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Frequently Asked Questions about Electric Fencing

Does the Electric Poultry Netting really keep the fox out even though it is only 3 ft 6 in (1.1m) high?

Yes it does. It must be remembered, Electric Poultry Netting is to keep the foxes out, not necessarily to keep the chickens in. To keep the hens within the netting enclosure if might be best to clip the lead feathers of one wing, if your birds are a little 'flighty'. This will make the hens unsteady when they take off and therefore less likely to fly.

A fox would not leap over a one metre tall fence unless it has something to climb on to first. Foxes tend to 'scramble' over fences not 'leap' over them so if you want a non-electric fence around your chickens it would need to be over 6ft tall. It is wise to just check the perimeter of your planned fence and 'think like a fox' to make sure there would be no easy access points or things to climb on to (including low trees).

A fox (or badger) will investigate the fence you have placed around his dinner, looking for an easy way in, and then it will 'bite' him. He will wander off to look for easier prey and come back another night in case you haven't switched the fence on.

Can I use electric netting with Ducks and Geese?

We would not advise this form of fencing for ducks and geese. Waterfowl have a tendency to try and walk through the flexible netting for some reason; they don't see it as an obstruction and then cannot get free. For waterfowl we advise either wooden or plastic posts and then insulators to carry either tape or wire in a more rigid way so they cannot become entangled.

How does the animal get a shock?

The animal must have its feet (or some part of its body) on the ground to receive a shock. This is because the electric pulse going through the fence (positive) will give a shock only if it can go to earth (negative) and it will do this through the animal, or human unless you are insulated from the ground by wellies for example.

The more contact the animal has with the ground the greater shock it will feel, so, a fox or badger with large soft paws will get a greater shock than a goat for example who has small hooves.

I have pets and children; will the electric fence hurt them?

No, the pets will undoubtedly yelp if they come into contact with it, and run away, but it won't physically hurt them (although they may not speak to you for a few days). The only possible danger posed by an electric fence is if a small animal becomes entangled in it for several hours and cannot get free, then it could harm them. Most 'pet deterrent' kits are very low voltage though and pose no danger at all.

Children of course will love the tingle they get and find it great fun! Then you will have to stop them playing with it. It is easier to explain to children than pets so the answer it to make sure they understand that they should not touch the fence.

It is always advisable to have an electric fence warning sign even if your fence cannot be accessed by the general public. The only time there is any danger to people is if they have a pacemaker fitted, otherwise it will just make you jump, and maybe do a little dance, but it is not advisable, from a common sense point of view, to keep touching the fence or to encourage anyone else to touch the fence.

Why do I need an earth stake?

The earth stake is essential to make the system work and is simple a metal rod that should be pushed well down into damp ground. This will complete the circuit between the fence, the animal and the energiser. So, the electric pulse goes through the fence, through the animal, to the ground, back to the earth stake, which is connected to the energiser - and that completes the electrical circuit.

I've set it all up but it doesn't work, why not?

1. Make sure all the connections to the earth stake and to the fence are sound and good, and that all wires are unbroken.
2. Is it switched on? You would be amazed how many people forget this part.
3. Are the batteries new? If using a 12v battery are you sure it is fully charged? If using normal D-type Batteries, do not use re-chargeables as they drain very quickly and are not recommended.
4. Do not tie the tape or wire in a knot to finish or join ends as this will impede the electrical conductivity. It is better to use metal buckles for tape and connectors for wires.
5. Make sure there is NO vegetation (or anything else) touching the tape or wire to make it short out to earth.
6. You can call us of course for any advice about making it work, but please just double check the installation instructions again first.
Still not working? Call us on 01300 345229

I have a car battery; can I just connect it to the fence?

No, you need an energiser to convert the stored energy in the battery into an electrical pulse that the fence can recognise.

There seem to be a lot of different electric fence energisers, how do I decide which one I need for my fence?

Firstly, add up how long your fence will be, not forgetting that if you have four strands in your fence for example, you must then multiply the length by four. There are guidelines within the specifications of all the energisers to tell you how much fence length it will power. If still in doubt just give us a call.

What is the difference between a mains energiser and battery energiser, how do they work?

Put simply, the energiser (fencer) takes the power from a mains socket and converts it to a DC voltage to pulse through the fence. With a battery system the battery (usually 12v car-type battery) becomes your power source and it again uses the stored power of the battery to send a pulse through the fence. As a guide, a mains energiser will put a more consistent, usually higher, voltage through the fence.

How do I decide between a battery and a mains electric fence system?

A mains system would usually be a preferable system because you don't have to worry about the battery going flat, it costs very little to run and is usually less expensive to set up initially. You can place your energiser up to 50m, maybe 100m, from the fence itself and connect with insulated lead-out cable.

A battery system is the best idea if you require more flexibility and need to move the fence frequently, or maybe mains power is simply not available where the fence is situated.

How often will I need to re-charge the 12v battery?

We would always recommend a 12v Leisure Battery (used in caravans and motor boats) in preference to a car battery, as this type will last longer and give a better voltage over time. We would recommend re-charging with a normal car battery charger, preferably a 7 amp if possible, every 2-3 weeks. This will make sure your battery stays in good condition for a number of years, and that the electro-plates inside will not be damaged.

Can I re-charge a 9v or 6v battery?

No. the 9v and 6v batteries are disposable so would need to be replaced.

Will some grass growing around my fence make it not work?

It certainly could do or at least reduce the voltage going through the fence. Ideally no grass or any vegetation - bushes, trees, timber posts or anything except plastic - touches the electric wires. If it does, it will conduct the voltage from the fence to the ground and therefore reduce the voltage going through the fence. If there is a shorting out you would be able to hear a 'clicking' noise from the fence and this will indicate that there is a short somewhere. You would not normally hear any noise from the fence apart from a very faint ticking or hum from the energiser.

If you think vegetation is going to be a problem then you can strim or mow where the fence is to go, or, use a higher-powered energiser so that some loss of voltage is less important.

I have a fence tester, but how many volts should it show going through my fence?

With electric netting we would suggest a reading of 3000v would be great, and 2000v is fine. The voltage of the fence will depend on the power of the energiser of course. The voltage required also depends on which animal(s) you are fencing in or out. Cattle for example, with their tough hides, will need a higher voltage (say, 6000v) than foxes who investigate with their noses.

I want to keep cats/foxes out of my garden, they climb over a 5ft tall fence, how can I do this?

You need to make a 2 or 3-strand fence running in parallel, along the top of your fence, with the lines of wire approx 2" apart. One or two wires will be a live wires and the other an earth wire. You would need some screw-in insulators and then a polywire to use as both your live and earth wires. A simple low voltage energiser will do the job and should be connected to one wire strand, and the other wire strand would be connected to your earth stake. The idea is that the cat (or fox) would touch both wires at the same time and therefore receive a shock.

Alternatively, look at our 30m Garden Fence Electric Fence Kit

Who are Hotline, Horizont and Gallagher?

Hotline Electric Fencing are a long-established, highly reputable, British Company currently ranked about 4th largest in the world, and based in Newton Abbot in Devon. We have been agents for Hotline since 2004. They have recently allied with Horizont who are a large German Fencing company distributed through Bramley in Gloucestershire.

Gallagher Power Fence is the biggest electric fencing company in the world and their main headquarters is in New Zealand. Their European headquarters are in the Netherlands, and in England they are based in Coventry. Gallagher is a very well known company world-wide who offer top quality equipment.

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