Advice needed on solar electric fence chargers

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by ozark hen, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    We are going to put our pigs this year pretty far from a source of electricity. So we are wondering about using a solar charger for the fencing? Can I hear some pros and cons from those who actually use them? Will it hurt the chickens? Will it keep the chickens from entering if they are free ranging? Pigs last year ate the chickens who got over the panel fencing [​IMG]
    Should we use reg fencing with just a couple strands of wire or just the wire??? If solar works well then what kind is recommended? What kind of power are we looking for? Will it keep coyotes out?
    Thanks to all in advance
     
  2. the_eagle69

    the_eagle69 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    An extria grounding rod is not a bad idea also you can pour salt around the ground to help. It should keep most animals out as for keeping out chickens not to sure it will they are hard to keep out of anywhere you dont want thelm. Pulling weeds up by the roots and giveing thelm to the pigs will help on the chicken killing also some extria iron in the feed.
     
  3. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    thanks, but help me here...what does the salt do??
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Salt can draw a leetle bit more moisture to the soil around the rod (increases conductivity of soil, thus maximizes zap of fence); I wouldn't do it in normal circumstances though, a) it is not usually useful and b) it is terrible for plants [and the salt will poison the soil for a long time].

    I would probably recommend a battery-operated charger for pigs because solar chargers tend not to be very powerful (there aren't big powerful ones, and for the same amount of money you can get a MUCH MUCH more powerful battery-operated charger than solar) and I gather you need quite the good stiff jolt to contain pigs.

    The (considerable!) extra money you pay for a solar charger might *seem* like you'll recoup it on not having to buy new batteries, but that is not realistically the case. Even a well cared for solar-charger battery will not necessarily last more than a few years (those of you with ten year old solar charger batteries who think they're still working fine... go test your fence *at 4 a.m.*... [​IMG]) and if you *ever* let it ground out for a while, like tall wet weeds for a few days or weeks, or a lingering ice storm, and the battery gets drained too far, you will have to replace it right then and there b/c it will never hold a charge properly after that.

    Back to battery-operated chargers: you can get batteries that are not rechargeable, or more-expensive batteries that can be recharged on, well, a battery charger (the type used for car and rv batteries). If this will be a relatively temporary and occasional thing (like 4 months of pigs every year or two) the nonrechargeable might be a better buy; if this will be a longterm ongoing thing, it might be worth shelling out for the rechargeable type (although even they will have to be replaced in time, either because of age or over-draining, as described above for the solar chargers).

    Electric fence does not often kill chickens, and if it's just wire strands (that they can't get tangled in) you are likely to be quite fine. They can easily hop or fly over an electric fence, but they may well not *choose* to if there are plenty of other things for them to do elsewhere.

    AFAIK voltage that will keep pigs in, will keep coyotes out. Buy a GOOD fence tester, though -- preferably shell out $50 or whatever for one of the digital ones, because the cheap "five neon lights" type are notoriously inaccurate and unreliable, and for pigs and coyotes there is a *big* difference in what happens at 5kV vs 3.5kV so you really want to know the true charge on the fence.

    I don't know whether you've built electric fencing before, but if not, it is HIGHLY worth spending a little time reading up on proper design and installation, because there are a lot of seemingly-trivial things that can affect in a big way how well (and whether!) your system works. Just because I know the URL offhand, try looking at www.premier1supplies.com website, they have a lot of design/installation/troubleshooting information there.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  5. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    Thank you Pat! That was a very thorough and educational post. My dh said something about a battery this morning while leaving for work. I had just told him that I had been reading that the solar just might not be strong enough. I can't wait to share this info with him tonight. Thanks again!
    Carrie
     
  6. ChevygirlBeth

    ChevygirlBeth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pat gave a lot of good info!

    I used an electric fence with my pigs. I did have a little garden fence around the outside for mostly an appearance of a barrier there, although it wasn't anything that would have kept them in if I didn't have electric on the inside. I ran 2 strands of electric wire for my pigs. I had one pretty close to the ground (to limit them rooting the fence out), and one just high enough that they couldn't get between the wires or over the top one. I did have to watch the bottom wire, as they liked to root dirt up over top of the wire and ground it out.

    I know that some people use just an electric fence sucessfully with their pigs. I personally prefer to have some kind of visible barrier present as well, especially since I work away from home. We will soon be building our pig area at our new home and plan on using hog panels with a couple strands of electric inside. We're hoping that in the evenings when we're around to keep an eye on them, we can run them out side of their pen with an electric wire. [​IMG] We'll see how that goes!

    Anyway, as far as a fencer, we used a regular little 5 mile fencer on ours and it hit plenty hard enough to keep the pigs in easily. I have a solar fencer, but I haven't tried it with pigs. I am afraid that it won't be strong enough. I am planning on using it for the fence around my garden this year, though.

    Regardless of what kind of fencer you use, be sure to ground it well! Your grounding will make a huge difference in how well the fencer will work.

    Good luck!
     
  7. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    thanks Beth, I appreciate you taking the time to post about your experience. [​IMG] Now I am feeling better about using a battery operated one. I agree I think we need some kind of fencing like panels to go with it of some sort. With one of us working, we are trying to look out for the cheapest way we can do this but do it right.
    Last year, we closed off the end of the long chicken run and my dh built a pig house to put in there. They ran out of weeds and grass almost overnite. Then when a couple crazy wild chickens flew over the panels they thought they were toys to play with and ended up eating them so I don't want to use part of the run anymore. We even had tin panels all around the bottom of the hog panels but those two pigs lifted it up and escaped a few times. Thank goodness they would come to me (even though I was afraid of them...my first experience with pigs LOL)when I called them and followed me back into their run. I am no longer afraid of them by the way. [​IMG] Now I am raising orps and no way will I let them dine on them!!
     
  8. ChevygirlBeth

    ChevygirlBeth Chillin' With My Peeps

    No problem. [​IMG] to you too! [​IMG]

    I understand doing it the cheapest way! That's what we did at the old house. We built our hog house using rough-sawn lumber we got for free and my dad gave us some old tin for the roof, so we just bought the treated 4x4s for skids and the hardware. We used the cheap garden fence that was already there, borrowed the small fencer from my dad (he bought a bigger one for the cows, so the old one was just a spare), and let the hogs clean up our garden left overs! I only gave them part of the garden at a time, but eventually they had it all torn up. It sure doesn't take them long! I would probably use the garden fence again, but it is a pain to put up and take down, so we opted for hog panels this time.

    Good luck on trying to figure out a cost-effective way to reach your goals with your piggies! I'm glad to hear that you're not afraid of them anymore, too! Pigs are so much fun to have around!
     
  9. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. CountryMom

    CountryMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We use a couple of solar chargers here on our place. One is a cross fencing for the hay field when we grow it (not this year with no rain) and the other I use to cross fence a pasture for the horses. I find I can move an electric fence pretty easy to rotate also.

    I will tell you that I can only use stranded or single strand wire for the solar fencing. The tape fence that is used for horses does not carry the charge at all. I leave that one up but must run a single strand to get the "hot." horses cannot see single strand very easy even with flags attached to the wire. Also, it is the two fences that get run through the most. Really the charge just isn't that strong. Instead of zapping them back it normally will zap them into a panic and through the fence they go. We have a really hard time with deer and that new baby calves. Every year I replace posts and insulators. In fact, just pulled up my horses from another pasture as the fence was tore up. They haven't touched it in months, but we have three new baby calves. Go figure. LOL

    Look for something with more zap for your pigs. It may cost more, but will save you the headaches in the long run.
     

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