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An electric fence is based on a strong psychological barrier coupled with a weak physical barrier that keeps wildlife or farm animals in and unwanted animals and vermin.
Despite the successes achieved around the world, electric fencing still has its detractors. Most people swear by it there are still a few who do not believe it works effectively. The reason for this is simple. Those who understand and apply the basic principles of electric fencing when constructing their electric fences will reap the benefits of electric fencing, while those who do not apply these principles will never get their fence to work effectively.
There is nothing new about using electricity to control animals. For over seventy years farmers have been using electric fences to control their livestock in Europe and New Zealand whilst in Africa it has been utilised to protect arable land from being damaged by African wildlife.
The mechanical “tick-tock” high internal impedance type energisers used back then were however unable to overcome much competition from vegetation and thus could only power relatively short lengths of fence line. The technological advancements in solid state electronics during the 1970’s resulted in the development of the modern low internal impedance high powered energisers in use today. These modern energisers are capable of powering many kilometres of multi strand electric fencing and the electric fence has now become a truly effective management tool that is being used successfully around the world to control all species of wildlife. Today very few conservation organisations do not incorporate electric fencing in their wildlife management programs.
Finally, while economics will obviously be an important consideration when planning any electric fencing project, guard against being too thrifty and of basing major decisions on price considerations alone. A wimpy energiser will result in a wimpy fence.
ADVANTAGES OF ELECTRIC FENCING
Electric fencing offers the following benefits:
- 1. Low cost - An electric fence can perform the same task as a conventional fence using much less material. Depending on the length of the fence where the cost of the energiser may be spread over, this type of fencing generally proves to be cheaper than standard stock fencing.
- 2. Easy to build - Lower wire tension and generally lighter construction make much quicker and easier construction, especially in difficult terrain. No special ability is required making it suitable for DIY. No specialist knowledge is required and an electrician is not necessary. As long as a few simple rules are followed an effective fence may be erected by the householder.
- 3. Durability - Electric fences are not subjected to the same physical pressure from animals, and can therefore be expected to have a greatly extended service life. The life of old stock fences can be considerably extended using an electric fencing outrigger.
- 4. Universal application - Experience world wide has shown that electric fencing will contain all types of animals. This includes Elephants, bears, walrus, hippo and even snails. Educated stock develop greater respect for electric fencing than for any other type of fence.
- 5. Flexibility - There is no quicker or easier way to effectively subdivide a paddock for controlled grazing than with an electric fence. Fences are frequently moved on a daily or even hourly basis with high density grazing or on dairy farms.
- 6. Low maintenance - Once your fence is properly installed and your stock are trained, the maintenance requirements of electric fencing are little different from conventional fences. A daily check on the voltage will highlight any problems with a periodic inspection of vegetation approaching the fence lines.
- 7. Less stock damage - The electric shock from your electric fence causes no physical damage to hides and pelts. If your stock is forced through the fence by veld fires or dogs, they are at less risk than with a conventional barbed wire stock fence tearing the hide to shreds incurring vet bills.