OPTIONS: DEER FENCE COMBINATIONS (METAL, PLASTIC, AND ELECTRIC)
Deer Fence Options: Introduction
Deer Fence Height
Polypropylene Deer Fencing
Metal Hexagrid and Welded Wire Deer Fencing
Metal, Plastic, and Electric Fences
Deer Fence Posts and Post Spacing
Fence Anchors and Bracing
Post Tools and Cement Footings
Fence Support Lines
Deer Fence Stakes and Flags
Deer Fence Gates and Grates
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Combinations of Metal, Plastic, and Electric Fences
Plastic Fence, Metal Skirt. An intermediate option is to install full-height polypropylene deer fencing combined with a low two to four foot skirt of metal deer fencing. That keeps small animals from making holes in the polypropylene fence and also prevents low-level penetration by the deer. And since many plastic deer fences will eventually be penetrated by small creatures and repaired with lengths of low metal fencing anyway, starting out with a low metal barrier as part of the fence system is sound practice.
Such a metal skirt of 1-inch hexagrids makes even better sense if you already have a polypropylene fence in place (with or without a bottom flap) but the deer are getting in–either because the fence is not properly secured at the bottom or because small creatures are making holes which are then enlarged by the deer. If your fence has no bottom flap, putting on the metal skirt gives you an opportunity to add one–simply turn the bottom 6 inches of the metal skirt outward and tie it down firmly with ground stakes spaced 6 feet or so apart. By matching the skirt’s width to the highest level of damaged plastic (the skirts come in various widths) one can repair all of the existing damage while limiting expense.
Electric Deer Fence. Another way of discouraging deer penetration is to use an electric fence. Such fences are relatively inexpensive, but they are not the poor man's barrier fence. It is true that they are more limited and cannot confront the stronger challenges dealt with by barrier fences. That being said, however, the fact remains that they are perfectly good deer fences based on other principles and suited to other tasks. For more information about the theory and practice of building an electric deer fence, together with an extensive online catalog offering several kinds of effective kits and a wide assortment of affordably priced supplies, visit our website Electric Deer Fence.com.
Electric Plus Barrier Deer Fence. Within the context of barrier fencing, it is useful to think of an electric deer fence not as a substitute but as a supplement, to be used in combination with the barrier fence. That’s because the combination of the right kind of electric fence standing two or three feet in front of a good barrier fence is generally more effective than either one alone. For one thing, the deer have trouble dealing with three-dimensional systems (a seven-foot barrier is more difficult to deal with if it comes with a three-foot electric barrier set several feet in front). Also, the great weakness of barrier deer fences is that they are passive barriers–ones the deer are free to explore at their leisure. This passiveness ends if an electric fence is added (one with wires at, say, two and three feet), because then the deer cannot get close without encountering this active barrier and being shocked. So it looks as though electric fencing is something one should consider adding in places where the deer pressure is heavy, especially when an existing barrier fence has proven less than fully effective.
What characteristics should this electric fence have? There is no requirement to bait such a supplemental fence, because the deer must deal with it before confronting the barrier. It probably would pay to use heavy (14 gauge) aluminum wire rather than a more visible polywire or polytape, in order to limit both breakage of the wire and the electric fence conductor's visibility. Maintaining the barrier fence and the electric fence (keeping both free of tree limbs and vegetation) can be done at the same time, but one should be prepared to use a moderately strong (1 to 3 joule) electric fence charger and should limit the weed burden on the fence to a point where the fence can regularly maintain a high-voltage pulse peaking at or above 4kv. One should also be prepared to periodically repair broken electric fence wire, especially where the deer pressure is heavy, because the electric fence will be the deer’s first point of contact with the system, and so this wire will be taking at least some of the punishment that would otherwise be received by the barrier fence.