Electric Fencing

Crystal Miller


Fencing is one of the biggest issues I have had to deal with since moving onto my homestead.  Our place is an older farm and prior to us buying it, it was left to its own.  When we purchased our little piece of heaven it was sadly in need of repair.  There were no fences to speak of.  The one and only fenced area was our garden.  Over the years the garden has served as corral, goat pen and garden.. not all at the same time of course!  Our property was also covered in blackberries and that acted as kind of a natural fencing for many years. 


The goats had eaten away at most of this "natural fencing" and it was finally time to do something serious to contain them.  My husband, Tobin, fenced an area around the barn for the does and then another area around a small shed for my buck and wethers. 


One thing we have learned in the last few years of owning goats is that goats can be very hard to contain!  We have tried a few times to make pens and always it seems the goats would figure out ways to escape.  So as we reviewed our fencing options and our experiences we had to look at several things.  One was cost; the cost to fence in large areas can be very high.  The second was time; Tobin works 40 hours a week and commutes another 6 and sometimes puts in overtime.  He basically has weekends to accomplish these goals and that is it.  We did not want this project to stretch out all summer long. 



With all these things in mind we chose electric fencing.  We now have had a great experience with this. However in the past we did not.  It always seemed the fence would work great for a time and then the shock would get weak or non-existent.  Tobin read some information about fencing and came up with a slightly different way of doing it. 


The typical method is to have grounding rods with the negative wire going from the fence charger to the rods.  The positive wires were then strung around the t-posts to fence in an area.  If the shock is not strong enough it is recommended to add more grounding rods.  What Tobin did instead was to take the negative and positive wires and put them both around the fence, alternating positive, negative, positive, etc..  We have a total of 7 wires with the bottom one starting as negative. 


The animals have to touch both wires to get shocked but let me tell you they get the shock of their life and stay far away from those wires (nothing that physically hurts, but causes enough discomfort that they donít want a repeat of that experience)!  This has been the most success we have seen and at this point we have about 3 Ĺ acres of land fenced this way. 


As far as time goes, the whole project took a little less than 3 weekends to finish.  Tobin did buy supplies on his way home from work so that when the weekend came he was ready to work.


I thought I would pass this information on to anyone who may be having difficulty fencing in any type of animal.  Our livestock guard dog, Daisy, had also gotten into the habit of digging holes and would dig right out of any fenced area we put her in.  The electric fence has dramatically changed those habits as well! 



Happy Homesteading!

Crystal :)



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