Setting up electric fencing can be somewhat daunting for first-time builders, and there are many potential pitfalls and hazards. That said, being sensible and following a few basic guidelines will make the construction much simpler. There are many tips that you can follow that will make it easier to make the transition to electric fencing, and here we provide five of the most important. Always remember that playing safe will ensure your end product meets up to its expectations as well saving some hard-earned time and money.
Tip #1: Planning Pays
As with many things in the farming world, planning is key to your success. Failure to plan more often than not leads to failure to execute, and when the safety of you and your animals is on the line it simply isn’t worth the risk. Sit down before you buy your materials and begin to sketch the area you wish to fence. Decide whether or not you wish for the fence to be temporary or permanent. Draw out on your plan where your water sources will be, or where you will install a trough. Also, make sure to factor in a gate that is wide enough to drive cattle in and out and potentially even fit a tractor through, especially if this is a permanent fence. Once you have the general layout of the new pen, factor in where you will put your earthing rods, what kind of energiser is best for the area and your power source, and what kind of output you will need to hold the type of livestock you will house within. Finally, make sure you are getting the highest quality electric fencing to ensure the safety, security and efficiency of your new fence.
Tip #2: Look After Your Tools
Take care of the tools that you plan on using frequently whilst working on the fence. Remember to not lay any tools with exposed metal on the floor, such as pliers, wire cutters and crimping tools. Not only does holding your tools in a toolbelt keep them easy to reach it will also stop them from getting lost and facing any damage.
Tip #3: Invest In Quality
Investing in high-quality tools and equipment for the project will help you in the future, as quality will often mean that the equipment will stand the test of time. If you’re using screw-in insulators, grab a well-priced drill bit to make the process faster and easier, making sure the insulator stays firmly within the post. Invest in an electric fence tester, most manufacturers will tell you that this piece of kit can be vital in setting up and maintaining your fence. Also, invest in a good energiser. Make sure that you choose one that has both high user ratings and high safety ratings. Don’t be afraid to spend more than you initially expected. The higher the quality of the energiser, the more likely it is to maintain its capability throughout the years without the danger of causing problems to your pen.
Tip #4: Earth Your Fence Properly
When it comes to earthing your fence, you must make sure that it is done properly. Incorrect installation can lead to live wires with too high a current for the safety you are after, and poor wiring could lead you to connect your earthing wire to the underground wire, resulting in a very dead fence. The best tips here are to make sure you mark which wire is earthing and which is live, as to not mix them up. The second is somewhat of a rule of thumb, that being that you should either have a minimum of three earth rods or divide the joules stored in the energiser rating by five. This will ensure that you have the capacity to earth the fence and hold a current and voltage without causing problems to the energiser or introducing too much heat to the wire itself.
Tip #5: Being Safe Is Better Than Being Sorry
This tip is the most important thing you should keep in mind whilst constructing your own electric fence. Your safety, as well as the safety of anyone helping you, is paramount when it comes to using any form of live wire. Though a correctly set-up electric fence doesn’t do too much damage and will likely only deliver a painful jolt, however touching a live, unmeasured wire can be far more dangerous. Regardless of whether you are drawing from the mains or from a solar panel, you should ensure that everyone working on the project is equipped with insulated boots and gloves to stop any transmission if someone mistakenly touches a live wire. Once the project is complete, make sure you measure the resistance, voltage and current of the wire to make sure it stands up to regulation and won’t be so much as to harm your livestock.
Also remember that you will be required by law to properly signpost all electric fencing. Check with your local council for the latest health and safety requirements
By utilising the tips present in this article, you should be able to set up an electric fence safely and rapidly.