Waterfowl in general have wandering, inquisitive natures and are easy targets for the many predators and other hazards which abound in the wild. To be able to maintain and enjoy a collection, whatever its size, you will need to provide secure fencing. We often hear from householders who move to a property with a body of water and they wish to add birds. They will be adamant that there are no foxes, but there is nothing more attractive to predators than a confined ready meal. The foxes will surely come.
There is a lot of time and money involved in building a pen so time spent at the planning stage is time well spent. We advise newcomers to visit some waterfowl breeders to look at their fencing before embarking on an extensive construction. How you fence your birds is largely going to depend on what you want out of your collection. Are you planning a carefully controlled breeding unit for show birds? Maybe you want a ready supply of eggs for the family and premier slug control for the vegetables, or perhaps the home garden is carefully manicured and in need of a feathered element. There are different solutions for all these options.
Poultry or rabbit netting is available in various heights, mesh sizes and thicknesses to suit all budgets and it is therefore the most commonly used material. However, hex netting does not have the longevity and durability of hi-tensile fencing, weld mesh or chain link and if it is not installed properly it is prone to sagging. The choice of a heavy-gauge will ensure fencing lasts longer and looks nicer. In terms of mesh size, 25 mm offers a good choice to keep both waterfowl in and predators out but it may only be necessary to use this on the lower level, with a lighter gauge for the top half. Whatever mesh you choose, having a good tight installation is vital for longevity, appearance and also safety.