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Electric Fencing for Predators, Nuisance Animals and Deer
Solutions for Keeping Out Predators and Nuisance Animals
Electric fencing is an excellent method of containing or excluding most species of animals, including foxes, badgers, deer and wildlife. Additionally, fish ponds can be effectively protected from herons and otters to preserve valuable fish stocks. 

Nuisance animals such as rabbits, deer, & badgers cause millions of pounds worth of damage and frustration to farmers, gardeners and home owners. They can devastate cereal crops, vegetables, gardens, shrubs and trees. To exclude small pests, you will need closely spaced fence wires, from 7 – 10 cm or electric netting.

Note: we do not recommend netting for fencing against badgers, but is very effective against rabbits and foxes. Rutland Electric Fencing Company offers garden fence kits for quick and easy installation which can be effective against domestic pets but would not exclude large animals such as badgers where a more substantial fence is needed.

Like other animals, predators and wild species will quickly learn to avoid the shock of an electric fence. To exclude large nocturnal predators such as badgers, a physically strong fence is also necessary as they tend to have established runs and would not see electric fence wires in the dark.

Unlike conventional domestic animals, wild species pose additional fencing challenges. For example, they may have long, shaggy coats or thick plumage that does not conduct electricity well. Predators are highly motivated to get to the animals on the other side of the fence as a source of food. Poultry and other domestic livestock are particularly attractive to foxes. Domestic animals become conditioned to the electric fence, usually avoiding it after a few shocks. However, predators may endure repeated shocks in their determination to get to their "food source" particularly when they have young to feed and nourish.

Predator fences need to shock severely, plus serve as a physical barrier. The fence needs to be sturdier, have wires more closely spaced, and may need to be taller than the animals being contained. For these reasons, we recommend permanent high tensile, or stranded steel wire fence systems for keeping out predators 

Wire spacing should be close enough to prevent the animal from stepping through or putting its head between the wires. One of the electrified wires should be at the animals' nose level.

Wire Spacing Guide for Predators and Nuisance Animals

Note: An electrified top wire above the animal's head is recommended if the animal is a habitual jumper. If you are unfamiliar with fencing for a particular species, please contact Rutland for advice.

Electric Fence Solutions for Keeping Out Deer
Deer Deer need fencing that provides both a physical and psychological barrier like electric high tensile fence. An electrified high tensile fence is the best choice because it can be tall, durable and secure, and also serves to keep predators out.

Electrified high tensile fencing is an excellent choice for a permanent perimeter fence. These low-maintenance fences can last up to 20 years and are the best solution for deer control. The high tensile wire and spring system of a high tensile fence allow it to flex and return to its original shape if run into, making it optimal for deer.

The first step in successfully keeping deer out is to put up a sturdy and highly visible fence. In most instances this means a 2 metre tall fence using permanent high-tensile electrified fence. Consider using Rutland Electro-Wood, the self insulating timber from sustainable hardwood forests on permanent high tensile fences. It consists of posts and droppers so is simple and low cost to install, highly durable and environmentally friendly. On large scale fences such as for heather preservation in the Highlands, the most cost effective system can be to use a double fence.

Deer have a heightened sense of smell and using bait on the fence will attract and slow them down. The bait will prompt deer to touch the fence with their nose or tongue, receiving a safe but intense shock. A shock in front of the eyes causes the deer to learn where the pain comes from and leave the area. After one or two encounters with an electric fence, deer will usually look for other sources of food.

Deer require an energiser that can maintain 3,000 - 4,000 volts on the fence line and a minimum of 1.5 joules of energy, higher on long fences. Voltage levels are affected by vegetation on the fence line, length of fence, and diameter of wire. 

Wire Spacing Guide for Deer

Wire spacing should be close enough to prevent the animal from stepping through or putting its head between the wires. Attach seven to nine wire strands to posts that stand at least 2 metres above ground. Be sure that wires are placed near the nose level of the animal. Use a low impedance fence controller.

Note: To prevent jumping, an electrified top wire above the deer head is recommended.

Tip - Wire Spacing for Foxes
(pdf - 320 kb)

Tip - Wire Spacing for Rabbits
(pdf - 288 kb)

Tip - Wire Spacing for Badgers
(pdf - 276 kb)

Tip - Wire Spacing for Otters
(pdf - 276 kb)

Tip - Wire Spacing for Red Deer
(pdf - 288 kb)

Tip - Wire Spacing for Roe Deer
(pdf - 280 kb)

Tip - Wire Spacing for Fallow Deer
(pdf - 288 kb)

Tip - Wire Spacing for Muntjac
(pdf - 280 kb)

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the electric fencing I use for livestock and containing other animals also keep out predators?

Not usually. If you are already installing a high tensile fence, you can simply change the height of the bottom wires and alter the number and spacing of wires to keep out predators. Also, ideally electric wires will need to be placed alternately on the outside of the fence as well as inside so the predators and livestock will remain on their respective sides of the fence. Where the predators, such as foxes, are known to jump, the fence should be wired alternately live / earth so they get a shock even when all feet are off the ground. Most temporary fencing is less effective against predators, as there are an insufficient number of electric wires and the fence presents less of a physical barrier.

Will electric fence harm animals or people?
The electric shock delivered by an electric fence energiser, while intense, is very brief and will not harm people or animals. All Electric Shepherd energisers comply with the latest British and European Standards and are certified by an independent test house. The pulse energy operates at one second intervals, giving people or animals ample time to release the wire. The electric pulse deters pests, but is not strong enough to harm people, children or pets, although, of course, it will be painful if touched.

Why do you recommend at least 2 metre tall electric high tensile fence for farmed deer?
Deer are not easily domesticated - they are accustomed to roaming where they please, which is usually to find food sources. Since they are strong jumpers, they can easily clear a fence that is their height. In addition, they may "test" the electric fence by running into it to get out, so the fence needs to be durable and resilient to pressure. Electric high tensile fence is the ideal solution since it is long lasting, extremely strong, and will maintain its shape even if run into. It can easily be built to 2 metre (6 feet) or taller heights.

Will nuisance pests learn to avoid my electric fence?

All animals dislike the feeling of an electric shock. After one or two encounters with an electrified fence, most animals will quickly learn to avoid the area enclosed by the fence, however, NEVER turn the electric fence off when animals are in the vicinity as when they touch the fence without receiving a shock, it can cause the psychological imprint to be diluted.

For deer we recommend you train them to avoid your fence by baiting the fence. Small animals generally do not require baiting. Once the animals receive a shock, they will avoid the area and find food elsewhere.

Can I electrify an existing woven-wire or chain link fence?

The chain link insulator (Part No. 15-139) allows you to add hot wires to an existing, uncoated chain link or woven wire fence. This gives you the flexibility of putting an electrified wire at the outside top of the fence (to keep animals from climbing over) or at the outside bottom (to keep animals from digging under). This is a simple, low cost way to "animal - proof" an existing fence.

Note: you cannot directly electrify a chain link or woven wire fence, as the fence is not insulated and will cause a short, thereby making it ineffective.

What factors are important to successfully keep out animals with an electric fence?

Because you're excluding animals rather than containing them, the wires need to be placed on the outside of posts. In addition, wires need to be spaced closely enough to prevent small animals from getting through.

For best results a properly installed fence system is important. View installation tips for details. (see Fence Wire Tips)