Are Electric Fences a Serious Safety risk to Humans?

Touching an electric fence leaves a vivid and painful memory and the voltages are also high in comparison with standard mains electricity, because of this most will assume that the risk to life and limb must also be high. In fact, the opposite is true. Consider that hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world are “exposed” to the millions of electric fences every day—yet electric fences account for (but are not always the cause of) less than one serious injury per year worldwide. Compare that to the number of annual injuries and deaths that occur from human exposure to tractors, skid loaders, ladders, PTO shafts, balers, mowers, combines, bulls,stallions, shotguns, knives, etc. This is not to suggest that there is no risk. There is, indeed, a small level of risk. And with risk, there is also liability to the fence’s owner.

The voltage being sent through the wires is high, but the current or amplification (amps) is very low. A 220 volt or a 110 volt shock will hurt just as much as a 10,000-volt shock, as long as the current or amps are the same. These currents are constant and have high amperages (13 and 20 Amps) to power machinery and utensils. Muscles - human & animal - will tense up when coming in contact with 220 or 120v and are well grounded in dew or a good ground. There is no way to release from the fence in that case. You are just physically clamped on to the wire, and try as you might, you can't let go - the steady voltage keeps your muscle locked and with the high current - You will fry.

Amps are what kills. Voltage gets your attention - it hurts.

Electric fence energisers put out high voltage (around 8,000 volts) this makes a very clear spark that really gets the attention of the target. However they also reduce the deadly amps to a very low amperage of around 120 milliamps (It varies with manufacturers). This is 120 Thousands of an Amp ( normal mains electricity is 13 Amps). It should not even kill a squirrel.

This output is made safe in two ways, firstly by releasing the flow of electrons from the capacitor in regular pulses of about 1/300th of a second approximately a second apart. The amperage component of the electrical charge is greatly reduced to figures in the range of 15 - 500milliamps. (The majority of units operate in the 100-150milliamp range)*. Compare this with two other scenarios.

  1. Static Electricity when you touch a door, about 30000 volts at .5 milliamps for 1/1000th. of a second, unpleasant but not lasting.
  2. Mains Electricity. 220volts at 13 Amps and constant, unpleasant and regularly causes death,  there are many incidences of people running out wires directly plugged into 220v or 110v circuits killing both animals and people.

Modern fence chargers use low impedance circuitry, in which a capacitor is charged by a solid-state circuit. If an animal (or a person) comes into contact with the fence, the charge is released by a thyristor. This is an electronic component which can be thought of as an automatic switch so the voltage delivered is more controlled, and the shock pulse is much shorter – typically just a few milliseconds. The energy pulses through the wires or conductors. This means once every second for 1/300th of a second it sends a pulse of electricity down the line.

The reason for the pulsating current is that when the wires are touched and deliver a shock - whatever touches it has a chance to remove itself because when an animal touches an electrical wire, it causes a muscle contraction in the animal that is similar to what humans feel as a muscle cramp. With a continuous supply of current as you get with mains electricity this results in the grabbing effect that is so dangerous and the victim is unable to release the source of the current. With the pulsing of an electric fence this cramping is transitory and the victim is able to retreat from the source of energy. The animal will associate this unpleasant feeling with touching the fence and will be discouraged from touching it again in the future.

If the current did not pulse (like most electrical appliances -  hair dryer, radio, toaster, etc.), then whatever touched it would continue to be shocked until the power went out or something pried them off.

With low amps and a pulsating current, electrical fencing is a safe product. It is the amperage within the electrical charge and the constant connection that makes electricity dangerous.

The one issue may occur if an animal gets trapped in the fence for a period of time and is unable to extricate itself. This could be as a result of animals with horns, hedgehogs that roll up into a ball or any other reason they have become trapped. This varies for different animals and unfortunately can result in the death of the animal. Fortunately this is very rare and in my 30 years of working with electric fencing I know of 3 incidences where an animal has been killed.  For this reason, the HoriSmart energisers has been developed that are able to recognise what is touching the fence, treat it accordingly so increasing the safety accordingly.

What NOT to do!

  • Never Place your head near an electrified wire. Accidental head or neck contact can occur when pushing a voltage probe into the soil or when checking voltage. Be very careful when you do so to avoid head-to-wire contact!
  • Never allow anyone else to touch a modern electric  fence. It is not a game!

What to do!

  • Instruct all visitors and children to never touch electric fencing.
  • The legislation that applies in Europe to fences accessible to the general public stipulates that an internationally recognised warning sign be displayed at the beginning and end of a fence and at every 50 meters interval

Warning: In 1991 an accidental fatality occurred when a young child’s head contacted an electrified fence while the child was crawling on wet grass. The fence was correctly installed and functioning properly. The energiser was an approved unit. As a result, we strongly advise against allowing toddlers access to any electrified fences. Also, due to this incident and others, experts now suggest that human contact by an energised wire to the head and neck maybe the
most dangerous point of contact. We urge all to especially avoid this kind of contact.

* These figures vary between all the manufacturers.

65 thoughts on “Are Electric Fences a Serious Safety risk to Humans?”

  • [...] this was totally illegal and downright dangerous for these reasons outlined on this posting on the Safety of Electric Fencing. Despite attempts to establish if there was an energiser between the socket and the net I [...]

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  • Ginny

    Thank you for this post. I had a question regarding receiving a shock from an electric fence during pregnancy. I'm currently 20 weeks pregnant and we are on a vacation in Denmark. While we were on a hike today, I backed into an electric fence and received a fairly fierce shock to my bum, which then traveled down my right leg. Do you know if an electric fence shock can be harmful to a foetus? I can still feel my baby kicking, but not quite sure if I should make a visit to the hospital. Thank you for your help!

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    • admin

      Terribly sorry to read this, This is not something I have come across and strongly suggest you contact your doctor to put your mind at rest. Electricity does take the shortest route to earth so would go down your leg but it does stimulate contraction of muscles. I really do hope that you have the happy outcome you deserve.

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  • david cordes

    is accidentaly touching fence electrictape ,safe if you have a pacemakerfitted and over 65years of age . especially if you are 25 meters from any signs on fence

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    • admin

      If you have a pacemaker then extra caution should be taken at any point of the fence of the fence - distance from a warning sign has no bearing on the strength of the fence. It is not logical to have a warning sign every meter.

      There is no evidence to say an EF will be more dangerous to a PM wearer simply because no actual work has been done to show either way but patients with PM's have been subjected to cardiac electrical stimulation in emergency situations by medics with success. Saying that, a PM works on an electrical charge being administered to the heart muscles so it is logical to be extremely cautious when applying additional electrical impulses. If you do touch a fence then get the PM seen to by a clinician to ensure it is correctly functioning.

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      • Dr James Faulkner
        Dr James Faulkner September 2, 2016 at 10:03 am

        A momentary shock will not permanently damage your ICD. A memorable (longer) shock may cause some ICD settings to be reset to nominal values. Your doctor can restore your individual settings in the clinic. Both line powered and battery powered electric fences pose low risk because they are energized for a very short time about once a second. If you accidentally touch an electric cattle fence, the momentary shock will be startling but it will not permanently damage your ICD. The shock may temporarily prevent the pacemaker portion of the ICD from sensing a slow heart rhythm.

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        • admin

          Thank you, it is good to hear that.

          Never the less, if you have a pacemaker rather keep away from an electric fence and if you do inadvertantly touch one - get yourself seen to by a doctor to make sure it is functioning correctly.

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  • Lex

    Hi, I was walking in a field yesterday and tried to get pass under an electric wired fence. My head likely touched the wire and I assume I blacked out for half a second as I found myself on the ground on the other side without any memory of crossing it. My friends just thought I tripped.
    I was perfectly normal after and continued on with my day. Is this something I should be worried about, have you ever heard of delayed responses to head shocks? I'm 22 and in good health. Thanks.

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    • admin

      It has happened to me on numerous occasions, the first time, like you, I did not realise what had happened and stood up into the wire for a second hit. Fortunately before the days of video clips or it would be on Youtube. I'm OK - at least I think so. The very low amperages will have no effect on you.

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  • Daniel

    I was opening an electric fence this evening and my right arm touched the wire as my left was resting on star picket. The electricity went across my chest and now my muscles around heart ache and feel funny. My pulse is not racing but just dont feel 100%. should I worry or will this just pass.

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  • Christian MacKenzie July 11, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I can only say that I've been shocked ONCE and I now pay close attention when I see an Electric Fence.

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  • David

    Hi, Thank you for all the information,it is very helpful. My horse got caught up in a electric fence, he is very stiff when walking.Could this be the result of cramp

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    • admin

      Hi - if he was in the fence for a while then he would be a little stiff - it should wear off quickly. Any idea why he got caught up?

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  • Kim Haley

    Hello there, I have a neighbor who had an electric fence attached to the top of his vibercrete wall, this fence is about 3 m away from where I sleep. I have a window where I can constantly here the ticking of the fence and there is also an area where it is arching? My 7 year old son sleeps next to me. I have been suffering with insomnia, my son struggles to fall asleep, he has dark rings under his eyes and his concentration levels has diminished! I have endless health problems. Could this fence be causing these problems?

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    • admin

      Where the fence is arcing there will be a flash of light and a click each time it arcs. I can visualise that this would be irritating and keep you awake. This is a clear indication that the fence is going to earth, most probably ineffective and definitely poorly maintained. Being a South African commenter, I think this application will be for a home security fence? As the voltage in the fence will be negligible due to the arcing the owner is not getting the benefit of the fence. Once the fence is properly maintained this arcing will cease as will the click. Get on your neighbour and tell him to carry out proper maintenance, a fault free fence is silent.

      If the energiser is close enough for you to hear the clicking sound that occurs as the energy is transferred to the fence then this again would be annoying and I can only suggest you ask the owner to move it further away.

      Endless health problems - sorry I cannot see how this could be caused by the electric fence when you consider that exactly the same effect is achieved by your cars ignition system.

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    • Tom King

      Hi Kim Haley, An arcing fence creates a Radio Frequency (RF) Pulse. Please search google for 'Radio Wave Sickness'. Sleeping within an electrical field containing Pulsed Radio Frequency is unwise.
      Human cellular biology is electrical and does not cope well with pulsing or switching frequencies, this can lead to mild Radio Wave Sickness or electrosensitivity.
      Please remember Kim, that most electricians are not Human Biologists, for this reason this reply may not be posted, but for your own health and well being I hope it is.

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      • admin

        Hi Tom,
        Thanks for your input. What you say is quite correct of older models. New models manufactured in Europe have to comply with the European Standard EN 60335- 2-76 and do not cause radio or TV interference. Our energisers also comply with European Directive (EMC) 89/336/EEC) and are printed with the CE mark. The radio frequency pulse is therefore greatly masked.

        If an energiser is made elsewhere this may not be the case.

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  • Alex

    I was very intoxicated last summer and I grabbed hold of an electric fence for roughly 2 minutes without letting go (yes I know it was stupid) and after that I touched my tongue to the wire (even more stupid)... Could this have caused any serious health problems?

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    • admin

      2 points - doubt if you held on for two minutes and any mental health problems were probably existing prior to playing with the fence. Worry not.

      Query - were you trying for a Darwin award?

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  • H Mayer

    April 15 2014 was a lovely day with hardly a breath of wind.My micro light was standing at the edge of the field not tethered and I was having a cup of tea with my friend.
    I decided to tether the aircraft against an increasing wind. I don't remember any thing else about the day except at the end of the day asking my wife why I was in the hospital without any injury. She believed I had a flying accident and so the hospital result which included ESG,EEG test and studies were given showing no results. Next day my friend who took me home and later put my aircraft away gave the clue. He said that a huge whirl wind passed over spinning me and it around. Later when on touching the aircraft he received a painful shock and had to disconnect the fence. So that was the reason. Several months later after carrying on as normal without any problems I asked my GP for a medical declaration to meet DVLA class 2 diving and was told that this could not be given as the results did not give any reason for my days amnesia, also that I should not drive for the remaining 2 months
    The result is that on January 12 2015 I hope to finish my second set of tests to prove I am as fit as a fiddle. I know my event is out of the ordinary but I will say that the medical profession even though I have told them what happened don't seem to know the result of prolonged electric shocks from an electric fence.
    I suppose that they can be similar to a stun gun if prolonged

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    • admin

      Not sure why you would be rendered unconscious for such a long period. Your friend indicates what is standard when he registered a painful shock. Even a shock to the head does not render you unconscious for any length of time and the instinctive response is to get away from the source of the pain.

      I do hope your tests are successful.

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      • H.J.Mayer

        Sorry
        I was not clear on what happened.
        I guess I was sitting in the microlight which was blown against the fence and tipped over trapping me. As soon as I touched the ground the circuit was completed and I received several shocks.
        Where these were applied I don't know, it is likely that my face and shoulder touched the ground and since I was not about to fly I was not wearing a helmet. The airframe was rendered alive and I would probably be hanging on to the control frame which would also be alive. I was rendered unconscious for a shorts while but soon recovered but suffered from amnesia for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
        I fully recovered the next day and have not had any ill effects since.

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  • Roz

    After being chased through a field (a public footpath) by a load of young bullocks today I tried to climb the gate to exit the field but failed to notice the electric fence next to it. The metal gate acted as an earth so I got quite a belt in both hands and one of my knees - I was wondering if I should go and get checked out but after reading your explanation of voltage and amperage I am reassured (I think!), my hands are still tingling a bit but no visible burns. Reassurance gratefully received.

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  • […] about Electric Fencing is whether it is safe or not. This is covered in some detail in an earlier posting on this blog and just to highlight the difference  between standard mains electricity and electric fencing […]

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  • amanda

    today i was feeding my cousions horses and she did not tell me there was an electric fencee and now 3 hours later my legs still hurt what do i do

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  • Anny

    If a horse was tangled in an electric fence unable to get free can it died ?

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    • admin

      If an animal is caught in a fence the continual shocks are debilitating and can lead to the death of the horse, this however does take time and varies between animals. Invariably when an animal is caught in a fence the conducting wires are pressed against the ground so shorting the circuit and the animal does not receive the shocks as electricity ALWAYS looks for the shortest route to ground. Animals do have a reasonably high resistance quotient (about 500 Ohms/metre) so the trapped animal is by-passed.

      It is for this reason of additional safety that the latest technology offered by us have intelligent technology that will recognise what is in the fence and adjust its response accordingly. These are the Horismart range of energisers.

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  • Tagg Rystephanuk
    Tagg Rystephanuk July 17, 2015 at 12:11 am

    Hi there, i was leaning on a gate that had a shorted out electric fence wire underneath it. I felt the shock go up through my arms,into my chest and down through my legs. I was shocked with (according to the owner) around 3000 volts. I am alright aside from feeling a little weird. Should i go to the hospital?

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    • admin

      I would expect you to be fine, many people experience the shock daily, either inadvertently as you did or deliberately and suffer no ill effects. You only have to search on Youtube to see all the antics many people get upto with electric fencing. In my 35 years of working with Electric fencing I've been shocked countless times and I'm OK.

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  • Linda knight

    I think a neighbour has installed an electric fence along his fence which is on a public foot way as my puppy just screamed as she walked/ touched it in the dark. There is no signs up can you just put one up without notice ? ?

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    • admin

      If you are not sure if it is electric - look for the plastic insulators on the posts, if there are none then it is not an electric fence. If it is alongside a public footpath then he/she is legally required to attach warning signs at the beginning and end of the fence also every 50m internally.

      The erection of electric fences does not require notification or municipal approval in the UK, other countries may have different regulations. Some municipalities require all fencing to be green in colour.

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  • Rebecca

    Hi, just wanted to know if I'm going to be okay. I was out and I slipped and grabbed hold of the wire and it was a burning sensation in my hand, it shocked me. Then I felt woozy for a little bit.

    Please reply!

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    • admin

      Hi Rebecca, I'm confident you will be fine. If you Google electric fencing you will see the many people who touch the stuff for laughs - no accounting for tastes but there you are.

      All the very best.

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  • S.M. Rasel

    i ask , how many human death by Electric Fence ? please reply me

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    • admin

      To my knowledge there have been 3 in 60 odd years. 2 in Australia involving high energy energisers exacerbated with the influence of alcohol and one small child in America.

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  • Maggie

    So yesterday I was climbing between two fence posts and my funny bone/ elbow hit the electric fence for a good few seconds until I realized what was happening. And it hurt for about 20 mins and was gone but today I woke up with the worst pain in my arm and idk what to think

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    • admin

      An electric shock does not hurt beyond the stimulus of the shock itself, perhaps you jerked and tweaked a muscle getting away from it - this could be the source and let it recover for a few days.

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  • Pamela

    I was electrocuted as a child. I was standing in water and stuck on the fence for 10 minutes until my dad ran to the barn and hit the breaker. I've been shocked before, but it always pulsed and it was only for a second. Can you explain why I was unable to get off the fence in this instance? Could it be because I was standing in water? Also, as a result I developed blood clots in my left leg about 1/2 an hour to an hour later...thank you.

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    • admin

      The electric fence energiser must have been faulty to allow a continuous current to be transmitted to the fence. This would not be possible with our energisers as the pulsing circuit is within the controlling motherboard so if it fails then the whole board fails and must be replaced.

      That you were in water does affect the shock by supplying the perfect earth so you will be subjected to the full current available on the fence. I experienced this myself as described in this posting about erecting an electric fence to control Rhino.

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  • Ing

    As a 7yr old child (late 1970s) I also, sillyly, held on to an electric fence for around 1 minute as a dare. It was only as I released my right hand that I got a massive jolt in my right shoulder. Since my late 30's I have had right shoulder problems and also recently (age 42) been diagnosed with heart rhythm problems. I am having a 24hr monitor test in a couple of weeks. Do you think these medical issues are related to my stupidity as a child?!

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    • admin

      I have no idea, in the 1970's the majority of energisers produced were the high impedance type that did have a higher amperage and called "weed choppers" as they tended to burn off green material that touched them - helping with fence maintenance. However they were replaced by the 1980's with Low impedance energisers where the amperage was further reduced as the spark produced by the earlier models also burnt the newer commonly used plastic conductors and as they were more efficient at scaring the target animals the earlier models were phased out. No manufacturer produce this type now. The lower amperage currently utilised permits a longer gap between cycles increasing the safety of the units.

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  • Jimmy

    I have an electric fence for my garden. I touched it and got shocked. I took my shoes off and touched it and really got shocked. Please explain the difference in feeling and ground.

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    • admin

      Your shoes are mildly resistant to the transfer of electricity - insulators if you will. Without the shoes this impediment is removed allowing the full transfer of electricity so you feel a greater effect. Gumboots and rubber soled shoes are able to insulate you totally from an electric shock.

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  • Matt

    Hi, we have just installed an two wire electric fence around our property in the countyside (7000m2) as we have problems with a badger/s damaging the fence.

    There are just two wires, on at 10cm from the floor and one at 30cm from the floor obviously running through insulators about 5cm off the plastic coated chainlink fence. In three days it has has killed two frogs and today I have found a hedgehog dead all rolled up touching the lower wire. We do love animals so this is not what we wanted.

    The energizer was purchased in France from a reputable supplier known throughout the country. It is a 4.5j 13500v model which was just the second one up in the range from the basic model (mains 220v).

    In one area there is a small slope downwards towards our fence so could this possibly cause a problem for small animals like hedgehogs (I realise that it is virtually impossible to stop frogs etc touching the wire as it is so low)?

    We were hoping to extend the system to the top of the existing 1.5m fence (2 wires) to prevent our cats from exiting and other cats from entering the land (fighting with our own cats) and as the fence is plastic coated were thinking of installeing a ground polywire too - do you think it is necessary?

    Many thanks. Regards

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    • admin

      Your bottom wire is too close to the ground, the primary hot wire should always aim for the targets resting nose height, all animals use their nose to investigate anything so the aim is to make it simple for them to access the hot wire. I would raise it by 5cm (2 inches) which will then take it out of reach of the hedgehog and frogs. At the moment it is hitting the back of the hedgehog causing it to roll up under the wire - if it is still in contact then this is one of the unfortunate consequences. (Hedgehogs may be safely excluded by dropping the hot wire to THEIR nose height)

      As the netting is plastic coated you will have to add an earthing wire along the top in order to create the circuit when a cat climbs over. The best place is immediately above the existing fence with the hot wire suspended 15cm above that.

      FYI, 4.5J 13000v (I assume you are quoting output energy) is too strong for a area less than a hectare, that unit will energise in excess of 30 kilometres of wire.

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      • Matt

        Thanks for your prompt reply.

        Yes I was referring to ouput energy.

        Here is a link to the energiser -


        This was what was recommended to us by the shop after telling them what it was for?

        The land is around 170m on its longest side by 50m wide.

        Should I take it back or is there anyway to restrict the output as I have now had it a couple of months but it has only been in sevice 3 days.

        Is there any risk to the cats?

        I have already accidentally touched it and the shock was what I was expecting.

        The hedge cannot really get under the lower wire at 10cm high (he was around 7/8 inches round when rolled up) as there is also the fence just 2 inched further in but it maybe because of the slight uphill slope from the base of the fence?

        I can of course raise the lower wire if that is what you suggest but the damage that ehat we think the badger was causing to the fence in various places was from the ground to around 30cm high so this is the reason for installing two wires at 10 and 30cm and what was recommended by a few badger protection sites I found online. I did not want to harm anything however:-(

        Thanks again. Kind regards

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        • admin

          It is too strong and there is no way to restrict the output unless it is built into the energiser - some models do have a choice of settings.

          There is no more risk to cats than any other application. This system is regularly used around pigeon lofts and may people like you not wanting them in their yards.

          The hedgies are possibly getting their heads under the wire and getting a shock on the back of their necks causing them to ball up. I would raise the wire - your target is the badger and his nose is a bit higher. I suggest he is approaching the wire then dropping his nose to get it under the mesh in order to lever it up to get through.

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          • Matt

            Thanks again,

            Ok I will raise the lower wire to 15cm from the ground.

            Regarding the type of energiser which you say is too strong. For my application do you really think that I should see if I can return it to the shop or do you think that with the lower wire higher that it does not matter (as you said that there is no more risk to a cat with the more powerful model)?

            We do have wild boar also in this area and as the land has only recently been fenced off it probably will be only a matter of time when these could also be a problem (another reson for not choosing a basic model around 1joule).

            If I can save the Hedgies by raising the wire and there is no risk to the cats then I will be happy.

            Thanks for your time. Kind regards

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            • admin

              Howzit Matt,

              I'm sure raising the wire will stop the hedgies from being effected - to be certain you may increase that height from the ground further. See this article on Badger Fencing.

              All along I've been wondering where you got the information to put the bottom wire so low?

              Regarding the energiser - if you are using the plastic based wires the spark that occurs when a short takes place will be aggressive and tend to burn through the plastic requiring replacement. If you are using solid metal then the only issue will be electricity consumption. The energiser will have the capacity to jump a greater distance should a branch grow close and cause a short however the greater capacity will overcome a greater challenge when grass grows into the line.

              With a strong energiser on a short fence there is a greater risk of what is called Induction Current. This phenomenon is the transfer of electricity from an electrified wire to a non electrified wire or gate without the wires physically touching each other. This is caused by magnetic fields being set up and collapsed by the pulsing nature of an electric fence current. These magnetic fields will generate a current in an adjacent wire even if it is not touching it and draw energy off the fence itself. This is often mistakenly blamed on insulator leakage. Common where the earth line and the fence line are run next to each other out of a building. Simply separate the wires by about 30cm.
              This is also more common in areas where the air is damp such as in conditions of fog. As this phenomenon is a quirk of nature it cannot be stopped from occurring. However, to avoid receiving shocks caused by induction on non electrified fences and gates etc. you can "ground out" the offending fence by connecting a ground wire to all wires on the non electrified fence. Push the end of this wire into the ground as far as possible and this will send all the offending voltage into the ground.

              Swings and roundabouts really. If you are going to extend then I would keep it.
              Hope this helps.

              Reply
  • Guy Mark Tibbert

    I have to say that I am concerned by the original article and some of the errors, particularly when the implication is that a belt of upto 500mA is likely to be harmless. It is not.

    A shock of 400mA through the heart - (hand to hand or left hand to right foot or vice versa) is sufficient to stop the heart almost instantly.

    A current of 100mA CAN be fatal but usually isn't.

    To give some perspective of the power of 500mA, a microwave oven transformer (generally regarded as being lethal) only has an output of around 2000V at 500mA - but they kill a lot of amateurs playing around with high voltage sources.

    8000 volts at 500mA is a MASSIVE 4000W of energy.

    The assumption that static electricity is limited to a few milliamps is out by a factor of around 1000. Typical "belts" of static are around 1-10 MICROamps.

    As for mains being "13A" wrong again. That is purely the rating of a typical fuse in a "square pin" plug. The typical ring current is protected by a 30A fuse or breaker - which is VERY happy to pass around a 400% overload for half a second or so - so more like 120 Amps.

    I am just worried that with this level of disinformation, someone may actually take the site at face value and wrongly assume that a few hundred milliamps (irrespective of voltage) passing through your heart is safe.

    It isn't. It will kill you.

    Once you are over around 50v, then there is a potential for death (if he person is "wet" and has a solid contact standing barefoot on a metal floor and gripping a metal pole for example). All that is needed then is for around 50-400mA to go through the heart and the job is done.

    If the person is very dry and only making light contact - finger barely brushing a conductor and him standing on a rubber mat - then you may need tens of thousands of volts to even feel a tingle.

    If however you have a GOOD connection to someone, then voltages under 100v have been known to kill, and currents of 400mA can kill instantly. 200mA can kill by forcing the heart into fibrillation. Even 50mA *can* cause death.

    I suspect this will not be published - but for the love of god do some checking and correct this. Static shocks are MICROamps, not milliamps - and 500mA electric fence at 8000V is massively more lethal than the output from a microwave oven transformer!

    Reply
    • admin

      I am replying to the post by Guy Mark Tibbart within his text by way of bold writing. Please note that at no time does he include comment about the time intervals that the Electric Fence current is applied.

      I have to say that I am concerned by the original article and some of the errors, particularly when the implication is that a belt of upto 500mA is likely to be harmless. It is not. You have ignored the time limit the energy is applied. 500mA applied constantly will indeed be dangerous. It may help if you read the History of Electric Fencing.

      A shock of 400mA through the heart – (hand to hand or left hand to right foot or vice versa) is sufficient to stop the heart almost instantly. A defibrillator applies 25 Amps for 1/100th. of a second - life saving? Energisers apply in most cases 150mAmps for 1/300th of a second

      A current of 100mA CAN be fatal but usually isn’t.

      To give some perspective of the power of 500mA, a microwave oven transformer (generally regarded as being lethal) only has an output of around 2000V at 500mA – but they kill a lot of amateurs playing around with high voltage sources.

      8000 volts at 500mA is a MASSIVE 4000W of energy. Wrong - it is 12 joules. Energisers in Europe may not be sold with a constant output of greater than 6 joules.

      The assumption that static electricity is limited to a few milliamps is out by a factor of around 1000. Typical “belts” of static are around 1-10 MICROamps. I checked again and general consensus is that static electricity ranges between .2-.5 milliamps (0.0002-0.0005 Amps) as stated in the posting. Try Googling it.

      As for mains being “13A” wrong again. That is purely the rating of a typical fuse in a “square pin” plug. The typical ring current is protected by a 30A fuse or breaker – which is VERY happy to pass around a 400% overload for half a second or so – so more like 120 Amps. Here you are correct but the standard rating is known as 13 amps that everyone is accustomed to. The fuses are designed to fail at a load in excess of 13 amps but by then the damage is done. This does not reduce the dangerous effect of mains electricity whilst highlighting the safety aspect of the tightly controlled emissions of an energiser.

      I am just worried that with this level of disinformation, someone may actually take the site at face value and wrongly assume that a few hundred milliamps (irrespective of voltage) passing through your heart is safe. At no stage do you bring in the time limitations of of the pulse delivered by an electric fence. There are MANY examples of people getting shocked (willingly) You only need to watch this clip on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n1pSHzdahc , where electric shocks are transmitted through the heart region - I'm not saying that you should do this. Obviously extended contact with an electric fence IS dangerous and this is accepted

      It isn’t. It will kill you. Limited contact will not

      Once you are over around 50v, then there is a potential for death (if he person is “wet” and has a solid contact standing barefoot on a metal floor and gripping a metal pole for example). All that is needed then is for around 50-400mA to go through the heart and the job is done.

      If the person is very dry and only making light contact – finger barely brushing a conductor and him standing on a rubber mat – then you may need tens of thousands of volts to even feel a tingle. Not true - you may dry your hands as much as you like but you will still receive a shock - human resistance is around 500 Ohms and this does not change. If you are standing on a rubber mat or GROUND is dry then you will not receive a shock but this is the ground and the rubber mat that is acting as an insulator - not you

      If however you have a GOOD connection to someone, then voltages under 100v have been known to kill, and currents of 400mA can kill instantly. 200mA can kill by forcing the heart into fibrillation. Even 50mA *can* cause death. Are you able to provide proof and perhaps links to substantiate your claim - I cannot find any

      I suspect this will not be published It's been published - I don't mind a sensible discussion – but for the love of god do some checking and correct this. No need to, Electric fencing has been on the market for 75 years now so if what you are saying is true we should have been inundated with dead bodies of either humans or the animals it is used for by now, would you not agree? Static shocks are MICROamps, not milliamps – and 500mA electric fence at 8000V is massively more lethal than the output from a microwave oven transformer! I think you need to read correctly .5milliamps is microamps - it is more understandable to keep the same units

      Reply
  • Olga Comeau

    Question: What would be the effect on a horse with metal shoes, standing in water, bringing his head up againest the electric fence?

    Reply
    • admin

      Exactly the same as any other situation - he will get a short, sharp shock. The shoes will not add to the shock as the frog conducts electricity to the ground. The puddle may or may not have an effect depending on the surrounding ground. It is simply one link in the chain.

      Reply
  • Keven.wright

    I have an electric fence running round my field of poultry but last night a fox came threw it is it ok to put another electric fencer on the other end to boost the power or will it damage the other fencer unit . Please

    Reply
    • admin

      Adding a second energiser will seriously compromise the safety of the fence as the interval between pulses is a major contribution to the safety of the system. You are better off investigating the net itself, was the current sufficient - 5000v - or has he learned to jump over. This is cured by baiting the fence with a few strips of bacon or meat wound around a live section of the fence. The fox will use his tongue to try and remove it and get the full shock to a wet tongue full of sensitive nerves. I can assure you it hurts far more than a skin touch.

      Reply
  • karen murphy

    Hi, I have a dog that digs under the fence so to try and stop her I have put chook wire halfway up the fence with the other half laying on the ground and pegged in with tent pegs, I plan on also running an electric fence along the bottom to deter her...my worry is that when she gets a jolt from the fence she will be standing on the chook wire, should I be worried she will get a bigger belt? or not

    Reply
    • admin

      The shock is determined by the energiser, these are all limited and within safe parameters. A better earth does have a better effect on transmission of that shock so a dry soil will transmit less energy than a dog on a chook wire. The effect will be better but within legal parameters and no worse than if the dog was standing on wet soil.. What you are planning is regularly done and is a recognised tactic.

      Reply
  • lauren

    Hello. I just have a quick question;
    I live on a farm, and we have plenty of cattle. Therefore, we have some electric fences installed.
    However, when I was at the bottom of a hill that had a fence separating me from the top – I decided to go under the fence to get back up. I thought the fence was fine, so I grabbed onto a wire, with both hands, to help push myself up. A few seconds later, I felt a sudden shock in my heart/chest. I now know it was a pulsating electric fence. It's not made to kill or cause pain; just a quick jump.
    That quick shock was the only discomfort that I had; apart from a small pain in the right of my chest a bit afterwards. (it's starting to come back, but it's been a few hours since the occurrence.)
    Is this normal? I'm just a bit paranoid as it has never happened to me before. I'm still fairly young.
    Thanks for your time.

    Reply
    • admin

      You are lucky to have only been shocked once living on a cattle farm, You will be OK but monitor it and if you are concerned see a doctor. It is always better to be safe.

      Reply
  • J Smith

    We're installing a low frequency underground dog fence; dogs wear collar which alerts/shocks them if too close. We want dogs to stay out of children's sand-box and planned to run wire under bottom exterior edge of box (using tarp to protect wire from children accidentally hitting while playing.). Our question is if the children could have health consequences from playing in area surrounded by the current?

    Reply
  • Colleen

    Hello—we've just moved into a new rental house amid fields used for cattle. There are electric fences surrounding all the fields. We've two young children, turning 5 and 2, who have not been around EFs before—neither have I (city-bred); my husband would have done dumb dares with them as a kid. I'm clear that a shock won't seriously harm my boys, but I do have a couple scenario questions: the EF runs along our main drive, where my eldest rides his bike. If he fell onto the fence and couldn't get up quickly, would he continue being shocked/would he be in danger? Then same question if the ground is wet (as it would be most of the year). Or if either of them tried crawling underneath it and the ground was wet? It's a source of stress at the moment as I don't feel comfortable just letting them outside, so any advice or warnings will be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

    Reply
    • admin

      Hi - welcome to the country, hope you are happy in your new home.

      1/. If he falls onto the fence and maintains contact with the fence he will continue to be shocked ( only really high end energisers are able to distinguish what is in contact and adjust accordingly like the HoriSmart energiser we supply) It all depends on how long he remains there, I can assure you he wont stay long.

      2/. Wet ground does offer the best circuit back to the energiser. This link on electric fencing in dry soil conditions will explain the difference.

      You will need to explain to them about the fence.

      I don't know where you live - are there warning signs on the fence? In the UK signs have to be erected by law. (I do understand the children won't be able to read them)

      Reply
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