Keeping livestock under surveillance, in good condition and protected is essential in livestock farming. For these reasons, it is important to have a good electrified fence that, although it emits electric shocks, are not intense enough to harm the animal. The so-called electric shepherd is a system that allows parcels to be divided and livestock to be controlled, so that the animals have much larger areas to be able to move freely through them, but keeping the area separated from other animals or from certain dangers. Next, in aHOWTO, we explain what an electric shepherd is and how it works , a practical solution for fencing and protecting animals or plants in orchards.
What is an electric fence
An electric shepherd is a system equipped with a battery that is used to electrify fences, wire fences or any other element that acts as a fence in a given space. It is a simple mechanism that issues a warning to the animal through small electric shocks of low intensity , which do not harm the animal, but it does cause a nuisance that helps keep the cattle from leaving the plot, without the need for a person constantly watching. In addition, these devices are ideal for delimiting the area occupied by livestock, controlling herds, preventing other animals from leaving and entering, and preventing harmful intrusions in an orchard or field.
Advantages of an electric shepherd
The main advantages of using an electric shepherd are diverse.
- It is an economical system to fence parcels and keep livestock animals watched and protected. That the animals do not leave is important not only so that the shepherd or rancher does not lose one of them, but also to avoid accidents, such as when the animals end up crossing a road or highway , which can cause an accident that can lead to be very serious for both parties. In addition, livestock can be protected from other animals that can harm them, such as foxes, wolves, etc.
- It is a good method to keep the plants of the orchards protected , because by fencing the land you will prevent animals from approaching them.
- This is an easy way to separate grasses quickly.
- In addition, electrified networks are practical and very easy to assemble.
- It is a mobile and flexible use system.
Likewise, although electric shepherds are designed to be connected to an electrical network or battery , today you can also find electric shepherds that have a solar energy supply , which allows them to be used without having access to the electrical network nearby. and make it a much more sustainable system.
Elements of an electric shepherd
To understand how an electric shepherd works, you must know what the elements that compose it are:
- Energizer: device on the fence that produces harmless electrical discharges on a regular basis.
- Conductors: transports electricity along the fence.
- Insulators: poles that prevent the derivation of the current to the ground.
- Ground rod: allows the electric fence to be grounded.
- Other elements: connections and tensors, batteries and battery accessories and control instruments.
How do electric shepherds work?
The operation of the electric shepherd is simple:
- As soon as the animals touch the fence wire, the energizer emits small , short, harmless (but annoying enough ) electrical pulses . Through these short downloads, the animal learns not to approach the fence barrier and will respect the limitation or separation of the plot. In addition, other animals can learn it by seeing the behavior of one with respect to the fence, without having to touch it and feel the discomfort of small discharges. They will imitate it and will not come close to touch it.
- Once the energizer emits electricity, the electrical impulses are distributed throughout the fence through the conductors.
- The electricity that is emitted will pass through the body of the animal that is touching the wire until it reaches the ground.
- Upon reaching the ground, the current flows to the ground and returns to the electric shepherd again.
How to check if an electric shepherd works
Once the electric shepherd is connected to the power supply, it will emit electricity. When the system is correctly installed, a check must be carried out using a testing device , to know what the intensity of the electric shepherd is and to know if there is any electrical leakage in the fence. If the voltage is over 6,000 volts , the shepherd is working properly. In case the voltage is less than 6,000 volts, it will be necessary to review and check the connections again.
After the first round of testing, you’ll need to turn the shepherd back on and move it away from the fence to see if the voltage is above 2,500 volts minimum and above 4,000 volts maximum . In case those are the values you get when checking the voltage are correct, it means that the electric shepherd works correctly in the fence. If the values are lower, the ground connection should be checked.
Finally, when checking the ground connection, you should connect the fence tester to the ground and check if the voltage is less than 1,000 volts , since it is the limit that is considered acceptable. The lower the value, the better the grounding. If the voltage is higher than 1,000 volts, it is recommended to improve the grounding, placing metal rods 3 meters apart and avoiding materials that oxidize quickly. Also, check for broken wires, insulators, or excessive weeds touching the line in contact with the fence.
Thanks to this operation you will be able to carry out a correct maintenance of the installation of the electric shepherd, for which it is recommended to carry it out from time to time.