Sunday, August 29, 2010

help!

Help! The electric fencing charge is so weak..it barely sparks my bare palm. Yet the grounding wire is wicked charged...I know because I brushed it by accident with my hand. I am using a 2 mile electric charger on a 1/6th of an acre pen...I went out in a panic and bought a grounding rod three feet long and nailed it into the ground to replace the 1 foot copper rod that came with the kit. I don't know why it's barely working but Finn is ignoring it. I have to go to work tomorrow and am terrified he'll get out, break down the fence so the sheep get out too while I am half an hour away... If he got into the road and got hit or caused an accident (people fly down this road) I am just so stressed out.

I have been running around all over Washington and Bennington county buying sledgehammers, grounding rods, electrical supplies and the works yet it is barely buzzing. Does anyone know what I can do to up the charge? help!

If I can't contain Finn safely I don't know how I can keep him. I have spent the day either in a panic, in tears of frustration, or driving all over trying to contain him.

50 Comments:

Blogger Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 29, 2010 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

pls delete the phone # after you write it down jenna.

August 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I was just reading a book "The Sheep Book" by Ron Parker, and it says if the soil is very dry below the wire, it won't conduct electricity. A solution he states is to make the fence of alternating ground and "hot" wires. I have no knowledge about fences or electricity, but that's what it said. Good luck!

August 29, 2010 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Ormond Otvos said...

http://www.pasturemanagement.com/mistakes.htm

August 29, 2010 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Lynda: I wrote down the number, but who's number is it.

anyone? would water on the ground wire help?!

August 29, 2010 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Ormond Otvos said...

Sounds like the dry weather may be reducing your ground effectiveness. If you get a shock from the ground wire while near the ground rod, it means you need a deeper or multiple rods, and a more powerful fence charger.

August 29, 2010 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Jenna, he's my husband of 25 years who fixes and makes everything. He just has to walk by some stuff and it stops acting weird. Call if you want to talk directly.
Ormond Otvos (I am Halliger-Otvos)

August 29, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Ormond Otvos said...

It's my number, Jenna.

August 29, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Pricilla said...

I will tell you we tried electric fencing for our goats and it didn't work. The charge was high enough to knock me unconscious when I hit it so it was a heavy jolt. The goats learned to either fly over it or they hit it and just didn't care.

We now use 6ft tall horse fence for the does and 8ft for the buck. We have Nigerian dwarf goats.

August 29, 2010 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

oh no....

August 29, 2010 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Ormond Otvos said...

How well do your goats jump, Jenna?

Is there a usually damp spot somewhere near the fence and its power source where you could drive an effective ground rod. Double wire hot and ground only works when the animal hits both of them. I suspect, from my limited experience with goats, that they can figure such things out...

August 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

ormund, i tried calling you. i'm not sure i understand you? should the ground rod be wet or dry? it's been dry here. There is no damp ground really, except the soils natural dampness.... which i dont think is much

August 29, 2010 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger farmwifetwo said...

Dh says to contact the company you bought it from.

Also, check to see if it's touching anywhere, berry bushes, grass etc.

Lastly, everything tolerates charge more or less than something else.... So, your goat may get out depending on how well it tolerates the fence.

August 29, 2010 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Ormond Otvos said...

I was thinking a watering trough, or well pipe. It doesn't significantly reduce fence charger power to run it another fifty or hundred feet. Black polyethylene tubing can be used to insulate it. The ground is the ground.

I suppose you could put the ground wire on the ground and about six inches or a foot IN from the fence, and hold it down with plastic fence stakes....

August 29, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I think i need a better ground and stronger charger. i just thought the 2-mile would be overkill as it was since it's electric (not battery or solar) and just a 1/6th an acre.

August 29, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Kathleen Stoltzfus said...

It's my understanding that goats need the strongest charger you can buy.

August 29, 2010 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Jenna-
DH says that the wire may be touching the metal posts and grounding them out. He says you can also get a fence tester and that will tell you how weak the circuit is. They are very cheap to buy. Check your ground wire on the fencer box and see if it is loose or not connected right. Hope this helps!

August 29, 2010 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Roy said...

Can you put Finn in the barn or a shed while you are at work until you figure this out?

August 29, 2010 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I just got off the phone with a neighbor/goat farmer who will be here first thing in the morning to check on things. She thinks she and I can figure this out and she is a fence pro.

i feel better. much much better.

August 29, 2010 at 9:38 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

I don't know anything about fences or goats but I just think it's an amazing thing, this web, that you are able to get such great advice. I have only had to deal with escaping chickens. Good luck, Jenna!

August 29, 2010 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger sheila said...

I used a three foot ground last year and it wasn't deep enough. Went with a six foot one and that worked. The guy at Agway recommended an eight foot ground, but I knew there was no way I was going be able to pound anything that long in.

August 29, 2010 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Good luck Jenna! I'll be thinking of you in the morning. Dang clever, brave, curious goats.

August 29, 2010 at 9:53 PM  
Blogger Tony Colella said...

Jenna,

I have not worked with an electric fence but I do run into a lot of odd electrical issues in my rental properties. I have found that if I am getting about 1/2 the normal power or less to an outlet then somewhere there is a break down in the system such as a neutral wire that has "dropped" (become disonnected) or somehow the ground wire is contacting the "hot" black wire. Dropped and grounded neutrals have resulted in a number of odd readings.

The best solution for me is to check everything and ulitmately I do find it but it can take time.

If you replaced the fence wire then perhaps a look at the box and the outlet that you are plugging into. Check for breakers in your house that may have kicked partially but not appear to be kicked (although I would not think this to be the problem in this case but you never know). I have houses show 1/2 voltage on one side of the house due to a breaker that had gone bad but by all appearances looked just fine. Underneath it had cracked.

My point here I guess is to relate the problem and solution may be further back than just the wire.

Tony in Asheville

August 29, 2010 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Tony Colella said...

Jenna,

I have not worked with an electric fence but I do run into a lot of odd electrical issues in my rental properties. I have found that if I am getting about 1/2 the normal power or less to an outlet then somewhere there is a break down in the system such as a neutral wire that has "dropped" (become disonnected) or somehow the ground wire is contacting the "hot" black wire. Dropped and grounded neutrals have resulted in a number of odd readings.

The best solution for me is to check everything and ulitmately I do find it but it can take time.

If you replaced the fence wire then perhaps a look at the box and the outlet that you are plugging into. Check for breakers in your house that may have kicked partially but not appear to be kicked (although I would not think this to be the problem in this case but you never know). I have houses show 1/2 voltage on one side of the house due to a breaker that had gone bad but by all appearances looked just fine. Underneath it had cracked.

My point here I guess is to relate the problem and solution may be further back than just the wire.

Googling the symptoms may provide some solution as well as contacting the company as others have suggested. Hang in there. This can and will be fixed and you will get to keep your goat.

Tony in Asheville

August 29, 2010 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Krista said...

I had read somewhere that if you put peanut butter on the charged wire, the animal will touch it with his nose and will get such a zap that they won't go near the fence again.

The article was referring to a deer that wasn't bothered in the slightest when its rear end bumped the electric fence. They tried the peanut butter and didn't have any problems after that.

August 29, 2010 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

thank you all! thank you ormond and annie on the phone, thank you alli on the net, thank you over and over.

we'll figure this out.

August 29, 2010 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Rita said...

Jenna - can you tether him for tomorrow?
Rita

August 29, 2010 at 10:24 PM  
OpenID jorbar said...

If you are getting a jolt when touching the ground wire the ground pole does not “connect” well enough with the soil. Either you will need a longer ground pole or you can try to water the soil around the pole to make better contact. Wet soil carry electricity well, dry soil does not.

Good luck

August 30, 2010 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Hunington said...

It may just be a bad unit. I think that's more likely than a grounding issue. You should be able to hear the unit hum when you plug it in.

I don't recommend tethering. I tried this once in an unfenced pasture, and watched one of my goats walk towards the anchor point, then run as fast as he could to the end of the tether. He did this eight or nine times until he eventually sheared off the 4X4 treated lumber anchoring post at ground level -- goats are scary strong. A stall or shed works better -- my goats always calmed down in the stall with some hay to occupy them.

August 30, 2010 at 12:31 AM  
OpenID canttalkdyeing said...

Just a thought (SO not an expert!) if the problem with the non-electrical part of the fence is that he can rip the nails out, what if instead of nails you just wrapped wire through the fence and all the way around the post? It'd be pretty quick to just spiral it all the way down, through each square of the fence. Like sewing it on instead of pinning.

August 30, 2010 at 1:05 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

everyone, thank you for your help and advice. I have a neighbor (well, nearbye town neighbor) coming by to check the fence and offer suggestions. she's kept goats for years and knows them darn well enough to help me keep mine!

August 30, 2010 at 5:40 AM  
Blogger abrah said...

Just to add 2 cents -- back in the day we had goats and sheep, and the goats would actually bully the sheep through the electric fence! These were Saanens that were a little on the larger side... and they were too smart for their own good.

August 30, 2010 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Heck with the 3 foot grounding rod- get one of the long suckers- I think they're normally like 10 feet or something like that. Also, if the ground around the rod is dry the fence won't have much zap so pour a bucket of water around it during the really dry spells.
We have goats and pigs (on occasion, they're in the freezer now) and this has always solved the problems we have with the strength.
Good luck, Jenna!

August 30, 2010 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

*just to clarify because I reread my comment and gasped a bit*
We eat the pigs. the goats aren't consumed- they're dairy goats. =]

August 30, 2010 at 7:48 AM  
OpenID gileadgoats said...

I agree with what many have said...try a longer grounding post, pound that baby as deep into the ground as you can. If it's particularly dry, water it with a hose or bucket, that will help with the charge. Also, check to be sure that your wire/tape isn't grounding out against your posts, or weeds. the charger you have should be adequate for your pasture, so if you get the ground rod deeper and wetter, and there is no place where the fence is grouding out, then you may have an issue with the charger itself.

August 30, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger Everett said...

Please excuse me if you already know this, but... Keep in mind that if you're using woven electric fence the length includes every strand. In other words, you may only have 500 square feet of fencing, but it could be miles of wire weaving back and forth to form the squares in the fence.

Also - I'm curious how one is supposed to use a "portable" electric fence when you have to pound a grounding rod 6-feet or more into the ground in order for it to work. Are you supposed to pull that thing up and move it every time you move the fence? Or do you just buy a bunch of ground rods and put them all over the place so you have them everywhere you want to move the fence?

August 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Kitty said...

I have Nubian goats which are about the same size or bigger than Finn and the only thing I have found to absolutely keep them inside the fence is to use cattle panels. I watched craigslist and got some really heavy duty used hog panels and no one has escaped since then. Previously I tried field fence and hot wire like you, but still had escapes and they stood on the fence wire to reach for outside treats and eventually tore up the wire. Good luck!

August 30, 2010 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Melanie J. said...

Wish I could help you, girl. I try not to put too much stock in astrology, but Mercury being in retrograde can't be helping your cause. Hang in there! HUGS!

August 30, 2010 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

A vertical wood slat fence is the only way I fence my goats. They climb, weave through, or jump everything else. Especially if they have gotten through once or twice, they will do everything they can to get through again.
I use electric wire for my sheep on some pastures and page wire on others. These don't keep the goats in. Goats are too agile and too smart.

August 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, I have a 10 mile charger on about a 1/2 acre yard for my goats. They don't go near it. I can turn it off and they will still now go near it. I have heard about the dryness affecting the charge also. And if there are things touching any wires. I am constantly going around checking it. I hope you get it figured out. And I think Fin needs a goat friend! Sheep are no fun! Good luck.

August 30, 2010 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Aaren said...

Perhaps a neighbor has a big ole tractor tire you could get into the pasture to tether him on during fencing emergencies. Some of my friends keep their big male goats on those with heavy chain and roll the tires around the field to graze them on tether. This may at least be secure enough for a few days until you get a fence tester- voltometer. Just make sure Finn can't get tangled up in brush or a sapling if tethered.

We have a solar charger for woven wire for our poultry and it is often grounded out against the grass, so we check. Fencing is such a stressful issue, especially during a dry summer!

August 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Pricilla said...

It's not good to tether a goat. They can end up strangling themselves.

August 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Wish I could be of help here, but I have no experience with electric fences. I do know (as you have discovered) that even if they're not trying to escape, goats will destroy field fence just by standing on it, leaning on it, etc. Sounds like you've got some knowledgeable help on the way - I'll be anxious to hear what the solution is!

In the meantime, I'd confine him inside a structure if you have one available (he won't die if it's just for a day or two) or rig something as best you can in the pasture, if that's all you've got.

FYI - I don't know if this is true for sheep, but chicken feed is bad for goats (and of course they love it), so don't house him anywhere that he might have access to that (or any unrestricted feed for that matter). Good luck!

August 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I also have an 8' ground rod. It was very dry here earlier in the summer, and the fence was less effective.

But how do you have your fence set up? From the pictures it looks like 2 (or more?) strands of electric tape? You should have a connecting wire from the "hot" connection on the charger going to the fence (then connect all strands so they're all hot), and a ground wire going from the charger to the rod. Is that how you have it? The electric at the gate should go over or under the gate...so either put it way up high so you can walk under, or bury the wire in conduit under the gate.

August 30, 2010 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Farmer said...

farmer.finI've been keeping goats since this Spring and have had great luck with electric fencing, including figuring it out mainly on my own. I'd say if it's a battery energizer, either it's not connected to the fence properly or it's not sufficiently charged. If your emergency is still going on, I can lend you an extra solar powered charger. Drop me an e-mail if so.

August 30, 2010 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Farmer said...

I've been keeping goats since this Spring and have had great luck with electric fencing, including figuring it out mainly on my own. I'd say if it's a battery energizer, either it's not connected to the fence properly or it's not sufficiently charged. If your emergency is still going on, I can lend you an extra solar powered charger. Drop me an e-mail if so.

August 30, 2010 at 3:15 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

25 years goating. Best for us 5 ft. no climb horse fencing with T-post or graduated panels (we call them cattle panels here) with T-post. Corners fortified with wood post set in cement.

August 30, 2010 at 4:57 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I hope all is well with Finn and the electric fence. I think animals are similar to kids, even though you try to set barriers to protect them, they still find a way to get into trouble.

August 30, 2010 at 10:07 PM  
Blogger Nanzilela Obejane said...

Hiya, If you have an animal (like a goat) that does not respect an Electric fence then the technique that works every time is to
a/. Make sure there is 6000v
b/. Bait the wire with a suitable bait. These may be either proprietory http://www.agrisellex.co.uk/bait-caps-1871-0.html or smear a suitable substance on the fence line.

Sounds a bit cruel but it works a treat.

August 31, 2010 at 4:49 AM  
Blogger Urban Au Courant said...

Jenna, I am in no position to second guess you nor Annie, however did you actually check out the link that Ormond put in?> http://www.pasturemanagement.com/mistakes.htm That seemed to me to be very comprehensive. My .02c.

August 31, 2010 at 4:44 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home