High tensile electric fencing is a sturdy, highly conductive style of perimeter fence which carries a strong enough charge to effectively contain sheep and deter predators when well maintained. Typically galvanized steel, each run of high tensile electric fencing will have a tensioner (one style pictured at left) for each strand as a means of easily maintaining this fence (tightening it periodically as the fence naturally sags over time). Generally this style of fence is installed for sheep with either 5 or 7 strands depending upon the installation environment, your budget and the threat of predators. The advantage of installing high tensile fencing as a perimeter fence around a large pasture is that it allows shepherds to easily strip their pasture into smaller paddocks to use for effective rotational grazing, increasing the health of their pasture.
Potential Drawbacks to Using High Tensile Electric Fencing
Overall I'm a huge proponent of this style of fencing and if I was investing in sheep for the long-haul I would certainly choose this style as one of the core elements of my perimeter fencing. While this style of fencing can be challenging to work with and time-consuming to set-up and build initially, it's easy to maintain and lasts a long time. Growing up, we installed this for our cattle and sheep on my family farm and having Gallagher high tensile fencing surrounding our large pastures allowed us to easily use plastic mesh temporary fencing and polywire strip fencing (both of these are covered in-depth lower on this page) to sub-divide our pastures and maintain the health of our grasslands through proper rotational grazing. Installation certainly won't happen overnight ... expect to invest some time to set up this style of fencing. It's worth doing it right to make it last.
Cost of a High Tensile Electric Fence for Sheep (1 Acre Paddock)
High Tensile Electric Fencing with Insulator
Since there are so many more products required to assemble a high tensile electric fence relative to the alternatives here, we used an online fence planner to build a shopping list of products. Other sites like Gallagher have similar tools available and if you have questions we recommend that you contact your local rep or send us an email and we'll be happy to point you in the right direction. This is what our shopping list looked like for a 1 acre, 5 strand high tensile perimeter fence with all the bells and whistles ... we hope this offers a quick ballpark glimpse of what a high tensile electric fence may cost relative to some of these other styles, but please remember that this is a fence style which is designed to surround large sections of grassland so the bigger the area you plan to fence, the lower your cost per foot will be.
Please keep in mind that the relative cost of fencing more of your pasture with high tensile electric fencing will be lower as this style of fencing is designed to be long-lasting and to secure extended stretches of field. Today's high tensile electric fencing products for sheep are designed to last 25+ years, making this an excellent investment if you plan to raise sheep for the long haul.
Our recommendation if you're just starting out is to go with a less expensive (and less permanent option), and when you're sure that you plan to maintain a flock for a decade or more, that's a great time to invest in a permanent, efficient high-tensile perimeter fence from Gallagher.