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Electric fences for beginners

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  • Electric fences for beginners

    I would like to fence off the worn areas of my pastures so they can recover this spring. I want to put in temporary electric fencing; it wouldn't be a "closed circuit" i.e. a square or circle, but just in a straight line, from one end of the permanent fencing to the other.

    I have a mental block about electric fencing in that I'm convinced it will be very complicated and difficult. Please, and anyone walk me through what would be involved (chargers? grounding? what else?) and how I can go about doing this.

    Thank you in advance!!

    (PS searched "electric fence" on COTH which said there were no results!)
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  • #2
    Horseguard has a great, relatively inexpensive kit that will let you do just this very thing

    How long a line is this?

    http://www.horseguardfence.com/newprod/kits.php

    2 of the test kits at $75 each would get you 2 strands at about 315' long (tape is 320' long, but it's safe to figure 5' (it would be less, really) taking up room at each end for connection points).

    If you have less 160', you could order 1 test kit, then order 2 more tensioners.

    If the fence doesn't need to have equipment moving through it, then you don't need any handles. If it does, then you'll also need the gate handles, 1 for each strand.

    Then you would need 2-3 ground rods, 8' or so of copper, sold literally as ground rods at home improvement stores. You'd get the clamps that attach the grounding wire from the charger to the rods.

    You'd need a charger, of course. I love the Parmak 6v charger, but there are many options. You need the insulated wire to connect the charger to the top strand, to connect the top strand to the bottom strand, to connect the fence to the first ground rode, and to connect the first ground rod to the next one, and then to a 3rd if you have 3.

    It sounds complicated, but it's really not
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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    • #3
      It is too complicated, until you've done it once, and then it's pretty simple. The only thing is that you have to go to almost the same amount of work to get the thing powered up no matter whether you have multiple pastures of four strands of Eb on wooden posts or a couple strands of cheap tape on temporary stakes.

      That is you need a charger, the ground rods, and insulated wire, and you have to make the same sorts of connections to get your tape hot, plus you have to tension the tape somehow without grounding it out.

      Although, we have a couple of long runs of tape for exactly what you are talking about and they had battery clip ends, which don't work worth a d*mn so you need rubber gloves to put them on and take them off. We changed them to a handle and now just hook it over a hot wire on the pig enclosure, et viola, really hot tape without a lot of cursing.
      It'd almost be easier to set up a hot wire as part of your permanent fencing and then you could just do exactly that, hook in wherever you felt like it.
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        How long a line is this? theoretically several lines, each of several hundred feed, maybe one of a thousand feet.

        Thank you, ReSomthing, for understanding where I'm coming from!!

        And what about "step in" electric fences, since this is temporary?
        (Of course, I don't really know what "step in" means, I've just heard the phrase).

        And no, heavy equipment doesn't need to get through the fence, no one does actually. So no gates/handles needed.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
          How long a line is this? theoretically several lines, each of several hundred feed, maybe one of a thousand feet.

          Thank you, ReSomthing, for understanding where I'm coming from!!

          And what about "step in" electric fences, since this is temporary?
          (Of course, I don't really know what "step in" means, I've just heard the phrase).

          And no, heavy equipment doesn't need to get through the fence, no one does actually. So no gates/handles needed.

          A step in refers to the posts. You just step on the little thingey to sink them into the ground. Might not work well in really hard soil. But yeah, temporary.

          Also, units. You can have several strands on one unit.
          The units are rated by the load they can carry. Or rather by the length of wire they can charge and still have the required umpf.
          You have a big charger and little wire, the umpf becomes UMPF. Yes, I am speaking from experience.

          It is really easy. It's an open circuit: ground => Charging unit => wire add to that animal (or you) and we have the closed circle and a yelping person in the middle
          Originally posted by BigMama1
          Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
          GNU Terry Prachett

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          • #6
            Well, we have two sets of about 200 feet each, one goes around the berry plants because the old guy used them last year as a wonderful belly scratching device, just did a number on my thornless raspberries, and the other keeps them away from the house.

            They are step in posts, which are short plastic or fiberglass posts with a foot pad and a spike, you stand on them to push them in and yes the foot pad will break off and the spike will bend if the ground is too hard. They are at best 2'6" tall, so they are only suitable for subdivisions within a proper perimeter fence. They are non-conductive and have plastic, oh grips or slots I guess you could call them, you slide the tape down into them and they hold it at whatever height you picked, those will also break off if you get too forceful.

            But like I said you will have to put as much energy into putting together a fencing unit whether you just use the temp stuff or put in a full fence.

            You have to site the charger, ground it properly which can be a real PITA, run insulated wire to the fence location and then connect the hot wire to whatever you are using for fencing. It takes a fair amount of time but once you understand what you are doing it's easy enough, just tedious. From a cost benefit standpoint it's almost a wash for what you are doing, but you will have the ability to add a hot wire to keep the chewers at bay or put in more permanent subdivisions with any of the electric fence products such as Horseguard or Electrobraid. I think that Horseguard offers taller posts too that don't require pounding and leave big holes if you take them out.

            I was actually going to draft DD to just take pics because that was the hardest part for us, DH had to put together a predator proof fence with a chicken wire grounding apron (it was meant to keep bears away from a bee yard) for maximum wallop, using a solar panel charger only because of the location, and spent what seemed like days doing research and figuring out how to read the schematic diagrams and translate them into how to attach stuff - I've seen photos here, actually, of fences where people had used household wire nuts to hook the hot lead to the fence, please don't do that, use the funny looking "spider" connectors you can buy at TSC, they are meant to be used outdoors, are tougher and have much more surface area. (I can't find the dumb things to link to them though, so you can see what you need). But as usual there was some after school activity, (not band this time, Alagirl, although they sure keep you hopping) so I'll try again tomorrow.
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
            Incredible Invisible

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            • #7
              Actually the horseguard kit referenced in JB ' s post does not need grounding rods (and those can get expensive.) I have no experience with their bipolar fence, but put up their regular fence by myself and it was quite easy. That might be the way to go for you since this in not for a perimeter fence - ie. if the horses breach it it wouldn't be the end of the world...
              "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thanks, guys.

                Yes, this is for use within existing pastures that are perimeter fenced with no-climb and a board on top, so even a shorter fence would probably be OK.

                It sounds like the only tricky part is setting up the charger and attaching it to the fence, am I right? And if I go with the bipolar horseguard I don't need to worry about grounding it?

                I think I can get help with the charger etc. from the guy who helps around the barn -- he knows stuff like this! (My husband and I are not handy, as you might be able to tell).
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                • #9
                  Bearcat, you're right, if you're just going 320' of a single strand, no gr would be needed. I don't know how quickly the total length would start to require that though. I don't think I did a gr when I used this set, and I did 2 strands of about 250'.

                  Setting up the charger and attaching it is easy!

                  And yes, the Bi-polar is self-grounding in a sense, so no grs needed.
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    SMF- I too have recently stepped into the world of electric fence. Call Horseguard and explain what you need, they are sooo helpful! With the soil and moisture in our area, the grounding is pretty basic. Good luck with the paddocks, the lack of snow cover is taking it's toll! (but I'm not complaining !!)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Electric Netting

                      The easiest for removal and set up is Electric Sheep netting.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by tucktaway View Post
                        . Good luck with the paddocks, the lack of snow cover is taking it's toll! EXACTLY!(but I'm not complaining !!)ME EITHER!!
                        Thanks, I will call horseguard, and also look into sheep netting.

                        We must be very close -- our farm is 2 miles from the Sharon border.
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                        • #13
                          I agree, it sounds more complicated than it is. Give yourself time to do it and you'll be fine. If your trying to rush you may get frustrated though.

                          Just remember, that a circuit can jump. Avoid running hot lines really close to existing gates, chain link fences, hay feeders or even water troughs. Depending on how strong your current is, will decide how far it can jump. I've watched more than one metal gate go 'live' without any wires touching it. Not fun, trust me on that. Usually this isn't an issue unless you have weak connections that are doing a poor job of directing the current. If the current can travel smoothly, it would rather do that than jump.

                          Make sure the fencing is pretty darn snug or it will snap in the wind and break the tiny wires that carry the current. This can turn your strong fence into 'for show only' in a matter of weeks. Very wasteful. If you're using it to keep horses off the fence and not as a visual barrier, consider the galvanized wire. Its GREAT for running along the tops of board fencing, pretty easy to tighten if you have the right little pinwheelly thing, and it lasts way longer than electrobraid or tape. It carries a super strong jolt too, its what most cattle farmers use. Its not a good idea to use it alone since its hard to see, but its way more cost effective than electrobraid on top of post and rail or pagewire.

                          Avoid tying the tape or electrobraid in knots as you will break the little wires that are carrying the current. Also avoid bending it sharply or anything else that will break wires, or it will loose all its juice.

                          If you need to run an extension cord or wires, I think burying it is better than running highlines. No chance of someone taking it out with a tractor bucket, a loose horse etc. But if you bury lines, even as little as 20ft, from a shed to the field, bury it in a PVC conduit pipe. It keeps it in better condition, helps protect it from the ground shifts and from vehicles travelling over it. Protects it from the weather better too. Any pvc pipe will do, you just run the wires through it and lay it in a trench. If you only need it short term, use a shallow trench and its easy to remove after, if you want to run it under the driveway and use it every year, dig a deep trench, about 1-2ft depending on your frosts.

                          If you get those 'step in' plastic posts, then can work really well, you just need to get them in the ground while its soft. They are impossible in hard, clay soil once its dry. They will bend, trust me. If you have soft, not too rocky soil, they are super easy to use.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Download and print out this manual. Pages 1-10 should answer most of your questions. The section on grounding (p. 13) will also be helpful.
                            The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                            Winston Churchill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Corky's post and Franks' manual is really the nuts...it's all you will need to know how to provide some electrical fencing. We use the 1 1 /2" white tape(it has fine wires in it) to give our horses a visual. We use the javelin style metal tipped white plastic step in fence posts:

                              http://www.ruralking.com/post-poly-e...30303430343433

                              Simple to set up, move, etc. As I understand it, you need a larger and more expensive fence charger as the miles of fencing goes up...so if you are only going 200 feet, the cheapest unit should be fine but do consider that you may want to do more electrification when you discover how easy it is. Right now the ground is frozen around here, so it isn't THAT easy to plant the step ins unless you drill a hole first.

                              Lastly make sure that any buried "Hot" wire is insulated so that you don't waste all the zap right there, shorting the zapper to ground there instead of around the fenceline where the horses are. You can simply buy the black insulator core and feed your own aluminum single strand wire through it to save money.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I put 2000 feet of top rail tape on 2 paddocks that are next to each other. I have power at the paddock. One controller and 4 grounding rods for both. Total cost with my labor around $300 from Tractor Supply. Used post mounted tape/rope insulators so step in temporary post cost more. You can get away with a 12-15+ foot spread maybe more per post. No, you do not need to make a loop back to the controller with the tape/rope. You have to have a solid post to anchor both ends. If it is a short run you maybe able to get away with just 2 grounding rods. The longer the run the more rods needed. Pounding them in can be quite taxing and they should be set about 10 ft apart grounding wire run from the end rod attaching to each back to the controller. If you want to use this in different places and or you can’t pound the rods all the way in you can dig down a couple of feet and lay them horizontally, attach the ground wire and bury. Depending on the run it may require extra. The grounding rods at Home Depot were half the price of Tractor Supply around here. Don’t go cheap on the wire buy the stuff that is recommended. You will need it for both the hot and grounded side. If you don’t have power the solar units work well but cost extra $$$. You also need to fabricate or buy a box to keep the controller out of the weather. Make sure it “breaths” not a sealed plastic container. I prefer pollyrope over tape. The wind plays havoc with tape especially the wide stuff and is a maintenance hassle. Especially with a temp fence. I have found that 1 line works fine for a temp (paddock splitter) add 2 if it makes you feel better. But IMO almost all horses respect 1 after they hit once or twice. Yes, a wide tape makes sense to humans but it make no difference to a horse. Once you install it they will check it out no matter what the size. And the effect is the same no matter what the size. You can buy a tester for under $10 and check the furthest point from the charger. Touching it cost nothing. If it is weak or no charge at all most likely the problem is with the grounding rods.
                                I am sure this will not pass the “Nanny safety patrol” lurking on the forum but if you have access to power, barn/house just run a 12/2 wire (grey) the type that can be buried. I use a chain saw with an old chain and just “trench” out a 15 inch deep “grove” in the ground. Drop the wire in and stomp it closed. Buy an outdoor outlet box, mount on something appropriate (pipe, stake, etc) and install the outlet. This works great I know where the wire runs and there are no safety concerns. Its easy to pull out if you want to move it.

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                                • #17
                                  Something else to consider if you have severe electrical storms in your area (and with the crazy weather we've been having lately, that's just about anywhere) is a lightning diverter.

                                  The cost is a small fraction of replacing a charger. Make sure the installation instructions are followed carefully so that they'll be effective.
                                  The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                                  Winston Churchill

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    http://www.kencove.com/fence/97_How+...s_resource.php
                                    www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks again everyone. I'll be reading the manual and links carefully!
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                                      • #20
                                        Good info already posted here, but I just wanted to add. I jsut bought the Premier Electric netting for my sheep and I LOVE it. I got the semi permanent stuff (48" tall and heavy duty double posts) So easy to set up and move! I am considering replacing all my perimeter electric with it (I have solid perimeter fence, but the netting would be good for secondary containement and predator control.
                                        Turn off the computer and go ride!

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