Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about Animal Fencing Systems and Farm Fencing Solutions

Here are some questions that we are commonly asked on farm and animal fencing systems. If you don't find your answer here, please send us an enquiry. Have you looked at our request for a quote? We take you through all the questions we need answers to, in order to give you our professional recommendations.


An electric fence is an open circuit. If you take the earth away, the circuit cannot complete and cannot give a shock.

Yes, the earth rods helps the system to complete the circuit when animals touch the fence and the shock can happen.

It's always best to use a galvanised steel rod. Do not use a rusted earth stake. Rust is not a conductor of electricity

Series can be described as a long shoe lace high resistance live out and live back, it is used in security fences. Parallel wires are connected to get low resistance and low power.

Yes you may. The fence must not be rusted and must be running along side, with the live wire (flowing). You also need to erect an earth rod every 100 metres.

  • The formula to use for a Security Electric Fence is 3 earth rods for the energizer and every 100 m along the fence an earth rod.
  • The formula to use for a Farm Electric Fence is 3 earth rods for the energizer and every 1000 m along the fence an earth rod.
  • The formula to use for a Strip Grazing Electric Fence is 1 to 2 earth rods for the recommended energizer, for a radius non greater than 500m.

No. Copper ground rods are not recommended since copper will react with any galvanized steel through electrolysis and corrode the connection. Gallagher uses only galvanized steel components to avoid this problem.

Bare metals driven into the ground, regardless of their conductivity, are susceptible to oxidation and/or rust. Because power fence energizers emit only a brief, powerful jolt, it is very important that the conductivity of ground rods be maximized to insure that the animal receives a good shock.

The best way is to bury heavy-duty insulated cable in a trench about 10 inches deep. Make sure it's rated to 20,000 volts minimum or it may leak current with today's high-power energizers. Do not staple it to the post. Remember to carry the ground wire across the gateway also, using the same type of cable. It can be buried in the same trench as the hot cable.

No. Use heavy-duty insulated cable for the ground wire. Even good Class III galvanized wire will corrode rapidly when in contact with the soil. Corrosion leads to electricity resistance and soon there is no connection at all.


No. Animals can become entangled and trapped in the barbed wire, and while the shock emitted by our energizers is not sufficient to kill or seriously wound a farm animal, the stress of being trapped and repeatedly shocked can.

No. The components in our energizers are designed for specific voltage and current requirements. Hooking up two or more energizers to the same line will eventually destroy the energizers.

It depends on your situation. Gallagher makes many models with different capabilities. The questions to answer include:

  • What animal are you controlling? Domestic stock will take less power to control than fencing wildlife out of an area.
  • How big an area do you need to fence? Obviously, you will need a bigger energizer to carry adequate power on larger jobs and a bigger energizer on more lines you add. If there is a large vegetation challenge for the fence you will need more power. Plan now for any additions you may need down the road, too.
  • What power source is available? If you can, use a 110 or 220-volt plug-in energizer. If you can't, there is a wide range of battery and solar units available.
  • Do you need a permanent or portable system? If your needs dictate a portable system, one of our solar kits may fit well.

The voltage on your fence is greater closer to the end due to what is called the "bounce effect." This means that the pulse the energizer has sent down the fence reached the end and is returning back up the fence. It then meets the next pulse coming from the energizer creating a voltage spike or "bounce." This really means that your energizer joule rating is more than adequate for your fence load and has a surplus of energy, which is exactly what you want in your system.

Voltage merely represents a difference of potential between two electrical points and is only one aspect of overall power. The Joule rating is a true measure of an energizers stored energy or true power.

They are needed with solar panels 44 Watts or more. If a regulator is required, Gallagher pre-installs the unit prior to shipping any solar products.

A measurement of energy. A joule is a unit of work equal to product one watt for one second. It Is the measure of the pop, snap, shock, or kick or the pain/discomfort of the output pulse felt by the animal.

Improper grounding. Battery energizers will put energy into the negative side of the charger (green terminal) if not properly grounded, this also is connected to the negative battery post which then shocks the battery with positive electrons. Solution is to use the proper amount of galvanized grounds rods as recommended in the Power Fence Manual.

No. Gallagher also recommends you use a surge protection plug with installation.


You can use a cell phone app to measure the distance. You move the map around and drop pins on the map to start measuring distance. Simple as that. For apple devices look at this app: Distance Pinner for iPhones and iPads. For android phones this is app is really good and also works in iPhones: GPS Fields Area Measure .

The smallest amount of volts will give you the clicking sound. That would not be enough to give you the effective outcome you want. Get a tester, to make sure the volts are measured correctly.

The tester assists you with fault finding process. If you do not know what amps and volts your fence uses, you do not know if it is effective.

At the beginning of each zone not shorter than 600 to 800 meters pending on the total amount of lines

There are a number of different reasons depending on what code is displayed. Here is a list of common energizer error codes to help you identify what the problem is and what you need to do: energizer error codes.

No, Materials needed and labour required to build power fence are both significantly less than for barbed wire.

A high tensile power fence is every bit as permanent as barbed wire.

Don't over-tension the wire. Using high-tensile wire allows for greater line post spacing than conventional wire; usually 50 feet as a minimum. Also, don't over-tighten the wires. Make sure it's a flexible system that allows for wildlife impacts, snow loading, etc. If you don't "over-engineer" the fence, you'll save a lot of money.

The two most common errors we see are using too many line posts, and over tensioning the wire. Remember, this isn't barbed wire. Power fence is a mental barrier for your animals, not a physical one. When using high-tensile wire, it allows for greater line post spacing than conventional wire; usually 50 feet as a minimum. Also, don't over-tighten the wires. You want a flexible system that allows for wildlife impacts, snow loading, etc. Over-building a power fence makes it too rigid, and you lose this benefit. Plus, it costs you more for materials.

With more wire there is less resistance to current flow in the wires and less of the voltage is dropped in the line itself, which leaves more to shock the animal.

80% of all power fence problems can be traced to inadequate grounding. Your grounding system must be perfect for your fence to perform at its best. After all, it's half the system.

Use a teste to find where the fault is. The problem could be:

  • Earthing along the fence is incorrect and more earth rods are needed to increase the voltage.
  • Vegetation that has grown on the fence is draining the power.


No the energizer puts out a pulse every second or less so there is time for the animal to get away from the fence.

You have probably used an all-hot system (all fence wires are charged). Gallagher recommends all-hot systems only in areas with 35 inches or more of moisture per year. A hot/ground system might be a better choice. Make the top wire of your fence hot, then the next one down a ground wire, and so on. Tie the ground wires together with galvanized wire and clamps at the ends, then connect this to the ground rods, and the ground terminal of the energizer. This way, you carry the ground system out to the animal, and are not relying on dry soil to make the connection.

Yes, in most cases if the birds are clipped wing or are a non-flying species like chickens. The netting will also act as a predator deterrent. It doesn’t take much of an energizer to contain a chicken, but a mid-range charger is needed if there is also a predator issue.

A one-wire cross will contain dairy or trained cattle. A five-wire boundary is necessary for stocker/yearlings or cow/calf operations. Use posts spaced 60-90 feet apart to support the wire.

Help with fence post selection

A tailor-made, low cost, low maintenance, long life electric fence post. The strong yet flexible post allows flex if the fence is hit, to prevent broken or bent posts and minimise animal injury. The composite post is also quick and simple to set-up, as it can be installed with a hand rammre and the wire simple clipped on.


A traditional wood post fence can be attractive, relatively inexpensive and can last many years, depending on the variety and treatment of the timber used. Setting up a wood post fence takes more time and labour, and generally requires a post borer or mechanised post rammer to install.


Steel posts are strong and long lasting and are often popular in drier, arid areas as they can be driven into very hard and stony soils. Steel posts can also be installed by hand, so are relatively easy to set up. Electric fences attached to steel posts must use quality insulators and be installed correctly to minimise the change of electric fence faults.


If you need any additional advice, please contact us. We'd love to help.

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