutting up our chickens for the night, peered over my shoulder and said, "that's not a fence, that's a stalag". We're both very impressed by it!