Electric Fencing Articles and Information.

Electric fencing articles that will advance the knowledge and ability to use Electric fencing.

  • Protect your Fence Energiser from Lightning.

    There is nothing more of a hassle, than testing your fence the morning after a lightning storm and finding your energiser burnt to a frazzle.  Trying to outsmart Mother Nature can be almost impossible, but there are a few tricks.  You cannot guarantee absolute lightning protection, but you can install safeguards such as surge protectors and lightning protection to help avoid an expensive repair.

    Lightning strikes are not very common in the UK but there are areas where a fence going over the top of a hill through an open field may be more susceptible.  In fact, lightning rarely strikes a fence. Instead the lightning induces voltage on the fence line, and can happen even when lightning strikes a fair distance away from the fence. This type of energy induction can reach your fence as often four times a year.

    Energiser struck by lightning Internal mother board decimated by a lightning strike

    Lightning will always seek out the path of least resistance on its way to the ground. As such, fences with hundreds or thousands of feet of metal wiring in them make excellent conduits for the electricity blasted out of the sky in the form of a lightning bolt.

    As the energy from induced lightning travels along the fence, it seeks out a path that will deliver it into the ground while expending the least amount of energy. In the case of an electric fence, that path will be through its earth stake system, which is on the “opposite side” of the fence energiser. That means if induced lightning hits an electric fence, it must travel through the energiser to get to the ground rods. This route can cremate the fence energiser in the process.

    Installing a mechanical Lightning diverter is simple and highly effective. Lightning (electricity) is always looking for a ground connection and all you

    Mechanical Lightning Diverter Mechanical Lightning Diverter and Switch.
    need to do is protect the energiser by creating a route to ground. This is achieved by inserting a resistor coil in the live fence line between the energiser and the fence. This coil allows the current from the energiser to go to the fence and creates a magnetic field around the coils but when the very high voltages common with a lightning strike attempts to reverse the current, it creates a resistance caused by the coils inertia. This resists the flow of electricity and tries to reverse the magnetic field forcing the strike to look for a bypass, this is available by the steel plate connected to the earth stake and separated from the coil by an air gap (about 10 mm but must be set for individual energisers) sufficient to only just prevent the normal energiser current to jump it. The Lightning strike with its' very high voltage will then jump this gap and travel safely to ground. A schematic diagram below will show how simple the diverter is to install. A switch is supplied so that it is easy to isolate the energiser should a storm be brewing allowing you to completely isolate the energiser but still be able to divert the energy to earth.

    This will give 75-90% protection and this level will be increased by including a second diverter to near on 100%. Whilst the setup will work when connected to the fence line earth stake, it is preferable to supply a separate earth stake to isolate the system completely.

    Lightning Resister Diagrammatic illustration on how a Lightning resister is installed.
  • New Zealander uses electric fence to jump-start heart

    A Hamilton man has taken Kiwi ingenuity to a whole new level after using his neighbour's 8000 volt electric fence to jump-start his heart.

    John Griffin suffers from atrial fibrillation [AF] - an irregular heartbeat which, if left untreated, could lead to a stroke. One of the treatments for the condition is electric shock by defibrillator. But when Griffin got frustrated with the emergency department during an episode, he went home and ended up using his neighbour's fence to get a shock instead. It gave him a "decent belt", he said, and his heart started beating regularly again.

    "It was right as rain ... It worked like a treat."

    Griffin said he had put up with the irregular heartbeat for about 20 hours. From 48 hours onward, a patient becomes susceptible to a stroke. Griffin felt the atrial fibrillation wasn't going away so admitted himself to the hospital's ED. During the first two hours, he had scans and tests, before being told it would be another six hour wait. He went home, took his medicine and, daunted by a trip to a hospital in Auckland, noticed his neighbour's fence.

    Kicking off his boots, he put the back of his hand on the fence to give himself an electric shock.

    He described the DIY method as feeling like he had received a "decent belt" through his body, but added it worked "straight away, virtually. I just walked away." "It gave me a decent belt and [my heart] came right."

    Dr John Bonning, Waikato Hospital's clinical director, did not recommend people use an electric fence that way as it was "dangerous and ill-advised".

    Counties Manukau Health stroke specialist Dr Geoff Green had never heard of somebody using an electric fence that way, but also advised against it. "So I wouldn't recommend it to anybody."

    Dr Gerry Devlin, medical director at the Heart Foundation of NZ, said using an 8000 volt electric fence was "completely inappropriate" and would deliver a large bolt. "We should not be recommending people treat themselves in that way."

    Original Article. New Zealand Herald.

  • Combining Wire with Tape to increase the Effectiveness of the fence

    20mm or 40mm tapes have become synonymous with electric fencing for horses. The general perception maintains that horses are incapable of seeing the fences despite there being solid scientific analysis that horses will see better than humans, if you are able to see it - horses most certainly be able to see it. This work was carried out by Dr Evelyn B. Hanggi, M.S., Ph.D where many myths are dispelled.

    One of the major problems with tape is the effect that wind has on it. As tape has a broad surface it reacts to wind by flapping, this flapping causes the little metal filaments to bend back and forth so breaking as shown in this study. The metal fatigue is clear in the image.

    Solid wire has the best conducting characteristics of all types of conductors and will last far longer than any. - the only perceived image is that it is difficult to see so should not be used as the horse will bumble into it and get caught up.

    Traditional post and rail fences are very popular but often need to be reinforced to prevent horses leaning on them and making them go out of alignment or completely knocked over. Electric fencing is the best solution normally utilising out riders and here wire is the best option. Visibility is not an issue and you want the best effect.

    Wire may also be used with tape fences where it is used in conjunction with the tape. Fortunately wire is cheap so running wire with the tape is viable - particularly if the tape has come to the end of its life. Here the wire is carrying the current and the tape is simply providing the visibilty.

  • Moocall - an aid to predict calving times.

    Losing a valuable calf to a difficult calving is an expensive business. The cost of the bull and the cost of carrying the cow through to parturition plus the possible additional loss of the cow as well all add up to a considerable expense that must be carried by the farmer. When the herd is a small specialist one - the percentage of loss can be high.

    Notifies you of imminent calving.

    Many calvings take place at night or when the herdsman is otherwise occupied so it makes sense to assist in the calving process. Bovine mortality rates today are comparable to mankind giving birth unassisted centuries ago. It looked like this high mortality rate could be drastically lowered by utilising technology to monitor labour and triggering an alert prior to calving occurring. Simply being present at the birth to assist if needed, or call the vet to intervene if necessary, would have a beneficial impact on the health and safety of both cow and calf.

    Moocall is a tail mounted sensor that measures the movement of the tail that typically is swung back and forth as the cow commences parturition. This then gives the herdsman an approximate 1 hour warning that the cow is going into labour. This then allows him to pay attention to that particular cow. Easy calvings may result in shorter notice periods and difficult calvings could text two to three hours before. A second reminder text will be sent 1 hour after the first text if tail activity continues.

    The unit may be used on several animals and a unit should be adequate for upto 30 head in a standard breeding regime. They are powered by a rechargeable battery and are weather proof.

  • Fox Jumping a Standard Poultry Net.

    We have been receiving calls from customers that foxes have begun to simply jump over the 1m tall chicken netting. As there are many trials and reports of the netting being highly effective we were concerned but waiting for some sort of confirmation.

    This finally came to a head when we were recently shown an incident where a fox was clearly jumping a standard poultry net to get away with a chicken. These two videos clearly show a fox running up to a fence and jumping over without investigating the barrier. Whether it had in the past or not is not known but as it quite clearly did not touch the fence whilst on the ground indicates that it had experienced electric fencing in the past. Foxes are normally very shy, cautious and tend to investigate a barrier before crossing it. This can be attributed to the fox in question being accustomed to fences and simply jumping them in much the same manner that Deer, Springbok and Impala will do.

    The first shows the fox gaining entry.

    The second shows it exiting with it's meal.

    Solution to the Problem

    • If you already have a fence and are concerned that a fox will gain entry in this manner then the first check should be to the voltage in the fence. A minimum of 6000 volts is desirable in this situation. It is the number of volts that gives the shock not the number of amps. The higher the voltage reading the greater the slap it will give the target.
    • Wrap some strips of bacon around the wires at regular intervals around the fence, about the height of the foxes nose - make it easy for him to access the bait. The tongue is loaded with very sensitive nerve ends and a 6000v shock directed onto the tongue sends a serious message to his brain.
    • If you have not erected a fence then look at the taller 145cm (4ft 10inch) Ultimate Chicken Netting that is sufficiently tall enough to prevent foxes jumping over. Even with this net there is no harm in adding some bait to re-enforce the electric fence.

    Whilst the issue of foxes learning to evade an electric fence by jumping onto it is not currently widespread, there is nothing to say that they will not learn to do so. A fox is generally considered quite a clever animal so this issue will be monitored.

  • New Electric Sheep Net on the market.

    The *NEW* Turbomax Sheep Net.

    Some of the hassles that large scale sheep producers have encountered with sheep netting are primarily caused by two problems.

    The first is around the rigidity of the net. Netting is very easy to erect but can be a bit floppy and

    Plain twine detail showing soft twine between horizontals. Plain twine detail showing soft twine between horizontals.

    over undulating ground may be a tad difficult to maintain the upright aspect. Traditional nets had plain twine risers giving a loose connection where the horizontals easily come together.

    This was corrected some years ago and this has proven popular with many producers. This improvement involved replacing the soft risers with more rigid 3mm poly-plastic risers resulted in a

    More rigid poly-plastic risers in the Livestok Net. More rigid poly-plastic risers in the Livestok Net.

    net that was easy to erect and held its' shape much better over undulating ground. This is clearly visible in the image. A secondary benefit showed that this net was more stable in high winds. As a result the Livestok Sheep net came to be a more popular option with most customers.

    The second issue surrounds the growth of grass through the weave of the net. As the first electrified line is just 10 cm (4 inches) off the ground the grass does not have to grow very long to begin making contact and starting to draw energy off the fence.

    Many customers found the grass growing into the net to be a constant grind to keep clear so trials were done to see if the second line was totally necessary and could be done away with. This was not possible as now lambs were seen to get underneath the net however when the line was replaced without electricity this problem was solved.

    As a result the Turbomax Sheep net has been developed and is now on the market. Here the bottom two strands are not energised so that there is now a 20 cm (8 inch) clearance. The rigid risers have been retained resulting in a net that will have the best of both features. A net that retains its shape better, more stable in wind and requires less maintenance. Sample nets were trialled in Germany and the response has been positive so the net has been made available.

    Close up of Turbomax sheep net Close up of the non-energised two bottom wires
    Turbomax Sheep Net. New Turbomax Sheep net with bottom two wires not energised.


  • May I use Barbed Wire on an Electric Fence?

    In a nutshell - NO.

    It is currently illegal to apply an electrical current to a fence constructed with a barbed construction throughout Europe. The principal reason being that the animal (including people) must be able to escape the electrical current IMMEDIATELY.

    Barbed Wire in an Insulator Barbed wire being used in an Electric Fence

    I’m sure that almost everyone involved in agriculture has had their fair share of “hang ups” on barbed wire. Many ripped jeans, torn jackets and bodily scars can be attributed to barbed wire. It’s simply a fact of the product. But, if you add an electrical pulse to this scenario that generates a quick escape response – entanglement can occur rather quickly to both humans and animals.
    Think about this; what do you want to happen when you or an animal touches a hot electric wire and gets a shock? Typically, the intelligent reaction is to back off rather rapidly, move away from it – and to not touch it again. The last thing you should want to happen is to get entangled with that wire and not be able to get away or back off from it!

    Offsets on a Barbed wire fence Offsets attached to a barbed wire fence are no less dangerous

    Believe me, repeated shocks from an electric fence wire can be a pretty traumatic experience. Thus, a smooth joint-less wire is much less likely to entangle and easier to move away from.

    The second reason is the make up of the barbed wire - it has numerous sharp points and electricity tends to be discharged into the air from these points more easily than from a rounded surface. This is called the Coronal Effect and describes how the electrical field is strongest where the radius of the curvature is small (the point) than where the curvature is greater (the round wire) (There is a fancy equation that highlights this) The more points you have discharging current into the air - the less is available to do it's function of controlling your target animal

    The third reason is that the animal will receive a stronger shock from a skin that is pierced by the barb. The charge will be administered straight into moist flesh rather than on the skin surface and as you all know - electricity is easily conducted via a moist surface.

    Personally, I just plain and simple do not see a need to electrify barbed wire. I always discourage people from doing this. I think that it is right down dangerous as well as unnecessary.

  • Incorrect use of Electric Fencing.

    Two female elephants were electrocuted to death at Choudwar, on the outskirts of Cuttack, recently after coming in contact with a boosted electric fence on a farm.

    Forest officers said the two pachyderms, aged 10 and 15 years, had strayed into a farm at Mangarajpur village from nearby Athagarh forest range.

    Electrocuted Elephants Electrocuted Elephants

    The elephants were electrocuted to death as employees of the farm had put electric fencing around it and connected the fence to 220v mains electricity to keep them at bay.

    "Both the elephants were lying dead near the fence. One of the elephants had sustained severe burn injuries on her trunk. This goes to show the intensity of the electric shock," said Rakesh Samal, a local.

    Meanwhile, the local electricity officials have also decided to lodge cases against the farm employees for illegally using electric current. "The farm employees had not sought our permission to charge the fence. They misused the electricity," said a local official of Central Electricity Supply Utility(CESU). Precis and edited, Full article -  Times of India.

    This clearly highlights the danger of connecting 220 volt mains to an electric fence circuit. If it

    Elephant behind a technology correct Electric Fence Elephant behind a technology correct Electric Fence

    will kill two large elephants it will certainly do serious damage to a smaller mammal.

    By the very nature of its' technology a normal electric fence will not cause death and I have witnessed numerous elephant touching a genuine electric fence without a problem. Fences are used extensively to achieve successful control but regrettably there are many mis-guided people who do not follow the correct guidelines and suffer the consequences for their actions - usually to the detriment of the animal.


  • Worldwide Deliveries by Agrisellex.

    Agrisellex is pleased to be able to fill orders from several countries around the world in the last few months. Australia is a country well covered by fencing companies yet we have been able to compete and deliver three orders to Australia including a substantial consignment to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Toowoomba, Queensland.

    siberia Oil rigs protected by Electric Fencing

    A major Oil producing company was having a problem of bears harassing workers on the drilling rigs in Siberia, Russia. The existing fences were not effective so the option was either to shoot them or keep them out by other means. The first option would probably be frowned on so following a visit for training a series of fences have been installed and solved the problem.

    After consultation with the NACRES Biodiversity Conservation and Research Centre, Tbilisi, Georgia a consignment of assorted fencing equipment was dispatched to meet their requirements.

    A large horticultural operation in Kenya was being targeted by Baboons who were doing considerable damage to the valuable produce.

    Baboons controlled by Electric Fencing Baboons controlled by Electric Fencing

    As we have had considerable experience with primates in Africa we were chosen to design and implement a fence to keep the crops safe. This order is currently on its way to Kenya.

    Europe has been a destination of many orders to Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.

    May 2016. A order has been dispatched to the Polar Bear Park at Winisk, Canada to be used to prevent bears from infiltrating populated areas and the destruction of waste bins as they search for food. These are the Livestok nets to be linked with energisers from our sister company in the USA.

  • History of Electric Fencing, 1832 to 2016

    The earliest mentions of Electrified Fencing can be found in a variety of publications, Domestic Manners of the Americans by Fanny Trollope, First published in 1832 it describes an arrangement of wires connected with an electrical machine used to protect a display called "Dorfeuille's Hell" in the Western Museum of natural history in Cincinnati, which she herself invented. Published in 1870, Chapter 22 of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, describes, "The Lightning Bolts of Captain Nemo" the use of electrification of a structure as a defensive weapon. Published in 1889, Mark Twain's novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, uses an electric fence for defensive purposes.

    David H. Wilson obtained United States Patent 343,939 in 1886, combining protection, an alarm bell, and telephone communications. He constructed an experimental 30-mile electric fence energized by a water wheel in Texas in 1888, but it was not successful.

    The electric fence was used as long ago as the late 19th century by ranchers in Texas as a way to contain their cattle. The fences were intended to be less dangerous to the cattle than barbed wire, but as with all early fence designs these were impractical, very dangerous and their use was not widespread.

    These fences were all based on the standard electricity as we know in the current mains system and consequently decidedly dangerous. This is shown by the Russian army who improvised electric fences during the Russo-Japanese War at Port

    Early Electric Fencing German "Wire of Death" 1915
    German Soldier Guarding Fence







    Arthur in 1905 and by the Germans during World War I, 1915, the German army installed the "Wire of Death", a series of electrified fences along the border between Belgium and the Netherlands to prevent unauthorized movement of people across the border. The fences covered 300 kilometres and consisted of several strands of copper wire, backed with barbed wire, and energized to several thousand volts. An estimated 3,000 human fatalities were caused by the fence, as well as the destruction of livestock. Again during the Second World War these fences were utilised by German, English and Japanese combatants around prisoner of war camps but more notorious were the fences surrounding the German concentration camps. These were all high voltage, high amperage applications.

    The early development of the modern, pulsed electric fence commenced in New Zealand  in 1936 when William "Bill" Gallagher built a primitive energiser from a cars' ignition coil to keep his horse off his car.  This was soon extended to a fence and progressed from there. These  early fence charging devices used alternating current (AC) with a transformer and a mechanically

    Later energisers Later Energisers are highly effective.

    operated switch, giving long pulses and sometimes delivered unpredictable voltages. As might be expected, these mechanical switches frequently failed and the development of using capacitors and solid state circuits by another New Zealander, Doughy Phillips, greatly improved the efficiency of the system. These were generally known as "weed burners" as they tended to burn weed growth but did cause fires on occasions.

    By the 1980's - by using thyristors the shock pulse could be made much shorter - typically a few milliseconds making the fences even safer and at the same time the amperage was further reduced into the low milliamp range. These improvements resulted in the ability to extend the length of wire that could be energised by a particular energiser.  This coincided with the introduction of woven plastic twines containing thin metal filaments that became popular, the older weed burners were phased out due to the damage caused to the plastic. These "low impedance" energisers are now the only type produced by reputable manufacturers.

    Development of the energiser has continued and accelerated with the advent of micro circuit boards and are now capable of reading what is touching the fence and react accordingly plus interact with GPS technology to notify the owner when they are being stolen or are not functioning. Some models may be remotely controlled by using telephonic signalling to switch off and on plus supply regular readings of the operating state of the fence.

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