Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fun with electric fencing

My first electric fence project didn't turn out too bad (so far), but I have some concerns.

In the manual for the charger (that I couldn't read until I opened the darn thing), it gives some very detailed instructions on wire placement for different animals, soil types, and general tips for making your electric fence work most efficiently. But if the "best results" checklist was a test, I'd have failed.

First off, they say electric fences perform poorly in sandy soil. Sandy soil, check. Electric fences work poorly in dry soil. Right now our soil is way oversaturated, but from June to August it rains probably 3-4 times total, so it will be dry then. Check.

Stringing the line wasn't too bad, and I made gate handles on each end. I opted not to string wires along the existing fence (yet), so the electrified sections are just 2 of the 4 fence lines; the other two sides have 6' field fence and barbed wire every foot, so they should be fine.

I'm hoping we can actually get pigs this weekend since I'm all set up now. We head down to the Collinsville Trade Day flea market once every few months, and they should start getting more animals in since the weather's warming up.

Some tips I learned about electric fencing:

  • Don't buy anything until you have a detailed plan worked out for what you're going to electrify. For instance, if you're going to electrify existing field fence, you need the extended plastic insulators so they don't touch the existing metal.
  • Watch the type of insulators you buy. I bought closed loop ones for my corner posts without realizing that the only way to get wire into a closed loop is to cut it off of the spool first. Go with the type of insulator that lets you work it in without needing an end to feed through a closed loop.
  • Don't buy an electrifier box for the exact space you have. If you have 2 miles of wire to electrify, buy a 5-mile box to get better power and assure that the electricity will reach all the way to the furthest point.
  • If you buy an AC-powered box, make sure you have an outdoor AC outlet nearby. The solar ones are nice, but they're way way more expensive. Weigh the pros and cons of solar vs. AC (or DC, but charging and maintaining a battery is no fun for anyone).
  • Make sure your t-posts are all facing the right way! I had a problem with existing fencing having t-posts that faced outward, while the rest of my inner fence had inside-facing t-posts. Inner-facing is to keep animals in, and outer-facing is to keep animals out, but just make sure it's consistent either way.

I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting, but that'll have to do for now.

Before I go, I leave you with this picture. Seems ole Shelby found a friend:

1 comment:

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