An Introduction into Electric Fencing
Electric fencing is ideal for grazing or pasture management by containing animals on a selected area of pasture or crop. It also may be used to protect gardens and landscapes from animal damage.
How it works
A pulsed electric current is sent along the fence wire, about one pulse per second, from an energizer which is also connected to the ground.
When the animal touches the fence it completes the circuit between the fence and the ground and receives a short, sharp but safe shock.
The shock is sufficiently memorable that the animal never forgets.
Every electric fence system is made up of a power source (Energizer + earthing system) and a fencing system (conductors, insulators, strainers). Selection of these systems depends on the property size/fence length, fencing usage and animal type.
Electric Fencing Usages
- Contain animals within desired grazing areas.
- Separate different groups of animals.
- Enable rationing of crops and pastures.
- Fence off eroding areas, trees, rivers and roads etc.
- Profitable - maximize pasture growth, minimize feed costs
- Effective - animals remember and develop a respect for the fence
- Safe - less animal hide damage and injury than conventional fencing
- Durable - a non-electric fence experiences constant wear and tear under stock pressure. Because your animals learn to avoid an electric fence, it will last longer.
- Easy to install - less than half the time to build vs a non-electric fence
- Economical - costs less to build and maintain than a non-electric fence
- Easily modified - using portable fencing, paddock sizes can be quickly and easily adjusted
- Deterrent - to trespassers and predators.
The Energizer is the heart of your fencing system, chosen and installed correctly it will provide effective animal control over long fence distances. There are two main types of Energizer that differ based on how they are powered.
- Mains - best choice if there is reliable mains power
- Battery - for remote areas with no/unreliable mains power and for temporary fencing applications. The battery charge is maintained via a solar panel (separate or integrated on some models) or by periodically disconnecting and recharging the battery.
Setting up a good earthing system is often overlooked but it's critical. It's how the power flows from the Energizer to the fence, through to the animal and back through the ground to the Energizer. Without good clean earth rods in sufficient size and number the ground connection doesn't work and the shock will not reach the animal.
There are four main types of electric fence system:
- Permanent - uses highly conductive, corrosion resistant fence wire with wood, steel or concreted posts and high strength insulators and strainers to keep fences working effectively and looking good for a very long time.
- Retrofit/ Offset - a great way to protect and extend the life of an existing conventional non-electric-fence by retrofitting it with offset electric wire(s).
- Equine - with their more unpredictable temperament horses require electric fencing products designed specifically for their needs.
Equine Electric Fence Wire uses a smooth, large diameter coating to protect from injury and increase visibility. Semi-permanent tape & braid products provide high visibility and are lower cost again to install
- Portable - easy to transport, assemble and take down, provide flexible grazing options for short-term animal control and more intense rotational grazing.
Electric Fence Setup for Different Animal Types
Once the type of fence has been decided you will need to find out the best fence setup/configuration based on the animal you want to contain.
Note If you are fencing more than one type of animal, it is best to choose the set up recommended for the smallest animal – to ensure they can’t get under the bottom wire but care also needs to be taken for tall animals to make sure the fence is also sufficiently high.
View Recommended Fence System for different animal types here.