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Over the years there has been a large number of hedgehogs killed as a result of getting entangled in electric chicken fencing. I'm hoping that with so many chicken keepers down the lane we can lead the way in finding a solution to this problem.
Have any forum members had this happen .. if so how did you prevent it happening again?
Ideas please on how to keep our chickens safe whilst protecting our Hedgehogs?
A couple of years ago I found a dead hedgehog stuck half way through the poultry netting.
I assume it had the same problem I had as it's front quarter fitted through the netting but then the rest of the hedgehog was too wide to fit through. Reversing doesn't work as the quills open out against the strands of netting which stops it going backwards.
There it stays until, if found quickly it is released, or dies.
There are only three ways I can think of to stop this happening:-
1/ Make the bottom holes too small for them to get through or maybe a type of mesh attached to the bottom few strands.
2/ Don't have electrified strands for the first 3 or 4 holes but that would just make it easier for foxes to get under.
3/ Have a physical barrier outside the netting to stop them getting near it but that would be another expense and take up more room in peoples' gardens.
I favour option 1 as I think this is something the manufacturers could do at the point of production at relatively small expense.
Ali Woks My World
Some good ideas Dom.
The problem with hedgehogs is as soon as their snouts touch the wire they roll up in a ball so they carry on getting shocked and if you put a barrier to stop them getting close they simply climb over it.
We have written to a couple of manufacturers but they weren't very helpful so ideas like yours are useful to put to them.
Just to prove the point this afternoon I was up the garden and heard a loud snapping noise that sounded like the electric poultry netting grounding. I followed the noise and found a hedgehog stuck part way through the poultry netting, curled around the wire and jerking with each shock.
It took me a couple of minutes to work it free and it was still breathing so I placed it in a pile of leaves away from the netting. I kept an eye on it and after about ten minutes it seemed to have recovered and wandered of into the hedgerow.
I don't think it was caught in the fence for very long before I found it and hopefully will be OK as it seemed to be back to normal when it wandered off
I don't like the idea that the netting could harm a hedgehog but as our garden backs onto orchards we need it as there are foxes out there, I see a vixen and dog fox most days hunting rabbits, so we can't take a chance with the chooks.
On the upside at least we now know for certain we have hedgehogs in the garden again.
Ali Woks My World
Interesting, I thought Hedgehogs may be the same as some other animals and can sense the electricity.
I once saw a dog run accross 20 railway tracks at London Victoria where they have the electric third rail rather than overhead.
Point well raised Fabs.
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Surely what is needed is a rubber “mulch” mat under the electric fence to 1) stop weeds growing up the netting/ fence and 2) to insulate the hedgehog from being grounded when in contact with the fence.
I just reinstalled my netting yesterday, woke in the night suddenly realising the threat, and have been pondering the issue since. I think it will need something like horse stable neoprene rubber mats cutting into strips, or recycled plastic kick-board sawn into appropriate strips, which would be more resistant to strimming etc, and these will need to be wide enough outside the fence to accommodate a hedgehog’s back feet to prevent it being earthed when in contact with the fence. I presume that the plastic would be as poor a conductor as rubber but shall have to look into this.
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