Frequently Asked Questions
We provide a lot of advice to our customers; here is a list of some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have any other queries or need to know anything else feel free to contact us directly.
An electric fence system comprises of 3 main items: an energizer, wire/rope/tape or electric netting and power supply (either mains or battery). You will usually also have posts (to support the wire/rope/tape/netting), an earth stake (to complete the circuit) and, depending on your specifications, some insulators (to ensure good conductivity), line tensioners (to keep ropes/tapes taught) and warning signs. The power supply (mains or battery) powers the energizer which in turn sends an electrical pulse down the wire/rope/tape/netting. When an animal touches the fence it receives a short sharp shock as it creates an earth and completes the circuit.
For best results, we recommend that you buy an energiser recommended by us for your application (see energiser selection chart). Ensure you install a good earth system and test its effectiveness as explained; use high-quality wires with good conductive characteristics and high specification insulators (Note, energisers with high joules will require better insulation than low output ones so always select appropriate products). Service the fence regularly by checking the voltages on the fence and earth and clearing vegetation growth.
The energiser you choose depends on many variables, including the type of animal being controlled, the length of the fence, its location, and even the climate (wet climates can drain energy from the fence and dry climates can cause earthing problems). In general, choose a higher powered energiser than you think you need to handle unexpected challenges such as vegetation and to allow for possible future expansion of your fence.
Ineffective earth systems account for 95 percent of all electric fencing problems. When using portable fences, use the correct earth stake as recommended. In dry, rocky or sandy soil conditions more than one may be necessary. When using mains energisers in a fixed position, use at least one x two metre long galvanized earth stake. Make sure to use bolts to attach the earth wire and tighten firmly. The drier the soil, the more extensive the earth system needs to be. Always check the earth immediately following installation and at periodic intervals, particularly in summer. If excessive voltage readings are found, add more earth stakes at 2 metre spacing until the voltage is within tolerance levels.
In sandy or rocky soils, in extremely arid climates, or where the ground is frozen for much of the year, the standard earth system may not prove adequate. In these situations, it may be necessary to wire the fence with alternative wires being live / earth. Such a fence will then no longer be dependent on moist soil conditions. When an animal touches the live and earth wires simultaneously, the current will travel back to the energiser's earth system, completing the circuit and delivering a shock.
Electric fencing costs less, is easier to install, requires less maintenance and can control livestock better than barbed wire or many other types of fencing. In addition, livestock are frequently injured by barbed wire and will damage woven-wire fences by leaning on the fence. Because livestock avoid contact with an electric fence, it will last longer than other types of fence. Barbed wire or woven-wire fences may only last 7 - 12 years, while permanent, high tensile, electric fences can last 20 years.
Barbed wire is designed as a physical barrier, using barbs to deter animals. Because of the barbs, there is a greater chance the animal can become entangled in the wire. Electrified barbed wire could cause even more damage to the animal, therefore barbed wire should never be electrified. For a selection of safer poly wire and tape, refer to our tape, wire or rope sections.
Electric fencing is an excellent solution for containing animals on a short-term or temporary basis, as in rotational or strip grazing. The lightweight mobility of portable electric fencing is ideal for frequently moving livestock to different sections of pasture. We have all the components needed to create grazing system including: plastic posts, poly wire and poly tape, reels and energisers. Because pastures frequently are not located near a MAINS power source, a full range of battery powered energisers is available.
The short, sharp shock your pet receives from an electric fence will get their attention, but not harm the animal. This will teach it to avoid the fence in the future and stay within the boundary.
Electric fences are portable and far less costly than a barrier type fence. Additionally, they can be unobtrusive - you do not block the view. Using electric wires on the top or bottom of a chain link or wood fence can prevent digging under or jumping over the fence.
You can easily add an electrified wire to an existing chain link or wood fence. Our insulators are available in a variety of styles that give the flexibility of putting an electrified wire at the outside top of the fence (to keep dogs, cats, and other animals from climbing or jumping over) or at the outside bottom to prevent dogs from digging underneath. This is a simple, low-cost way to "dog-proof" an existing fence.
The short live and earth cables that go from the energiser to the main fence wire and earth rod will crack over a period of time. If it rains the water will enter the cracks and the system may well short.
Crocodile clips when out in the elements can go rusty over time. Check them at the beginning of the year and replace them if needs be. Nothing beats a good connection. A few pounds spent will make all the difference to the effectiveness of your fence.
You may not like it but the best time to check an electric fence is when it is raining. For example, you may have had a permanent fence system up for 4 or 5 yeas and one screw-in insulator may have cracked. There will be no noise when the sun is shining but when it is raining the water will enter the crack and touch the screw thread and this will short the fence out through the wooden post. Just walk around your fence and listen for the spark to crack.
When it is wet a slack fencing line, be it rope, tape, wire or polywire could become very close to an earthing point (a wooden post or tree or grass). The electric pulse will try to jump the gap and hey presto the system will not be working correctly. Just walk around and listen for the crack noise and check where it is coming from.
Livestock specific questions
Pigs tend to charge forward when they get a shock from electric fencing. Always ensure that your fence is fully tensioned - use inline tensioners within your system or corner pulley/egg insulators at corners.
If normally kept segregated for breeding purposes, bulls or other aggressive livestock may become highly motivated to escape confinement, especially when nearby cows are in heat. To contain bulls, maintain 4,000 volts on the fence line and a minimum of 1.5 joules of stored energy. Four to five wires are best. For more aggressive animals, you want the electrified fence to deliver a more intense shock to discourage them from going near the fence again so higher joules would be desirable on long fences.
Equine specific questions
We suggest that you never use a spring gate for horses... Horses tend to stand with their backs to fences and gates. The spring gate will swing in the wind and like a concertina will open and shut. Horse tails whipping back and forth can get caught and not only will the horse get a shock it will have tail hairs pulled out! So use an electrified rope or tape gate.
The short sharp shock your horse receives from an electric fence will not injure it, but will teach it to respect and avoid the fence. Very roughly, the shock produced by a small energiser is similar to a sharp whack by a riding crop. Traditional fencing is more apt to injure horses when they get scared or spooked and attempt to push through or jump over it. A properly installed electric fence system is the safest, most visible method to keep your horses contained.
Electric fencing is the most cost effective and efficient method of containing horses while safeguarding them from injury. Barbed wire, woven wire, and wooden fences can injure a "spooked" horse that attempts to run through or jump over them. Injuries a horse will sustain if it gets tangled in barbed wire may be fatal. Electric fencing is lower cost, easier to install, requires less maintenance and controls horses more effectively than traditional fencing.
If normally kept segregated for breeding purposes, stallions or other aggressive horses may become highly motivated to escape confinement, especially when nearby mares are in heat. To contain aggressive horses, maintain 3,000 - 4,000 volts to the end of the fence line. Three or four strands of fence wire are best. The more aggressive the horse, the higher the shock must be to discourage them so generally higher joule energisers are recommended.
An electrified wire can easily be added wire to an existing fence. This option can prevent "cribbing" or chewing the tops of wood fences, as well as keep horses from jumping, or prevent animal pressure on the fence. A range of insulators is available to allow an electrified wire to be erected on the top or interior of the fence. Offset type insulators will put the fence wire 150mm out from the existing fence, preventing animals from pressing against it.
We aim to get all of our orders turned around and delivered within 2-3 working days. Sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances this is not possible. Please call us if your order doesn't arrive with in the specified timescale and we will track this for you. If you have more questions on delivery please do contact us and we will assist you in anyway we can.
In the case of failed delivery, your goods will be taken to back to either the TNT or DPD depot depending on who is delivering and they will attempt a re-delivery and a card will be put through your letter box with the courier details. If you have not left instructions for a package to be left... please get in touch with us and we can pass on your request to the couriers.
If you have any special delivery instructions, please specify them when confirming your order and we will ensure they are given to Tuffnells or your international carrier. There is a limited space of 40 characters for delivery instructions. We will do our up-most to ensure that Tuffnells follow your delivery instructions. We recommend that you do leave instructions for your goods to be left with someone who can sign for it, as we cannot accept liability for goods left without your signature. If you are unavailable at your home address, why not get it delivered to your place of work?