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Electric fence to keep out critters???

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Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  flintlock28 on 8/18/2010, 11:38 pm

So far, I have been very happy with my first year at SFG'ing. Pretty much everything I planted has done very well, but recently the Squirrel population is killing my efforts.

I did build chicken wire enclosures for most of my crops, except for the Silver Queen Corn....... when the corn was young, I had chicken wire fencing up to about 4 feet in height, and as it grew taller, I removed the chicken wire. The Squirrels didn't touch it, but once it got to bearing corn, and was about 7 foot tall, the Squirrels began to annihilate it. I came home last week from being on vacation, and about 40% has been wiped out (I have two 4' x4' boxes with 4 corn stalks per square foot) I am angry!! I forgot to mention that before I left for vacation, I did put Rabbit guard (about 30 inch high wire fencing), all around the corn boxes. When I came home, about 40% had been eaten, so the Rabbit guard fencing was a joke to them. My question is: for next year, I am considering either fencing in my entire Square foot garden within an eight foot tall enclosure (with the roof made of chicken wire)...OR I am considering using Rabbit guard/chicken wire of about 30 inches in height, that is hooked up to an electric fence, of the type that Farmers use to keep Cattle, Horses, etc. enclosed.

Has anybody used any type of Electric fence hooked up to keep out Squirrels, and possibly Groundhogs??? Somebody in work suggested the Electric fence idea, but I don't know how practical it would be........... I definitely want to continue SFG'ing for next year, but the Squirrels gotta be dealt with, and I really don't feel like building an entire fenced in enclosure that is eight feet in height, and probably about 12 feet wide by 30 feet long....I think that would get expensive, and I'm wondering about the electric idea being cheaper.

let me know your thoughts, thanks Don

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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  Blackrose on 8/19/2010, 9:07 am

I feel your pain Don. I lost 3 pumpkin seedlings to chipmunks at the beginning of the season and my Mother has lost all of her tomatoes to squirrels. I don't have a garden at the scale that you seem to, so I didn't need anything elaborate to protect it, but I'm sure someone on the forum can help you.

There are some amazing suggestions in the following topic:
http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/general-sfg-talk-f5/keeping-wildlife-out-of-the-garden-t780.htm

The solution that the original poster came up with and built is absolutely amazing.
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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  flintlock28 on 8/19/2010, 9:30 am

Blackrose, thanks for the info....... I am considering building something like Miss Mousie did, although I really don't want the expense of time, money, and labor to construct something that size. If I have to, I will, but the idea of using simple Rabbit guard hooked up to an electric current, might just work and save me money and time.

This first time at SFGing, I just built four 4' x 4' boxes, more as an experiment to see If I liked SFGing. Since it has worked out well, I am hooked and would like to possibly double my garden size for next year. This is why I want to really get organized for next year, and beat the Squirrel issue.

I hope others chime in if they have any experience using electric fencing.

Don
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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  Old Hippie on 8/19/2010, 10:00 pm

Do you have to consider any local bylaws about electric fences? Some people object to their cats, dogs or kids getting electrocuted, even slightly. In my opinion all three should be corralled in their own yards or suffer the consequences.

GK
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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  flintlock28 on 8/19/2010, 11:39 pm

I didn't think about any laws....but my back yard is completely fenced in (Shadow Box fence)...I'll look into it.
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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  Miss Mousie on 8/20/2010, 2:42 am

Hi Don,

Yeah, admittedly my garden "cage" is a little extreme and did cost a few $ and quite a few hours of labor, but I had seen and heard some of the stories of critters invading the garden and since we have lots of critters in our area.......I just didn't want to be disappointed by seeing a deer standing in my garden eating my veggies. We already throw garden scraps out for the deer and shake the ancient apple trees to make the higher up apples fall to the ground for them......what more do they want?!?!

Anyway, I have no answers for your questions about electric fencing. I only know that small birds will sometimes get electrocuted by it when they land on it. It works wonders in keeping a steer from leaning against the chain link fencing and bending it though. Just don't forget to turn off the juice before you water and harvest.

Good luck with whichever way you decide to go.

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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  Old Hippie on 8/20/2010, 9:15 am

Small birds are not usually bothered by electric fences for the same reason they can sit on the power lines. As long as you or an animal are not touching the ground AND the wire at the same time you are fine.

GK
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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  flintlock28 on 8/20/2010, 10:09 am

Miss Mousie.

I completely agree that what you constructed, is the end-all /be-all of preventing critters from destroying your crops. It is the best solution for long term protection.....I probably will end up going this route; I was just hoping I wouldn't have to put out more money for fencing and lumber, when I already have done some of that .

I also stopped at a local Agway center and asked about putting an electric unit on Rabbit guard (3o inch high fencing with different size grating)...the clerk said that I'd probably be drawing too much current when hooked up to a wire grid fencing, when the units are designed to supply juice to a single wire........ so my electric idea may not be practical.
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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  Miss Mousie on 8/20/2010, 11:58 am

What you say makes sense, Old Hippie, but when I was a kid we had a one wire electric fence to keep our heifer off the fence and my friend and I would have to knock the occasional sparrow off the electric wire. Maybe that was because of old 1970's technology or something?

Don, perhaps you could start your "cage" smaller than mine with room to grow or maybe you won't want to go to the expense of putting the chicken wire on the bottom if you don't have a gopher problem. There is also a great chicken wire "cover" in the SFG book, which is a lift off kind of thing. It's something I considered but then just decided to go overkill with the cage.

I'm sure you will find what works best for your situation. Good luck! flower
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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  Odd Duck on 8/21/2010, 11:46 am

I am NOT an electricity/electric fence expert, but my hubby is one of those "fix anything" guys and some of his expertise rubs off on me sometimes. I have 2 main thoughts on electrifying chicken wire.

If your electrified fence touches the ground anywhere (which a fence needs to do to keep out little veggie eating critters) then it won't hold the juice along the whole fence. The electricity will go to the ground and the chicken wire will not be electrified throughout. Also, you need a certain gage/size of wire to use for an electric fence. I think fine wire would heat up and short out (think light bulb filament) +/- start fires on anything dry touching it.

You could probably talk to a guy at a fence place or feed store and get some other input as well.

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Re: Electric fence to keep out critters???

Post  flintlock28 on 8/22/2010, 9:36 am

Odd Duck, That is a valid point.....I was thinking of using wood 2"x4" running horizontal along the ground, as a barrier (to act as an insulator).

The more I look into using Electricity, the more I am thinking that I will not use it. There are too many considerations (legal, practical) to contend with, so I think I'm going to build a full enclosure.

Don

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