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Electric fence a valuable investment

Whether attempting to keep goats in or deer out, nothing works as effectively as electric fencing. It is quite possibly the most important tool for managing animals.
  • Choose your fencing wisely

    Whether attempting to keep goats in or deer out, nothing works as effectively as electric fencing. It is quite possibly the most important tool for managing animals.<br>When considering building a fence, it typically pays to include one or more hot, or electrified, wires. Hot wires cause fences to last longer and require less maintenance, as animals are deterred from rubbing on them. They also allow animals to be more easily contained during trying periods, such as breeding and weaning.
    <br>Fencing options generally fall into three categories: temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent. Temporary fences are easy to move; semi-permanent fences serve in the interim until a permanent fence can be installed; and a permanent fence isn't intended to be moved for a number of years. For animals to respect a fence, they must recognize it as a barrier. Train them to the fence first. Contained animals can be trained by placing a short working sample inside the corral. Deterred animals can be conditioned by coating the wires with molasses.<br>With a wide variance in the fence energizers available, be sure to choose what fits your need. Factors including the total length of the fence, species to be contained or deterred, climate, soil, power source, and safety should all be considered. You'll also need to decide on a battery- or solar-powered energizer with high or low impedance output capabilities.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Horse fencing

    <b>Temporary:</b> A temporary horse fence is the least expensive to buy and the easiest to install and remove. It consists of up to two strands of electrified tape or rope stretched hand-tight between small-diameter wood, steel, or plastic-over-steel end and corner posts.<br><b>Semi-permanent:</b> Semi-permanent horse fencing options are fairly easy to install, modify and remove, and are very visible, effective, and unaffected by the wind. A semi-permanent horse fence consists of two to five strands of electrified rope stretched hand-tight between wood or steel end and corner posts. Wood, steel, or plastic line posts are spaced up to 35 feet apart.<br>Since the ropes are only tightened by hand, brace assemblies are generally not required at ends or corners. Springs are installed at the ends of the ropes to maintain tension.<br><b>Permanent:</b> Electrified rope is popular due to its low cost and simple installation. These fences consist of up to five strands of charged rope <i>(pictured)</i> strained between wooden end and corner posts, supported by wooden or steel line posts spaced up to 35 feet apart according to the terrain. Tape fences are a very reliable option but are the most expensive. They consist of up to five ribbons of electrified tape strained between wooden end and corner posts. Most fences use only four ribbons, but five are useful when extra height is needed for aggressive horses. The tape is supported by insulators on wood or steel line posts spaced 20 feet apart.<br>A combination of electrified rope and tape offers the best of both worlds, combining the lower profile of rope with the extra visibility of the wide tape. You'll be able to choose the height of the fence and the number of strands to match the horses you have. While a high-tensile wire fence can be hazardous to horses, many manufacturers provide safer products, offering better visibility and larger, smoother, and more elastic wire. A combination of high-tensile woven wire and energized rope or twine is useful in high-traffic areas and has great security value. Strain the mesh wire between wooden posts and install an energized rope or twine along the top to keep horses at bay. Another system attaches charged rope or twine to an existing wood, vinyl, or wire fence, preventing horses from rubbing or chewing on the fence.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Poultry fencing

    Electrified netting <i>(pictured)</i> is the best way to contain poultry because it is extremely easy to install, adjust, and remove - perfect for rotating them to fresh grass. Line posts are generally built into the net, and no tools are needed. Users simply unroll the netting, push in the line posts (by hand or foot), join the separate rolls, push in the end and corner posts (by hand or foot), and connect to the energizer. The netting is hand-tensioned, easily adapting to curves and hills. Closely spaced vertical lengths and energized horizontal lengths combine to create both a physical and pain barrier for birds and predators.<br>A more permanent netting option uses stronger posts spaced closer together. This reduces sagging, a common problem in net fences, but is more difficult to install and remove.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Wildlife fencing

    Similar to the electrified netting options used to contain poultry, small wildlife can be managed with a prefabricated net fence <i>(pictured),</i> which is easy to install and remove. However, it is important to match the fence to the wildlife species.<br>Raccoons, for example, are simple to fence. Two properly charged wires will deter 90% of them, while tightly wound netting will stop all of them. Similarly, tightly wound netting will stop woodchucks, rabbits, skunks, poultry, waterfowl, and other like-size animals, and the netting doesn't need to exceed 20 inches in height. For taller coyotes, foxes, feral goats, feral pigs, and some small deer, charged netting that ranges from 30 to 48 inches in height will do the trick.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Sheep and goat fencing

    <b>Temporary:</b> Electrified netting <i>(pictured)</i> again is a wise choice for managing both sheep and goats. While most will be contained by a fence reaching about 35 inches in height, larger and more rambunctious sheep and goats will need a taller option at about 42 inches tall. Many manufacturers offer net fencing in prefabricated rolls, complete with struts and posts, making it easy to install and remove. When installed, the result is a nearly impenetrable mesh of energized strands to sheep, goats, coyotes, and dogs.<br><b>Semi-permanent:</b>A variation of the temporary charged netting options is the best choice for containing sheep and goats and is designed to be left in one place for years, if need be. Still simple to install without tools - unroll, insert posts and hand tension - semi-permanent netting typically uses stronger, heavier posts with longer, thicker steel spikes, enabling it to support the net through wind, rain, ice, and snow. Additionally, a five-strand rope or twine fence is cheaper, but netting protects against predators.<br><b>Permanent:</b> The best way to permanently manage sheep and goats, while deterring predators, is with the use of a woven high-tensile wire fence and offset charged wires or rope. The woven wire should reach about 32 inches in height and be attached to the non-grazed side of the fence, if there is one. Two or more high-tensile wires are attached above this for additional height, and up to two charged strands of rope or wire are offset on the grazed sides. To supplement the woven wire, one strand of barbed wire set along the bottom discourages coyotes and dogs from digging under the fence.<br>Another permanent fence design consists of up to eight strands of high-tensile wire secured to wood or steel posts. Add one or two offset wires on the grazed sides and energize those. Offsetting the live wires allows animals to graze below the offset wires. While this design carries a low cost, it is not suited for heavy animal pressure, thus, may not hold sheep and goats during weaning and breeding periods. It is also unreliable against predation. With this in mind, this option may be best used as a pasture subdivision fence.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Llama and alpaca fencing

    <b>Semi-permanent:</b>Semi-permanent fencing options for llamas and alpacas are very similar to those of horses. They are fairly easy to install, modify, and remove, and they are very visible, effective, and unaffected by the wind. A semi-permanent llama and alpaca fence consists of two to five strands of electrified rope stretched hand-tight between wood or steel end and corner posts. Wood, steel, or plastic line posts are spaced up to 35 feet apart. Since the ropes are only tightened by hand, brace assemblies are generally not required at ends or corners. Springs are installed at the ends of the ropes to maintain tension.<br><b>Permanent:</b> A number of permanent fence designs are available and include the use of rope, tape <i>(pictured),</i> twine, and high-tensile wire, similar to horse fences. A very common option uses electrified rope due to its low cost and simple installation. These fences consist of up to five strands of charged rope strained between wooden end and corner posts, supported by wooden or steel line posts spaced up to 35 feet apart, according to the terrain.<br>Tape fences are another reliable option, but are the most expensive. They consist of up to five ribbons of electrified tape strained between wooden end and corner posts. Most fences use only four ribbons, but five are useful when extra height is needed for aggressive animals. The tape is supported by insulators on wood or steel line posts spaced 20 feet apart. A combination of electrified rope and tape combines the lower profile of rope with the extra visibility of the wide tape. You'll be able to choose the height of the fence and number of strands to match the animals you have.<br>While a high-tensile wire fence can be hazardous to llamas and alpacas, many manufacturers provide safer products, offering better visibility and larger, smoother, and more elastic wire able to flex without causing injury. A combination of high-tensile woven wire and energized rope or twine is very useful in high-traffic areas and provides great security. Here, mesh wire is strained between wooden posts, and an energized rope or twine is installed along the top to keep animals at bay. Another system attaches charged rope or twine to an existing wood, vinyl, or wire fence, preventing animals from rubbing or chewing on the fence.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Cattle fencing

    <b>Temporary:</b> An effective, yet temporary, way to contain cattle is to attach a portable fencing system to an existing permanent fence. A practical design uses up to three strands of charged tape, rope, or twine, fastened to an existing wood post and a portable steel post, supported in the middle by step-in posts or fiberglass rods.<br><b>Semi-permanent:</b> A viable design for semi-permanent cattle fencing consists of up to four strands of electrified rope or twine, hand-tensioned and supported by steel, wood, fiberglass, or plastic line posts. End and corner posts are made of wood or steel and are more reliable year-round.<br><b>Permanent:</b> One proven permanent fence design consists of up to seven high-tensile wires supported by steel or wooden line posts. End and corner posts are wooden and supported by brace assemblies. Five to seven wires are adequate for boundary fences, while two to four are enough for internal fences. One or more wires should be electrified. Unless smaller species are also to be fenced, there is no need to energize the lower two wires in a seven-wire fence.<br>Another design uses high-tensile woven wire <i>(pictured)</i> on the bottom with two or three high-tensile wires on the top. Energize the upper wire or an offset wire. End and corner posts should be braced and made of wood, while the line posts should be made of wood or steel. All wire should be attached to the outside of the posts with the energized wire on the inner grazed side at the animal's nose.

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    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
  • Deer fencing

    <b>Three-dimensional:</b> Three-dimensional deer fencing <i>(pictured)</i> works because the side eye placement of deer is weaker than it is for humans, for example, who have both eyes looking forward. Deer tend to be cautious when confronted with a fence that has width, height, and depth. They tentatively check the fence with their sensitive nose and receive a strong, deterring shock.<br>This design is working well to protect trees and shrubs from deer attention. It consists of three to five strands of rope, supported by fiberglass rods and wooden or steel end and corner posts.<br><b>Two-dimensional:</b> Two-dimensional deer fences work when existing deer traffic is low or moderate, but it may not be effective if feeding and rubbing have already begun and a habit has been formed. These fences consist of two to five strands of charged tape or rope supported by fiberglass rods and wooden or steel end and corner posts. Be sure to charge one strand at the animal's nose level and the two lowest strands if you're wanting to keep deer from crawling under.<br>Electrified netting is another option for managing deer. Though it can be more expensive than other designs, it does offer a number of advantages, including better visibility, containment of large dogs, detriment of sheep, goats, cattle, and pigs, and easy installation and removal. The netting is typically supplied as a prefabricated fence, complete with built-in posts.<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: April 30, 2012
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