Need electric fence help

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Hogfarmer10

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I've got a single strand electric fence. Mostly 14 gauge steel wire, except for about 750' of poly rope along the road ( it's also at the end of the fence, so the current goes through the poly last). Total length is about a mile. 15 mile fencer -ac power. All new insulators. With a 5 light tester, it lights up all 5 lights (8000+ volts). Grounded via 2 4' steel rebars, as well as ground wire tied to an adjacent barbed wire fence. Calves just go right up to it, flip the wire up, and walk under it with the wire brushing their backs all the way. It's like it's not even there. Ground is wet, in fact it's rained twice this week, raining right now, and more rain next week. Haven't been dry all year. The calves are 400 lb Charolais X Angus. Their hair is very much like sheep's wool. Is the hair just too thick? Any and all help is appreciated.
 
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I've got a single strand electric fence. Mostly 14 gauge steel wire, except for about 750' of poly rope along the road ( it's also at the end of the fence, so the current goes through the poly last). Total length is about a mile. 15 mile fencer -ac power. All new insulators. With a 5 light tester, it lights up all 5 lights (8000+ volts). Grounded via 2 4' steel rebars, as well as ground wire tied to an adjacent barbed wire fence. Calves just go right up to it, flip the wire up, and walk under it with the wire brushing their backs all the way. It's like it's not even there. Ground is wet, in fact it's rained twice this week, raining right now, and more rain next week. Haven't been dry all year. The calves are 400 lb Charolais X Angus. Their hair is very much like sheep's wool. Is the hair just too thick? Any and all help is appreciated.
You need to test joules and not volts. The worst thing for an electric fence is a sorry ground system. Yours is bare bones at best.
 
Test it yourself, place one hand on the ground and grab the wire with the other hand, you'll know for sure then, my bet it is not working. If you are not brave enough for that then get a green blade of grass and work it further up gradually until you get a tingle but keep the other hand in contact with the ground.

Ken
 
I added another ground. I drove a 10' long galvanized pipe a little over 7' down. I'm going to try that first. The fencer is 1.9 joules. I'm sure I'd have to order a different tester. I don't understand how my ground would be considered "bare bones". That's how we've always grounded them and this is definitely the first time we've ever had this kind of trouble. If I have to run another wire under the current one, would you energize it or wire it to make a ground wire?
 
I'm gonna piss a bunch of people off here, but I've never grounded more than a couple feet deep with a single rod. I do use a rigid copper pipe for the ground rod though. Never had trouble keeping critters in, and I know she's hot from personal experience. Clay soils. I do pour some water on the ground occasionally in hard droughts.
 
I added another ground. I drove a 10' long galvanized pipe a little over 7' down. I'm going to try that first. The fencer is 1.9 joules. I'm sure I'd have to order a different tester. I don't understand how my ground would be considered "bare bones". That's how we've always grounded them and this is definitely the first time we've ever had this kind of trouble. If I have to run another wire under the current one, would you energize it or wire it to make a ground wire?
I'd make her hot.
 
Once their shoulders are past the wire you've lost, I would like to see them stopped before their ears are past the wire.
 
I'd be curious to know what the actual voltage (not just a light tester) is at different locations along the fence. Also how long of a run is the fence? 1.9 joules is not very much.

I have some spots where I have a single wire and it is at 7000-8000 volts but it is with a 15 joule charger with 5 ground rods. I have it at mid thigh height. Calves when they are small will go under it but it is not long before they get big enough to find out what it feels like on there nose and that's when they are trained to single wire.
 
Sounds like it should be zappin' them. I'd add another strand at knee height. I have read that in extremely dry conditions, you can use one of the strands as a ground. We're in NH so super dry is not an issue usually. I use two strand hi-tensile grounded with two 8 foot ground rods (copper). 3 Joules and no loose cows...
 
Test it yourself, place one hand on the ground and grab the wire with the other hand, you'll know for sure then, my bet it is not working. If you are not brave enough for that then get a green blade of grass and work it further up gradually until you get a tingle but keep the other hand in contact with the ground.

Ken
If you're not brave enough for that, ask your wife along for a romantic evening walk. Hold her hand. Be sure you have appropriate footwear when you grab the wire.
 
We have a couple Gallagher Smart Fix fence testers, invaluable when you have fence problems. Used to cost around a hundred bucks. Something has changed if your system used to keep calves in, but I wouldn't consider a charger that small for anything. It's not the fence that keeps them in, it's the shock, so get a good and big charger. Other thing others have mentioned, ground system. You can test your ground by hand, if you get bit by grabbing it, you need more ground rods. I used to think three ground rods were enough.
 
We have a couple Gallagher Smart Fix fence testers, invaluable when you have fence problems. Used to cost around a hundred bucks. Something has changed if your system used to keep calves in, but I wouldn't consider a charger that small for anything. It's not the fence that keeps them in, it's the shock, so get a good and big charger. Other thing others have mentioned, ground system. You can test your ground by hand, if you get bit by grabbing it, you need more ground rods. I used to think three ground rods were enough.
You can really test your ground with one of the cheap voltage testers with a wire and a probe. Go the last ground rod, put the tester on it, stick the probe in the ground as far away from the ground rod as the wire allows. Get much reading? you need more grounding. Opinions and old habits of grounding do not override electronic principles. Learn the way it should work and then decide if you want to do it right or wrong.
 
You can really test your ground with one of the cheap voltage testers with a wire and a probe. Go the last ground rod, put the tester on it, stick the probe in the ground as far away from the ground rod as the wire allows. Get much reading? you need more grounding. Opinions and old habits of grounding do not override electronic principles. Learn the way it should work and then decide if you want to do it right or wrong.
Add to.this. take a steel post or rod and lay across the fence to intentionally short out the fence and then test the ground. I have seen it feed back enough to shock me. Add ground rods until it reads 0.
 
I've got a single strand electric fence. Mostly 14 gauge steel wire, except for about 750' of poly rope along the road ( it's also at the end of the fence, so the current goes through the poly last). Total length is about a mile. 15 mile fencer -ac power. All new insulators. With a 5 light tester, it lights up all 5 lights (8000+ volts). Grounded via 2 4' steel rebars, as well as ground wire tied to an adjacent barbed wire fence. Calves just go right up to it, flip the wire up, and walk under it with the wire brushing their backs all the way. It's like it's not even there. Ground is wet, in fact it's rained twice this week, raining right now, and more rain next week. Haven't been dry all year. The calves are 400 lb Charolais X Angus. Their hair is very much like sheep's wool. Is the hair just too thick? Any and all help is appreciated.
might be too high with your hot wire. should be about nose high for them little buggers. adding a ground wire about a foot under the hot would take care of the problem.
 
I've got a single strand electric fence. Mostly 14 gauge steel wire, except for about 750' of poly rope along the road ( it's also at the end of the fence, so the current goes through the poly last). Total length is about a mile. 15 mile fencer -ac power. All new insulators. With a 5 light tester, it lights up all 5 lights (8000+ volts). Grounded via 2 4' steel rebars, as well as ground wire tied to an adjacent barbed wire fence. Calves just go right up to it, flip the wire up, and walk under it with the wire brushing their backs all the way. It's like it's not even there. Ground is wet, in fact it's rained twice this week, raining right now, and more rain next week. Haven't been dry all year. The calves are 400 lb Charolais X Angus. Their hair is very much like sheep's wool. Is the hair just too thick? Any and all help is appreciated.
With all due respect, you are under gunned in regards to the energizer you are using. Use joules not volts or miles to rate power to the wire.
A good 8 joule energizer should be adequate. You should get some good suggestions as to brand here but do your own research.
Your grounding rods are definitely inadequate as witnessed by the lack of respect shown by the calves. You should have at least or more
8' ground rods either copper or steel. NOTE Your ground rod wire running from the energizer to the ground rod should be made of the
same material as the ground rod. Your line wire can be different from the ground wire but do not mix different metal types in the line wire.
Steel wire and rope wire are OK . I use 9 strand rope wire for cross fencing and #14 steel or barbless # 12 for perimeter or lane applications.
To the extent economically practical stay away from steel posts and use fiber to avoid inadvertent grounding. Put your 5 light tester away
and invest in a good directional tester that will show the joules and the direction of any short in the line. Also and you will hear me say this
again and again, Never ever walk an animal over a wire for any reason. It teaches a bad habit. Good Luck
 

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