Electric Fence For Protection Of Animals

Most of the time, when people think of an electric fence they think of something that is designed to keep an animal in. Prison yards have electric security fences around them to help deter the inmates from trying to escape. There are people who build an electric fence around their property for the purpose of protecting the animals they have inside the fence.

A cow is a very stubborn animal. Barbed wire is the most frequently used material for building enclosures that maintain herds of cows. When a cow runs into barbed wire they can cut themselves very badly. In areas that are remote the animal may be severely injured, and succumb to those injuries before the owner discovers them.

Placing an electric fence up where a barbed wire fence once existed will help to protect the cows from being injured by the fencing material. Animals can smell the electricity and are less likely to try to push through a fence that is electrically charged, but when they do push into it they will receive an electric shock. The shock will be enough to get their attention, but not enough to cause any real damage to the animal. The wire that the electric charge courses through will not cut the animal.

The electric fence can also be used to make sure that predators do not come into an animal’s enclosure and kill them. A chicken is a defenseless animal. In the wild the chicken can fly and get into tree tops for some protection from fox, raccoons, possums, and minks. When the chicken is penned in a chicken pen they are no longer able to fly into the safety of the trees to hide from these predators. The predator can simply tear the wire around the enclosure and kill the chickens. If the fence is electrically charged predators cannot tear into it and kill the chickens as easily.

Chicken coops can be protected by these fences, but you can also place them around enclosures that have birthing animals, and rabbit hutches, or around the home of any animal that has had their natural defenses removed because a human penned them up.

Many people do not give these fences a second thought because their property is so remote they do not have the ability to connect the fence hardware to an electrical power source. Technology has given these people the solar powered electrical fence hardware. You do not have to have a power source handy because the solar panel will make their own electricity and recharge the fence each day.

This means that these fences can be placed around any animal enclosure, no matter how remote the enclosure is. People have the ability to protect the animals they have in their care, and that is what we should be doing. When we take an animal from their natural habitat and enclose them we accept the responsibility for their food, their shelter, and their care. Their safety is our concern.

Equestrian Electric Fencing

Once snubbed in equestrian circles, electric fences now come in forms well suited for horse properties. Time was, everyone who owned livestock knew the basic rules: cattle and sheep needed to be enclosed with electric wire, but horses were best off behind wood planks or poles.

The improvement in fencing technology in the last ten years has outstripped the advances made in the previous sixty years. Designed in wider braids, ribbons or bands for greater visibility, modern electric fencing is the choice of a growing number of horse-keepers, who find that many of the old beliefs – that it is painful, unsafe, expensive, unreliable and difficult to maintain – are no longer true.

Safety is, of course, the foremost concern in any fencing decision. But what exactly constitutes a safe fence can become a complicated question. In some ways, horses are among the easiest animals to keep secure: They are domesticated and if they have all the food, water, shelter and friends they want, most horses aren’t likely to try to leave their familiar surroundings. On the other hand, horses do pose a special challenge: short of a 3 metre concrete wall, not much will hold in a 500 kilogram animal who’s determined enough to escape. You are after all simply fencing in the desire.

Electric fences offer a barrier that horses respect, and the newer materials and erecting techniques that are designed to flex under pressure, are less likely to injure a kamikaze or Houdini. They are lighter in construction and designed to have a “rubber band” effect.

Touch an electric fence once and you’ll know why it works; it’s not very painful — about the equivalent of a sharp slap — but you’ll remember the sensation, and you won’t want to repeat it anytime soon. Horses, too, learn quickly that they don’t want to bump, push through, rub against or chew on them. The energizer is designed to send out a high voltage (about 6000volts), low amperage (about 100 milliamps) electrical charge for a very limited time (about 1/300th. of a second.) every second. Compare this with two other scenarios.

  1. Static Electricity when you touch a door, about 20000 volts at 5 milliamps for 1/1000th. of a second, unpleasant but not lasting.
  2. Mains Electricity. 220volts at 13 Amps and constant, very unpleasant and regularly causes death.

This sting is what creates a psychological barrier within the horses’ brain and it is this that fences him in. A fence with a voltage as low as 2000v is able to create an impression with a horse but this low voltage has other problems. Horses’ hooves and hair are insulators so if they are on dry ground then 2000v will be insufficient. A more viable fence should run at 6000 volts to be effective. A wimpy energizer gives you a wimpy fence.

This higher voltage will also help when the horse has a blanket (a very good insulator) on but a second line aimed at the horses knees will be more effective. Utilizing bait on the line will also work.

Animals are the intended targets of electric fences, but anything else that comes in contact with both fence and ground will also complete the circuit. Very small items, such as blades of grass, allow a small amount of power to travel from the fence to the ground rods, but not enough to drain the entire system. (It’s like a series of small holes in a hose, allowing some of the water to dribble away, weakening the pressure in the hose.) A short circuit occurs when an object, such as a fallen tree limb or the wire wound around a tree, reroutes all of the power from the fence to the ground system. Beyond the tree limb, the charge left in the fence is reduced to zero.

There are a wide range of conductors available in the form of standard wire, poly twine, tape or rope. The first consideration should always be the conductivity. This is quoted in Ohms/meter (or &/m). The lower this figure is the better and should be linked to the price of the material. Whichever conductor you use is up to personal preference. There are a lot of trial results available showing that horses see different materials just as well as if not better than humans and visibility is a human derived problem.

Electric Fencing for Horses

Electric Fencing for Chickens: The Positives and Negatives

The use of electric fencing for chickens has become a popular form of poultry protection and containment, in fact the wide availability of such fencing has transformed the way many owners now rear their poultry.

When it comes to chickens, fencing is used by owners not so much to keep chickens contained, as they are often left to roam as they please, but to keep their many predators from attacking them.

The positives of electric fencing for chickens:


Unlike traditional chicken wire, which is normally wrapped so tightly when the enclosure is built that moving it is almost impossible, electric netting is fully portable and easily transferred to other areas. This is particularly useful when there is a need to relocate some chickens, or you have a new flock arriving that needs to be kept separate.

Tight Netting

Foxes are by far the most frequent predator of chickens, keeping them out is vital. Fencing that is designed for larger animals will not suit your chickens because the gaps between the wires are far too wide and will allow the fox through or the chickens out. Electric fencing for chickens is designed in a netted structure with very tough, small holes which are impossible for a fox to fit through thereby keeping your poultry safe.


Electric fencing is made from newer, purpose-built materials that are able to withstand the wear and tear of the elements, animals and predators. This makes electric fencing particularly good for keeping chickens as there are far fewer repairs required, predators are unlikely to prise or force gaps in the fence as they will receive a shock.

The negatives:


Chicken enclosures are often small so the cost of buying electric fencing for chickens can be quite expensive if you choose the wrong supplier. Most suppliers will work with you to ensure you get the fence you need, but off the shelf products often dictate lengths and dimensions meaning you can end up with more than you need. More traditional fencing solutions can also offer cheaper alternatives especially for small enclosures.

Intermittent Power

The major flaw with such fencing is that by its very nature it requires electricity. In the event of a power cut, intermittent power or a broken fence link, predators can get through and attack your animals. Fortunately electric netting is just as reliable as traditional netting even without a current, but if you have spent extra for the fence then its a pain when it malfunctions. This encourages predators to try their luck, either attempting to jump or prise the netting.

Even though there are negatives in using electric fencing for chickens, the benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh those negatives. This type of fencing is very reliable these days and offers any chicken owner a fantastic way of protecting your poultry.