Last year, I wrote about
temporary chicken fencing system that doesn’t need
electricity. Ten months later, we’re still major fans of the
system, with only slight modifications.
As first envisioned, we used
light-weight metal fence posts to hold up the plastic fencing, but
these posts can be tough to drive into compacted ground. Rebar
seems to slide in easily just about everywhere, and the plastic fencing
is light enough that it doesn’t bend the rebar over. I do tend to
use fence posts for corners, but I suspect a rebar-only system might
I’ve also gotten more
lax about weighing down the bottom edge of the fence. In uneven
areas, I do throw a piece of punky firewood on the bottom, but mostly
I’ve just learned to let about a foot of fence curl under on the inside. Direction is key here
— chickens will tend to burrow out if you turn the fence inside out
and bend the bottom down on the outside.
Despite the fact that
the curled bottom makes the top of the fence only about three feet off
the ground, the chickens mostly stay in. I wouldn’t leave them in
a temporary fence like this if we were going out of town, though,
because a hen does occasionally take it into her head to fly over, and
once she gets in the habit, she tends to keep flying. Usually,
rotating the flock into a more solidly fenced pasture for about a week
cures her of the habit, and it’s pretty easy to toss her back inside in
the meantime since she wants to be with her flockmates.
The best part about
these temporary fences is that they give us more flexibility. We
can pasture chickens in fallow parts of the garden without tractors,
then spend twenty minutes the next week to move the flock onto a fresh
patch of ground. One of these days, our permanent pastures will
be so vibrant that we won’t need to send the chickens out to graze in
the driveway, but for now, temporary pastures provide a great spillover
area when the permanently fenced areas are looking ragged.
problem, ensuring copious, clean water for our pastured flock.