The Basics of a Portable Electric Fence
Originally Portable Electric Fence by Mark Twain’s 1889 novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, electric fence technology continues to evolve for the purpose of managing livestock and wildlife. Portable electric fences are easy to transport, assemble and take down, allowing flexible fencing for short-term animal control or rotational grazing.
A portable fence requires a rechargeable, battery-powered energizer (often called a charger) and several conductors—usually polywire or braided wire. Insulators are placed along the length of the conductors to protect people and animals from shock. An insulated handle is used at the end of an electrified line to disconnect the energizer.
Electric fence energizers are battery-powered units that emit pulses of high voltage at regular intervals to deter predators and keep livestock contained. They store high energy potential and release it immediately when a conductive object contacts the energized wires. Most energizers have multiple power options, including solar and dry cell batteries.
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Wet vegetation conducts some of the pulse energy to ground and reduces the level of shock a bear receives. To maximize the effectiveness of an electric fence, weeds and grass should be clipped or removed so that moist vegetation does not contact energized lines, even in windy conditions.
A lead-acid, maintenance-free battery powering an electric fence can last up to two weeks without needing a charge. If you live in an area with poor soil and earth-grounding, a dual-wire system can be more effective; one wire acts as electrically charged and the other as grounding.