What size electric fence wire?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by cgjsmith, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. cgjsmith

    cgjsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    587
    0
    169
    Mar 6, 2007
    tennessee
    Hi all, We are restringing our electric fence. The last wire we got seem to break all the time. It was 14 gauge. What sized wire do you use? Does the tape work better> Crystal
     
  2. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    We use 12.5 guage wire. And very rarely have any trouble with it breaking. [​IMG]
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    86
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    14 or 12 gauge is normal for steel electric fence wire. If your wire is breaking all the time it is possible that you are straining it too tight. You can't install it as if it were high-tensile... [​IMG] Alternatively is it possible that animals are breaking it by going through it (rather than going thru it after it breaks, you know?) This time of year is especially bad for that, as electric doesn't have nearly so much zap when the ground is frozen and some critters will just walk thru it, or canter thru if it still has a bit of zap to it. (Have you used a GOOD, i.e. digital not cheap-five-neon-lights, fence tester to see what charge it's running right now?)

    I actually use mostly 16 gauge aluminum wire -- I like the high conductivity and relatively low break strength -- and only get a broken wire about every other year, despite temperatures down to -25 F and lower. However this is just as a hot wire on four-board fence... certainly if the wire WAS the only fence, that breakage rate would not be acceptible to me and I'd use a different arrangement [​IMG]

    Tape is not 'better' or 'worse' than wire, it is just different. Its main (practically only) virtue is its much better visibility... thus, horses do not tend to go thru it accidentally nearly as much as with wire, nor therefore get hurt on it as much. I am not sure it has any real value for anything other than horses. The drawbacks of tape are that it is much higher resistance than wire i.e. you can't run as much fence off a given charger and still keep the charge up high enough; it needs closer spacing between posts; it flaps in the wind unless installed really right; it doesn't last as long (typically something on the order of 2-5 years; it is not the tape breaking that usually ends its useful life, it's when too many of the fine metal wires that run thru it get broken in various places so it no longer transmits sufficient charge); and it is more expensive.

    What kind of critters are you fencing?

    Pat
     
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    5,545
    224
    288
    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Electric wire should only be stretched enough so it doesn't sag between posts.
    I prefer 12 1/2 Ga aluminum. It's MUCH easier to work with,and carries a lot more voltage than steel, plus it will NEVER rust.

    Electric fencing is NOT a physical barrier. It's psychological.
     
  5. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    We have poly rope, I like it better than the bare wire because horses and other animals and lets not forget humans! can see it better.
     
  6. cgjsmith

    cgjsmith Chillin' With My Peeps

    587
    0
    169
    Mar 6, 2007
    tennessee
    I have goats and sheep. I think part of the problem was it was suppose to be temorary through the summer to offer more feild. so we used step in posts with t-posts for the corners we are going through and adding t-posts and pushing the step ins closer. We had one of the light testers and it quit working, we couldn't tell if it was the tester or the charger. I'll pass the info to my hubby. Any more ideas would be welcome Crystal
     
  7. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,832
    17
    221
    Jan 25, 2008
    We had issues with the horses snapping wires before. When we restrung the fence, we added some tension springs. They helped a TON!

    I would look into adding them if you do not have them already. They allow the wire some flexibility and keep them drawn tight.

    I can't recall what gauge our wire is though..

    -Kim
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    86
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:The quick and dirty way to see wehther the problem is the tester or the charger is to just grit yer teeth and touch the fence. Seriously [​IMG] (There are other ways too.) As a very crude measure, look at it this way, if you don't get zapped, neither will your stock or a predator [​IMG]

    If the fence is at all intended to keep predators out -- which requires a fairly high charge on the fence, like 5-6,000 V -- it is REALLY REALLY worth investing in a proper, digital fence tester. I believe you can find them for $50 ish if you shop around. They are much mroe accurate than the $10-15 thingies with the multiple neon lights. A fence with insufficient charge is basically pointless.

    If your fence is dead or nearly so, it is QUITE possible your wire breakage is from stock (or wildlife like deer) just walking thru it. (Sometimes deer are a problem with wire fences even when charged, btw -- if a deer is running along and doesn't see the fence it can go thru, breaking the wire, before it even knows what's happening.)

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  9. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Take a screwdriver and touch it to the metal post and then ease the screwdriver toward to the fence wire, if its working you should she a spark and or hear the fire arching off. Its alot better than touching it. If its like our fence charger, you grab ahold of it and you cant turn it loose. [​IMG]
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    86
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Ok, yeah, I should have said "just TOUCH it, like with an outstretched finger or the back of your hand, don't GRAB it". Good point [​IMG]

    If you can gauge distances very accurately by eye you can estimate the charge on the fence by how wide a gap you can draw a spark with, with a screwdriver. I still recommend a good digital fence tester though [​IMG]

    Pat
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by