Training an Animal to Respect an Electric Fence.

Electric Fencing is frequently an alien concept to many targets and so the controlled training of the  stock may save considerable time and angst when it comes to actually putting them into a field with an Electric Fence boundary.

English and Finish results show that wild animals with adequate harbourage are very quickly trained and learn to avoid the fence after just one exposure with minimal shocks after the first day. Trials at Forvie Nature Reserve, Scotland showed that even after a week of the fence being switched off the target foxes still respected it.

Domestic stock seem to learn to avoid a fence after just one hour but do seem to be able to detect when the fence is off so they continue to test the fence, possibly due to the normal confined nature of their environment.

Training Domestic Livestock.

  • Personally the best method is to release the animals away from the fence in the center of the field and allow them to gently investigate their surrounds so come into contact with the fence. Once a few have been shocked you will see the rest will keep away.
  • Feed may be left out underneath the fence so attracting the animal to the fence but a domestic animal may then associate the feed to the shock which is detrimental as well.
  • I don't recommend deliberately backing a horse into the fence - that is just cruel.
  • If there is an individual who is a habitual Houdini, it may be necessary to bait the fence using Bait Caps on the fence. A suitable bait is employed and this draws the animal onto the fence and generally use his nose and tongue to investigate the attraction. The large number of nerve endings in these organs are severely stimulated by the shock and the animal rarely returns for a second dose.

Training Wildlife.

  • With the vast majority of wildlife there is no need to train them as their natural inclination is to shy away from situations they are not accustomed to and tend to investigate any new obstruction with their noses so get a shock to remember. They typically emit a warning that causes the whole herd to retreat from the danger. This stimulates the Socially Conditioned Avoidance syndrome typical of all herd type animals. The animal will show no ill effects of the shock at all.
  • Some do have the behavioral instinct where they do not investigate a fence but simply walk up to it and jump over, this is normally the domain of high jumping antelope such as impala, springbok and deer. The construction of the fence may be altered or the use of Bait Caps is recommended particularly for the first few weeks of it's installation. 
  • The animals are attracted to this bait by their appearance or smell and are lured into sniffing the fence with their sensitive noses getting an effective sting from the fence. This then creates the psychological barrier in the animal's brain. This shock is a very strong stimulus and deer learn to avoid the fenced area creating a barrier that they are unable to see and consequently do not know how high it goes.
  • The bait should be removed after a week or two. Baiting may be necessary again if another herd comes into the area or they begin to test the fence again after the fence has been off for a while.

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1 comment

  • This definately worked on a horse that has given me trouble for years getting through fences. Initially he alse went through a newly erected EF. Tried the bait using molasses and watched him sniff the first time. He got a severe shock and flicked this tongue out several times. He did try again on another section of the fence but has now remained in the fence. Good, solid advice.

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