Electric Top Wire Grounding on Wood Fence

Unhackable21

Hatching
Jan 18, 2021
5
3
9
I have a large Chicken & Turkey enclosure surrounded by 6' wire Fence spanning across 4x4"x6' Wood posts set at 8' apart with a 2x4" Wood Top Rail. (Picture attached) The entire top is covered and netted. Had a bobcat somehow find his way through a junction in the net (after jumping up on the net - video attached) and of course, killed chickens without eating any of them.

I have since invested in an electric top wire setup. I have a top wire set 5-6" above the wood top rail all the way around the enclosure using polywire and it is very tight. The Charger is a 2.0 joule and I have it grounded with three 6' copper ground rods spaced 10' apart. Fence tester yields 5000V and 2.0 Joules. All is working as expected

However - this is my problem. When the cat jumps up on the top rail, he is obviously no longer grounded, thus the top wire will likely not even deliver a sting.

How can I bring the ground up to the wooden top rail so that I get the effect I am after, while not having to electrify anything lower? Can I wrap polywire around the top rail, (attached to the ground post on the charger) do I run a ground wire next to the hot wire, or do I need to do something else?

Thank you in advance for any help
 

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Howard E

Crowing
5 Years
Feb 18, 2016
2,876
3,895
296
Missouri
Lot to unpack here. First, the 6' tall welded wire fence, even if nailed to wooden posts, can be turned into a large earth ground field (attach woven wire fence to your earth ground system) but it looks like wire fence was placed on the inside or pen side of the posts......so a cat can climb the wooden posts....and be hooked into those and never be touching the ground field when it encounters the hot wire.

So you need to find some way to install a means of earth ground to top of those wooden posts. Perhaps run a couple strands of earth ground wire on standoff insulators....or install grounded metal flashing on the posts...or even a clump of chicken wire around the top of the posts ......hooked to the earth ground.....some way to make sure cat is forced into contact with earth ground when it encounters hot wire at the top. Goal is to get an earth ground they can't step over or around....simply can't avoid it. And again, that is in addition to grounding the woven wire fence. All these grounds are not a load on your fencer. They enhance it's effectiveness.

And a second hot wire at the top would help.....this one on stand off insulators on the outside of the posts.....way up high.

And 5,000 volts is the MINIMUM. Unhook your fence from the fencer.....and test fence charger straight from hot side terminal to earth ground terminal. That is the maximum potential of your fencer. When you are done, it ought to be close to that or you have a short somewhere, bleeding off potential shock.
 

hayley3

Crowing
13 Years
Aug 16, 2007
2,057
1,924
426
Southern Indiana
I have a large Chicken & Turkey enclosure surrounded by 6' wire Fence spanning across 4x4"x6' Wood posts set at 8' apart with a 2x4" Wood Top Rail. (Picture attached) The entire top is covered and netted. Had a bobcat somehow find his way through a junction in the net (after jumping up on the net - video attached) and of course, killed chickens without eating any of them.

I have since invested in an electric top wire setup. I have a top wire set 5-6" above the wood top rail all the way around the enclosure using polywire and it is very tight. The Charger is a 2.0 joule and I have it grounded with three 6' copper ground rods spaced 10' apart. Fence tester yields 5000V and 2.0 Joules. All is working as expected

However - this is my problem. When the cat jumps up on the top rail, he is obviously no longer grounded, thus the top wire will likely not even deliver a sting.

How can I bring the ground up to the wooden top rail so that I get the effect I am after, while not having to electrify anything lower? Can I wrap polywire around the top rail, (attached to the ground post on the charger) do I run a ground wire next to the hot wire, or do I need to do something else?

Thank you in advance for any help
Love your setup 🥰...and wow I am shocked that the bobcat got through all that. Sorry about your chickens :hugs
 

U_Stormcrow

Crowing
Jun 7, 2020
1,596
3,405
286
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
First, its a great looking set up - but yes, having the fence on the inside of the posts complicates things greatly. Otherwise, you could ground to it and run a perimeter hot top standing just off the rail with insulators, and be done.

You might actually be better off wrapping your uprights in metal, rather than capping the top. Tie the whole system to ground. Or pretend the uprights are fence posts, and attach a series of wires, alternating hot/ground/hot/ground/hot stood off from the posts, so anything seeking to climb the fence likely contacts at least two wires at some point. That a LOT of insulators though.

Neither solution is an attractive one.

I do sort of respect the cat's efforts - plenty of humans could/would not have defeated your set up. Very sorry for your losses.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,539
17,598
771
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
:welcome :frow I'm surprised your 2 joule fence charger doesn't put out more than 5000 volts. I had a 1.2 joule charger that averaged around 8000/10000 volts. I recently put it in my chick/grow-out coop and it's reading around 10000 volts. I replaced it with another charger on my outer coops. I like @Howard E's suggestions. I myself have metal posts. If I touch the hot wire and the fence I would get shocked. It has happened. I like the idea of running a hot wire around the top high enough so if a predator did climb up they would probably get zapped.
Many years ago a bobcat killed 14 birds one night. That was before I put the electric wires up. I forgot to shut the pop door on the coop. Big mistake and a lesson learned the hard way. I did put leg traps out. It didn't come back the next night but did the following night and I caught it and eliminated it. Recently I have been seeing a bobcat. Here is the bobcat I have been seeing outside of my chick/grow-out coop. I'm sure it knows the hot wires are there.
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cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,539
17,598
771
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
You may be able to put metal flashing on top of the wood railing and ground it and a hot wire or two above it so the cat would have to touch the hot wire and the grounded flashing on the top rail and up I would also put the flashing up the posts. Just a thought. Maybe also put some hot wires around the coops and pens. Good luck.
My setup isn't nearly as pretty as yours but it works. The fencing is grounded too so if anything touches the hot wires and the fencing it will get zapped but also just touching the hot wires. I do have one 8' galvanized ground rod sticking out of the ground about 6" but it works.
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U_Stormcrow

Crowing
Jun 7, 2020
1,596
3,405
286
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Its the ground. OP has what looks to be dry, likely rocky soil with a high sand content. Its a poor conductor. The copper ground rods were a mistake too (for a completely different reason, NOT because copper is a poor conductor. Because of the dielectric effect, using copper grounds with a galvanized electric fence will dramatically accelerate corrosion).

Needs more, and deeper rods for grounding and properly spaced 10' apart, or better - turn the entire existing fence into the ground, so there's no need for the soil to do the work.

I have dry clay sands here, and had to install a total of eight or 10' rods of 5/8" rebar before I was happy with my grounds - though admittedly I enclose considerably more space with a 1/4+ mile perimeter.
 
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cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,539
17,598
771
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
Also so sorry for your losses. I just reread your post and noticed you don't want wires around the bottom of your coops and pens. Most predators first explore with noses. If the wire is baited and the cat touches the wire with it's nose or mouth, I'm sure it probably won't be back.
 

Unhackable21

Hatching
Jan 18, 2021
5
3
9
Thanks for the reply.

Couple things
1) I verified the voltage with a meter and it is 8000v - I also upgraded the charger to a 20KV / 6.2 Joule just in case. I want a major deterrent here. Wires are out of reach of dogs and humans currently. Basically there is no reason I would reach above the top rail myself.

2) I have the poly wire currently at a 6" standoff on the top rail (picture attached)

3) I can easily ground the wire fence everywhere, no problem - it is actually already connected to ground rods, just not to the charger, however...

4) There is no climbing - the Cat jumps from the ground right to the top rail, thus the current standoff. It can't be avoided when jumping from the ground as is - he will definitely touch it

So my question is - could I either run a ground wire on the secondary tier of my insulators (each type has a spot to wrap wire below the hot wire) This would place a ground wire about 1" below the current hot wire and the cat would inevitably touch both - just not sure of the effectiveness if it is only one paw that touches it.

or

Should I wrap poly wire around the top rail every 2-3 inches so when he jumps to the top rail he will be standing on a ground and will have to touch the hot wire.

Which one would you suggest in this scenario? Both?
 

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