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Functional Electric Fences

Electric fences, in the residential arena, are commonly used to keep pets or other animals in and predators out. For pets, electric fences are typically interchangeable with invisible fences, which consist of a
buried wire that transmits a mild shock or annoying tone to the animal when it closes in on the fence.

In rural areas, where homeowners are more likely to have grazing animals such as goats or sheep, keeping
the animals in the pasture and predators out becomes a top priority. Fencing designs in these situations will vary depending on the size of the animal trying to get in or out and the type of land in use. Usually
such electric fences consist simply of one or more “hot” wires and a ground wire running between posts. The posts may be as much as 100’ apart. The smaller the animal (sheep, for example), the more wires needed.

Residential electric fences are commonly used to keep pets or other animals in and predators out. For pets, electric fences are interchangeable with invisible fences, which consist of a buried wire that transmits a mild shock or annoying tone to the animal when it closes in on the fence. If this is something you’re in the market for, here is some more information to get you started.

Costs

While electric fences vary in price depending on the length and number of wires needed, you can expect to pay between 10 and 20 cents per foot for a two-wire, permanent, smooth-wire electrical fence. For help purchasing and installing your electric fence, get a free estimate from a licensed professional.

Pros

Electric fences are less expensive than other types of fencing.

Electric fences can keep pets in the yard.

In rural areas, they are great at keeping grazing animals in while keeping predators out.

Cons

Electric fences can sometimes give animals a lethal shock, especially during wet weather.

They require frequent maintenance.

Electric fences can be hard to put up in areas with thick vegetation.

Durability

With the proper maintenance, modern electric fences are considered a durable fencing option. Most manufacturers make their fences using poly plastic, a very hard-wearing material.

Maintenance

The maintenance required of an electric fence is usually limited to regularly checking that it is conducting electricity as it should. If you are not sure how to safely go about this, it’s always best to contact a professional.

Common Questions and Answers

What is the recommended voltage for an electric fence?

That depends on what you are trying to keep in or out of your yard. Here is a guideline:

  • Pets: 2,000-3,000 Volts
  • Horses/Cattle/Pigs/Deer: 3,000 Volts
  • Sheep/Goats: 3,000-5,000 Volts
  • Bulls: 4,000 Volt

What do most electric fencing systems consist of?

Usually, electric fences consist of simply one or more “hot” wires and a ground wire running between posts. The posts may be as much as 100’ apart. The smaller the animal, the more wires needed.

History

The earliest form of the electric fence was invented by William Gallagher Sr., a New Zealand inventor interested in keeping his horse from rubbing up against his car. The design was improved in 1962 by another New Zealand inventor by the name of Doug Phillips.

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