Electric shepherd: which one to choose?
The pasture where the animals live requires an appropriate fence that will prevent animals from escaping, but also protect them from predators. Farmers fencing off not only pastures but also their crops. More and more often you hear about the plundering of corn or potatoes by wild boars, roe deer and deer. In order to prevent this, an electric shepherd should be properly selected.
There are 3 types of energizers depending on the type of current supplying the electric shepherd. The energizer can be connected to the mains, to a battery and a battery. More and more energizers use renewable energy sources such as sun or wind (solar panels, wind generators).
– Mains power technology is cheaper to use. You have to spend less on an electrifier with a higher power, which is powered from the mains, compared to the one with a similar power supplied from a battery – says Łukasz Giziewicz, a specialist of the Pomelac company.
For horses, a tape with the right tension is enough. They learn quickly where the limits are.
230V mains energizers are the cheapest in purchase, operation and maintenance. On the other hand, energizers powered by a battery or a battery are maybe a bit more expensive, but they have a number of advantages. The biggest one is that they are independent of direct current, which, as you know, is different in the countryside. One storm is enough and half of the farmers are without electricity, and the cows take advantage of this fact very quickly after discovering that there is no electricity in the fence.
This type of work can also be divided due to the possibility of their movement. There are fixed and portable fences, thanks to which we can use the so-called quarters.
Electric shepherd in permenent fence.
Permanent fences are most often built of main, thick wooden poles placed at an equal distance, but above all at the beginning, end and at the bends. Main columns can also be made of fiberglass. The main poles should be dug to a depth of at least 1 m. Inside the trench where the poles are placed, we can additionally place beams perpendicularly to stiffen the structure. Main poles should be approx. 10 cm in diameter and made of good quality wood and necessarily impregnated. As a conductor material, farmers most often use galvanized wire, rope, tape and, less often, braid. Galvanized wire has many disadvantages, e.g. it is difficult to curl, it is not plastic, it takes up a lot of space after folding, it often breaks.
Contrary to appearances, the most difficult species to protect are sheep, because they have a very dense coat.
– Everyone is looking for savings and minimizes costs. It all depends on how much effort breeders want to protect the animals and sleep soundly. You have to consider what is the value of what we fence in relation to the value of the fence. This is a bit like car insurance. Insurance increases with the value of the car. It is wise to make the fence solidly. You can even outsource it to a professional team that deals with it. It is not popular in Poland, we are trying to find out why. We draw experience from our western neighbors and we also provide this type of service. More and more users decide to have a fence made by a professional team. We have already erected 40 km of such fences. The assembly is priced individually, we talk to the farmers and arrange the details – explains Mr. Łukasz.
The braid did not work for me. After one season, it was in tetters..
Karol, a beef cattle breeder from the area of of Siedlce
– The braid did not work for me. After one season, it was in tetters… I mounted the usual galvanized wire in 2 rows, and in the center of the tape. I do not fold for the winter, because cattle are on pasture all year round – says Mr. Karol, a beef cattle farmer from the area of of Siedlce.
The total cost of fencing 1 ha of pasture with a mains-powered permanent shepherd is about PLN 3,000 (the cost includes a shepherd set, posts, wooden piles, insulators, tension springs, tensioner, braid, gate set, connection cable, lightning arrester, earth electrode , a sign – “Attention! Electric fence”). The greatest cost in this case is the purchase of wood.
Portable shepherds are a very convenient solution for quarter grazing. However, they do have a few drawbacks that should be mentioned. Plastic posts can be purchased separately or together with the energiser kit and strap. The posts are connected with tape, rope or galvanized wire. The posts are made of plastic which is flexible and brittle. The spike thanks to which the post is driven into the ground is often very short. The poles also have the disadvantage that they are not very suitable for swampy areas with a high level of groundwater. Of course, the price is one of the advantages that are worth mentioning. The bars cost from PLN 4 to PLN 15 per piece. Pass-through wooden posts with a pointed end and metal posts have recently appeared on the market. They are more expensive, but more stable.
A portable shepherd is perfect for use with grazing quarters.
A complete set of an electric shepherd with a tape (for horses) costs about 400 PLN. Braided sets are more expensive because they cost about PLN 550. Shepherds’ sets with a steel rope to protect crops against wild game and for fattening and dairy cattle cost about PLN 1000 (the price depends on the length of the fence).
Instead of walking every 2 or 3 days and checking the shepherd’s proper operation (the most common method is to touch the fence with grass with one hand and the ground with the other and check whether it is “digging”), it is worth investing in a tester, i.e. damage detector. The testers cost about PLN 250–350. The testers measure the pulse voltage and intensity as well as losses and leakages.
In the shepherd, the voltage must be properly adjusted so that it passes through the fur and skin, and the energy that will cause a feeling of pain, thanks to which the animal will avoid the shepherd
Energy and voltage
In the shepherd, the voltage must be adjusted to pass through the hair and skin, and the energy that will cause a feeling of pain, thanks to which the animal will avoid the shepherd. When building a shepherd, it is necessary to remember about a lightning arrester and earthing.
– Voltage is a way of distributing current. The longer the fence, the higher the voltage in the energizer should be. The most important thing is the strength of the impulse reaching the animal. Very important information for a farmer should be 2 values characterizing the energizer – the size of the stored device and the actual strength of the impulse that reaches the animal. Farmers should be sensitized to distinguish between these values correctly. Often, only the theoretical value is given, i.e. stored as the only one that characterizes the energizer – sensitizes the specialist.
Electric shepherd – Correct adjustment
The energizer should be adjusted to:
- The species of the animal kept in the pasture
- Powering Capabilities
- Size of the fenced area
- Unevenness and shape of the area
- The presence of tall vegetation
- Wild animals occurring in a given area
The difference in the species lies primarily in its dimensions and the amount and density of the hair. The most difficult to prevent animals from escaping are large and hairy – long-haired and thick-skinned cattle – fattening, sheep and ponies, because the hair is a kind of insulation. Contrary to appearances, the easiest way is to build a fence for dairy cattle and horses.
The most common escapees are calves slipping under the fence
– For dairy cattle, we suggest lower-powered devices that are also effective. The smallest power devices we offer are 400 mJ, they work well with short fences for dairy cattle, horses, small dogs, dogs with short hair. Rather for home use, for dogs or 2 cows. For wild boar or beef cattle, we suggest devices above 3 joules of output force. We also have 6 joule energizers that work well in this application – recommends Giziewicz.
In the period of strong growth of grasses and shrubs, the plants should be mowed under the shepherd’s lower line, because the vegetation touching the line causes a large loss of energy. As a result, animals will receive a weaker pain impulse and will be happy to take advantage of it at the earliest opportunity.
It is hardest to protect pastures and farmland from wild boars. These animals have a very thick skin and subcutaneous fat, and a thick coat that perfectly insulates. You can find special wild boar fences on the market.
– You often see such half-measures in pastures. Users are looking for savings in places where they shouldn’t. A cheap energizer, provided that the fence is well made, will cope with many situations. You have to make sure that the fence is well made: that there are insulators, that the conductors are properly connected, and that the wires that carry electricity to the fence are insulated and adapted to this purpose. Connection cables are thickly insulated cables that can be freely buried in the ground or led through the water. Users often do not realize that such a cable for home installation is insufficient for this type of installation, because it has a completely different voltage range – says the specialist.