Currently experiencing some major apple theft, like 5 to 10 apples off a tree are gone overnight… Pretty sure its raccoons and possums coming out of the woods. I am considering a low to the ground 2 wire electric fence with a low powered charger like this one from Amazon that is charged by 2 D batteries. We have neighborhood cats and dogs come around so dont want anything too powerful but strong enough to do the job. Anyone using an electric fence to keep the critters away? I would like to hears others experiences with electric fences, thanks, Chris.
They can be very effective. Most effective when you can run a double strand, a line a couple inches above the ground and another about 6-8" above the ground. I have no experience with the charger you have shown. We use a livestock charger, they wont physically injure a cat or dog. You can also get the poly tape instead of wire, provides a visual cue once the animal gets shocked.
Never killed anything but squirrels with a charge- must have been a lot of dew that morning. There are too varieties of chargers, one is a constant charger that requires a plug in, although it’s easy to run a wire from where it is plugged in- it’s what killed that squirrel. It works better for squirrels, IME, because pulsating ones I’ve tried have more than a second between pulses and some squirrels will get over the wire without shock. They are the only ones coming solar powered and should work fine for coons and possums if you can’t be bothered trapping them out. Makes sense to exclude them because new ones keep coming when you kill them. I’m pretty sure they can smell a tree full of ripe peaches very far away.
Too bad I don’t eat coon. Nauseating enough to skin a deer.
I once had a elec. fence up trying to prevent ground hog from getting into my garden. It somewhat worked, not very effectively. Ground hog will test the elec. fence and wait the lowest wire to be grounded by nearby weeds then went inside. I see roasted birds but ground hog still got what it wanted.
It has been almost a year. Would you share your experience with the battery powered electric fence? It looks like the one I’m planning on trying this year (squirrels got all the apples…all).
Anyone else have tips on do’s and don’ts for electric fencing?
I will be happy to. I did set up an test area 30’ by 30’ electric fence last summer around some producing apple trees. I used 6 foot tall T-posts about every 10-15 feet with the plastic yellow clips to attach the wire and had 5 strands of wire running from close to the ground up to about 4 feet. The charger was grounded by 2 - 6 foot copper grounding rods.
Here are some of my observations: My 1st charger - the battery operated Havahart charger was turned out to be worthless, it may have slowed down some squirrels but not the bigger varmints. I went to Tractor Supply and got one of those 100 mile chargers that runs to a house power outlet and that stopped all the varmints from getting thru. Second, I started off with the thin black and yellow braided wire and found that to be way to flimsy and went back and got 14 gauge fence wire which worked much better. Might even get the 12 gauge next time. After these adjustments, nothing touched the apples and I could actually enjoy some fruits of my labor.
The plan this spring is to enclose my most of my orchard with black 4 to 5 foot mesh wire attached to T-posts having 1 or 2 electric wires running along the top like in this video. I hope, being black that mesh the fence will be kind of inconspicuous, I may paint the T-posts black as well:
I hope to stop everything but deer with this fence. If deer get to be a problem, my thought is to possibly convert it into one of those 3-D fences by adding another electric wire a few feet off the ground and around 3 outside of the mesh fence. I like the idea of the electric wire only running along the top of the fence so young kids and pets will hopefully not be endangered. I will need to put up those warning signs as well.
I welcome comments and suggestions to this fence plan, Chris.
Great insight, guys. Here we average 45 inches of rain a year and are about 10-15 feet above sea level so grounding should not be too much a problem. My apples are down by the creek which is pretty wet too, but, they are about 100 feet from the house so I was hoping the batteries would do the trick. Running a electricty down there would be difficult (not impossible). I may have to do solar but was trying to keep costs down.
Chris, do you have any sense that the batteries were not strong enough to deter squirrels? That would be good to know. I have 14 gauge wire.
Hoping to enjoy some apples too (and plums, and pluots, and…), LOL.
You don’t have to run electricity as in a full power source. In the past I’ve just run the charger line from the charger itself. This allows you to run a constant charger placed by your house to wherever you need it, just stringing it along the ground with the standard grey electric house wire. It disappears in a lawn in a couple of weeks.
I prefer the constant charge to a pulse because it is better for squirrels. The pulse has more than a second between charges- more than enough for a squirrel to clear it without getting zapped. When they are starving and epidemic some will make it.
The way we deal with a loss of moistness is by hammering the ground deep down to where it never gets dry. Of course, in CA and other parts of the west this could be 30 feet.
The Havahart takes 2 - D size batteries. It might get the job done on squirrels, it was attached to the cheapo fence wires and that may have made a difference. Some of the Amazon reviews for the charger are good. I just got irritated at the thieves and probably went the overkill route.
There are fences that have both the “hot” and “cold” lines alternating in the fence itself. KENCOVE.COM that I referenced earlier in the thread is where I got mine. They have all lengths & heights and dozens of chargers.
When we moved here 30 years ago I was excited about the 5 mature pecan trees on the property. I haven’t gotten one pecan. Every year they feed the squirrels. I should come to terms with finding a way to kill them off. Sigh. They are destructive rodents, gnawing holes in the house to get into the attic. We are overrun this year. Ugh. If y’all don’t have squirrel problems, count your blessings.
So rayrose, do you keep your fruit trees sized especially to accomodate the bird netting? I’ve only netted my berries. And does your bird netting discourage squirrels?
I hope this is not offensive to some, BUT, if someone knows of a way to reduce squirrel populations in a rural neighborhood please let me know.
Some of the fencing has closer spacing on the lower section. But anyway, 3 1/2 inches is small enough that if the squirrel tries to go between the wires he would touch two wires triggering. Definitely if it tries to climb up.