If you have cattle, then you probably have an electric fence. Electric fences are used as a barrier to keep livestock in one area or to keep unwanted wildlife out of pastures or wooded areas. An electric fence has low voltage and there is no danger of electrical shock to cows. So what voltage is an electric fence for cattle?
An electric fence needs to be between 4,000 and 5,000 volts for it be effective on cows. The voltage will drop after leaving the charger (or energizer) but the pulse that the animal feels when touching the wire still needs enough charge for them to feel it so they will not try to go through the fence again.
Electric Fence Voltage
Voltage is a measurement of the amount of energy available in an electric circuit. It’s not technically the same as current, but in most cases you can use them interchangeably. Voltage is measured in volts (V), with 1 volt equal to 1 joule per coulomb (1 J/C). In order for electricity to flow through a conductor, there needs to be a difference in electrical potential between two points. This difference is called voltage drop or potential drop and can be calculated by multiplying the resistance between two points by their distance apart (resistance x distance = voltage loss).
The voltage that you need for an electric fence depends on what type of animal will be using it, how far away from the fence they will be standing when they touch it and whether or not it has any insulation from other objects like trees nearby. For example: if you have cows who are grazing near fences and touching them with their noses while eating grasses that grow alongside them then it might take more than one strand of wire because there would not only have been less contact area on each cow’s body but also because some part may have been covered up by their head or neck when they were grazing so as long as those parts were included within each strand’s radius then all should be fine!
A voltage of 4000 to 5000 volts is considered optimal for cattle. As you use your electric fence, the voltage will drop and it will need to be checked regularly. Check your fence’s voltage at the end of each day by placing a voltmeter on one side of the fence and grounding it on the other side. The meter should read at least 40 volts when there are no animals in contact with it, or less than 2 milliamps for every 100 square feet of fencing area with an animal touching it (1/4 inch from their nose to their rump).
Most Energizers Are Failing
Most energizers are failing. This is because they are being used with a low voltage that doesn’t meet the manufacturer’s specifications, or they’re just old and worn out.
If you have an electric fence for cattle, or for any other animal, it should be checked regularly to make sure it is working properly. If you have a solar energizer, this can be especially important as it may not produce enough power during cloudy weather when there isn’t enough sunlight hitting the solar panels to charge up the batteries that run your fence charger. You should also test your fence on a regular basis to ensure that it isn’t damaged in any way—this could cause problems with animals getting shocked when they touch an energized wire even if everything else seems fine!
You will need to check both sides of your electric fence by putting one hand through each side of the wire at different places along its length while holding onto something metal like a gate handle or post so that there won’t be any electrical current flowing through yourself (since humans aren’t meant for such high voltages).
Checking the voltage on your fence is a simple process that can be done with a voltmeter, which you will find at any hardware store. To check the voltage of your fence, follow these steps:
Turn off all power to the electric livestock fence.
Attach one of the probes from your voltmeter to one end of the energizer’s circuit breaker (the red button on top), and attach another probe to an ungrounded wire or terminal post.
Wait for 15-30 seconds and check for current flow by touching both probes together at various locations along an energized section of wire (a good indicator is if there’s a spark). If current flows through all sections of wire connected to this terminal post, then each section has adequate voltage.*
If you don’t have access to a voltmeter, try using a multimeter instead; they’re inexpensive and will help you ensure that all wires are receiving appropriate amounts of energy when needed.*
An electric fence needs to be between 4000 and 5000 volts. The voltage will drop, but the pulse needs to have enough charge for it to work properly.
To keep your cattle in and predators out, an electric fence needs to have a minimum of 4000 volts. Most energizers are failing and the voltage is dropping below 4000 volts. You can check the voltage by using a volt meter to see if it is less than 4kv or higher than 4kv. If it is lower than 4kv, you need to replace your energizer with one that has a higher output.
If you are having problems with your electric fence for cattle, check out my other posts where I talk about how to troubleshoot an electric fence system:
Being able to check the voltage on your electric fence is a great skill to have. A lot of people don’t realize how important it is, but knowing how well your electric fence works will help you in other areas of farming and ranching as well. It’s also a good way to make sure that everything else on your farm is running smoothly, too!