Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Basic Fence Safety (Part 1) Updating Existing Fencing

Good electric fence will keep your animals
off your fences, but you want to make sure
the fences themselves are safe, in-case the
power goes out
This is what our front paddock started out looking like. All those little bits of wire are a potential scratch & infection just waiting to happen. A lot of time and some heavy-duty pliers and all those little bits have been bent back against themselves.

Horses can find almost anything to injure themselves on, and fences built for other types of livestock are frequently insufficient, even dangerous, for horses.

T-Post cap with electric poly tape wire.
T-post Caps

T-post caps are SO important for horses as they prevent the horse from braining themselves on the posts. If for any reason my mare spooks/tries to escape/whatever from the field and hits a T-post on the way out, she'll be protected from serious injury by these hard plastic caps. There is not excuse for not using them, they are super inexpensive! The one we bought cost less then $1 per. 

Why I like electric

I know some people are a little scared of it, but I think electric fencing is just about the greatest thing ever invented! Installed properly, you can not only use it to temporarily divide paddocks to match your land-management plan. It also keeps your live-stock from rubbing up against your fences; nothing destroys fences quite as a fast as an itchy cow. 

We don't have perfect or beautiful fences,
but I do consider them very
safe fences.
I once saw a mare plow through a "deer" (or "tri-pod") style fence because the mare and a companion were standing underneath a tree, against the fence, trying to get away from the bugs. The companion got annoyed and kicked out, scaring the mare & STRAIGHT through she went. The fence was old & not maintained properly, but string of electric may have kept both those mares from standing where they were, preventing a life-threatening injury. 

Our electric fencer covers 31 miles, definitely more then you need for less then 5 acres, but it delivers a strong enough shock to get through weeds, long fur & give the coyotes a good jolt to make them think twice about visiting us. It only costs us $160, plus all the electric tape, insulators and T-posts. We will probably update all the property's fences for under $400 (not including the post & wire fence we're building). 

A good electric fence also has the benefit of detering human visitors. 

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