Electric Fencing Articles and Information.

  • Electric Fencing is effective at protecting farmland.

    The Effectiveness of Electric Fencing is highlighted by this article posted in Kuensel, a Bhutan based newspaper.

    "In the past two years, the country lost more than 754 truckloads of crops to wildlife, latest agriculture ministry records show. This means, each month, wildlife ravaged at least 31 truckloads of crops over the last 24 months.

    Of that, more than 172 truckloads were paddy, 107 were potato and 20 were vegetables, among others considering a truck carries 10 metric tonnes (MT).

    Department of Agriculture’s records from July 2013 to June 2015 show wild animals ravaged 8,058 acres of fields across the country causing a crop loss of 7,542MT, of which 1,725MT was paddy.

    Agriculture officials said electric fencing has been the only effective measure to protect the crops.

    A National Plant Protection Centre (NPPC) official said the electric fencing has been effective to keep away mainly wild boars, deer, and other small wild animals.

    Applications for the equipment have come from Trashigang, Trongsa, Sarpang, Samtse, and Trashiyangtse.

    NPPC’s senior plant protection officer Sangay Dorji said, “This year alone we have tendered out procurement of more than 600 energisers worth Nu 4.5 million.”

    “There could be more requests with the dzongkhag agriculture officials,” he said.

    The energisers would be distributed based on costs sharing basis at nominal rates.

    Agriculture department’s director general Nim Dorji recently proposed the government to mainstream electric fencing system into the local development plan as a priority activity.

    Since its legalisation in 2013, almost all gewogs have installed electric fencing, officials said. Officials said a total of 362km of electric fencing have been installed since then which protected 6,472 acres of agriculture land benefiting 3,015 households.

    A kilometre of electric fencing costs a minimum of Nu 35,000 with Nu 35 to Nu 50 as annual electricity bill.  An energiser, the main component that reduces power voltage to a safe limit with a fluctuating charge every 2.5 or 1.5 seconds, has to be used. The energiser that costs about Nu 7,000 can supply current on four strands of wire up to a kilometre.  Except for the energiser, the rest of the technology is home made.

    An official said the intention is to create a psychological barrier and not to kill wild animals.

    The forest and park services department has installed 154.04 km of electric fencing at a cost of Nu 17.913M as new activity with funds mobilised though the International Development Agency and the World Bank.

    Average landholding of the farmers in the country is 3.4 acres as of 2013. Only about eight percent of the country’s total land is fit for cultivation.

    Thus, agriculture officials said it was imperative to establish effective measures for human wildlife conflict. The agriculture ministry would establish 1,000km of electric fencing within this year.

    According to RNR statistics 2015, average production of paddy maize were over 76,621MT and 74,370MT annually with an average yield of 1,524kg and 1,224kg an acre respectively. The annual average potato production was 46,695MT with an average yield of 3,595kg an acre.

    Sangay Dorji said this fiscal year the NPPC would study how effective the electric fencing system has been since its establishment.

    “It’s important to learn how effective it is and also its problems to improve them,” he said.

    The challenges with some of the fence, he said, have been their maintenance.

    “A certain clearance is needed outside the fence but in some cases the bushes touch the fence and the circuit is broken letting in animals,” he said.

    Human wildlife conflict endowment fund with the forestry department has reached a total collection of Nu 5.5M, and Nu 2.5M was released to form 5 GECC groups. Another 17 GECC groups are in progress with funding from projects outside the endowment fund.

    Another record with the Policy and Planning Division of the ministry shows a total of 419km of electric fencing established between 2011 and June 2015 by the agriculture and forest departments benefiting 5,869 households.

    Meanwhile, the department has formed a technical committee to study and report on food self suffice and food security status.  The study assesses the self-sufficiency scenario based on the calorie requirement and the contribution from domestic production of each commodity.

    Kuensel Online.

  • Keeping Grass away from the Electric Netting.

    Electric Poultry Netting is a very effective tool in the free range poultry field and is a highly versatile and portable solution to the problem of protecting poultry from predators (foxes, mink or dogs). Many trials have proved the effectiveness and countless people are now using some form of electric fencing to protect their poultry.

    Netting is very easy to erect but, like every handy tool there is always one headache that does continually rear its head - grass growth. Netting is habitually placed over grass and as this grows, as all grass will grow, the green grass touches the electric filaments within the net and each blade that touches the fence will draw off a bit of energy and so if there are sufficient the fence will be totally compromised and ineffective.

    How to Keep Grass off the Netting

    1/. Lift or move the netting and cut the grass short either with a mower or a strimmer.  This is reasonably effective but will be a constant and regular operation. Care must be taken not to cut the net lines as the operation is carried out.

    2/. Spray the grass with a desiccant herbicide that will kill the grass and prevent it growing. These are obtainable and normally based on Glyphosate mixed with Dicamba. These are effective but normally require a couple of sprays in the year. Many people do not like using chemicals on their fields and lawns. Leaves an ugly brown strip that takes time to re-grow when the netting is moved.

    3/. Place a strip of builders damp course under the net. This prevents the grass from growing up into the net and insulates the net from the ground if a wire sags onto the damp proofing. The edges may still need to be strimmed to keep long grass away but the operation is much easier and the net does not have to be moved to complete the operation.

    Damp Course under a Net.

    There is a misconception that the electric current will "burn" off encroaching grass and prevent them touching. This is not correct. The vast majority of energisers now manufactured are of the low impedance variety so do not create a spark when shorted out so the grass is not burned off.

  • "Electric Fence" Kills an Elephant.

    One of the major concerns 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 there are numerous incidences, particularly in India, where animals and humans have been killed or injured by "Electric Fences" that have been connected directly to a mains supply.

    This is invariably by a poor farmer who has seen the effectiveness of electric fencing and his meagre crops are being ruined by animals. He then looks at ways to protect himself and his crops so settles on an "Electric Fence" little realising that there is a big difference between what he does and what is supplied by Agrisellex.

    "COIMBATORE: A 20-year-old Makna elephant was electrocuted at Palapalli in Bitharkadu forest range in Pandalur taluk in Nilgiris district on Sunday. Krishnadass and Chandran had cultivated banana, ginger and arcea on about three acres. They were irritated as an elephant had damaged the crops for the last two days. They arranged for electricity to pass through the fence illegally. The elephant approached the grove on Sunday morning and died on the spot after coming into contact with the fence.

    Veterinarian Vijayragahavan performed the post-mortem of the animal in the presence of Bitharkadu Forest Range Officer Somasundaram at 9 am. The grove is located 100 metres from Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR). Forest official officials booked the duo under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1971. However, they fled from the spot. This is the second instance of an elephant getting electrocuted in Bitharkadu forest range in the last two months. Wildlife activists have condemned the farmers for this.

    Death of wild elephants due to electrocution in The Nilgiris district has become a cause of concern. N Sadiq Ali, founder, Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT) said, officials of the forest department, wildlife crime control bureau (WCB) and their members will launch an awareness programme to control such incidents in the villages in The Nilgiris district under the Panchayat Raj Scheme soon."

  • Does Electric Fencing Cause Stress in your Horse.

    I am often asked if horses are put under stress when they are in an electrified fence irrespective if they show no outward signs of stress. I was pleased to come across this scientific study from a Swiss University evaluating the stress levels of horses under the sort of situations they encounter.

    "Most horses respect electric fences, but can they be a source of stress in their lives?

    Swiss researchers have found no evidence of any stress response in horses as a result of being contained within electric fencing. It did not matter whether the enclosed area was large or small, with the smaller of the two areas assessed being no bigger than a conventional stable.Temporary electric fencing is increasingly used at some events to contain horses, providing them the opportunity to move and eat some grass.

    Rupert Bruckmaier and his colleagues from the University of Bern said some concern existed that electric fencing systems could potentially affect horse behaviour, cause chronic stress and reduce the accessible space in a pasture.

    They set out to measure stress responses in 20 horses kept in four different outdoor enclosures on pasture. They used two different-sized areas, with either wooden fencing or electric fencing.The smaller of the two sizes was 12.25 square metres – the size of a modest stable – and the larger enclosure was nearly three times that size, at 36 square metres.The researchers recorded the horses on video to later check for behavioural signs indicating stress, and determine whether there were any differences in pasture use between wooden fencing and electric fencing.The horses, aged between 6 and 18, were put through the four enclosures, with each getting 90 minutes in each one.

    Periodic measurements of the animals’ heart rate and heart-rate variability were taken, and samples of saliva were also taken for cortisol analysis – all of which paint a picture of the stress response in the animals.“The total amount of stress-indicating behaviour did not differ between the two fence types,”

    Salivary cortisol and heart-rate variability did not differ between the paddocks.Horses used the available area significantly less in the electrically fenced enclosures, and also in the smaller of the wooden-fenced areas.The border area – 50 centimetres – was used less both in electrically fenced and small paddocks.Horses moved less in the small and electrically fenced paddocks than in big and wooden-fenced ones. Horses rolled less in small paddocks.

    Some stress-indicating behaviour tended to be more prominent in the small fenced areas, the research team noted, but they continued:
    “Based on the measured physiological parameters, there is no indication for stress in electrically fenced paddocks.”

  • Frequently Asked Questions.

    Is Electric Fencing Safe for my Horses?Why is electric fence better than other types of horse fences?
    What's the best way to fence aggressive horses or stallions?
    How do I prevent "cribbing" or Wind Sucking?
    Is electric fence safe for my pets?
    A reason for shorting?
    Crocodile clips give a good connection?
    When is the best time to check the power in your fence?
    Pigs and electric fencing?
    Where to put your earth stake?
    What is an electric fence system made up of and how does it work?
    How do I start building my electric fence?
    How do I choose the most suitable electric fence energiser?
    What is the most common installation error with electric fencing?
    My climate and soil make it difficult for me to install a good earthing system. What alternatives do I have?
    What are the advantages of electric fence over conventional barrier fence?
    If I use barbed wire, can I electrify it?
    How do I use electric fence to contain bulls?
    How does an electric fence work with rotational and strip grazing?
    Can I electrify an existing wood, vinyl or chain link fence?

    Is electric fencing safe for my horses?

    The short sharp shock your horse receives from an electric fence will not injure it, but will teach it to respect and avoid the fence. Very roughly, the shock produced by a small energiser is similar to a sharp whack by a riding crop. Traditional fencing is more apt to injure horses when they get scared or spooked and attempt to push through or jump over it. A properly installed electric fence system is the safest, most visible method to keep your horses contained.
    For a more detailed article on the Safety Of Electric Fencing.

    Why is electric fence better than other types of horse fences?

    Electric fencing is the most cost effective and efficient method of containing horses while safeguarding them from injury. Barbed wire, woven-wire, and wooden fences can injure a "spooked" horse that attempts to run through or jump over them. Injuries a horse will sustain if it gets tangled in barbed wire may be fatal.
    Electric fencing is lower cost, easier to install, requires less maintenance and controls horses more effectively than traditional fencing.

    What's the best way to fence aggressive horses or stallions?

    If normally kept segregated for breeding purposes, stallions or other aggressive horses may become highly motivated to escape confinement, especially when nearby mares are in heat.
    To contain aggressive horses, maintain 5,000 - 6,000 volts to the end of the fence line. Three or four strands of fence wire are best. The more aggressive the horse, the higher the shock must be to discourage them. Often baiting the fence with treacle or syrup will keep even the most determined stallion in a fence.

    How do I prevent "cribbing" or Wind Sucking?

    An electrified wire can easily be added wire to an existing fence. This option can prevent "cribbing" or chewing the tops of wood fences, as well as keep horses from jumping, or prevent animal pressure on the fence. It is critical that the hot electrical wire does not touch the wooden fence. A range of insulators is available to allow an electrified wire to be erected on the top or interior of the fence. Offset type insulators will put the fence wire away from the existing fence, preventing animals from pressing against it.

    Is electric fence safe for my pets?

    The short, sharp shock your pet receives from an electric fence will get their attention, but not harm the animal. This will teach it to avoid the fence in the future and stay within the boundary. For a more detailed article on the Safety Of Electric Fencing.

    A reason for shorting?

    The short live and earth cables that go from the energiser to the main fence wire and earth rod will crack over a period of time.  If it rains the water will enter the cracks and the system may well short.
    When it is wet a slack fencing line, be it rope, tape, wire or polywire could become very close to an earthing point (a wooden post or tree or grass).  The electric pulse will try to jump the gap and hey presto the system will not be working correctly.  Just walk around and listen for the crack noise and check where it is coming from.

    Crocodile clips give a good connection?

    Crocodile clips tend to cut into plastic tape and rope reducing their effectiveness. Crocodile clips when out in the elements can go rusty over time.  Check them at the beginning of the year and replace them if needs be.  Nothing beats a good connection.  A few pounds spend will make all the difference to the effectiveness of your fence.

    When is the best time to check the power in your fence?

    You may not like it but the best time to check an electric fence is when it is raining.  For example you may have had a permanent fence system up for 4 or 5 years and one insulator may have cracked. The water will fill the crack and create a path for the electric current to reach the wood post and so go to earth.  There will be no noise when the sun is shining but when it is raining the water will enter the crack and touch the screw thread and this will short the fence out through the wooden post. Just walk around your fence and listen for the spark to crack.

    Pigs and electric fencing?

    Pigs tend to charge forward when they get a shock from electric fencing when applied behind the head. Always target the nose height of the pigs when positioning the wires and ensure that your fence is sufficiently tensioned - use in-line tensioners within your system or corner pulley/egg insulators at corners. Pigs are pretty easy as they are inquisitive, have a tender nose and have little natural insulation. Many free range pig farmers successfully utilise Electric Fencing.

    Where to put your earth stake?

    Never put an earth stake near a building where there could be a municipal earthing system. Make sure your earth stake is in moist ground and at least three quarters of the earth stake is in the ground.The earth stake is an integral part of your electric fencing system and without it your fence will not work properly.

    What is an electric fence system made up of and how does it work?

    An electric fence system comprises of 3 main items: an energiser, wire/rope/tape or electric netting and power supply (either mains or battery). You will usually also have posts (to support the wire/rope/tape/netting), an earth stake (to complete the circuit) and, depending on your specifications, some insulators (to ensure good conductivity), and warning signs.The power supply (mains or battery) powers the energiser which in turn sends an electrical pulse down the wire/rope/tape/netting. When an animal touches the fence it receives a short sharp shock as it creates an earth and completes the circuit.
    For more information please go to What is Electric Fencing?

    How do I start building my electric fence?

    Electric Fencing is ideally suited to a DIY installation. Very much easier than standard stock fencing. Follow this simple Installation guide and you cannot go wrong. Service the fence regularly by checking the voltages on the fence and earth and clearing vegetation growth.

    How do I choose the most suitable electric fence energiser?

    The energiser you choose depends on many variables, including the type of animal being controlled, the length of the fence, its location, and even the climate (wet climates can drain energy from the fence and dry climates can cause earthing problems). In general, choose a higher powered energiser than you think you need to handle unexpected challenges such as vegetation and to allow for possible future expansion of your fence. This article Choosing an Energiser will give far more detail. Common Mistakes people erecting Electric Fences Make.

    What is the most common installation error with electric fencing?

    Ineffective earth systems account for 95 percent of all electric-fencing problems. When using portable fences, use the correct earth stake as recommended. In dry, rocky or sandy soil conditions more than one may be necessary. When using mains energisers in a fixed position, use at least 2, metre long galvanized earth stakes. Make sure to use bolts to attach the earth wire and tighten firmly. The drier the soil, the more extensive the earth system needs to be. Always check the earth immediately following installation and at periodic intervals, particularly in summer. If excessive voltage readings are found, add more earth stakes at 2 metre spacing until the voltage is within tolerance levels. Common Mistakes people erecting Electric Fences Make.

    My climate and soil make it difficult for me to install a good earthing system. What alternatives do I have?

    In sandy or rocky soils, in extremely arid climates, or where the ground is frozen for much of the year, the standard earth system may not prove adequate. In these situations it may be necessary to wire the fence with alternative wires being live / earth. Such a fence will then no longer be dependent on moist soil conditions. When an animal touches the live and earth wires simultaneously, the current will travel back to the energiser's earth system, completing the circuit and delivering a shock. Improve your Fence and make it more effective.

    What are the advantages of electric fence over conventional barrier fence?

    Electric fencing costs less, is easier to install, requires less maintenance and can control livestock better than barbed wire or many other types of fencing. In addition, livestock are frequently injured by barbed wire and will damage woven-wire fences by leaning on the fence.
    Because livestock avoid contact with an electric fence, it will last longer than other types of fence. Barbed wire or woven-wire fences may only last 7 - 12 years, while permanent, high tensile, electric fences can last 20 plus years.

    If I use barbed wire, can I electrify it?

    Barbed wire is designed as a physical barrier, using barbs to deter animals. Because of the barbs, there is a greater chance the animal can become entangled in the wire. Electrified barbed wire could cause even more damage to the animal therefore barbed wire should never be electrified.

    How do I use electric fence to contain bulls?

    If normally kept segregated for breeding purposes, bulls or other aggressive livestock may become highly motivated to escape confinement, especially when nearby cows are in heat.
    To contain bulls, maintain 6,000 volts on the fence line and a minimum of 1.5 joules of stored energy. Four wires are best. For more aggressive animals, you want the electrified fence to deliver a more intense shock to discourage them from going near the fence again so higher joules would be desirable on long fences.

    How does an electric fence work with rotational and strip grazing?

    Electric fencing is an excellent solution for containing animals on a short-term or temporary basis, as in rotational or strip grazing. The lightweight mobility of portable electric fencing is ideal for frequently moving livestock to different sections of pasture. Fences may be erected or removed in minutes. There are also systems where a fence may be simply rolled along.

    Can I electrify an existing wood, vinyl or chain link fence?

    You can easily add an electrified wire to an existing chain link or wood fence. This is a simple, low cost way to "fox-proof" an existing fence. Insulators are available in a variety of styles that give the flexibility of putting an electrified wire at the outside top of the fence (to keep foxes, dogs, cats, and other animals from climbing or jumping over) or at the outside bottom to prevent foxes from digging underneath.

  • Oldest working Electric Fence Energiser

    There are often queries as to how long an energiser will last for and it is difficult to give a quantitative response. I know of energisers being active well in excess of 10 years but it does depend on how the energiser is housed and if it is worked to its capacity limits. All our energisers have a minimum 3 year warranty and many in excess of that.

    Horizont recently ran an advertised competition to find their oldest working, functioning energiser and a model manufactured in 1955 was found still working on a dairy farm outside Soest, Dortmund. This was closely followed by one manufactured in 1957 and another in 1958. All electric fence energisers were still working.

    This then will give you some idea on the possible life of an energiser.



21-30 of 116