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Practical Advice

Electric Fencing Guide for Sheep and Goats

Sheep

Sheep can be relatively difficult to contain with an electric fence because, although they tend to be docile, in winter they do have thick fleece, presenting unique challenges because wool does not conduct electricity and so requires more power than shorthaired animals. Exclusion of predators such as foxes can frequently be a problem in Spring when lambs are born.

Sheep require 3,000 - 4,000 volts on the fence line together with an energiser with not less than 1.5 joules of stored energy and higher on long fences. Voltage levels are affected by vegetation on the fence line, length of fence and type of wire. Ideally a minimum of 4,000 - 5,000 volts on the fence line is required to keep out predators such as foxes from young lambs.

Note: because lambs are erratic and a target for predators, consider the use of electric netting, particularly for lambing pens, as it makes containing lambs and exclusion of foxes much easier.

Goats

To safely contain goats, you need an energiser that maintains 4,000 - 5,000 volts on the fence line and around 1.5 joules of stored energy depending on the fence length. Goats require closely spaced fence wires that start low to the ground and are high enough to prevent jumping over the fence. We recommend using five to six wires spaced to an overall height of 100 – 115cms (40 – 46 inches).

Alternatively consider the use of electrified netting which is simple to erect and use on small installations.

Wire Spacing Guide for Sheep and Goats

Depending on a variety of factors, particularly the breed of sheep and whether or not they are used to electric fencing, the number of fence wires can vary from three to six, depending on:
  • Is the fence temporary for holding on fodder beet or similar?
  • Will you keep lambs and ewes together?
  • Are predators a problem?
For more permanent fences use wooden posts and high tensile wire. A minimum of three strands is needed for adult sheep but where lambs are to be fenced, more and closer spacing will be necessary

Electric fencing for sheep and goats - Wire Spacing Guide

 
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