Electric Fence Maintenance


The most important time for maintenance and upkeep of an electric is the first week. This is due to the fact that electric fencing works on the ability of the animals to learn. Once they associate touching the fence with an unpleasant shock they will know to avoid it in future. This being the case, it is recommend that in the first week you inspect the fence daily to ensure it is working well. This is so the animals are more likely to receive a shock during the initial learning period. After this you should only need to check the fence once every week or so.


Each time you inspect the fence you should check:


  1. The connection between the energiser and electric fence.

  2. The connection between the energiser and the battery (or mains supply). Look for any signs of corrosion or animal interference.

  3. The connection between the earth rod and the energiser.

  4. You should walk the length of the fence looking for signs of damage to insulators or ‘arcing’ which could indicate a breakdown of insulation. Other ways of checking for ‘arcing’ would be to listen for a regular click or in low light you may see sparks while the energiser is on.

  5. Use a fence tester or voltmeter to check the pulse at each end of the electric fence, and on each conductor wire on multi-wire fences.

  6. In the use of electrified netting you should check the horizontal wire at approximately 100m intervals, and also the connections between separate rolls of netting.

  7. Finally you need to keep control of weeds and any vegetation as contact with the fence can cause leaks that will reduce the voltage.


Fence Load


Any electric fence can have a number of factors that can cause the diversion or impediment of the flow of electricity. The most common term for these factors is the ‘fence load’.
Of all the factors that can cause a high fence load the most common is vegetation touching the electric fencing. This has the effect of drawing current away and causes the available power to be reduced to the point that the animal may not be given an effective shock. This is why it is essential that any excess vegetation is controlled.
Other contributions to the fence load that you will need to check for are:

  • The power of the energiser not being adequate for the fence length.

  • Broken or drooping wire.

  • Inadequate earthing for the fence

  • Poor connections or rusting wire.

  • Cracked, damaged or poor quality insulators.

Other consideration that you must take with electric fences is that any of the above problems will be magnified in wet weather. This can lead to all the electricity from the energiser leaking, or being unable to flow through the fence. The term for this is ‘shorting out’.