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A Big Thank You

February 6, 2015

to my husband for making my job easier in many ways.

Especially when it comes to our electric fencing setup or system, whatever you want to call it.  He setup our original electric fencing, and we’ve not changed it much in close to 20 years.  Stagnant?  Maybe.  But new or different isn’t always the answer, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.  If anything we’ve simplified our fencing over the years and became less rigid.  Instead of allotting pasture by the math/acre method, we utilize our keylines and start each grazing season with a fresh outlook.

While planning our original electric fencing we wanted to:

♥  Be economical.  We started out with recycled welding wire spools for fencing reels ala Salatin and I love them.  We still are using the same reels we started with.  They are simple to use, lightweight but tough enough to withstand abuse.  The money savings here was enough to allow us to make enough reels so we could really do our work easily.  You need enough reels to do the job each day without it being labor-intensive.   A minimum of three each long and short fencing reels.  Long so you can make big runs, and short so you can adjust the size of paddocks to match the grass growth.  As the grazing season progresses you make (or should) smaller paddocks to better utilize the grass.

♥  Be elegant.  Have uniformity in materials to enable productivity which in turn keeps the system simple.  Our definition of elegant may differ from yours.  We wanted to stick with the Merriam Webster elegant definition of “simple and clever.”  That meant we didn’t want to have the electric fence be obtrusive and noticeable in our open pastures.  We chose rebar cut to length for posts for their multi-use nature in case we didn’t want to continue with the experiment, and black insulators and gate handles to complete the ensemble.  I might note here that if you’re not good about picking up your fence posts, choose a different color for your insulators so you don’t waste valuable time hunting for your posts.  Black does blend in more than you think.  On the uniformity/productivity angle, resist the temptation to have several different styles of posts in your cache, it really slows you down, either from carrying extra weight across the field as you set up your fence, what comes to mind is the rebar posts from Home Depot with the spade on the bottom.  Extra weight and the spade hangs up on every post in your arm load slowing you down and adding to the frustration level.   Or having a handful of pigtail posts in the mix.  It doesn’t matter what kind of post you have, step in, push in, or pound in, just strive for uniformity.  This really comes in handy if you need someone else to build your fence for you in a pinch.  Nothing more frustrating than helping someone and looking at a dizzying array of different posts to pick from.

♥  Be easy to troubleshoot.  This one fact alone is why we don’t use much polywire or polyrope preferring instead to use a single strand of wire.  We use steel just because it costs less, aluminum would be the Cadillac if you can afford it.  We have used the other products but after being let down time and again with the rope we don’t use it anymore.  Over time the small wires can degrade from every day use, at least with the single strand of wire it’s obvious where the weak point in your fence is.  A broken wire is visible to the naked eye, with the tape and rope products not so much.

One of my winter chores is performing maintenance on all the posts, reels, insulators, and gate handles for wear and potential problems.  It’s nice to get this job done when the fencing materials aren’t in use, and get them stored and ready for the grazing season.  It will be here before I know it.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2015 3:14 am

    I’ve used aluminum wire in the past and found it far too easy to break. I believe it was 14 gu might have been 12, can’t remember, definitely was not 18. I stick with steel.

    • February 7, 2015 5:29 am

      I’ve been happy with the steel, the price is right and I think the idea you need the aluminum so the deer can see the fence (besides no rusting) is a crock. I’ve yet to see a deer that didn’t see the fence. Humans? That’s a different story. Not to mention wire is a whole lot easier to recycle.

  2. February 7, 2015 7:06 am

    a good tutorial.- simple and clever – elegant – I am still learning about electric fences.. wire is not my forte.. c

  3. Karsten permalink
    June 4, 2015 2:22 am

    Very nice blog with lots of good tips. I was wondering what kind of insulators you are using on those rebars? Do they last long?


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