Electric Fencing: I Love It, I Hate It


When we went to purchase fencing for our farm, we did a lot of research.  Field fencing was really expensive and I could see that it would be hard to use up and down my hill.  Compound that with all the dips and humps, using it would be a trick. Goats also like to put their feet on the fence and it would soon be broken down.  Barbed wire was not even an option.  I could not allow that to be used.  Imagine what would happen to a goat with a good sized udder getting hung up in that.  Not a pretty idea.

So we went with 5 strand electric fencing with a 12 volt charger.  Putting it up was fairly easy.  One person unrolled the wire while another one walked the fence line dragging it behind.  I was the one walking.  I already had the corner posts in and had porcelain insulators ready.  As I got to a corner, I put the wire through the insulator and kept going.  I connected them all together at the far corner of the property.  When we got all five strung and gently stretched, we pounded in t-posts at strategic spots and attached the insulators.  The fence went up and down with the terrain and looked good.  I love my fence.

I hate my fence.  Some of the goats would not honor it and kept going through the wires to eat my fruit trees.  And they somehow knew when the battery was low so that the zap was not painful.  For those girls I put a forked stick on their collar.  This sticks up over their shoulders and down to at least their chest.  When they try to go through the fence, the stick catches on the fence and they couldn’t just slip through.  A couple of times of that and they learned, but I also had to make sure the battery was always charged.

The property next to mine belongs to people who logged it.  It was nice getting more southern sun in the winter, but the first winter wind took out a bunch of the trees that they left as a buffer.  These went right across my fence.  I cut the trees into firewood.  My fence survived what I thought would be a catastrophe.  I stood up my posts.  The wires did not break and I just had to find new insulators to make it functional again.  I love my fence.

I hate my fence.  When I have to do anything around the fence I either have to go turn it off or take the chance of getting shocked.  I bet you can guess that I have gotten shocked a lot and so have my children.  I am so scared of that fence that I hate touching it even when I know that I have it turned off.

Electric fencing can be versatile.  I can isolate wires so that only some of them are on.  During the dry season, I do this so that the wires themselves are the ground.  When the ground is dry there is not enough shock to keep the calf in unless I do this.  This year I learned that electric wire holds pigs.  They have not tested it since they first got trained.   I have my first wire about 12 inches off the ground.  Now I don’t even have to have it on.  The pigs have that much respect for the fence.  I love my fence.

Today, I hate my fence.  I just spent four hours weedeating around the whole thing.  It had gotten out of hand and the grass was high.  I also have the worst built weedeater that has been produced.  It catches long grass and winds it around the base until the wheel will not turn.  So I have to dig the grass off every few minutes.  But part of that is my fault.  If I had not let the grass get so tall, it would not have been such a chore.  This is the part that I don’t like the most; weedeating around the fence every week during each spring and early summer.  So I avoid it…..until the grass is too long and the goats figure that it is off and they can get to the fruit trees.  Why the fruit trees?  There are lots of other places that they could get out and not be such a problem.  But they have to eat the fruit trees. Darn things.

Electric fencing has an open feel and does not make my place look closed in.  And after the weedeating is done, it is beautiful.  I LOVE my fence.

About Janolyn

I am a mother of 5 wonderful children, 4 boys and 1 girl. During the years that my children were growing up, we grew most of our own food with a vegetable garden, many fruit trees and berry patches. I grew flowers for joy. We milked goats and raised our own meats and eggs. I learned to make my own cheeses, butter, canned foods, sourdough, and fermented foods. I made our own health products like soap, hand creams, lip balm, and herbal tinctures. We live off the power grid and have learned to do without conveniences that most Americans consider essential. The land clearing and building has been mostly accomplished with hand tools; some of them even the right tool for the job. After a couple of miscarriages between #2 and #3 due to “standard medical procedures”, I consulted a midwife and my last 3 children were born safely at home. That was when I was first alerted to the fact that doctors did not know everything nor would they have the time to share it with their patients if they did. As I learned the basic principles of heath-through-nutrition from my midwife, I learned alternative gardening practices from her husband. That introduction started a lifelong love of learning the practical life of our ancestors. I want to share what I have been learning with you and learn from those who are also living a sustainable life.


Electric Fencing: I Love It, I Hate It — 1 Comment

  1. Haha! I can relate.
    I have had a few goats not respect our fence.
    We bought the best charger we could find locally and made sure we had enough ground rods. Winter time when we had a lot of snow I disliked our fence!

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