An electric fence can be tricky to set up, but, if you’re a practical person, the right materials and some know-how can go a long way to getting yourself sorted. To a novice, the various elements that go to make up an electric fencing system can be a little confusing, which are most suited to what type of project, so use our handy guide to help you get a grip of insulators, energisers, wire, and everything else you may need.
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Check the regulations
There are laws regulating electric fencing, and they vary across the UK. Make sure to check what regulations you need to adhere to so you can avoid the threat of prosecution, a possible fine.
Think about its purpose
Before you start deliberating on wire vs tape, or what energiser to buy, consider why you need an electric fence in the first place. Is it to keep livestock in? Control an area for grazing? Or deter predators? What size of livestock are you containing? Will the system remain in one place or will need to be easily portable?
Consider all these aspects prior to looking at what materials you will need when constructing your electric fence.
Wire, Rope, or Tape?
Which of wire, rope, or tape will be the best option for you? There are pros and cons to all so take your time making the right decision.
Wire is the thinnest option and therefore less visible, making it ideal for slower-moving livestock like pigs, cows, and sheep, rather than horses for which tape is a better option.
It’s also the most adaptable: it can be temporary or permanent, running to any shape desired and easily adaptable to different energisers. Wire comes in a range of options so if you go with wire, you also need to ensure you select the right high-tensile wire to the correct thickness (usually a minimum of 2.5mm).
Alternatively, tape is wide and more visible to animals so they will learn not to go near it, which is useful for containing larger animals, but also to discourage predators. Electric tape is a more permanent solution, but it can sag, over time in wet or windy weather conditions due to its additional weight. However, this issue can be offset with fence posts planted closer together, although this will come at additional expense and more labour.
Finally, there is rope. Often seen as the compromise option between wire and tape as it is relatively visible but also versatile and can be fixed to wooden posts or added to existing fences for ease and comes in a variety of options for width and voltage.
There are many options when it comes to energisers for your electric fencing and a number of factors will determine what size energiser is needed, including the length of the fence line and resistance from plants and other undergrowth.
There are also different methods of powering energisers. Those that are battery-operated are very portable however, it is important to check, re-charge and/or replace batteries regularly. Mains powered energisers for projects near power output, and solar-powered energisers for more remote areas with no ready power source and that require less maintenance
Any energiser needs to be big enough to cope with seasonal demand to ensure that the power in the line doesn’t drop below the correct operating level. You also need to ensure the power can be maintained with no dips. If the energiser you select is not powerful enough, or if it comes up against resistance, there is a danger that the fence’s effectiveness will be greatly reduced.
Insulators may seem relatively insignificant in terms of the overall construction, but they are an essential factor that should not be overlooked. You need to make room for the size of insulator you select on your posts. Taking into consideration changes of direction in your fence, since corner insulators will be bigger but provide more tension along the fence line.
Perhaps the greatest vital presentation eye of any electronic fence scheme is the earthing – if a barrier is not properly earthed it will be abundant less real. Animals become an electronic tremor when electrons complete a circuit, itinerant from the energizer, lengthways the ropes and finished the creature’s body. Persons electrons then pass finished the soil to the earthing scheme and spinal up to the energizer.
The scheme won’t work correctly if you do not have correct earthing in place. Earthing should not be attached to part of a steel barn or shed as this incomes that the electrons will fight to find their way spinal to the fence and this is also when you can get lost power in structures about the mains component. Think distressing cows in your milking shed!
For best results the earth should be 10-12 metres away from a structure, and the gage of the soil field be contingent on the scope of the energizers. Some bigger energisers might need up to 10 earthing bars and these necessity be ruined at amid 1.5-2m in the crushed and be set a least of 3m separately.
It’s also your legal duty to provide clear, fair warning of your electric fence for the general public and those it might affect such as ramblers. You will need to check local legal guidelines about what appropriate signage you should install to avoid undue harm or unpleasant incidents.
With all the above aspects properly handled you now have the material knowledge and the know-how to set up your own electric fence and keep your livestock safe and controlled.