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Regular maintenance key to keeping electric fence performing well

The idea of an electric fence is wonderful.  String a wire, plug in the juice and walk
off.  Too bad it's not that easy.  But, even when they are frustrating, electric
fences are sometimes so much better than the alternative that we put up with

The electric fence is based on a pulse of electricity from a
device variously know as an energizer, controller or charger.  The animal completes a circuit from the wire
to ground and becomes part of the electrical path, getting a short, safe,  deterrent shock.  Electric fences rely on psychology as a
barrier to animal movement.  The animal
will avoid the wire in the future.   In
order for the shock to be effective, it must be the right strength and
delivered at the right place.

An electric wire added to a conventional physical barrier
increases its effectiveness.  The
"hot" wire may prevent horses from cribbing, cattle from rubbing or a
bull from pushing through a fence.  This
points out that for many animals, a fence is more effective when it is readily
seen.  Some tie cloth streamers or metal
disks to the electric fence to draw the animals attention to its location.  Wide, colorful tape with a conductive braid
serves this purpose, as well.  An easily
seen fence may be desirable if it is moved often, such as when it serves as a
temporary fence in a rotating pasture program. 
Horses are one animal that respond better to a fence they can see.  Farmers who rely on electric fence like to
"train" their animals to its presence and effectiveness.  That avoid a situation where animals become
panicked by the first encounter and may run through the fence.  That is one of the concerns in using electric
fence to restrain wildlife.

Sheep, goats and other coarse haired animals may take a
stronger shock to be affected.  There are
several electrical fencing company websites that help a customer choose the
right fencing and energizer for their needs.  

Besides the construction of the fence and power of the
energizer, animal handling has a great influence on how satisfied you will be
with an electric fence.  Animals without
food or water will go through about any fence. 
Male animals during breeding season may be very hard to control.  Likewise, a mother during weaning can be
aggressive with a fence.  Animals that
are overcrowded or panicked may push or push others through a fence.  All of these and more aspects of animal
management and control relate directly to whether your fence will do the job
you want or not.

An electric fence needs regular inspection and
maintenance.  A dry spell may harm the
ground and render it useless.  Vegetation
may grow into and short out the fence. 
Deer may have jumped through it and grounded it out.  It's important to check the fence regularly
so that it does the job you want and is dependable.

Here are websites with useful
information on electric fences.                        

Premier Fencing >>  

Gallagher Fencing >>  

USDA >> 

Oregon State University >>  

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