Electric fencing is a cost-effective and efficient way to reduce the problems caused by foxes as Mark Oliver, UK Sales Manager with Gallagher explains.
“Foxes are a major cause of losses for keepers of domestic birds, gamekeepers and notably on poultry units of all sizes and all species,” he explains. “Data show the losses due to foxes in flocks of less than 200 birds can be 0-25% while in flocks of 1000 birds it can be as high as 1.3%. While average mortality in layer, table bird, turkey and geese flocks may be around 2%, over 77% of flocks reported problems, which shows the extent of the problem.
“They are also well known to for taking lambs, young goats and piglets and there are sporadic reports of foxes trying their luck with mature sheep, calves and foals.”
He explains that foxes have the ability to adapt to their environment and their territory can be anywhere from 50-900ha depending on the food supply. When hungry, foxes will do anything they can to get to food, including climbing fences and digging under them.
“Many people choose traditional wire mesh and wood fences to keep foxes out but often they will be an ineffective deterrent with foxes simply finding ways to get past the barrier.
“This is why electric fencing is the most efficient way to keep foxes out. Electric fences work by creating a psychological barrier. After the first contact with an electric fence, foxes will stay away as they will not receive a shock from the same fence twice.
“Electric fences can be fitted effectively in most locations, whether erected as a temporary or permanent solution, and can be 50% cheaper than less effective traditional fencing.”
Whatever the anticipated duration of the fence, Gallagher always advises a double fencing system made up on a lower external fence and a taller internal barrier. The external fence should be around two metres from the internal fence for a permanent fence and 35cm distant for a temporary arrangement. In both cases he advises 75cm posts and two wires, fitted at 45 and 20cm. He says the Gallagher unique Twist and Lock system ensures the fence remains correctly tensioned.
“The internal fence can either be electric netting or a five wire fence, both of which should be 90cm tall. The new Gallagher Smartfence system is an all in one system with posts, reels and wire with a total length of 100 metres. It can be set up or taken down in just five minutes.
“For permanent and larger scale configurations, we would always advise a professionally installed, high tensile fence but there is an electric fence system to suits all types and size of unit.”
Whatever the configuration constructed, he stresses the importance of ensuring a powerful enough energiser to provide sufficient deterrent and capable of burning foliage as required. He says that solar powered energisers can provide an effective solution in more remote areas.
“One final consideration is the addition of foxlights which are a spotlight system which operates in a random pattern and give foxes the impression that people are around.
“A carefully planned electric fence system will help reduce the risk of losses due to foxes, more cost-effectively than traditional fence arrangements.”