Are you searching for the perfect fence for your livestock on your property?
If so, then you may want to check out my article here that gives inexpensive ways to fence your property.
But if you’ve made up your mind that electric fencing is the way to go, then I’m going to share with you how to install it.
However, I have to say, I was not a believer in electric fencing until we used it on our current property. Now I’m wondering why we didn’t use it earlier.
Why Use Electric Fencing?
Before we get into how to install electric fencing, you may be wondering why someone would choose to use electric fencing over woven or other types of fencing.
Well, here are a few reasons:
1. It is Effective.
Our neighbors kept telling us that we could not use electric fencing for goats. They were convinced that they’d escape.
Well, we put the first round of wire about 5 inches off of the ground and every 2-3 inches up the post after that. The first time our billy goat hit that wire was also the last time he hit it.
It taught him to stay away from it. If it tells you anything, someone accidentally unplugged the fence, and we didn’t realize it until the following morning. Our goats won’t go near the fence so they didn’t know it and never even tried to escape.
2. It is less expensive.
We fenced in 2 pastures with electric fencing. They probably equate to about 2-3 acres, and we spent less than $1,000 on the fence.
However, before we moved to our current property, my goats didn’t have pasture. They were kept in a fenced wooded lot that was about a ¼ acre. I spent over $300 fencing that area in with woven wire.
So in my experience, electric fencing is much cheaper.
3. It looks better.
When we completed the electric fence for our pastures, I was stunned at how neat it all looked. Our woven wire never looked that neat because the ground would become uneven in certain areas, and our goats would constantly rub up against it making it misshapen.
However, electric fencing looks very uniform and has a way of making a property look crisp and clean. Which we all know, that is my preference.
Which Animals Will Electric Fencing Work On?
I have only actually fenced in goats with electric fencing.
However, I have friends that raise cattle and horses for a living. It requires only one or two strands of wire to hold in a cow.
But a horse requires 3-4 strands of wire, from what my friends have told me. They have stallions and say that those few strands will do the trick.
Now, with our goats, we use five strands of wire closer together. We also use a strong charger for the wire. Not only does it keep the goats in, but it also protects them from predators.
So I feel good about choosing to use such a strong voltage.
How to Install an Electric Fence
You will need:
- metal wire
- a charger
- support posts
- in-line strainers
- weed eater and/or loppers
1. Lay Out Your Fence
You will begin the process by laying out your fencing area. You’ll need to know where you want to fence and get it ready.
Now, this means a lot of prep work. If branches, tall weeds, or trees are laying on your fence it will cause it to short out and therefore be ineffective.
Once your fencing area is clear, you are ready to start building your fence.
2. Insert Wooden Posts, T-Posts, and Prep for Gates
You will need to have round wooden posts at the corners of your fenced areas, where you want your gates to go, and also as supports at the half way point on long stretches of your pasture.
Then you will want to insert T-posts about every 10-20 feet from one corner post to the other. This may vary depending upon the area that you are fencing.
After you have the T-posts in the ground, you can go ahead and hang the gates. Learn how to do that here.
Once this is done, you are ready to move on.
3. Insert Support Posts
Now, you have already inserted your round wooden posts and your T-posts. You’ll now need to go back and insert support posts every few feet from the T-posts. This is to ensure that the wire doesn’t drag on the ground.
Once you have the support posts in the ground, you are ready to move on.
4. Run the Wire
This is the fun part. Running wire is not an easy thing to do unfortunately. You can make it a little easier by using this tool.
Once you get the wire ran from one wooden post to the next, you’ll need to go back and connect the wire to the connectors on the T-posts and wooden posts.
Then place the wire in the right slots of the support posts. Be sure that each strand you run, is connected to the same rung of connectors and support posts.
Finally, you’ll repeat this step for each strand between each post until all of the wire is run. After you run a strand you’ll need to use a pair of pliers to pull the wire as tight as you possibly can.
Then you’ll wrap it off at the end of the wire. You can buy in-line strainers that you use to tighten the wire and keep it tight.
Once the wire runs for each strand all the way around the fenced area, you are ready to move on.
5. Pull It Tight
I already covered this in the last section, but it is really important that the wire is pulled tight. If it isn’t, not only does it look sloppy, but it can be ineffective.
For instance, if you have a nimble goat that wants to jump an electric fence, the likelihood of them jumping a tight wire with electric current and not catching a hoof is pretty slim.
But if you have loose wires, they could probably jump it and never get hit. You don’t want this.
So make sure you do all you can to keep your wires tight.
6. Hook Up the Charger
Next, you’ll need to purchase a charger. We have gone through it with electric fence chargers. We began using a solar charger. It sounds great in theory, but it is not strong enough.
If it tells you anything our baby goats were running right up to the fence and acted like they were getting a massage.
But then we got our current charger. It has to be plugged in, but it works wonderfully. Our billly challenged the fence once and has never dared to do it again.
And his one encounter was enough that none of my female goats have ever even tested it.
So you’ll just need to follow the instructions of inserting the charger. I recommend putting it where it will be covered. We had to put our fence up in a hurry so the charger is temporarily posted on one of our round wooden posts with a big plastic tub over it to keep it from getting wet.
But if you have the time go ahead and put it in its permanent home so you don’t have to worry about moving it again later.
7. Insert Ground Rods
Next, you’ll need to insert grounding rods. This is how the electricity will work. If you don’t use enough grounding rods you’ll know it because your fence will not carry current.
So we actually placed two around the base of the post where our charger is located.
Then we placed them every 10 feet or so down the line of the fence.
Now, it needs to be mentioned here, if you have a break in your fence (for instance, you have a gate that breaks up your electric fencing) you’ll need to run covered wire on the ground between fencing to keep the current of electricity going.
8. Test the Voltage
Finally, you’ll need to test the voltage on the fence. You do this by using a voltage meter. Do NOT touch the fence to find out if it’s working.
However, I have to say this, don’t be alarmed if you are wearing rubber shoes and run into the fence and don’t get shocked.
This happened to us while working on the fence, and we were fearful our fence wasn’t working. We tested it with the meter and it said it was.
Then my husband got on his knees and was doing something on the ground near the fence and accidentally hit it. It absolutely shocked him!
So we had to learn the hard way that if you are wearing rubber shoes don’t think that your fence is broken. It could just be the rubber on the bottoms of your shoes.
But to be on the safe side, always use a voltage meter and try your best to not touch a live electric fence.
Well, that is all there is to installing your very own electric fence. I will say this plainly, this is NOT a beginner’s project.
If it wasn’t for my husband’s experience, I would have never attempted this project on my own. It can be a large undertaking and if you don’t have a clear understanding of how the process works, you could seriously injure yourself and have an ineffective fence.
So please don’t be afraid to ask for help (even after reading tutorials on it.) If you’d like to see a live tutorial on installing an electric fence, here is a great video to help you through the process as well.
But I’d like to know if you use an electric fence. If so, what was your experience like installing your fence? If you don’t use electric fencing, what type of fencing do you use? What has your experience been with that?
We love hearing from you. So please leave us your thoughts in the comment section provided below.