Managing Poultry on Pasture with Electric Net Fencing: Part Four

Folding net for storage

Storing the Net

With proper storage in the off season, electronet will last a long time. I’ve read that the expected service life for a roll of netting is seven years, but the first nets I bought—more than ten years ago—are still in service at my place. Long life for the net depends on removing it from the field promptly when no longer in use (to minimize breakdown by UV radiation in sunlight). The wires that carry the charge are stainless steel, and I’ve never had them rust, but obviously they must not be left lying out on the ground.

To prepare a net for storage, fold it up as in the section “Moving the Net,” and lay out your “book” with the posts all in a tight bundle, with the net folded neatly in “pages” to one side. Now, tie a “lead line” around the middle of the bundle of posts, and pull it out so that it extends farther than the folded netting. Now roll up the net into a bundle, starting with the tied posts as the bundle’s core. Note how the tail of the “lead line” projects out of the bundle. If you pull on that tail, the bundle will roll out in a way that allows you to find an end post to start with as you lay out the fence.

It’s difficult to describe the problem that the “lead line” prevents, and most likely you’re going to ignore my advice until the first time you encounter it. Again using the analogy of a book, we can start either with the first page or the last page (the end post at either end of the net) when laying out the net. If we open into the middle of the book, however, it is extremely difficult to find our way out to the first or last page (one of the end posts). It can be a quarter hour of frustration before you get the net opened out properly. After that, you understand the need for the lead line.

Once you have the net rolled (and note that this is the only time you ever roll the net), tie the bundle twice, one tie near each end. Now it is ready to store. But do not store on a floor, a shelf, or anywhere else mice can get to. It is imperative that you hang the rolled nets somewhere inaccessible to rodents. I hang mine from the roof rafters of an equipment shed. If you forget this essential point, you will make the mice happy (with the great place you’ve provided to chew nests in), but you will be very unhappy indeed.

The Investment

Good electric net fencing is not cheap, but I wouldn’t cut corners on quality. If you buy the best equipment from a reliable company such as Premier, the initial investment in a roll or two of netting plus a decent energizer will set you back several hundred bucks. However, that investment buys you a fundamental tool for managing the homestead flock that with good care will last for many years. It buys you the ideal compromise between maximum health and well-being for your pastured flock, and maximum protection from the heavy hitters in the neighborhood.


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