Chicken fence for the garden: Omlet's portable fencing – a review.
So you want to keep chickens off your flowerbeds, or have them turn over just one part of your veggie garden?
Or maybe you need to separate out new flock members, or keep a bully isolated for a while – or simply limit where your new chicks can wander.
Here's a solution: Omlet's portable chicken fence for the garden.
It's important to recognise straight away that this is designed to keep chickens in a contained area – not to keep predators out.
If you're looking for a predator-proof run, take a look instead at my reviews of Omlet chicken runs. They're the most predator-proof solution I've found.
This version of Omlet's portable fencing was released in October 2018. I own both this and the previous version, so my review is based on personal experience of both.
This is a long, detailed review. If you want to hop to a particular section, here's what I cover:
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Omlet's chicken run fence: the design.
This is temporary, portable chicken fencing, designed to be easily put up and taken down or moved around.
The original fencing (pre September 2018) was made from a thin green rope. Feedback, including mine, included concerns that the netting squares were too large (two of my chicks managed to escape!) and the chord too easily chewed through by rabbits.
It's easy to see the difference between my original version and the current product. The original fencing (below) was much less robust and more easily breached by the chickens, let alone predators!
My original (Mark 1) version of Omlet's fencing.
The current design (October 2018 onwards) is made from a woven polypropylene mesh. The holes are the same size throughout, and small enough to keep even baby chicks contained.
Although its aim is to keep chickens in, not to keep predators out, the mesh is certainly more robust than the original – although probably not enough to deter the most determined rabbit.
Omlet calls it "peck proof".
Don't you love a company that listens to feedback and improves products accordingly?!
How it works.
- Available in four different lengths (from 12 to 42 metres; 39 to 138 feet) to suit your circumstances, the fencing comes in a roll complete with enough poles to suit the length, and guide ropes to help it withstand even strong winds.
- The strong, aluminium poles easily push into the ground in whatever shape you choose. The 'U' shape at the bottom of each pole means they remain upright.
- The fencing is 1.25 metres (4 feet) high, which is quite a lot taller than other portable fencing. I've found it high enough to deter even the most determined escape artists!
- This chicken fence includes a latched gate which makes it incredibly easy to go in and out of the fenced area. I generally place it at one corner, but the gate can be placed wherever you want it.
Chicken fencing: ideas for use.
I've owned both versions of this fencing for more than ten years, and I've used it for various different purposes.
- I always use it as an enclosure to give my baby chicks their first experience of life in the big bad outside world. Make sure it's in the shade, since baby chicks aren't good at controlling their temperature.
- When my chicks are ready to go into the big girls' run, I use it to section off part of the run. This allows the two flocks to get used to each other without being able to make contact (since adult chickens can attack young ones).
- It also allows me to make the area my chicks can access smaller and less scary for them. That's easier for chicks to negotiate than if they had access to the whole of a very large run.
- Similarly, it allows me to section off part of the run when I want to introduce new flock members who should be kept separate until I'm sure they're not carrying disease.
- And it's good to keep males apart, if they're showing signs of aggression either to other males or to the hens.
- Want your chickens to turn over a specific part of your veggie garden? Use the fencing to section it off. Or use it to keep them out of a specific part, perhaps your flower bed or your lovely grass lawn which otherwise they would turn into a mudbath...
- Or if you have a small coop and run, simply add it to provide an extended daytime area for your flock to explore.
Is this the best fencing for a chicken run? The positives.
- The fencing arrives in well packed, recyclable boxes.
- The instruction booklet clearly lays out how many pieces it contains, and what each one does.
- Laying the parts on the ground gives a clear idea of how it all fits together.
- I originally hated the idea of using plastic for this fencing, in terms of environmental impact. However, it's so strong that it will last for years.
- It also blends in very well with both a garden or a larger rural background.
- This is part of my current Omlet fencing, used to section off a part of my very large run for a group of new chicks. From a distance it's indistinguishable from the rural background.
- The different lengths and design means you can create whichever size enclosure suits your individual situation – and make it whatever shape works best.
- The integrated gate, which is simple to open and close safely, makes it very easy to go in and out of the space – and to spend quality time with your chickens!
- And most importantly, as long as you don't expect it to keep predators out (including the family dog), it gives your chickens a safe place to explore – from the youngest chick to the oldest hen!
- Although it's "peck proof", the fencing is not chew proof, so animals may be able to chew holes. There's a chicken fencing repair kit should this happen to you.
- The answer to this is not to leave the chickens unattended if there are likely to be animals, particularly predators, around. If I need to leave my chickens in this for any length of time, one of my Maremma Livestock Guardians stays with them.
- The fencing arrives folded down the middle – otherwise the packaging would be enormous! But this leaves a crease in the middle of the netting which is irritating. It does fall out over time, particularly if the fencing is stretched properly along each pole.
- Although Omlet describe putting the fencing together as "quick and easy", it takes a lot longer than they suggest. In fact, it took myself and my husband about four hours to get it right – although we did have the longest fence!
- We eventually had the bright idea of watching Omlet's own video on YouTube which has full assembly instructions and is very helpful.
For your convenience, this is it. It's nearly ten minutes long, but taking that time could save you – literally – hours!
What do others say?
There are over 400 reviews from people who have used this chicken fence for their garden – and for other projects (one person used it as a pen to keep her dog in when camping!).
It has mostly 5* reviews. Here's a summary of both the positive and negative.
"The best fencing for the chicken yard!" – positive reviews.
- Many reviews commented on the fencing's versatility: "it's so easy to use, cleverly designed, strong, versatile and perfect even for the tiny bantams" for example.
- Others commented on the fact that it keeps chickens well enclosed: "the height, rigidity of the poles and the netting has defeated the hens and they are now safely contained".
- The fencing is visually pleasing: "it looks good in the garden, really tidy".
- It's good value: "I am really pleased with this fencing and wish we had bought it first time around as it would have been cheaper in the long run".
- Omlet's excellent customer service was commented on frequently as helpful and customer focused: "Omlet’s response was quick and very generous and I thank them for that".
"It's hard to deploy and roll up this fencing without getting in a big tangle" – negative reviews.
1. Hard to set up.
- By far the most common complaint is that this fencing is challenging to put together, and then to set up as a run.
- It's difficult to know which way up the poles go, and how the fencing fits safely onto them. Comments like "still working out how to put it up!" were not uncommon.
- It's right to say that, particularly with the longer fencing, the initial set up is not easy, particularly if you're working on your own.
- The best way to do it, as we found, is to unroll the entire fence first. Add the poles at intervals, while it remains flat on the ground.
2. Hard to make it sit flat.
- Another complaint was about the fencing not sitting properly on uneven ground, so leaving gaps at the bottom from which chickens can escape.
- For example: "Unless the area you are fencing off is completely flat, the plastic fencing will not sit straight. Any difference in height from one pole to the next will cause the fencing to twist and hang at odd angles".
- There's no doubt that Omlet's fencing works most easily on ground that is perfectly flat and even – an urban garden, for example.
- But the ground my Omlet fencing is on is anything but even! It's hilly and rough. The way I deal with this is by using the pins provided to make sure there are no gaps at the bottom, and using the guide ropes to keep the top taught. If necessary, I also tweak the mesh where it attaches to the poles.
3. Not predator proof.
- A few people complained that their chickens were not safe, for example: "a dog pushed through the gate, bent the poles and killed 3 chickens".
- Omlet are very clear that this is not predator-proof fencing, and it cannot be electrified. It's actually obvious when putting it up – it's just not robust enough to keep predators out.
- As long as you remember that it is to keep chickens in, not keep predators out, this fencing is perfectly safe.
Conclusion: the Golden Egg award.
If you've read any of my other product reviews, you'll know that I have a "Golden Egg Award" where one egg means "don't go near this product!", and five means "get out there now and buy it!"
How many golden Eggs does this chicken fence for the garden merit?
A Fantastic Four Golden Eggs!
Why not five?
- I've deducted one egg because of my initial difficulty in putting the poles and the fencing together, which other people have also found. It makes the longer versions in particular less portable, specially if you're just one person.
- If you're two or more people, or if you have one of the shorter versions (I own the longest, 42 metres / 138 feet) that wouldn't be so much of an issue.
- I considered deducting another egg because of the kinking of the netting, but actually this did start to straighten out after a while – and it did not detract from the usability of the fencing.
Do I recommend Omlet's chicken fence for the garden?
If you're looking for a reliable, practical, easy to use portable fencing, whether in a garden or a larger setting, this is the best!
Other must-haves in the world of chicken keeping.