Electric Fence Chargers

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by boilerjoe_96, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. boilerjoe_96

    boilerjoe_96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    298
    3
    151
    Apr 4, 2007
    West Lafayette, IN
    I am trying to plan ahead here...

    Going to be fencing in 5 acres, it's odd shaped so about 2600 feet of fence. I may have a cow(or up to 3), a horse(or 2) and goats...(not necessarily at same time)...

    I read, get the biggest one you want to spend the money on... I am not the best weed eater so weeds may grow up around(assuming animals don't eat) and I have a total of 23 acres so future expansion is possible though not planned(have to grow hay to feed animals)...

    I was eyeballing a Zareba 50 mile 2 joule charger.

    Overkill... or not? Even with 5 wires that is only 2.5 miles of wire. I don't want the fence to be challenged too often as I don't want to chase cows goats and horses all over creation...
     
  2. unionwirewoman

    unionwirewoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    788
    8
    151
    Sep 14, 2007
    Kalispell , MT
    HMMMMM.....not sure on brands , but I would go with an actual elecrtic fencer . Ours is about 50 yrs old and "burns " through weeds , meaning it doesn't ground out if the weeds or grass touches the wire .(we own 36 acres ) . I agree with over sizing.....it doesn't hurt anything...all it does is give you more room for expansion . If you don't want to fool around with every weed or grass that touches it , DON"T buy a solar powered model . You can go 40+ acres on some....but the out put voltage does not contain livestock near as well as the electric based models . Trust me , chasing horses around is not fun . You shouldn't have too much trouble with weeds or grass though......5 acres will only sustain 1 horse for maybe 1-2 months depending on the grass . Your problem will be with breeching the fence from your livestock . Horses tend to get cut up pretty good with barb wire .....but it's good for cows . Goats will need to have different fencing though . As for growing / harvesting your own hay...I wish you all the luck in the world . Unless you have friends or own your equipment , it's pretty tough to do , not to mention the time . We paid $195 a ton for 50/50 delivered . Last year it was $70 a ton . Pretty expensive yard ornaments if you ask me .
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    Is it a constant charge or intermittent pulse? Also, double check it says miles and not acres, sometimes different brands switch that up.

    I think if the charger were too much for 2.5 miles, it would have a disclaimer or something on the box listing a minimum length. I usually choose a charger that it more than I need, but I don't think I've gone that much overkill.

    I don't know anyone that can successfully keep goats in an electric fence an d I know several people who have tried. The goats just slip through. Some people say they use their horns as an insulator, but I think that their horns would be conductors(maybe not good ones).

    -Kim
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:This is good advice up to a point. You need to be sure your unit will give you enough charge for the kind(s) of animals you are trying to control -- it takes more zap to keep out predators or keep in goats/sheep than it does to contain horses or cattle, for instance. And it is dumb to set up a fence that if its strength drops just a bit it will be too weak to be reliably effective.

    OTOH it is dangerous advice beyond a certain point. Electric fencing *can* kill animals and people if they get stupid or unlucky (which can happen to anyone), and your margin of error is smaller with a bigger charger. Get an *appropriate* size, not anything massively over-powered.

    Like, I wouldn't get something that would fence and crossfence 23 acres with a good strong charge, and then hook it up to a single fence around 5 acres...

    I am not the best weed eater so weeds may grow up around(assuming animals don't eat)

    Well, perhaps having an electric fence will train you to 'be a better weed eater' [​IMG] Seriously. The weed-burner units are a bit iffy IMO unless you live somewhere it is green and lush ALL year round, as they have a distressing habit of causing grass fires, plus you can't use them with all types of electric fence material (notably the twine, which can come in awful handy sometimes if you ask me).

    If you don't want unexpected midnight loose-stock rodeos, I highly recommend you get into the habit of walking your fenceline every week or two, to look for wire slipped off its insulator, broken insulators, insulators coming off the post, weeds, etc. If, once per month or two depending on your fence and how fast things grow, you just take the ol weedwhacker with you when you do this, there will be no problem with things overgrowing.

    As far as choosing a particular charger: ignore the cr*p on the boxes about "charges X miles of fence". This has nothing to do with real-world conditions. It depends on what kind of soil and climate you have, what kind of fence you're building (what kind of wire or whatever, how many strands), what kind of critters, whether the fence has to work year-round or only in summer, etcetera. So I very strongly suggest you speak with a customer-service representative (the kind who deal with technical questions, not the kind who take your order) from the manufacturer(s) you're considering. You might also do well to call www.premier1supplies.com and get their opinion (their chargers are a bit pricey, but they give the best advice; and I *highly* recommend the price-for-quality of the rest of their electric fence supplies).

    P.S. - one good and easy way to improve the performance of almost any fence is to put in extra ground rods and keep the soil there from getting too dry. People often 'get away with' just 1 or 2 ground rods for a substantial fence but it really works much better with more and they are *cheap* [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat​
     
  5. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    957
    1
    151
    May 14, 2008
    I have a Field Guardian FL150 for 15 miles. I want to upgrade to a Parmak Super Energizer4 that cover 50 miles so i will have enough power to add some lower strands and still work with weeds.
     
  6. boilerjoe_96

    boilerjoe_96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    298
    3
    151
    Apr 4, 2007
    West Lafayette, IN
    Quote:This is my 5th year doing hay... Already have the JD4020, JD1600 MOco, JD640 rake, JD 327 baler....

    1 acre per horse/cow here in Indiana. for summer pasture. Another acre to be put in hay for winter. This is very self sustaining. I shouldn't have any issues given even a less than normal year... BTW, I am getting $160 a ton I deliver it to the lady 1 mile down the road still on the agon...


    Wolf-Kim: Intermittent.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:In some places, sure.

    OTOH in other places it is *plenty*. I keep 3 horses out 24/7, on 5 acres with no food except what they graze, from late April thru mid November. This is in a pretty weedy pasture. Pasture (soil and grass) is in better shape now than when we got here 5 years ago, too.

    If a person keeps their horse stalled (and hayed) at night, you can load an Eastern pasture even more heavily with not much problem.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    4,654
    27
    251
    Jun 15, 2008
    For horses I will never use anything but electric tape. I've had so many major injuries from wire and some horses can learn that if they run into a wire fence of low gauge it will just break before they get shocked. Never ever again will I use wire around a horse. Electric tape will confine horses and cows with only 2-3 strands and the strands can be kept high enough not to ground out on most weeds. I have about 5 miles of electric tape with one rail slightly below 5' and the other slightly below 3'. I haven't had an escape since finishing this fence and it has never grounded out despite the fact we do nothing to the weeds.

    Now goats you have no choice. An electric fence will not keep in goats. You will need fencing wire or panels. If you do actually decide to do that I would then set a rail or 2 of electric tape inside it to keep the horses back. Even if they don't get injured horses are hard on woven wire fencing. They stomp it down and lean it horribly. You'll have to stretch it out again every year.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  9. lleighmay

    lleighmay Chillin' With My Peeps

    508
    4
    141
    May 21, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    My horses and Dad's cattle are held in by 2-3 strands of electric running at about 3.5. Of course, they have no reason to leave since the horses are in about a 40 acre section and the cattle are rotationally grazed in sections about that size. My goat Earl could not be contained by 6 strands of wire running at 5.5 (I could probably keep chickens in there unless they touched the fence and got cooked and mind you he has plenty to eat) b/c he is apparently a masochist and would walk through the fencing with no notice though it should have halfway cooked him. Fortunately he doesn't go anywhere, just hangs out in the yard. He doesn't know it yet but I'm planning to put in 4ft dog wire fencing topped by electric (and possibly a strand around the bottom) so that I can keep him up unless I'm home to supervise his activities.
     
  10. boilerjoe_96

    boilerjoe_96 Chillin' With My Peeps

    298
    3
    151
    Apr 4, 2007
    West Lafayette, IN
    I was hoping to use 3 or 4 board fence and then just line it with electric.... I love the aesthics of a 3 or 4 board fence...

    Driving in Kentucky the horse farms with miles of fence looks awesome..

    Field fence doesn't look great...

    Not going to spend the money on Goat/sheep fence or welded wire mainly due to cost.(I will spend the money to get the board fence to look nice, goat/sheep fence doesn't have the same quality of looks though...)

    I may have to do some rethinking...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by