Electric Fence Guide

31 March 2017  |  Admin

Electric Fence Guide

Electric Fences have been used to protect animals and crops for many years.  The purpose of the fence is not to cause pain, but to act as a psychological barrier; once an animal has had a shock they will learn not to touch the fence again.  Electric fencing is particularly popular for use with horses, goats, pigs, sheep, cattle, poultry, ducks and even snails!  Most of the time the fencing is designed to keep the animals enclosed, but it is also designed to keep predators out!

An electric fence will not hurt animals or humans, young or old.  If you have a pacemaker, however, it is best not to touch an electric fence.

The concept of an electric fence is simple.  An electric current is run around a conductive barrier.  Once the barrier is touched by an animal that is standing on the ground, it will shoot through the animal to get to the ground as quickly as possible – giving the animals a shock along the way.  It is critical that the energiser is attached to an earth stake.  The earth stake is what cause the shock to run around the fence, through the animal and back to the earth.


An electric fence can use either electric fencing tape, electric fencing rope, electric fencing twine or wire.  These ‘barriers’ all have stainless steel or copper running through them.  The more metal running through the barrier, the more conductive your barrier will be and the better shock it can give.  When assessing a barrier, you need to see how many strands of metal run through it, your need to check the diameter of the metal and you also need to check the UV resistance of the plastic used.  You will be given a break strain of the barrier and a recommended distance for the barrier (some barriers are only designed for short distances).  20 mm tape is a safe bet for most animals.  Twine and wire should not be used with horses, unless it is running across the top of a post and rail fence (it can hurt the horse).  Barbed wire should NEVER be used on an electric fence – if an animal gets caught on the wire and then continuously gets shocked it can be very distressing.

An electric fence also needs an energiser.  This can be powered by a 12 volt battery, a 9 volt battery or the mains.  The energiser converts power into appropriate electrical pulses that can be sent around the fence.  These pulses can be released in a variety of settings – typically the higher the better.  Most energisers cost between £100 and £200 pounds.  Very large energisers cost £400 or more, but energisers of this size are only needed for very large spaces.  The largest energisers need lightning arrestors, extra earth stakes and it is important to make sure foliage is kept away of it can get scorched. However, the cast majority of energisers need only 1 earth stake, a power source and a barrier.

It is important to make sure that nothing grounds your electricity.  This means that the electric fence barrier must be run though plastic insulators and should never directly touch a wooden fence or any foliage.  Any grass or leaves that touch a fence will cause the fence to loose some of the electrical current and will either drain the energiser’s battery, reduce the power on the fence or stop the electric fence from working at all.  Electric fence Insulators are the plastic clips, hooks and rings that screw into wooden posts and hold the electric fence barrier away from the wood.  There are a huge variety of insulators designed for all the different barriers.  The most popular insulators are ring insulators and multi-purpose insulators.


pnd electric fencing insulator in use

Temporary electric fences are very popular in the equestrian world, for strip grazing or events, and for anybody who does not want the expense of post and rail fencing.  Plastic polyposts especially designed for electric fencing come with hooks and holes suitable to run electrical barriers through.  Electric Fence Posts are very easy and cheap to install – they have a long spike that pushes into the ground.  They typically come in 3ft, 4ft and 5ft lenths (not including the spike).

These are all the basics required for a successful electric fence.

If you would like to design or set up an electric fence, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We help people select the electric fence barrier that is most suited to their animals, land and their budget.  We can advise you on the energiser options and answer any questions on how to set up your fence.  We can also advise you on the height of your fence, discuss solar power options and create custom kits so you get the best value for money and exactly the quantities of posts and insulators that you need.

FarmCare UK

Electric Fencing and Clipper Specialist

01323 406212

Unbeatable prices and Fast Shipping

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