Electric Fencing Articles and Information.

  • What Type of power source to use with Electric Fencing

    Essentially the quick answer is to use mains if you possibly can.

    Mains Energiser – This is much the preferred option, mains power is reliable, cheaper to run Mains Electric Fence Energiserand less hassle than battery powered systems. These energisers are typically able to handle longer fences and difficult to control animals. It is this simple: plug your energiser into the standard mains socket, the energiser converts the power and the resulting pulse is taken out to your fence through a high volt cable.. This cable should be considered in your total fence length calculations and may be as far as 500 meters from the energiser . High Volt  cable comes in two diameters - 1.6mm core in 25m, 50m and 100m lengths and  2.5mm core in 100m lengths. These may be joined together with a waterproof join to achieve greater lengths.

    Battery Energiser – Your electric fence may be too far away from the mains and so battery power is the only option. Energisers can be powered by different batteries:
    12v Electric Fence Energiser

    1. Torch D-Cell or 6v lantern type battery powered energiser for small distances, strip grazing, gardens and pond protection (up to  400m). These may be either throw away or rechargeable.
    2. 9 Volt battery Energiser – very portable, light-weight, easy to use. Mid range energisers usually up to a maximum of 1800m of wire. These are housed within the energiser making them very light, compact and easy to transport. These are disposable batteries – non re-chargeable but come in a range of capacities, 55 - 200 ampHour so have an excellent lifespan.
    3. 12 Volt – Re-chargeable battery Energiser. Although a car battery will work it is preferable to use a leisure battery and not a car battery. Car batteries are designed to release power quickly with an immediate recharge. They are also generally only 25 ampHour so on a fence will need regular recharging.

    Leisure or Deep Drawdown batteries are designed for a slow release and as they come in far higher capacities (80- 200 ampHours) will require less regular recharging. (Depending on the energiser - may last over 1000hours.)

    Dual powered energiser – These energisers can work off mains or battery.   These energisers will come with all the accessories you need to run either system. Very versatile and handy.

    Solar Assist Energisers. - For the more remote or the environmentally aware customer there is Solar Assist Energiseralso a solar powered energiser option saving the chore of constantly charging batteries and ensures constant supply of power to the fence.

    Studies have been made to establish which is the optimum panel capacity to run specific energisers. The conclusion is that a 20 watt monocrystalline solar panel is needed to ensure that a 2 joule fencer battery is kept fully charged and functional throughout the majority of weather conditions - including Winter. Below that a 10 watt panel will be adequate. There are units available that have only a 2watt panel - these will be fine in summer but have very little benefit during the winter.

    A 12v Battey is still required, with a solar panel constantly recharging your 12volt battery it is now feasible to leave your energiser for extended periods with no maintenance.

    It is possible to boost the output of a solar panel.

    All energisers must comply with the European Standard EN 60335- 2-76. They should also comply with European Directive (EMC) 89/336/EEC) and are printed with the CE mark.

  • Factors deciding how effective an Energiser will be?

    A Wimp of an Energiser will give you a wimpy fence. The Energiser needs to be powerful enough to deliver a definite jolt when your horse touches it, even when its current is reduced by vegetation touching the fence line or (as sometimes happens) by moist, dewy early-morning conditions. Ignore energisers whose power is rated by STORED joules - this figure does not mean much as it is simply Electric Fencing Energiserthe energy stored in the capacitors before it goes through all the electronics to render it safe and effective. Depending on the quality of the electronics, there is always a loss in energy before it gets to the fence.

    Look instead for one rated by OUTPUT joules, this a measure of the energy that the energiser is actually sending out to the  fence once every second. One joule is a minimum rating for fencing that encloses up to five acres, it is recommend getting the most powerful energiser you can afford. A higher joule rating doesn't mean the fence's jolt--which can't injure horses or other animals--will be harder or more painful, but that it will be more consistent.

    Some energisers are rated by "Miles of Wire". This is relative but remember these are invariably under test laboratory conditions and use the best conductors to achieve the maximum reading (better for marketing).  Many companies still use this standard in evaluating their energisers, ahoriSmart unit which is rated as a fifty mile unit only means that it can effectively power 50 miles of a weed free, properly insulated, single strand of 12 gauge solid strand wire that is 30 to 36 inches off the ground. It does not take into consideration the weed loading or the electromagnetic resistance that occurs in multiple wire fences. A 50 mile energiser will not necessarily power 10 miles of five wire high tensile fence. Although an energiser rated in "Miles of Fence" may be as good as a unit rated in joules, it is difficult to make a fair comparison using this method of rating. It is also vital to appreciate that the general fence WILL NOT operate to these specifications.

    No fencing system containing barb wire should ever be electrified. An owner of such a fence would be considered liable if any animal or person were to be caught up in such a fence. In order to reduce the chances of injury or property damage,

    The difference in cost will be insignificant compared to the value of your horses and your peace of mind; expect to pay £100 to £120 for a good one-joule energiser that plugs into an outlet in the barn or elsewhere; six-joule energisers now sell for less than £200, a small premium for peace of mind. (Worried about your electric bill? Fence energisers use negligible amounts of power, whatever their rating.) It's possible to run High Voltage insulated cable up to 1/2 mile from an energiser to the fence without significant power loss. Install the energiser under cover where you can check it easily during each day's routine. Most chargers have a light that flashes with the electric pulse when they're plugged in and functioning.

    Low Impedance vs. High Impedance: A high amperage electrical charge is what causes the greatest amount of damage when it flows through anything that completes a circuit. In the older conventional electric fence controllers, the pulse rate was very long, sometimes nearly half a second. If the flow of electricity is not controlled in these style of energisers, they are not only a potential source of barn and grass fires, they can also be lethal to any animal that would become caught in the wire.  Manufacturers of long pulse rate energisers put in resistors which restricted the flow of current out of the energisers, thus the term "high impedance". These high impedance energisers keep the amount of amperage down to a safe level but also make them more prone to shorting out and are generally ineffective over longer distances.

    Low impedance energisers, don't want to restrict the volume of electricity to the extent the older style energisers do. They depend on the extremely high energy discharge and short pulse rate to keep an electric fence from being easily shorted out. It is the millisecond pulse rate that provides the safety factor in "low impedance" energisers. The vast majority of modern energisers are of the Low Impedance version

  • Who is Agrisellex?

    Our association with Electric fencing began in the early 1980's based in Zimbabwe and  covered Central Africa where we used electric fencing to assist farmers, wildlife conservationalists and entrepreneurs to control the wild animals. This involved a huge range of animals covering the whole spectrum of African wildlife.

    Rhino_wire Rhino within a simple 4 strand fence

    One particularly satisfying project was assisting to secure the safety of the declining Black Rhino population in Wildlife conservancies. Many farmers found that electric fencing increased yields by excluding animals that were feeding on their produce. We regularly heard of counts of up to 100 Kudu in a wheat field in one night doing serious damage to the farmers returns. A large citrus estate in the south of Zimbabwe found the returns so startling it paid for the fencing in just one year.

    Following the turmoil created by Robert Mugabe's anti European policies in Zimbabwe, we moved to the UK in 2000. After gaining experience under UK conditions with Horizont we began trading as a separate entity. We have since become proficient in the Equestrian side of Electric fencing in addition to the normal environmental and agricultural application of the product.

    Recent contracts have included working to protect a leading oil company's Siberian oil facilities from attacks by bears. Reducing the Human/Elephant conflict in Africa and contributing to the re-release of wolves in Italy

    ele5 Elephant behind a 10 strand fence

    Agrisellex is pleased to be associated with horizont Agrartechnik gmbh.  (Established 1945) This solid German company has been producing Electric fencing products for over 60 years. Amongst the top three largest brands world wide -the name "horizont" is widely known throughout the world for its excellence in electric fencing for livestock. It is synonymous with German quality and stands for more than 60 years of leading edge technology in research, development, manufacture and product superiority supported by a large number of international patents and trademarks. The activities of the company reflect the ever increasing demands from farmers and livestock owners for more reliable, less labour intensive and more secure livestock fencing.

    In 2008 Horizont acquired the premier UK firm - Hotline Electric Fencing (established 1968) further enhancing the ability to develop an unsurpassed range of electric fencing products.

    Thousands of Equestrian personnel and Farmers world-wide appreciate the highly developed technology of horizont's energisers. These are continually updated and new models incorporate many unique features that increase target safety and combat theft by allowing tracking of stolen energisers.

    HM Customs and Excise. Reg No; 896 3257 76

    EU VAT Number: GB896325776

    EORI Number: GB 896325776000

    Agrisellex UK is a registered company under the terms of the Companies Act 2006, Number 7302486

  • Post and Rail Fences

    Post and Rail fences are probably the most solid of fences to keep horses in a paddock.  Constructed as they are out of 3 inch planks fixed to 4 inch uprights these should be the ultimate fencing system. They are very expensive to install and should last a considerable period.

    post-and-railUnfortunately this is not the case as described by a recent communication on our website - "We paid a fortune for a well known local firm to 'properly' fence our new field with post and rail/stock netting - 6 years later it is swaying in the wind.  The soil is heavy clay so we thought it would be secure. Unfortunately the horses do not think the same way and are pushing it over. The grass is just as green on this side but they tend to love scratching themselves on the fence. We tried giving them alternate "scratching posts" but that did not alleviate the problem"

    A fence has to be remarkably strong to withstand a 500 kilogram horse leaning on it and the posts are bound to give despite being in heavy clay soils. Horses are also known to favour the wood for chewing, cribbing and often to simply jump over the fence - all of which are very difficult to cure.

    14937The best solution to this problem and actually improve the effectiveness of the fence as a whole is to add an energised hot wire onto the top of the fence. This will be achieved by screwing in an off-set type of insulator on the top rail and threading a conductor through it.

    The next question is the type of conductor - as visibility is of no concern (the post and rail is highly visible to the horse) then using wire is the obvious choice. Wire will last for 20-30 years whereas the best plastic based conductor will last 7-10 years if you are lucky. (I for one do not adhere to the belief that horses cannot see the thin conductors - I posted about this article on horses vision)

    flexbarrIf you need to protect both sides of the post and rail fence then the Flexibarr is a good option. This will provide an attachment to apply a hot wire on both sides of the fence.

    This solution will prevent a horse scratching itself on the fence AND will prevent them jumping it once they have learnt about it. Normally the addition of a line will be of sufficient attraction to make them investigate the new line and they will get a shock. Should the horse be so accustomed to jumping the fence then another trick may be employed to get them to test the fence. In order to do this it is necessary to attract them to investigate the new addition and get a shock. The best way to achieve this is to bait the fence with a bit of molasses or peanut butter. Evil but highly effective - only needs to be done at the beginning.

  • What NOT to do with Electric Netting

    • 1/.Do not store rolled-up fence on the ground near stored feed in a barn with rats and mice present.
      Result: Rodents chew into the rolls, make themselves at home and severely damage the net. Instead, store netting far away from rodents and grain, or hang the roll off the ground on nails driven into a wall.
    • 2/.Do not use a “weed chopper” (a high impedance) energizer with electric netting.
      Result: The long-duration pulse of “weed chopper” energizers melts plastic parts of netting  where it touches vegetation. Also, their pulse is very weak, so even if there are no weeds, animals will challenge the fence. (These are now seldom manufactured)
    • 3/.Do not try to roll up the fence like a carpet instead—fold it up into pleats with the posts at one end.
      Result: A tedious chore that takes forever. People who try to “roll instead of fold” assume we’re liars about Electric Netting being an “instant fence.” Of course, the cure is to read the instructions—but nearly everyone assumes they don’t need to do that!
    • 4/.Do not use weak energizers (less than .25 joule energisers). Many units are too weak to be effective with netting. This is particularly true of inadequately powered battery units and energizers with small solar panels.
      Result: Animals feel very little shock and therefore try to push through or under the netting.  Animals will escape, netting is damaged and the user is upset and very frustrated.
    • 5/. Do not allow excess grass to grow up into the netting.
      Result: Each blade of grass will draw a little current off the fence so the more grass there is - the less effective your net will be
  • How to Erect Electric Netting

    Erecting a net is fairly straight forward and the only requirement is that the horizontal live wires do not touch the ground or come into contact with vegetation. The bottom wire is not live so may come into contact with the ground. Many Electric Poultry netting problems may be solved by simple observation and attention to detail.

    1. Site preparation

    Carry roll(s) of net to proposed fence line. Prepare line by either spraying with Glyphosate or mowing all vegetation over 4 inches tall. This creates a clean path for the fence.
    nettingA very sound idea is to lay a strip of builders damp-proofing (DPC) or plastic beneath the net (as shown in the photo.) This prevents grass growing up and touching the twine and makes maintenance a lot easier. It is such a simple solution to a major problem with nets. One other tip for when the grass starts to take off in summer - use a strimmer with a blade on to get right in close to the membrane, once you get used to it, you can just tuck the blade under the DPC and carefully walk along the fence line taking out all the excess grass.

    2. Untying the roll of netting

    Untie the 2 tie strings and pull apart the 2 metal clips to release the roll of net.

    3. Unrolling the net

    Grip all the posts as a group and lift them up in front of you. This allows the netting to unroll in front of you in a series of folded “pleats,” each attached to the posts in your hands. Lay unrolled pleats on the ground. Locate the beginning post. (It’s the post with 2 tie strings attached and a steel connector at the top.

    4. Inserting the first post

    erecting_nettingInsert the beginning post into the soil beside a stronger support post or an existing fence. The plastic posts are great for the in-line posts but will bend under tension. Use the 2 tie strings to secure the first post to the support post or fence. Keep the net end post(s) at least 2" away from anything that is conductive (metal, wood, concrete)

    5. Unfolding the net

    Grip all remaining posts as a group and lift them up in front of you. Then walk backwards along the intended fence line, dropping each post as it’s pulled from your hands, thereby unfolding the netting. To reduce the risk of tangling the netting, try to drop or toss each post in sequence, helping to free it from the other posts you are still holding. Unfold entire roll of netting along the fence line.

    6. Installing line posts

    Starting at the first post, walk along fence line, picking up each post in turn and pushing it into the ground. Apply only enough sideways tension to each post to keep the netting erect and straight. A trick is to use your boot to pull against the stake until you feel quite a bit of tension and the bottom wire is pulled taught. Stretch netting just tight enough to stand up well. If there are changes in terrain then this must be catered for whilst tensioning the fence by using pegs to pull the bottom strand into the hollows.

    7. Joining 2 rolls of standard net

    Start the second roll by placing its first end post next to the last end post of the first net. Use the 2 tie strings to tie them together.

    8. Joining 2 rolls electrically

    net_joining_detailTo join one roll of standard netting to the next to provide an electrical connection, simply slide the built-in, stainless-steel male/female “power” connectors together by hand at one end. Do not use pliers to force them. The 2 pieces of metal only need to make and maintain contact.

    10. Connect energizer to standard net

    For either a battery (DC) or plug-in (AC mains) energizer, attach the lead wire from the fence terminal on energizer top clip at one end of the net as shown in the image.

    11. Checking voltage

    Never put animals into an electric fence enclosure without first checking it for adequate voltage with an electric fence tester. Touch one contact point to the soil or metal spike of the end post and the other contact point to the clip at the end of the fence. Voltage on a newly installed fence should exceed 4,000v. As time passes, grass or weeds will grow and touch the fence, causing the voltage to drop. Never allow it to drop below 2,000v

  • Guardian Electric Fence Compatible Horse Rugs

    For those of you who use electric fencing to stop your horses straying or in the winter to prevent a paddock becoming a muddy morass.

    As you know horses usually respect electric fencing when they are rug-less but as soon as you  put a rung on then the general chaos starts this is because the rug insulates the horse from the fence so unless the horse touched the fence with a part of it's body without a rug on it will not get the necessary shock to make it back off.

    The chest and neck areas of the Guardian Electric Fence rug panels built in are designed to act as a direct conduit for electricity between the fence and the horse. The current from the fence is instantly transferred to the inside panel where it is felt by the horse. The rugs and neck covers are made using specialist technical fabrics that simply pick up the pulse from the fence and carry it through to the rug1inside of the rug . This simply means the horse receives the same effect from touching the fence as they would if the horse was rug less.  The rugs are made using 100% fabric, so there is no wires or batteries at all – just very clever fabrics.

    The rugs look and feel exactly the same as a normal turnout rug – but with the incredibly useful benefit that they all work with electric fencing to prevent escapes.

    The entire outer layer of the neck cover will work with electric fencing, it does not matter if the horse puts his head underneath it or leans over the top, the neck cover will work instantly channelling the current through to the inside so the horse can feel the shock.

    The rugs have a special strap on the inside that is designed to always be in direct contact with the horse – so you can layer multiple rugs (any brand or style) underneath your electric fence rug and still guarantee 100% effect from your fence every time.rug2

    This range of turn-out rugs has the added benefit of Du Ponts Shield + Teflon coating so the rug resists water absorption and also dries up to 50% quicker than normal fabrics following heavy rain. The Teflon coating helps to protect the fabrics and provides a more durable and breathable rug. The application of Teflon also helps the fabric to resist dirt and grease, if you have your rugs washed annually you can revive the Teflon coating by asking your rug washer to refresh the dwr coating using either a Teflon, Nik wax or similar dwr application.

    Washing your Rug – All our rugs can be washed the same as any normal turnout rug – be sure to follow the 3 golden rules of washing a waterproof garment

    1. Always wash under 30c
    2. Always wash using a special turnout rug liquid or powder – normal household washing powders and liquids can severely damage or even completely remove the waterproof pu coating
    3. Always line dry your rugs – tumble drying can melt away the waterproof pu coating

    These guidelines apply to washing any waterproof product

  • Foxes look for food all year round.

    Through most months of the year foxes are looking for food and all the more reason to protect your poultry.
    Popular belief is that foxes only come out at night to hunt under the cover of darkness. They are nocturnal animals aren’t they? Well during winter time this is largely true, give or take a few hours at dawn and dusk. But during the summer months, with young cubs to feed and fewer hours of darkness, there is pressure on Mrs Fox to supply food for cubs to eat. More food means more hunting and during the long summer days there is little time for rest so we see more foxes out looking for food during the daytime.

    Fox Feeding

    As cubs grow, they have to start standing on their own four-legs and go in search of food for themselves, learning to hunt by instinct. This is usually during June and July
    Fox cubs can sometimes be seen playing with food together but this is all a ‘game’ rather than actual hunting. Very occasionally cubs can be seen hunting with the vixen but normally, they are solitary hunters, just like adult foxes which can form groups but are solitary hunters.
    Whilst it is possible to shoot foxes to protect chickens, invariably this simply creates a short term vacuum that is filled by another fox looking to create his own territory. Shooting the foxes that visits your field would only invite more to the party as they took up the new territory and potentially these foxes might find a way in to your run before learning not to go near the electric fence.

    Ultimate Tall Poultry Net

    Tall Poultry Net

    A fox that has touched an effective electric fence avoids it – so for me is a safe bet. Since they are territorial, there are few new foxes coming into the area to supplant the existing fox.
    When an electric fence or electric poultry net that is commonly used, a fox receives a shock which causes a muscle spasm that feels unpleasant and cannot kill him. Life goes on, but young cubs that haven’t learnt about the fence may try to get in for a snack and if the fence isn’t robust.

    If you think that gap under the fence is too small for a fox to squeeze through then watch out - they are amazingly capable of squeezing through the smallest gap

  • Cold Winter Weather - it can effect an Electric Fence.

    With the cold weather rapidly approaching consideration must be given to the effectiveness of your electric fencing.

    This may be effected in a few ways;-

    12v Battery systems. Cold weather has a serious effect on batteries that are left out in freezing weather. This is caused by the cold affecting the chemical processes. All normal batteries convert chemical energy to electrical energy to enable it to push electrons into the circuit and Frozen Batterymost of these chemical reactions happen faster and freer at warm temperatures (perhaps between 15c and 37c) so a cold battery won't deliver the current or life of a moderately warm battery. When an increase in temperature occurs the electrons are excited. A decrease in temperature inhibits electron flow. This is a natural reaction on electrons in most systems. Furthermore, the combination of a rapid temperature change and high humidity can cause condensation to form and a potential hazard for your battery and device for that matter.

    Cold enough and it won't work at all. The electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes these chemical reactions to proceed more slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries run down they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand.

    Retentive Capacity of a Cold Battery. Retentive Capacity of a Cold Battery.

    Temperature has a pronounced affect on battery life (Recharges and length of use). For every ten degrees of change in room temperature, Up to 50% of its' life is lost. So a battery with a life of a 100 charging cycles is reduced to 50. Usually a cold battery will be fine when thawed again, however a lead-acid or other wet-cell battery could rupture and be destroyed if frozen solid.

    Interesting that hot weather has a similar effect on a battery. The table above showing 25°C to be optimum.

    Snow Build up. Obviously if there is a build up of snow such that a conducting wire is engulfed in snow there will be a transfer of energy through the snow rendering the fence powerless.

    Plastic and cold weather. As the temperature drops so the pliability of plastics is reduced caused by the molecules being unable to slip past each other.

    A key factor in the molecules’ ability to slip and slide is temperature. Specifically, there is something called the “glass transition temperature” (Tg), which is the point below which an amorphous solid (such as glass, polymers, tire rubber, or cotton candy) goes from being ductile to brittle.

    Many plastics exhibit their transition at everyday temperatures, and can be “frozen” into brittleness. One example: polypropylene, an inexpensive material often used in fencing tapes has a Tg of between -20 and 0 degrees C, so it can easily lose its molecular mobility and become shatter-prone on a winter day.

    Wind. The above comments regarding brittleness are exacerbated if there is wind around. This is explained in this post on using Tape as a medium.

    Solar Powered Energisers. Under normal sunny conditions a solar panel will easily cope with maintaining a battery but the amount of available light varies hugely throughout the year. This post indicates the variability of available solar energy in winter is seriously depleted - on occasions down to nothing for extended periods . Batteries must be closely monitored if you have this system in place. In addition to the low output achieved in the winter period, battery output is severely affected by cold weather as outlined above. The electric current generated by a battery is produced when a connection is made between its positive and negative terminals. When the terminals are connected, a chemical reaction is initiated that generates electrons to supply the current of the battery. Lowering the temperature causes chemical reactions to proceed slowly, so if a battery is used at a low temperature then less current is produced than at a higher temperature. As the batteries run down they quickly reach the point where they cannot deliver enough current to keep up with the demand.

  • Elephant Bee Fencing - an alternative to Electric Fencing?

    Following on from the post regarding the Effectiveness of Electric Fencing in protecting crops, there are alternate initiatives to achieve the same effect - protect crops from wild animals.

    These are centred around the use of natural deterrents and include chilli plants and honey bees. It has been a long established knowledge that elephants are not enamoured by the presence of bees. Bear in mind these are not the tame European bee but the more aggressive African Bee (Apis mellifera). This is shown in the following clip. (Apologies for the beginning, this is a Youtube clip))

    Not only is the sound of bees sufficient to scare a herd of elephants off, the warning sound emitted by the elephants (the deep rumbles that are audible) may also be used to move them on as shown in this clip;-

    Unfortunately the elephants grew to realise there were no bees and the effectiveness deteriorated so a different strategy had to be developed.

    By having actual beehives in a line around the necessary area as shown in the image below and linked together by wires so that if an elephant made contact with the wire this would disturb a few hives and cause a reaction from the bees (don't forget African bees are far more volatile than European strains) This arrangement has worked well.

    bee_fence

    There are several problems with this concept;-

    • It is clearly not viable for extensive application and is only suited to small area protection.
    • Each beehive would have in the region of 25000 bees.
    • The bees themselves require food so if their food source over the year is limited then they tend to depart from the hives and seek better pastures.
    • The bees are only effective against a small range of animals that feed on crops, majority of the smaller animals, wild pig, baboons, monkeys and antelope, that also do severe damage are not controlled
    • Working in the fields can be occasionally fraught with danger. African bees are not the same as the tame European bee.

    There is definitely merit in the concept and has been used in India as well as Kenya with success but it does have limitations.

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