Use Floodgates to Fence Livestock out of Waterways and Ravines


With the increased effort to protect waterways from livestock damage, electric fencing offers an effective solution to protect these sensitive areas. However, like any technology, electric fencing must be well constructed and maintained to work properly and be effective.

“Where fences cross waterways, ditches, and gullies, an electric floodgate can be a valuable tool...”

​​​​​When issues such as voltage shorts do occur, an electric fence will only be as good as the physical barrier it creates and precautions must be taken to prevent weak spots from developing. This task is especially challenging in areas such as waterways and ravines. Luckily, Gallagher has a few solutions to help land owners prevent these problems from occurring in difficult to fence areas.

​​​​Where fences cross waterways, ditches, and gullies, an electric floodgate can be a valuable tool to prevent livestock from going underneath fencing. When constructing a floodgate in areas where water flows, precaution should be taken to ensure enough flexibility in the barrier to allow debris to wash downstream and stop it from piling up behind the fence.

The electric floodgate will need anchor posts securely placed on each side of the waterway or ravine the fence crosses.  A wire or cable separate from the electric fence, but still attached needs to be stretched between the two posts.  Stainless steel or Class 3 galvanized chains can be hung from the bottom wire to block animals walking the creek bed or ditch.  Typically, a spacing of eight to ten inches between the chains works best to contain cattle.  Chains can easily be cut to match the contour of the area during normal water levels.   In windy areas, it may be beneficial to add weight to the end of each chain to keep them in place.

In areas where electrified chains will not work because of tangling issues or difficult livestock a half inch aluminum conduit may be a better solution.  The conduit needs to be flattened on one end and drilled so it can be easily attached to fence wire or cable, but separate from the main electric fence.  Cut the conduit to match the lay of the area to prevent animals from attempting to go under or through it.  Conduit pipe will also work better than chains at staying in place and not becoming entangled or caught up in debris. 

During flood periods, significant power losses on the chains or conduit can be averted for brief periods using a GallagherFlood Gate Controller.  This device automatically switches the powered floodgate off when water levels come in contact with it to prevent the whole fence from being shorted out.  Because the flood gate controller is only attached to the bottom wire connected to the flood gate, the rest of the wires in the fence still hold voltage, maintaining an effective barrier to livestock.  If water levels are expected to remain high for extended periods, the flood gate controller should be manually switched off until levels subside.
With these tips to assist them, fence builders and property owners can feel confident Gallagher electric fencing products will help them get the job done even when the water begins to rise.

For more helpful electric fencing tips, visit Gallagher's Support page.

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Gallagher USA Electric Fencing

5005 NW 41st Street; Riverside, MO 64150
Toll-Free: 1-800-531-5908  FAX: 1-800-444-5422

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