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Good neighbors make good fences.

Beginning homesteads buying pasture areas are often presented with a problem. The land they can afford may have been allowed to deteriorate for a long period and thus the fencing is in pretty bad shape. However, their financing resources may not permit extensive fence restoration. What to do?

A temporary, and perhaps longer term, solution may be to keep the existing fencing but to relieve livestock pressure against it by adding one or more strands of electric wire.

Check corner posts

Check corner posts to make sure they are solid. If not, replace them or the deficient bracing (send a business size SASE with one first class stamp attached to Tipper Tie, PO Box 866, Lufkin Rd., Apex, NC 27502-0866 and ask for a copy of their fence building procedure manual which includes corner bracing using deadman braces).

Once the corner posts are solid, add the number of strands of wire desired using stand off brackets along the line and insulators at the corners or turns as necessary. While stand off brackets can be purchased already assembled, you should find you can make your own far cheaper by ordering insultubes and heavy-gauge wire. This would involve cutting the wire to the appropriate length, adding about a 12" length of insultube in the center, folding this over to form an eye, and then bending the legs as needed around existing wires to form the stand off. Self-made stand offs would reduce the cost of them about 75 percent.

Electric fencing

Once the stand offs and corner insulators are ready, run electric fencing wire of the suitable gauge (12-1/2 gauge is generally recommended) through the stand offs. Secure at one end and then use a wire strainer to put the desired tension on the wire.

The benefits of standoffs

Stand offs are better than post insulators for existing line posts since they keep the livestock away from the fence about one foot. Thus, once trained that getting close to the fence results in a sharp shock, pressure against the fence is minimized. Cattle will still graze under the stand off wire up to the fence. If both sides of the fence are used, both sides should have stand off wires.

Barbed wire not electrified

It is not recommended you electrify barbed wire. The wire used in most barbed wire is not a very good conductor to start with and it poses a health threat to you and your livestock if either become tangled in it while the energizer/ charger is turned on. Besides, barbed wire costs more than regular electric fence wire and is far harder to install.

For reasonably good fences, such as barbed wire ones with rusty wires and some sagging or missing strands or woven wire in similar condition, only a single strand of electric wire may be required. For fencing in really bad condition, some fence restoration may be needed before electrification is considered. The type of livestock will also determine how much restoration or electrification is required.

Temporary electrification can permit replacing or restoring permanent fencing a section at a time as resources permit.

Add years to fence life

Even if your fencing is not in excellent condition, adding a stand off strand of electric fence wire can add years to the life of the fence by greatly reducing animal pressure (e.g., preventing leaning over the top of the fence).
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:temporary electric fencing
Author:Scharabok, Ken
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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