February 13, 2014

How To Install a Grounding System for an Electric Fence

Setting up a grounding system is the easiest part of your fence set up. If you have a small fence and a two foot ground rod you can just stick it into the ground with your hands. It should be near the fence and near the charger if possible.


If you have a more sizable fence and a full-length six-foot ground rod you will need to hammer into the ground. Try to put it in an area which is centralized so that the charge needn’t travel a long distance under the ground to reach it. If you are concerned that your ground may be too dry, sandy, frozen, or made of asphalt or any other grounding issue please see the video titled Additional Grounding for more sophisticated grounding options.

For now we will assume that your soil is moist and can carry a good charge. So now that your ground rod is fully into the ground cut a length of wire long enough to reach from the ground rod to the charger. This wire can be bare metal, insulated or even polywire.

The small ground rod has two attachment nuts which pinch the wire. The larger rods require a clamp in order to get solid a connection. It’s very important that the wire is held tightly. Once it is snug connect the other end to the negative terminal on the charger and securely clamp it down. Your grounding system is now in place and you may move on to connecting up your electric fence.

February 05, 2014

Shocking tactics! Confessions of an electric fence virgin

We have some areas of our property with severe erosion damage that we are trying to repair. This means that the cattle need to stay out as they just do more damage, however we don't want to be building massive fences, particularly when it may only be a temporary need. The solution is electric fencing.

fencing off our drain area and hoping something will grow
Now that we have the gear and fence set up, I can't believe we didn't do it before, its so easy! It can be a little expensive, but so are permanent fences, so you just have to weigh up the benefits and if you want something that's quick to set up and easy to remove later, this is the way to go.

Firstly, we were given a small energiser (father-in-law bought it at a garage sale, amazing what he finds sometimes!), and a small roll of tape. We bought a new car battery and some electric fence stakes. We plugged it all in and dared each other to touch the tape......but there were so many knots in the tape it didn't produce a decent jolt, more like a small tap on the shoulder. Start again.....we bought a big roll of heavy duty tape and some steel picket attachments to make better corners, and an electric fence tester (no more touching the fence!).

the special electric fence stakes

battery and energiser

special steel post attachments for the corner posts,
the electric fence stakes are a bit bendy
We set it all up again. Turned it on, tested it, close to maximum, perfect. Let the cattle into the paddock and waited, wondering who would be first to touch the fence. It was Molly the calf, and it took a little while to zap her, because its only ticking everyone couple of seconds, but she felt it when it hit her! And the rest of them must have done the same when we weren't watching because we have had no trouble with them pushing through the fence, which happens to be a shortcut between two favourite areas to stand (the food dishes and the house yard gate).

The reason I was a bit scared of electric fences before is they seem so "technical", I thought I wouldn't know how to hook them up properly and they would require frequent checking, but lets face it, I can make the laptop talk to the printer on the wireless network (thank you, I'm quite proud of that), so surely I can make an electric fence work. As far as I could see from a brief internet search (good explanation here), the main thing is to connect one battery terminal to the fence and the other to the earth. The better your connections, the stronger the shock. The earth terminal is attached to a metal rod which is pushed into the ground, the area around the rod must be damp as its the earth that completes the circuit when the animal touches the fence, so damp earth will conduct the electric charge better than dry earth. The amount of shock the animal gets will depends on the length of the fence too. Once the animals are used to seeing electric fences you can increase the distance and they will stay away if they remember that first nasty shock. Another good point from that website is that some animals have thick skin and lots of hair/fur, so they won't feel the shock as strongly as a human (another reason to use a tester and not touch the fence yourself!).

The only other thing to remember is, after you've got it all set up and working, don't forget to keep an eye on it as the battery will go flat eventually. In our case it took about 4 weeks. Luckily the cattle had got used to avoiding the area and didn't seem to notice that the fence wasn't working. We charged the battery overnight and plugged it in again the morning.

Do you use electric fencing? Any tips?

February 05, 2014

Cattle fencing tips for small farms

While I like to use electric fencing for quick temporary fences, I do think its important to have a strong permanent fence for the boundary, around the house yard and, on a larger property, other fences to divide the property into paddocks.

This ensures that your cattle stay on your property even if your internal electric fence fails (for example, it the battery runs flat). For cattle, barbed wire is essential, at least four strands, if not five. Animal mesh can also be used, especially if you also keep goats or sheep, but be aware that cattle can climb over mesh by stepping on each section and gradually pulling it down (it sounds ridiculous, but I have seen this happen a couple of times), so a barbed wire top strand is needed to prevent fence climbing.

February 05, 2014

Checking the fences

Before we let the new steers out of the cattle yards at Cheslyn Rise, we had to check all the fences in the first paddock. Checking fences and tightening the barbed wire is slow, but quite easy if you have the right tools.
fence strainer

When I first saw fence strainers I had no idea how to use them. Actually every time I see them I can't remember how to use them! Luckily Farmer Pete had a tutorial from an old farmer at one stage and he can always remember how to use them. What you do is put a chain or plain wire around the fence post and clip the big part of the tool onto the chain/wire. Clip the small part onto the fence wire that you want to tighten (and this is the same process if fixing an existing fence, or building a new one). You use the other end of the big part to creep over the chain on the small part, which pulls the tool together to bring the wire closer to the pole and pull the fence tight.

tightening the fence wire
When you have the wire tight enough you wrap the end of the wire around the pole ONCE and then twist it over itself in front of the pole and then wrap the remaining water back along the wire. You need to make it tight, but not tangled, as you'll probably have to undo it and tighten it again eventually.

wrapping around the pole

twisting the ends

The finished product
You need to find all the end-assembly and strainer posts and check the wire on each side. The most important wires are the two in the middle, if these are hanging loose the cattle will find them and push through the fence every time! All the fence posts on our property are split from iron bark gum trees felled on the property.
I don't know if these fencing strainers are special to Australia, is this how people build fences in other countries? I would be fascinated to hear about different methods.

strainer post

fence post

end assembly

termite damage (but this post will last for a while yet)
fencing over a creek crossing

February 05, 2014

Electric fencing for beginners

We've been very slow to start using electric fencing. It all seemed very complicated to me, which is stupid really, I did study physics at high school and university, I should be able to understand how an electric fence works! Maybe I was over-thinking it, because now they seem very simple and very very useful.

Strip grazing a paddock of forage sorghum
If you have a small area that you need to fence permanently or temporarily, electric fencing is the cheapest, most flexible and quickest method. I seriously don't think we'll be doing much more barb-wired fencing, apart from our perimeter fences and maybe to split up our largest paddock.

For a simple temporary fence, all you need is electric fence wire or tape, fence posts or clips to attach to an existing fence, an energiser and a battery (unless you get a mains powered energiser). We usually run the wire/tape out around the area, and then position the posts at sensible intervals. We set up the earth, connect the energiser to power and turn on the fence.

energiser on the post, attached to polywire, battery and earth stake
I took me a while to work out what the "earth" was for, but once you understand that, the rest of the fence makes more sense. There are two ways of setting up the fence, either using an earth return wire or all live wires. With the earth return wire you alternate live and earth wires. When the animal touches the fence and contacts both and earth and a live wire, they complete the electric circuit and receive a shock. If you don't have an earth wire, you are relying on the ground to complete the circuit, which works ok if your soil is currently moist. The energiser itself is connected to the live wires, and to the earth wire, or to an earth stake. Some people use really long stakes, like 6 m long stakes, but we just use an old tent peg. So far we have been able to use just one or two live wires, with an earth stake.

Energisers come in different sizes designed to cover different nominal distances. When you first introduce cattle to an electric fence its a good idea to use an oversized energiser for the distance you're fencing. If the first shock they ever get is a strong one, they are unlikely to touch the fence again. Cattle are very set in their ways, Bella will not touch a fence, or even walk over a fence, so we don't even have to use an energiser to keep her on the right side. Our neighbour's goats, however, can hear when the fence is on or off and are very opportunistic if they do notice that its off. If you have a lot of vegetation touching the fence, it will drain some of the charge, so its best to oversize the energiser in this case as well.

brafords in the sorghum, its taller than them,
so they could waste it if they had the entire area at once
Another thing that we figured out by trial and error was that you can leave some of the fencing tape on the plastic reel, you can even buy reels with handles and gears that make it easier to wind up the fence and move it. Now when we are making temporary fences, we just wind out what we need and attached the energiser to the reel.
Temporary electric fencing opens up a world of opportunities. Here is a few examples of how we use it:
  • We have fenced off an eroded area of our property that needed a rest from hooves, it is making an impressive recovery
  • We fence inside the house yard so that Bella and Molly can come in and trim the grass (lawn moo-ers), this saves us mowing and lets them eat some nice green grass
  • We have been strip grazing our 17 acres of forage sorghum as we haven't had very good weather for making hay. This way the cattle get a few acres at a time and don't waste as much, they are also spreading their manure over the cultivation area
Molly trimming in the house yard, and my garden is safe behind the fence
The best way to learn more about electric fencing is to go to your local produce store and pick up a brochure in the electric fence section, most of the companies publish little handbooks that you can take away for free. I think they realise that everyone needs a bit more information about electric fencing! This is where I learnt what I know, also from a bit of trial and error.
How do you use electric fences? Do you have any questions? I'm going to write more about splitting up paddocks soon....

February 05, 2014

New electric fence regulation to be implemented


Below is an article published in The Star newspaper on 15/5/2013. The article discusses very briefly the responsibility of property owners and tenants of properties which have electric fences in terms of the new electrical machinery regulations act. While this article refers to urban fencing, it is important to note that these regulations also apply to electric fences in rural areas including security, game and agricultural fences. Owners or tenants of properties who do not comply with these regulations may be liable to a fine or imprisonment or both. TNH Fencing are registered with the Department of Labour to install electric fences and issue compliance certificates, so please contact us if you need assistance in this regard.

New electric fence regulation to be implemented


new regulation stipulates that electric fences should be certified before a property can be sold.

Johannesburg - Property owners are going to have to be more careful about who they contract to install electric fences so as to comply with a new regulation.This regulation stipulates that all electric fences be certified and come with an electric fence system certificate of compliance, as reflected in Regulation 12 of the Electric Machinery Regulations of 2011.This applies only to systems that came into existence after October 1 last year.However, it also will apply in cases where the system is altered or added to, or where the premises changes ownership after October 1 this year.Any property transfer after that date, therefore, carries with it the obligation to provide a certificate if there is an electric fence in place.All properties – including residential, commercial and sectional titles within complexes – must comply.A number of people have complained about the regulation on social networks, with many saying the it was meant to protect burglars.“Next they will tell me to remove my burglar proofing because a burglar might get stuck in it and hurt himself… This is total insanity. I’ll remove my fence when they remove the criminals,” said one.SA Electric Fences Association founder member Etien van der Merwe said the regulation actually protected innocent people within the property. He added that electrical output from fences had always been regulated.“Energisers are controlled: the electrical machinery regulations stipulate a certain output. Adjusting fences to be more lethal is actually illegal.”The regulation would ensure installers were held accountable and minimise fly-by-night installers.Failure to have a compliance certificate could cost one a great deal, said John Graham, the chief executive of House-check Home Inspection Services.“If you don’t have the certificate, you can’t sell your house, and if somebody gets hurt by a non-compliant fence, you could get sued.”He said electrical fence installers had to write an examination and be registered with the Department of Labour by October 1 this year.What makes an electric fence compliant?* It must be installed by a registered electric fence installer, not a non-specialist company.* Owner must have a certificate of compliance.* Output should not be adjusted to make it more lethal.* Warning signs of a fence visible from driveway and pavement.* Fence should not overhang a neighbour’s yard or a pavement.Penalties for non-compliance* You cannot sell a property without the certificate.* If someone gets hurt by an electric fence on your property, you could be sued.* You may have to upgrade to compliance or be forced to remove the fence.charlotte.chipangura@inl.co.za

The Star

January 30, 2014

Order the Gallagher Live Lite Here!

 Order Here!! The Gallagher Live Fence Indicator Installation for Electric fence


January 30, 2014

Gallagher I Series Energizer Introduction Video

Buy the Gallagher I series electric fence energizer fence charger from us! Best Price

January 29, 2014

The Smartfix electric fence tester and trouble shooter


  • Multi-mode fault finding tool: Current Meter and Digital Volt Meter (DVM).
  • Convenient pocket size.
  • Modern water resistant and impact resistant case.
  • Large easy to read LCD display.
  • Long life battery - up to 3 years.
  • Auto ON/OFF. Activated when fence pulse is detected.
  • Switch to change between DVM and Current Meter modes.
  • Retractable voltage probe for reading voltage on energizers and other hard to reach areas.
  • Micro-chip technology that enables low voltage operation.
  • Detachable earth lead.
  • All parts fully replaceable.
  • Low battery indication.
  • When used as a DVM: can be used to measure voltage on all energizer types, measures up to 15KV; use without earth lead for everyday fence voltage reading (earth lead will give more precise readings, particularly for measuring earth voltage.); retractable probe allows easy access to energizer terminals, cut-out switches and other difficult to reach areas.
  • When used as a Current Meter: large arrows makes for easy fault finding by showing direction of fault; digital display of current (A) makes for easy detection of faults; bar graph indicating voltage while in current meter mode; cordless operation.

January 28, 2014

Choosing the Right Energizer/Fence Charger

Choosing the Right Energizer/Fence Charger

Once you have decided what type of electric fence you want for your property, you will need an energizer also known as a fence charger to power it. The correct energizer size for your property is determined by the type of animal to be fenced, distance of fence to be powered and the number of wires in the fence.

There are two types of energizers:

  • Mains powered - these are energizer units which are plugged into a mains power supply.
  • Battery/Solar powered - these are energizer units which can be left out in your paddock and require a battery to run them. Two batteries can be rotated on a regular basis or a solar panel can be an effective means of continuously charging your battery.