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The essentials for setting up an electric fence

9 steps to help you plan your electric fence

To achieve the electric fencing system right for you there is a series of questions you need to ask yourself. Planning your electric fence takes a bit of time. However, we think about this process every time we put together a kit for someone… See our step by step process below - we hope this enables you to get the gist of what an electric fencing system should contain.

  1. Will your fence be temporary or permanent (more info on this below)?
  2. What type of livestock do you want to contain? This will determine whether you use Tape, Rope, Polywire, Wire or Electric Netting (for suggested wire heights see pictures below)
  3. How big is the area you want to fence? See area guide on our Planning Service page
  4. How many corners or change in directions are there in your new or existing fence? Will you need metal posts or wooden posts with insulators?
  5. Which energiser? 
    - Mains, Battery, Battery / Solar or Combination Energiser
    - need to know the length of the fence
    - which type of animal - ie sheep would need a higher output fence than pigs
  6. Remember your earth stake (earth rod)... an electric fence won't work with out one
  7. Do you need a gateway or access into a netting enclosure? How many? What type?
  8. Tensioners, Connectors and Insulators:
    - tensioners - most electric line fences will last longer and stay taut if they have tensioners positioned in the fencing
    - connectors - rope and tape connectors are extremely handy and make for a much neater and will work better fence than if you simply tie the fence together
    - insulators - there are many different types of insulator for different jobs
  9. Consider an electric fence tester - most manufacturers say that this little bit of kit is invaluable and essential in maintaining a fully functioning electric fence

With any electric fence planning is essential - a little planning goes a long way. If you have any questions about our nine step process to getting the right electric fence or if you are still unsure of what you might need please get in touch. Contact us on 01620 497050 or email: [email protected]

Types of Electric Fence

As mentioned above one of the first things to look at when considering an electric fence solution is the type of fence you may need: permanent, semi-permanent or temporary.

Permanent Electric Fencing

Good installation is the key for successful permanent fences.

Solid corner posts must be firmly installed at all corners, changes of fence line direction and gateways. In-line posts can be a combination of plastic, steel or wooden posts.

Except where high visibility is required, for example horse fencing where tape and rope can be used, permanent fences are best constructed using 2.5 mm high tensile wire which is both extremely conductive and durable.

Always use good quality insulators on permanent fencing. This is particularly important on long fences with high powered energisers, as poor quality insulators may not withstand the high voltages and joules needed to effectively power a fence of many miles.

Always use mains energisers when possible and if vegetation growth is likely, buy a higher powered model as it will help compensate for fence shorts.

Semi-Permanent Electric Fencing

Semi-permanent fences are designed to stay in the same place for up to a year or two. They are best used for horses, outdoor pigs, poultry, or to protect a new crop planting from vermin.

For the best stability corner posts, gateways or sharp bends in the fence should ideally consist of wooden posts. These should be very firmly installed and suitable insulators used with softwood posts. In-line posts could be either plastic or steel and the conductors could be tape, rope, nets or stranded steel wire.

Energisers should be mains powered when there is a convenient power supply. Alternatively, 12-volt wet battery energisers are a good choice. They are portable, although heavier than internal battery energisers, and they can operate longer fences more effectively than 6-volt and 9-volt energisers.

Temporary Electric Fencing

Temporary fences are moved regularly and can be constructed using battery or solar powered energisers, steel or plastic posts for single or multi wire fences and poly wire, poly tape, poly rope or nets and other lightweight components.

Typically these would be short fences of up to a few hundred metres in length to contain or exclude animals from a moving area such as strip grazing. Battery powered energisers are lightweight and easy for moving regularly but are generally most suitable for short fences of up to about 2.5 kms maximum length (depending on which wire conductors are used).

Wire heights for electric fencing

Please see our diagrams below that show ideals heights for electric fences for keeping animals in or out.