Electric fences can be used either alone or in
conjunction with non-electric fences. An electric fence is a
psychological rather than a physical barrier that must be constructed
as both a fence and an
High-tensile smooth wire electric
fencing has been used in Australia and New Zealand for
many years. Now in North America, its popularity is growing rapidly.
Lower costs, less maintenance, ease of construction and proven
effectiveness make electric fencing a viable alternative. These
advantages must not be associated with a job that can be hastily
completed. Electric fences require more care in construction with
attention to details of insulating, grounding and
ensuring proper electrical connections.
Electric fencing can replace worn out fences or be used
as a new fence. It will support and extend the life of a page wire or
rail fence. The high cost and labour involved in putting up and
maintaining traditional fences has made electric fencing more
Electric fences may be less robustly constructed using
materials than non-electric fences.
In order to be
effective electric fences must have:
• The physical structure (i.e. the posts and wire)
• The electric circuit (i.e. a complete path for the current)
• Proper maintenance to ensure the circuit is not “shorted out”.
The success of electric fencing depends on training your
livestock to respect the fence. Once the animal has been electrically
shocked it will remember the discomfort and learn to avoid the fence.
Try the following:
• Keep your training area small.
• Place a charged wire inside a permanent corral or barnyard fence,
where there is little chance for escape.
• Leave your livestock inside this area for a few days to familiarize
themselves with this electric fencing before putting them out pasture.
If untrained, an animal may try to go through the fence.
But many hours
of time can be saved rounding up livestock and repairing fences if the
animals are well trained.
Electrical flow in a electric
fencing system requires a completed circuit. The
electrical current must travel from its source through the complete
system and return to the source. When
electricity flows, the circuit is referred to as 'closed'. When
the means are there, but no electricity flows, the circuit is 'open'.
Electric fences remain 'open' until an animal closes the circuit by
touching a charged wire, allowing the electricity to flow back to its
source. An electric current prompts two animal reactions. A small
current causes a tingling or burning sensation where applied. The
sensory nerves are stimulated in the same way the animal feels hot
A large electric current interferes with muscle control signals and
causes involuntary muscle reaction. The strength of the shock increases
with current amount and the same time it is available. After
involuntary muscle reaction has occurred, increasing the current does
not have any more sensual effect, but starts to produce an
effective, an electric fence has to deliver a minimum guard voltage to
overcome the insulation resistance of the hide and hair of an animal.
In addition, once the insulation resistance of the animal is overcome,
the controller must deliver a pulse of electrical energy to the animal
to create a shock.
Never use barbed wire
in electric fences!
Because animals (or humans!) may be caught and tangled
in barbed wire, it is
advised to avoid using barbed wire in electric fences. If an animal or
not able to separate from an energized electric fence, serious damage,
death, will occur.
wire is also a poor material to use for horse
fences (especially for high-value animals).