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Electric Fencing - The Basics.... Does my fence need to be in a circuit?

Does my electric fencing need to create a circuit?

This is a question we are asked a lot. For some reason it is a popular perception that electric fencing must connect back to itself.  We'd like to let you know that it is not necessary to do this… electric fences can run for miles in one direction if required.

However there is a circuit that does need to be created with an electric fencing system and that is to do with having a good earth. When an animal touches the electric fence it conducts the electricity from the live wire through its body to the ground, the pulse then travels through the ground and back to the earth stake. This all happens very quickly and this circuit enables the electric zap that you feel from an electric fence. The diagram illustrates the circuit perfectly.


If a fence is not earthed properly – ie the earth stake is not pushed far enough into the ground or the ground is very dry around the earth stake or the earth stake is pushed in amongst tree roots then it will be more difficult for the circuit to be completed and therefore the animal will get less of a zap, hence making the fence less effective. Inadequate earthing is one of the most common failures with an electric fence system.

To overcome poor earthing it is possible to join earth stakes together by lead out cable and run 3 or 4 earth stakes consecutively or perhaps an earth line can be added to the fence.

We are always happy to help – so if your fence is not working as it should be and you need some advice – contact us:

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Meriel Younger

About Meriel Younger

Farmers daughter (my mother was the farmer!) with many years experience of farming, equestrian and electric fencing. Living the 'good life' and forever trying to find the perfect work/life balance!

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