Electric Fence Planning Overview
Before building your electric fence you'll need to take into account many factors including the climate and terrain, the animals you need to fence in - or out, and many other factors. You need to know:
What type of animal(s) do you want to control?
The animal being controlled will largely determine the type of electric fence you need. The animal's hooves, thickness and length of coat, height, jumping ability and many other factors impact your fence selection.
In general, animals with thick, shaggy coats require a more powerful controller than animals with shorter coats and thin hides. Electricity relies on conductivity to deliver a shock, and heavy coats act as an insulator.
One of the conductive wires should be placed at the animal's nose level. The strands need to be spaced so the animal cannot push its head through any two wires without receiving a shock. You may need low or high wires to prevent animals from digging under or jumping over fences.
Do you want to contain or keep out the animal(s)?
A short, safe pulse of electricity creates a psychological barrier that trains most animals to avoid the fence. However, predators, bulls, and other aggressive animals are more apt to challenge the fence, requiring a more powerful fence controller.
What type of electric fence do you need?
We group electric fences into four categories: (1) portable or temporary, (2) semi-permanent or permanent, (3) permanent high tensile, and (4) the Horse Sense Electric Fence System.
Temporary electric fence systems can also be easily moved by using a battery or solar fence controller; poly step-in posts or steel or fiberglass rods; poly wire, tape or rope; and other lightweight components. Temporary fences typically run for short distances, are affordable, are quick and easy to install.
Semi-permanent or permanent electric fences consist of a combination of either wood posts, T-posts, U-posts or rod posts using any type of wire, tape or rope. Installation is easy to moderate, depending on the terrain and the animal being contained or excluded. Often used for pastures and cross fencing, this category of fence will last up to 20 years.
Permanent high tensile electric fences use well-anchored wood posts to support steel wire under high tension. While more time-consuming to install than other electric fence systems, it is the most effective permanent perimeter fence and provides the highest level of security for keeping out or containing difficult or aggressive animals, such as bulls or predators. A well-built high tensile electric fence requires minimal maintenance and will last up to 40 years.
The Horse Sense Electric Fence System® , designed specifically for equine use, emphasizes the horse's safety as well as containment. The system uses white, flexible poly tape or poly rope to make it easy for the horse to see the fence. White vinyl sleeves and caps that cover wood and t-posts protect the horses from injury and complete the classic white-rail appearance. The fence will typically last from 5 to 15 years.
Why is electric fencing a cost effective option?
Electric fencing typically costs less than traditional barbed and woven wire fencing. In addition, animals are less apt to damage a fence, as they usually don't touch an electrified wire more than once. Choosing and installing high-quality components will pay dividends later with fewer maintenance problems and longer fence life.
A more powerful fence controller may cost a bit more, but will save you time and money in the long run. The higher-powered low impedance fencers increase energy on the fence line as weeds touch it, minimizing the need to remove vegetation. It also gives you greater flexibility to add to, or reconfigure, your fence at a later date.
Consider your investment in your livestock, horses and/or pets. You want to protect them with quality electric fence components that will do the job and keep them safe.
If this is your first electric fence project we recommend you follow three simple steps so you understand your options and can better plan your fence. A well-thought out plan in advance will help you avoid problems later, and assure that your electric fence works as you want it to.