In this article, we will show you what you should look for when installing such a fence, which regulations must be observed and how to find the right fence for your sheep and goats.
Temporary or permanent fence?
Before you start with the concrete planning of your fence, the question arises whether it should be a permanent fence or whether in your case a temporary fence is the better alternative. Keep in mind that especially hobby animal owners usually need a building permit for permanently installed fences, while no special permit is usually required for farmers.
Not all fences are the same – Choosing the right material
Depending on your individual requirements, different materials can be used for the construction of your fence. Permanent solutions include barbed wire fences, knotted wire fences and electric fence nets, whereas temporary fences are almost exclusively electric fences.
Hands off the barbed wire fence!
Classic barbed wire fences are still common, but when building your fence you should rather use other animal-friendly materials. After all, building a barbed wire fence is not only time-consuming, but also poses a great risk of injury. Rather, opt for more modern options, such as a knotted fence.
Knotted fencing: Ideal fencing for sheep and goats
Especially for the keeping of sheep and goats, a knotted fence has several advantages:
Durability: provided you pay attention to good material quality when erecting your fence, the lifespan of such a fence can be up to 10 years. Additional protection: If the fence is high enough, other animals (e.g. dogs) cannot enter the enclosure from the outside.
A knot fence is therefore ideal for fencing sheep and goats. However, the costs here are significantly higher than, for example, an electric fence. It is therefore not without reason that this fence enjoys great popularity.
Safe and mobile: the electric fence
Electric fences are now available in many different versions – but the way they work is always the same: the electric fence device forms an electric circuit in conjunction with the fence wire. If an animal now touches the wire, it becomes part of this electric circuit, the current flows through the animal’s body, is conducted via the grounding system into the ground and finally flows back through the ground rods. This electric shock is painful on the one hand, but at the same time completely harmless. After a few, few, touches, the animal thus stays away from the fence.
Sheep or goats – the small but subtle difference
Also decisive for the purchase of the suitable electric fence, is the fact whether this is to serve the protection of goats or of sheep. While for sheep a fence with 4 wires is completely sufficient, goat owners should rather attach 5 wires. There are also differences in the height of the fence. This should be 90 cm for sheep and 105 cm for goats. In both cases, the lowest wire should be placed at a height of about 30 cm, otherwise young animals could slip under the fence.
Voltage and power of the electric fence
For particularly long pasture fences (500 meters or more) surrounded by dense grass growth, devices with more than one joule of power are recommended.
The same applies to terrain with particularly wet soils. Here, the use of a 5-joule device is recommended. Usually, the voltage of your electric fence should be around 2000 volts at any point. If your pasture is on extremely dry ground, the voltage can be increased to 4000-5000 volts, especially since sheep and goats are less sensitive to electrical voltage. Take regular (if not daily) measurements to make sure the circuit is working properly.
Better safe than sorry: grounding your electric fence
In order for electricity to flow widely, proper grounding of the fence is critical. The so-called ground rods play an important role in this. Their number and length depends, on the one hand, on the power of the device – and, on the other hand, on the condition of the ground:
Stony, sandy or gravelly soils are poor electrical conductors, clayey, loamy soils, on the other hand, are very conductive. In addition, moist soils also conduct electricity better than dry ones.
The higher the device power, the more earth rods are needed and the longer the rods must be. Thus, for a particularly conductive, moist soil, grounding should be done with 3 ground rods, each 1-2 meters long. These should be made of a rustproof, galvanized material and placed at a distance of 3 meters. You can test whether the grounding really works by deliberately causing a short circuit:
Lean iron posts against the fence at a distance of about 100 meters from the device. Now measure the voltage using a digital voltmeter. For this purpose, the measuring contact must be pressed onto the last earth rod. Ideally, the voltage should range from 0 to 200 volts. However, 200-600 volts is still acceptable. If the voltage exceeds 600 volts, the grounding must be optimized urgently!
As a keeper of goats and sheep, you are required by law to prevent your animals from causing personal injury or damage to property, which is why it is essential to build a fence that is safe and animal-friendly. In addition to knotted fences, modern electric fences have proven their worth. Barbed wire fences are not recommended because of the high risk of injury. If you decide to use an electric fence, it is extremely important to deal with the technical requirements such as the correct voltage and grounding in advance.
My name is Mark and the senior editor
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