Answers to the FAQs
Q: Is an electric fence safe for the animals I want to contain in it?
A: Electric fencing is the safest form of agricultural fencing. Even though voltages are high, current (Amps) is very low and is generally intermittent or pulsed. Amps are the dangerous part of an electrical charge.
With electric fencing, animals are trained to stay away from the fence so the animal does not lean against the fence, thus it will not be harmed or push the fence over. There are also far fewer edges and points that may cut the animal and cause harm.
Q: Will the shock hurt my animals?
A: Studies conducted by PAMI, a Canadian testing organization, indicate that it requires approximately 700 volts to penetrate the hair, hide and hoof of shorthaired livestock. Less than 700 volts and the animal will not feel a shock because the voltage is too low to break down the impedance of the animal’s body.
Zareba recommends a minimum of 2,000 volts for controlling livestock. This allows for the breakdown of hair, hide and hoof with voltage to spare. BUT REMEMBER...it takes more than voltage for the animal to feel the shock. It takes voltage, amperage and on-time.
Have you ever walked across a carpet, and reaching for the doorknob, received a “static shock”? Most of us have; it’s very common. Funny how it never really hurts...it’s more startling than painful. You see the flashing spark and hear the snap; it surprises you.
So, how much voltage and amperage is in the “door knob” shock? A 1/8” spark from a doorknob is approximately 5,000 volts! More than 2 times the amount of voltage needed to control mild livestock. Do you think this “door knob” spark would contain an 800-pound steer? NO WAY!!
Why wasn’t the 5,000 volts painful? The reason is it takes more than voltage to feel an intense and memorable shock. It takes voltage, amperage and on-time (energy) to feel a shock. The static shock from the doorknob contained very little energy.
Some fence chargers produce this same type of shock….all voltage and no energy. These chargers test well on a voltage meter, but they won’t keep your livestock in. (We should call these “doorknob” chargers!)
Q: Do electric fences cause interference with phone or power lines?
A: They shouldn't. It's best to locate your fence's grounding system 50 feet or more away from your phone and power lines' grounding systems.
Q: What does splicing do to the electrical current?
A: Every splice on a fence causes a disruption to the flow of electricity over the fence wire. Poor splices - those that are loose and have bad contact - can cause a loss of several hundred volts.
Multiply this type of voltage loss by the number of splices on a long fence, and you may have lost most of the available electricity for energizing the fence.
Q: Will winter weather affect my fence's performance?
A: Frozen ground and snow can definitely affect your fence's performance. Frozen soil doesn't conduct electricity as well as non-frozen soil If there is a lot of snow covering the ground, the snow acts as an insulator, preventing the animal from making contact with the earth and ground. Some farmers and ranchers do not hook up or operate their electric fences during the winter.
There is a way to electrify fences in the winter months (although in snow regions, it's tough), by using a "hot/ground" system rather than the traditional earth ground system. A "hot/ground" system is installed by running parallel wires on the fence. One wire is electrified or hot and the other wire is the ground.
If an animal contacts both the hot and ground wires at the same time, tha animal gets a shock. The ground wire transmits the electricity back to the charger rather than the earth. This type of system is also used in rocky areas or dry regions where soil below the surface has very little moisture.
Q: Does the end of my fence line need to connect back to the
A: No. An electric fence's circuit is completed when the fence is touched. The current goes through the animal, through the earth, and back to the charger to complete the circuit. A fence line can be terminated at any point.
Q: Can you use more than one lightning arrestor on a fence that has
multiple live wires?
A: Yes, you can use more than one if the fence has more than one live wire.
Q: What can cause the electricity in my fence to decrease?
A: There are several factors that can cause the electricity to decrease:
Broken Insulators - Other circumstances can cause an electric fence to lose voltage and amperage. If an insulator breaks and causes the electric fence wire to touch the fence post, the fence post will draw a specific amount of voltage and amperage from the fence to the earth. This can be prevented with proper fence maintenance.
Rusty Wire - If rusty fence wire is used it will not draw voltage and amperage to earth, but it will impede the flow of electricity over the fence wire, causing less voltage and amperage to flow along the rest of the fence.
Q: How much longer will a high-tensile fence last compared to a barbed
A: Quite a bit longer. Consider this: a permanent high-tensile electric fence can last over 40 years, while a barbed wire fence or woven fence will last about 7-12 years.
Between being safer for animals, needing fewer posts and other features, it makes sense to use high tensile instead.
Q: What is Ultra-Low Impedance?
A: Competitors claim that their energizers are engineered to supply increased current levels (Amps) in the worst ground conditions. This means that the energizer will release enough electrical charge per second to power through shorts that could be caused by extreme vegetation and weed conditions.
However, the increase in amps from Ultra-Low Impedance chargers does not increase performance or effectiveness. These fence controllers can often provide too much charge that can be harmful to or agitate your animals if they become entangled in the fence. Because of the risk of increasing the amperage, UL will not approve these types of fence chargers.
Zareba® is the largest manufacturer of electric fence systems offering durable, reliable electric fence products for all of your animal fencing needs.