How do I fence my horses safely? Which electric fence system is suitable for chickens & geese? How can I protect my animals from foxes and martens with an electric fence? How to fence pigs safely? This guide gives you valuable tips on the subject of the right electric fence for your animals, because: Every electric fence is different due to the requirements of the animal species and terrain, there is no such thing as “the one right fence”.
How exactly does an electric fence work?
The electric fence is an electrical circuit that is actually only applied to the fence until it is closed when touched by an animal standing on the ground, or vegetation growing out of the ground, causing a pulse of electricity:
- A pasture fence device delivers pulses of current through a feeder cable into the fence.
- When the fence is touched, the current flow goes through the animal, (human, or plant) into the earth.
- The grounding stakes conduct the current through the ground cable back to the electric fence unit.
- The circuit is closed and the animal gets a shock.
Which electric fence do I need for my animals?
Which is better? 9 volt battery fence, 12 volt battery fence or 230 volt fence with mains connection (socket), this question often arises during the selection process. If there is a power outlet nearby, a 230 volt device is recommended.
The strength of a pasture fence device should be chosen according to the requirements.
Decisive for the selection are: Fence length & conductor material, animal species, animal character & coat condition as well as vegetation & soil conditions. When buying, always pay attention to the discharge strength, also called pulse strength.
Tip for buying a device:
Sufficient herding safety is at 4000 V.
For small, delicate pets 2000 V is also sufficient
Gives information about the impulse strength. As a guideline you can remember: “the more Joule the more Jaul” Decisive for the “Jaul” is the discharge strength (impulse strength).
9 volt devices usually come with a small ground rod, all other devices require extra grounding stakes. The stronger the device, the more grounding is required.
Which fence stakes are right for me?
Again, there are several options for you. As a tip, when buying, pay attention to the height above ground, not the total height. Because all the posts are driven into the ground, a lot of height is already lost. The height of the individual posts/piles are determined by the type of animal and the character. So for a stallion fence or for jumping horses of 1,70m height you need higher fence posts than for small round fjord horses or quarterhorses. For jumping goats, higher posts are needed than for pregnant ewes, and for fencing out wild animals, fence heights of 70 cm above ground are already sufficient for wild boars, while for roe deer, 150 cm high pasture fence posts are certainly needed.
If you are building an outdoor fence for your facility, or a fixed fence (fence that stays on the same area for several years) for your animals, then sturdy wooden posts, the popular T posts or other fixed fence posts are the way to go.
For mobile grazing within a fixed outdoor enclosure or where the area is constantly changing, plastic pasture fence posts, fiberglass posts or spring steel posts are ideal.
However, for mobile grazing, you should place fixed posts especially in the corners, at the gates, and in between for long stretches to avoid sagging!
Which ladder material for which animals?
Basically, it’s your decision, but there are definitely recommendations, or no go’s. When buying conductor material you should pay attention to some things:
Resistance (ohms) – the longer the fence, the less resistance the conductor material should have. the rule is: less resistance = better conductivity
Number of conductors – More conductor wires in the fence tape, rope, or strand also means better conductivity.
Conductor type – There are stainless conductors (good & proven), aluminum conductors (better, but also more prone to breakage), copper conductors (very good conductivity).
Breaking load – the higher the breaking load is specified, the more stability the fence offers you.
Pasture fence tape is the most used conductor material on horse fences. But: pasture fence tape is also very susceptible to wind, pasture fence posts are placed at a small distance.
- 1cm pasture fence tape is suitable for small ponies, alpacas and cattle pastures. Also as a protection against browsing (inside fence row on wooden fences) or for the first grazing of young grazing animals (foals, calves, donkeys, etc.) is pasture fence tape a good choice, because electric fence inexperienced animals perceive the white tape better than rope or wire.
- 2cm pasture fence tape is suitable for larger ponies or horses, if the paddock is located quite windy and the fence row distances are quite close together due to the size of the ponies. Other areas of use: Cattle pastures, alpacas and donkeys.
- 4cm pasture fence wide tape, the classic in horse pastures, as it is highly visible and also provides a visual barrier. Pasture fence tape always requires appropriate tape insulators.
Pasture fence rope
popularly called 6mm round strand or cord, can be well used for both ponies, horses, cattle, bulls, robust animals. Pasture fence rope is sturdy, stable, and also very insensitive to wind. Pasture fence rope can be attached to many insulators easily and quickly, and the fence posts can be spaced a little further apart than tape.
3mm fence strand
is suitable for sheep, goats, mobile cattle pastures, to fence off wild boars, wolves (please seek advice beforehand!) and other small animals such as badgers, foxes, martens, etc. Also for fencing of pigs strand is conditionally suitable – because pigs must always have two fences. So if you have a solid outer fence for your pigs, you are welcome to use an inner electric fence with stranded wire.
the classic at fixed cattle pastures, at conservation pastures, as an outer fence for pigs or also currentless at hiking trails. Who builds a wire fence, should inform himself beforehand, because wire fence construction is hard work and needs special tools and know how. But a wire fence is also extremely long-lasting and very stable. Wire is available in the thicknesses 1.6 – 3mm and as steel wire or aluminum wire.
The classic in the hobby sheep farming and poultry farmers. Electronic nets are available in different heights (from 65 – 145cm) and designs:
Sheep nets: mostly 90cm high to 108cm high, these are simple herding nets for sheep. Then there are sheep nets with smaller meshes in the lower part, these are ideal if you have lambs with you. Special wolf protection nets give security, are then usually 120cm high and specially equipped. We recommend to ask for information in advance.
Poultry nets are usually 112cm high and narrower at the bottom in the meshes, so predators such as fox or marten do not get in, and chicks do not get out through the nets.
Game nets, wolf nets are specially tuned electronic nets to keep out wild boars or even wolves.
Please note for the welfare of your animals:
Electron nets are not intended for herding horses, nor should electron nets be used on sheep or goats with horns, there is danger from entanglement in the mesh.
Barbed wire on an electric fence is absolutely unsuitable and must not be used.
What is the right fence height for my animals?
The correct fence height is determined by the type of animal, the size of the animal, and the character. For example, a jumper or stallion pasture will certainly need a higher fence than a western horse, or a small, cozy fjord horse. Bulls should be fenced higher than heifers, and goats are definitely jumpier than fat ewes. That’s why we’re just giving you guidelines here – Patura has created some very nice graphics for this:
General tips, equipment checklist & sources of error on the electric pasture fence.
An electric fence does not necessarily have to be closed, it may also be a straight section, because the circuit is closed only when the fence is touched.
The connection of the electric fence with the fence supply cable can be made anywhere in the fence, it does not have to be at the beginning or end of the fence.
Same current strength for different animals, not always the strength is everything
“Chicken” are small and delicate, but have poor conductivity due to a lot of horn in the feathers and legs, horn conducts poorly.
sheep remain well-behaved in the enclosure, nevertheless: wool is also a bad conductor, therefore for safe containment may be used gladly exactly as much current strength as against the wolf.
To fence in chickens, or other poultry & small animals with up to 5 rows of stranded wire is complicated (to open 5 gate handles at a distance of 15cm from each other is an art in itself!), here an electronic net offers itself.
Equipment check, is my electric fence really defective?
230 V electric fence device: Disconnect the device (switched off!) from fence and ground cable and switch it on again. If the device clocks and flashes, it is intact.
12 V device & 9 V device: Same procedure as for the 230 V device, please also replace the battery and accumulator if necessary, because the cause is usually to be found here, because they are empty.
If the devices do not cycle during this test and if there is a slight rattling when moving the device, there is a defect.
the electric fence clocks, but there is no current at the fence: please check the device incl. the two connecting cables – but without the fence – for voltage with the fence tester. If there is current at the lower cable ends, these two cables are also OK. If there is no current, please replace fence and ground cable.
Pasture fence clocks, the connection cables are also intact – but no current at the fence: Please check the grounding (sink the grounding posts completely into the ground, remove the vegetation from the entire fence, check insulators for breakdown (very good to recognize by: cracking at the posts, blue small flashes), check the conductor material (burned through by knots, torn metal wires, totally mossy and splintery, replace if necessary). This way you can enjoy a really good and, above all, herd-proof pasture fence for a long time.
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