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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. Have been around the site a couple years but never registered. Used to frequent other places and post but this one seems more my style and seem like good folks. Anyway here's my question.

I am fencing in new areas both big and small for pigs, goats a couple calves and such. I'm not new to farming, homesteading and raising animals however I am new to electric fencing and have never really had hands on with it. I have a few small fenced areas that've been fenced with 48 inch field fencing. In these couple areas I will have a couple pigs and a couple goats. I intend to run a hot wire to keep the pigs from rooting and another wire up higher to keep the goats off of it (these animals will not be all together but at times i may run either goats or pigs in these areas). Now I've read alot about electric fencing and the voltage and joules and such needed to achieve this however what I've found is for using electric as the stand alone fencing. For my application where the electric will only be used to keep them off the woven wire do I need a super duper knock'em off charger? Can I get away with a small more economical charger? Not trying to be a cheapskate but don't want to spend money when it's not really necessary. I just have in my mind that since I'm just trying to keep them off the fence a little snap on the snout with lower voltage will do the trick. Say maybe .5 joule? Or if really necessary will 1 joule be enough or do I really need to bite the bullet and go for the "Big Zapper"? No I don't want to chase pigs around the country and no I don't want to empty my pocket on a charger. Please someone point me in the right direction! Thanks
 

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I would go with at least a 2.5 joule low impedance fence energizer. If you lose one animal because of a cheap fence you've bought a much more expensive fence but have nothing to show for it.

We have two 15 joule energizers plus one six joule energizers. More is better. Bigger is better. Bite hard.

-Walter

PS. Please fill in your location information which makes it easier to answer questions. At the very least your zone. See this thread:

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/pigs/505485-please-fill-location-info.html
 

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Pigs laugh at wimpy chargers and quickly figure them out. I spent a lot of last summer chasing pigs through my neighbors property, in 90 degree heat and very pregnant. We had a small 2mile solar charger running a mile of wire plus the pig pen. Our pen was 16x16 corral with a strand of electric around the bottom. It did not take them long at all to figure out that if they went through real fast it wouldn't get them. Then we put rr ties around the outside so they couldn't run through, so they just rooted enough to bury the wires muscled past the rr ties and off they went. Now we have a 30 mile a/c charger that was around $200. Nobody touches that fence. We've had some serious lightning storms that blew the fuse or knocked out the power and everyone stayed where they belong. Our 500+ pound sows are kept in with just two strands 6 and 18 in off the ground. A good charger is well worth the money.
 

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Training is critical, but a little less so in your situation. I have used a little "up to .25" joule charger and kept them in just fine. If there's a physical barrier that stops them long enough to get a few zaps, they'll learn to stay away from it. If your field fence is sturdy, you don't need a huge charger. That said, there isn't a huge difference in price between bottom-end and middle. I would go for the middle at 1 or 2.5 joules at the most. The one I use is 2.5 joules to fence in about 5 acres and they scream when they hit it. I know I hate touching it. I can't imagine why I would need anything bigger unless I greatly expanded my pens.
 

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The joules and volts are two very different things.

Volts is what causes pain. A 0.25 joule energizer and a 2.5 joule energizer can have the same 10,000 volt level and thus be equally painful.

Joules is the reservoir of power that the energizer is drawing on that lets it deal with weed loads, leaky insulators, etc. If you have a perfect fence inside a small area very low joule rating may suffice - such as a pen. If you live in lush lands with fast growing forages out on pasture then you'll want higher joule ratings - I would recommend at least 2.5 joules for pasture.

Current (amps) is what kills you. Modern energizers are designed with very low current levels so they won't kill, they just hurt. (They can kill in rare situation but let's ignore the extreme exception, for now.)

Time is the other important element here. Modern energizers emit a very brief pulse of energy and then turn the line off for almost a full second. This off time allows an animal to disconnect from the fence and stay alive. Even a low current DC (direct current, always on) or high frequency can kill. If the animal can't disconnect (exception alluded to above) then it can die. Time is critical. That 0.99 seconds of off time lets you let go. Sometime grab hold of the fence with bare feet near the energizer and hold on for a count of five seconds. At the end of the time you'll understand this all to a much greater degree. No, I didn't just tell you to go kill yourself and I actually don't recommend doing that, although I have - it's a long time waiting for that next pulse. Don't do it on purpose.

Stay safe.

Cheers,

-Walter
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all for the advice. Taking into account what was said I decided not to go with a light charger but didn't go big either. I ran across a good deal on a 50 mile blitzer with a 2 joule rating. We will see if that does the trick. If I see them repeatedly testing it I'll have to go bigger. Will report back in a month or so on this thread when I've got a good handle on how well this works. I think since it's just to keep them off the woven wire it should do the trick especially since its small areas one area being 20ft. by 30 ft. The other area being about 100 ft. by 100 ft. I'm hoping it will also keep goats from rubbing on the fence but haven't got any goats lined up yet and want to get the pigs settled in for a few weeks before I buy any goats. Thanks for the help it's greatly appreciated. Also I'll update my location so it helps with future questions. Thanks again.
 

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With good grounding and good fences that should work well. Most fencers click and you can learn to hear in the click how they're doing - the sound varies. Get a good fence tester and check the voltage daily. A loop setup with a switch to open the loop during testing and checking is good. Walk the fence if there is a problem and periodically anyways to look for potential problems.

-Walter
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Just wanted to give an update. Put the pigs in their new pen last Saturday. This particular pen is fairly small at about 60ft by 60ft. Has a 50 mile 2 joule charger hooked to a single strand just inside the bottom of a new woven wire fence. Within 2 minutes of turning the pigs out into it they (2 of the 3) found out what electric was. The first one about 60 lbs stuck it's snout to the fence and immediately shot straight up squeeling, then hit the ground running. The second one about 30 lbs. looks at the first one as if it were crazy and then turns and sticks its leg against the hot wire only to find out what was wrong with the first pig. The rest of the day the pigs wouldn't get within 20 feet of the fence and were really skiddish as if they hadn't realized what happened. Now almost a week later they will get within 6 or 8 feet of the fence but that's it no closer. I figure they may get into it a time or two more before they really figure out what it is that's biting them when they get close but I'm about to call this a success. Really glad I bought a bigger charger than I had initially planned. Thanks to all for the advice.
 

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Well I guess we can revive this thread, being spring its perfect for putting up fence! Though we do have some woven wire type field fence and some cattle panels, the majority of our perimeter fence is single strand electric. I do plan to put another single strand about six inches below that we already have just to keep piglets from wandering the neighborhood.

Here we just added more area, expanded into a spruce forest. Tree rows and extended insulators make a quick fence line. Note the spruce branches and cuttings were used as a visual barrier about 18 inches behind the actual fence line.





 

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No, I set the height about 14 inches to 16 inches, it would be a very tall and super lean pig to jump that! Lol! It tests at ~6000 volts, and it definitely gets their attention. I know it has got my attention a few times! Yeoow!
 

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Great info so far.

I have my first electric fence project coming as soon as the snow melts (if it will ever), we got a gilt in the fall who needs proper space. Our plan is to take about 4 acres of woods behind the house and turn it into a pig sanctuary where she and future meat pigs can live.

The woods are fairly thick and a little swampy in some areas, any special considerations I need to make as a result? I've read mixed things about if branches touch the fence... also the effects of snow touching the fence?

I would prefer a solar unit so it's one less thing I'm grid dependent on, but the house is pretty close to the would-be paddock and doable if those are junk.

I assume a fence kit will come with somewhat idiot-proof instructions, or at worst I can talk to the folks at the feed store.... because I don't quite understand the details of the setup... as far as how multiple wires are connected and the implications of a gate or fence. I'm actually in tech so may just be over-thinking it.
 

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"Sanctuary"..."Meat Pigs"?

Interesting juxtaposition of words. :)

I would suggest rimming brush back from the fence. If you build the fence in the woods where it is shaded there is less regrowth onto the fence.

I would suggest not using solar but going with a utility power AC fence energizer as you'll get a lot more bang for your buck. Fencers die. Surges. Lightning. Life. Solar units are a lot more expensive than AC units. It is easy to run power out a long ways. Either on a fence line or on an insulated line either above or under ground. We have miles of perimeter fence plus many, many more miles of field and paddock fence.

-Walter
 

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Good visibility. That's three wire. It works. I like 9 wire best, 6 wire is cheaper and okay. We have a lot of all three types. What ever tends to be on sale. Kencove.com is a great source.
 
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