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Electrostop Woman

posted Dec 12, 2015, 1:00 PM by Lynn Moody
I've been fixing electric fencing in preparation for when we start moving sheep and llamas out to graze the "back forty."  This was a multiple day process - took 3 days, in fact, to work through all the fence we have that's not up at the present time.  The fence is made of plastic ("poly") twine that has wires running through it.  When hooked up to a source of electricity, and we use 12-volt batteries most of which are connected to a solar charger, and the animal contacts the wire, the current running through the fence and animal gives it a bit of a shock, and the animal learns to stay away.  This is referred to as a "psychological barrier" and works well, ranches use it for sheep, goats, horses, cattle, llamas and alpacas.  Most of our fencing is "Electrostop" which has worked very well for us.  Occasional fence charger failure means that the fence is up but not conducting current, and when that happens, rodents and rabbits are able to chew through some of the fibers.  And indeed they did.  So, in prep for this season, I am splicing in poly+wire.

Here's how I did it:

I laid the fence out in our driveway, as shown in the two photos above.  Each section of fence is about 160 feet long, and a little under 4 feet tall.  You might be able to make out in these photos that the electric twine/wires run horizontally, and are spaced by verticals -  thin, flexible, plastic, non-electrified rods.  These verticals also get bitten through by animals, and I don't know of any way to fix those.  Every 12 feet or so, there is a pole with a sharp steel spike, the spike gets pushed into the soil and holds the fence upright.  Along the bottom of the fencing, in contact with the ground, is a line of black twine.  This bottom strand is not electrified, in order that the fence doesn't short out with moist ground.  Not being electrified, this strand gets bitten through. 

I walked along it, looking for breaks in the electrified twine.  The twine is mostly white and has some black threads and (of course) metal wires running though it.  In the photo below and on the left I am holding a broken section of the twine; you can see it is frayed.  You also can see a couple of the plastic verticals. The photo on the right shows another break and another vertical - you can see how hard it can be to see the breaks, at least along our gravelly driveway.

We have a spool of similar (white) twine with metal wires running through it, I believe Jim got it from one of our local feed stores, and it has been invaluable for fixing this fencing.  You can see the spool in the photo below.   I cut off (using the electrician's tool with the red handles, below) an appropriate length of this twine, and tie it to the broken fence strand, each end.  I tie it in a square knot.  Square knot is a good knot because as you pull on it, it tightens rather than loosens like a slip knot would.  The wires in the splice should be in contact with the wires in the original fence strand, and you're done with that repair.

As mentioned above, the black bottom strand is not electrified so gets bitten through most commonly.  I splice in a length of string (non electrifiable) in the hopes that doing so will make the fence easier to tension when we put the fence up.

The photos below show the fence "in action."  The photo on the left is a Santa Cruz Island lamb from a couple years ago.  The photo on the right is several years old, before we had Santa Cruz Island sheep and when we still had the goats Bruce, Iris, and Annie.  We do still have Buck the llama, and hope to use him soon, again, as a guard llama.