Dog proof fence for free-range chicken/poultry paddock

Discussion in 'Building DIY, Machinery & Tools' started by Mark, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Before I go building my pizza oven I really need to look at my priories and get stuck into building a dog proof perimetre fence to create a safe environment for my chickens and ducks to roam.

    Last weekend I lost another duck to a dog attack - the mongrel simply pushed under my boundary fence and a got the duck whilst she was out of the pen free-ranging. My actual chicken pen is dog proof but I can't properly secure my whole property boundary for several reasons and one being it's just to big to dog proof on my budget.

    Therefore, I'm going to build another perimetre fence around my pen giving my birds about an acre of yard to safe graze but how to dog proof it and keep it low budget? I simply can't dig the dog fencing down in the soil because it would quickly rust and get dug under anyway.

    A guy at Bunnings suggested I place wooden sleepers dug-in all the way around the fence and tack the fence onto it (which isn't a bad idea) but it would still cost me around $1000 in sleepers alone!

    I'm thinking of digging a narrow trench 200 mil wide x 250 mil deep and as I do the posts for the fence at the same time I fill the trench with concrete but how much would that cost? Would it be cheaper then sleepers? I am yet to price this method however it seems to be the most logical.

    The fence would then be positioned over the top of the concrete trench and when properly taught dogs wouldn't be able to push or dig under.

    Well, that's my theory - wish me luck and as always I'm open to suggestions.

    Edit: I have written an article about how I made this fence on my blog Self Sufficient Me here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  2. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    What about just doing as you did before, bend the bottom 40mm? out flat on the ground and the other bit vertical as the fence? and lay logs or rocks randomly on it... even make the bend on the inside of the yard so it gives you a neat edge to mow along the outside of the fence? Your chooks and ducks are locked up at night? so are only out in the yard during the day? So the new fence doesn't have to be too hardcore?
     
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  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    The bending of the net (using an inner skirt) would work as it has on my pen. However, I'm looking to do 200 metres of fence for this paddock which is a considerable perimeter - certainly more than my pen. Not convinced a skirt is the way to go in this case but I will keep this option open because if the other methods like a concrete trench is too costly I may have no choice but to use a skirt system.
     
  4. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    What if you just build the fence like normal so you can start using it, and over time (years) collect and bury rocks along the base? Start the secure base at the most risky areas and leave the open field areas to last?

    What kind of fence are you doing, star pickets and normal chicken wire?

    Electric wire at the base on the outside? Check the costs for horse electric fence wire? I think it's just a single wire with a little box. (and check will it work on dogs etc?)
     
  5. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Nice ideas there Stevo and I need them too - just did some online calculation to run a concrete barrier/trench around the perimeter 25 cm deep by 20 cm wide and I'm looking at about 600 bags (or more) of concrete!

    I want the fence to be really stable and strong so I'm using fencing posts 4H (able to be buried) and probably bag each post. This will enable me to make the dog fencing mesh taught as hell so these dogs can't force under - these are big dogs we're talking about which have pushed under my boundary fence which is mainly star picket with dog or chicken wire.

    I'm not keen on electric fences because of the kids, my own chicken friendly dog, my forgetfulness, possibility of failing through the night, and I'm just a numpty with electricity.

    I've string marked the perimeter so now I'm going to get some exercise and hand dig the fence posts and trenches - this is going to be hard work but it will save me money doing it by hand and it means I don't need to do my morning runs :D


    I'll have a think about what I will fill the trench with as I dig but your idea has definite merit and I'm thinking rubble rock :think: I'm wondering if a shallow and slightly wider trench filled with rubble rock and sprinkled with some post mix cement to give it some more bond would do the trick for a fraction of the cost? That might just work mate; and, I've used rubble rock before to build a path and it is hard as buggery once laid!
     
  6. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    So i suppose razer wire is out of the question? :p

    You could grow passionfruit or grapes along the fence, so it serves a couple of purposes! Although, your chickens might like grapes, mine do.
     
  7. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I never thought of that either but a passionfruit vine or some other plants along the fence (especially the back fence) would look good I reckon.

    Here's the start of the back fence digging the trench - 25 m done only about 175 m to go... It's only about 3 or 4 inches deep but it should do if the rock theory works. I'm going to get the posts in for this back section before moving onto the other sides just in case it rains so I've got at least the back done (it's the lowest part of my property).

    start of fence trench for dog proof chicken fence.jpg
     
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  8. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Looks like hard work, but you have a few helpers there. Do they get in the way when you're digging? I have one that stands under the pic waiting for me to dig so she can get worms.
     
  9. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah, got just one hen that's a problem and she annoys the hell out of me same thing stands exactly where I'm digging!
     
  10. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Should be some nice hot days for digging :heat:

    You could dig it up with your tiller? :D
     
  11. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thought about the tiller but the cut is too wide and it's a little hard to get it straight. Very hot indeed! Hands aren't holding up as well as I had hoped either :rolleyes: Got to get it done there's no turning back now...
     
  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I have three sides of the fence line scraped clear with a 3-4 inch deep trench and now I'm starting to dig the post holes.

    This image is from the furthermost corner of where the new fence will be and I have to admit to cheating on the trench by using a digger :p Digging this trench by hand was sheer murder but I was getting there... promise. However, as I was digging I started thinking about how my ducks will miss swimming in the neighbouring creek-line behind us so I decided to get a small dam dug within the new boundary/paddock.

    You can just see the new dam in the middle-right but more about that in my dam duck thread. So after the guy had dug my dam I asked him to change buckets to a 40 cm scoop and scrape the fence line for me - this saved me many hours of work and gave my hands a break from the shovel also.

    fence line scrape dog proof fence chickens.jpg
     
  13. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    So I've got the back fence posts in (all 20 of them) and I have to say I'm fed up digging holes! I don't mind the exercise so much but it was taking ages so I hired a single mans post hole digger for $109 and finished off the rest of the other three sides holes today - it took me a fraction of the time...

    fence posts building dog proof.jpg

    Mr Post Hole Digger (redundant)

    post hole digger manual with hat.jpg

    Meet Mr Red Roo ;)

    red roo post hole digger.jpg
     
  14. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Interesting hydraulic doovahicky design.

    How's the progress?
     
  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Going good, got all the posts in now (about 60 all up) and I've started on dog proofing the shallow trench with rubble rock @ $39 a trailer load gets me about 50 metres of fence line.

    Once I lay the rubble rock down I then pour some rapid dry post crete over the rock, add a little water, let it set, and dog trench is done!

    Will probably have the trench finished by the end of this weekend then I can start on the dog mesh fence. :heat:
     
  16. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    OK, so here's an update...

    I have filled the trench around most of my chicken paddock fence-line with rubble rock and I decided to hold off cementing anymore rocks for now. I did the first 10 or so metres and the rapid set concrete worked a treat but it occurred to me that perhaps cementing the rocks in was not needed for my type of soil (hard clay) and once a bit of soil settled into the rocks with some natural grass growing over it should set the rocks pretty hard anyway. Bottom line - rather than overkill and waste money I thought I'd see how it goes and if I find signs that the rocks are not holding up I can always throw some rapid set mix in the trench at a later date anyway.

    So now I'm onto rolling out my dog wire/mesh and attaching it onto the posts. I got a great deal on galvanised dog mesh 2.5 mil x 145 cm x 100 m for $215 (I need 2 x rolls). I kind of thought the wire would be heavy but I didn't realise it was that bloody heavy! It was a slow job today just rolling out the wire from post to post and temporarily tacking it to each second post with a zip tie. I needed to use a trolley jack to maneuver the wire down the line and that made it easier then physically rolling it out by hand...:heat:

    By the end of the afternoon, I had the mesh rolled out across the rear fence and had attached the mesh to a star picket which is in turn attached to my hand winch all hooked up and ready to go tomorrow to tension the wire up and then tack it on each post using "U" staples.

    Hopefully, all goes well and that'll be my rear fence done - just three more sides and a few gates to go... :rolleyes:

    dog proof fence placing dog mesh onto posts.jpg
     
  17. Scott Mac

    Scott Mac Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    These are wild dogs aren't they? Not neighbours dogs. Either way, they're best shot if you can catch them on your land, maybe warn the neighbours once though of your intensions. Sounds like it'd be a loosing battle and loses will be had without the fence. If my dog nailed one of my birds, it would get a bullet, let alone a wild or neighbours dog. The dogs no good after tasting blood. I despatched of my previous dog for killing a native animal which I wont name also couldn't trust him near my kids after that. I guess if I have a dog/fox problem, there's no way I can sit in waiting every day, so the fence is a good idea.
     
  18. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I have trouble with both wild and neighbour's dogs. Caught a neighbour's dog in our pen killing a chicken once it had killed 4 others before I got to it. I grabbed it by the scruff (it was only a small thing) and took it back across the street then demanded $140 on the spot for damages - they paid me but weren't very happy about it... I couldn't care how upset they were for being out of pocket because they were lucky their dog came home at all!

    The wild dogs are more of a problem lately due to the size. They've been pushing under my outer boundary fence and although they can't get into my chicken pen it's through the day when my flock is free-ranging when it become dangerous. I'm sick of losing birds and managing the flock like a Shepard so I decided to finally build this fence.

    Once I get the fence done and my automatic door installed on the pen (open about 9 am and shut at dusk) I'll be sweet and able to relax knowing the mongrels can't get in and my birds are safe.
     
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  19. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Back fence is done!

    Today, I found enough time to tack my dog mesh onto the posts. Even though all the posts are cemented in I decided to put in a corner post support (split log treated pine 1.8 m) held at the foot by a star picket.

    I needed the extra strength in the last post because to get the wire taught I used my hand winch. What I did was attached the wire (down the other end) to a 6 foot star picket and then centrally pulled the picket with my winch until the whole 80 mtrs of dog mesh along the fence line was nice and tight. Then, I started from this end and tacked the mesh onto each post with large galvanised "U" staples 2.2 mils.

    Overall, I couldn't be happier with how the rear fence turned out - it's taught, strong, and you'd be lucky to get a flat hand under the bottom run (no dog is pushing under this fence) :chuffed:

    back fence done chicken paddock.jpg
     
  20. Scott Mac

    Scott Mac Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    nice job, and I like your tensioning method. Is that rooster French Moran? I've been given one as a trade for elec services. Actually all my birds have been traded rather than bought.
     
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