12 reasons electric fences fail | Living the Country Life
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12 reasons electric fences fail

Electric fencing may be the most important tool a livestock producer has for managing animals ... if it's used correctly.
  • Get your ducks in a row

    Not all electric fence supplies are created equal. There are many differences in quality, durability, and cost. Plan your fence carefully and make a detailed supply list, then shop around. Ask other livestock owners in your area where they buy fencing materials. Compare supplier prices and quality, and try to negotiate prices on carton, case, or pallet lots.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Animals not trained to the fence

    Electric fencing is a psychological barrier for livestock. When animals receive a weak shock, but see green grass, your neighbor's crops, or something else they want on the other side, they will go through the fence. A strong shock will be remembered, however, and will help maintain control of your herd. Calves have to learn this lesson for themselves. Remember that deer also must be trained, and until they are, they may run through your pasture and tear up your fence. Check for breaks regularly, especially during hunting season.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Inadequate power source

    Check your fencer and fence regularly to make sure everything is working properly. Size and purchase a low-impedance charger from a reputable supplier. Here are some common voltage requirements:

    <br><UL><LI>Cattle: 4,000-5,000 volts</LI>
    <LI>Sheep and goats: 7,000-9,000 volts</LI>
    <LI>Horses: 3,000-5,000 volts</LI>
    <LI>Predators: 5,000 volts</LI>
    <LI>Pets: 3,000 volts</LI>
    <LI>Garden pests 4,000v volts</LI></UL><br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Poor grounding

    Chargers should have a minimum of 3 ground rods placed 10 feet apart. Mixing metals (steel & copper) causes corrosion and weak shocks. Do not install ground rods within 50 feet of grounded electric service. Additional ground rods are needed throughout the system.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Lack of surge and lightning protection

    Install a surge protector at the power source to protect expensive chargers, since 75% of surging problems come from the power company. Lightning protection is also necessary to protect the charger from high-voltage strikes. A lightning choke, diverter and four ground rods should be placed a minimum of 65 feet from the charger.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Wires are too tight to posts

    Wires need to expand and contract, and move slightly, so don't use staples to drive them into a post. Using plastic insulators allows you to adjust the tension as needed.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Weeds or snow touching the wire

    Weeds and trees that touch the wires of your fence can diminish the power, especially when they are wet. Walk your fenceline regularly and trim where needed. Snow can also pile up and reduce power when it touches the wires. It's a good idea to install a cut-off switch to reduce load.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Poor quality insulators

    You definitely don't want to skimp when it comes to keeping your livestock where they belong. Buy quality products that have UV light protection, and they should last for years.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • No voltmeter?

    A voltmeter will give you an accurate reading, and some will point you in the right direction to a problem area. You are just guessing without one!

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Kinks in the wire

    Kinks almost always lead to breaks. Keep your wires straight, and if you're reusing wire, don’t use kinked sections.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Inline strainers or wires too close together

    Make sure to offset strainers, and space wires at least 6 inches apart to prevent grounding out.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Changes in wire size

    Larger wires carry more electricity, so be consistent with wire size throughout your entire fence. Also, don't power a fence with poly-wire or a small conductor.

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
  • Too tense

    You need 150-200 pounds of tension per square inch for an electric fence to work properly and control animals. Use notched tension springs that indicate wire tension to make sure you're in that range. Pulling wires too tight is a common mistake.<br><I>Source: University of Illinois Extension</I><br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: February 25, 2013
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