If you’ve ever tried to install high tensile electric fencing without an expert fencer by your side, you probably have a few scars to prove it, not to mention a mess of twisted wire and insulators. In this workshop, a seasoned expert will demonstrate the basics of installing and energizing electric fence wire. The steps of this workshop will guide you through installing a single wire electric fence offset, on an existing barbed wire perimeter fence. But the same steps and principles can be used for any high tensile fencing project. So follow these simple steps and you’ll save yourself a lot of time, headaches, and probably a few bandages.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- High tensile fencing wire
- Post insulators
- Pigtail offset insulators
- Corner insulators
- Ground rod
- Fence tighteners
- Fencing pliers
- Wire cutters (mini bolt cutters)
- Sledge hammer
STEP 1 – INSTALL CORNER OFFSET INSULATORS
Pick any corner post as a starting point and simply work your way around the pasture until you have an offset insulator set up like this on every corner. Make sure you keep all of them at the same height from the ground, and the same offset distance from the posts.
STEP 2 – INSTALL ELECTRIC FENCE BETWEEN CORNER POST INSULATORS
Once all the corner insulators are set up you can start running wire between them in any order. If you’re going long distances between corner posts it’s helpful to set up your spool of wire on the back of a quad or a hitch mount on a truck or tractor, so that you can let the wire off the spool as you drive. Letting your spool of wire get tangled up is a recipe for disaster.
Here is one example of a DIY spool that works well, built from simple square tube steel, plywood and a few bolts. For more information about how this one was built, talk to Albert Kuipers at the Grey Wooded Forage Association.
STEP 3 – BRIDGE POWER BETWEEN WIRES AT EACH CORNER
At every corner post where one wire ends at an offset insulator, it’s important to make sure power is getting to the next wire. This video demonstrates a simple way to bridge power across each corner insulator.
STEP 4 – HOW TO INSTALL OFFSET INSULATORS BETWEEN CORNER POSTS
There are many different types of offset insulators to choose from, ranging in price, offset length, and durability. The type we found to work the best is the pigtail offset insulator that you’ll see in this video. Super easy to install, they last a long time, and they don’t cost much.
STEP 5 – HOW TO SET UP A POST INSULATOR FOR AN ELECTRIC GATE
Setting up an insulator at a gate post is almost exactly the same as how you set up the corner offset insulators. Chances are that you’ll be setting up quite a few gates in your grazing system, so you’ll have it mastered after doing one or two like this.
STEP 6 – HOW TO BRIDGE POWER UNDERGROUND ACROSS A GATE
The challenge with gates is that when you disconnect a gate to let animals, people or equipment through, you still need your fence powered on both sides of the gate. Bridging power underground across a gate is actually pretty simple. The method demonstrated in the above video is the most common approach, although you may decide to connect your hookup wire differently, by simply wrapping the wire onto the live fence wire instead of using a crimping sleeve.
STEP 7 – HOW TO HOOK UP AN ELECTRIC FENCE ENERGIZER
One of the most common problems with electric fencing is low voltage. There are several common causes for this, from inadequate grounding to trees branches falling on your wire, but one really easy mistake to make (and easy to fix) is having an energizer that’s just too small. Take Albert’s advice and don’t be cheap when it comes to buying an energizer!
We know that learning online is only the beginning, and you’re going to need additional support and resources. If you live near the Rocky Mountain House area click here to become a member of the Grey Wooded Forage Association, or make sure you find out what the nearest Grazing/Forage association is in your area, because there’s nothing better than learning directly from people who are doing it on the ground.
For anyone in Alberta, the Alberta Forage Industry Network offers some great information and links to additional resources on their website.
Check out the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta calendar of events to see if there are any “on the ground” workshops or grazing tours happening in your local area in the near future.