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Fencing Challenges

It was early July and the dry California heat was intensifying. The Premier1 package had arrived and I decided to test the fence in a little piece of pasture under the vegetable garden. This way, if we put a few “test” goats or weeners in there, we could keep an eye on them from the farm house. With each electric fence came a galvanized steel ground rod and a solar charger. The idea is that the connection between the sun –> charger –> ground rod –> fence creates a current, ideally above 3000 volts to shock the animals and keep them within the fence. So, after charging the solar charger in the sun for a day or so, I began to assemble the parts. But, of course I hit into my first problem… literally. The ground was so dry that the ground rod would barely go more than 5 inches under the soil (even when hit with a sledge hammer)… it was supposed to be 2 feet deep. I tried moistening up the soil, but even then the voltage was too low to be effective. The few weaning babies we put inside the fence escaped with barely shock at all.


Bucket of water with tiny hole, dripping water onto the ground rod to moisten soil

Babies testing out the new fencing

Babies testing out the new fencing (Behind is the milking parlor)


Discouraged, I called up the Premier1 help center and explained the problem. The woman on the phone told me that of course I was running into this problem, and that since we live in a dry area we should have ordered their “Pos/Neg” fencing! Interestingly, the woman who I originally consulted about the purchase never mentioned this item… Anyways, the Pos/Neg fencing comes with 2 ground rods, less flimsy fence spikes, and works better with dry soil because of it’s alternating hotwires and groundwires. Essentially, it relies less on the soil moisture to create the current. Finally convinced, I packed up the two fences we bought, and shipped them back to Premier1, making an exchange for the Pos/Neg ones. What a headache…


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