Thursday, May 06, 2010

How to set up a portable electric fence - cheap and simple. Part 1: making a reel

How to set up a portable electric fence - cheap and simple. Part 1: making a reel

This system works best for a single strand cow fence, but it also works well for goats if you use two or three strands.

You will need:
  1. Spool(s) with wire
  2. Posts and insulators
  3. Small anchor stakes with twine
  4. Live trunk line as a power source

Making a reel for wire

Some places sell a nice reel for rolling up wire but they cost about $20 so I made my own.

Parts list
2 - 12 x 12 inch 3/8 plywood circles
4 - 2x2s 4 inches long
1 - 3/4 inch plastic pipe 8-10 inches long PVC might work or black poly pipe but I used some PEX floor heat tubing and it worked perfect.
1 - 3/4 inch plastic pipe 1 inch long
1 - heavy gauge wire 8 inches long
handfull of screws and a 1 1/2 " pan head wood screw with a washer

Directions for assembling your spool
Cut out the two circles of plywood 10-12 inches in diameter and the four 2x2s. Set the two plywoods together and drill 1/4 inch holes spaced about 3 inches apart and 3/4 of an inch from the edge all the way around the spool (make a mark across the edges of the wood so that you
can align the two in the same position later on).

Drill a hole through both pieces in the center, just large enough for the plastic pipe to fit snugly (really tight is best). Next, sandwich the 2x2s on end between the plywoods so that they are all 2 inches from the outer edge. Use wood screws for these joints and add a little glue if you have some.

Insert the plastic pipe through the hole in the center until one inch of it sticks out the other side. Opposite the side with the most pipe sticking out, screw the pan head screw with the washer through the 1 inch section of pipe into the spool side, about 2 inches from the edge, and tighten into the spool. This serves as a handle to assist in rolling up the wire. Now you can wind up as much wire as you want onto the spool. To keep the wire from unrolling, take the heavy gauge wire (a section of cattle panel bent over at the top is what works the best for me) and insert it through the holes in the plywood. Put an insulated handle on the end of the wire and your spool's done!

To put handles on a plastic spool, I use carriage bolts with nuts and washers. Drill the holes in a corner of the ribs so that the head of the bolt and the washer will catch the rim of the plastic and not slip off when tightened.

Any questions? Another post will describe the use of this spool.



Anonymous said...

Hi peter good for you figuring how to make a job easier and more productive.

I like it

Gp B

David said...

I like your innovations. I was wondering if you know about Polytwine fencing?
I just bought 2000 feet of it from Premier fence they're an exclusive importer of high quality fencing made in Germany and England. I highly recommend their products. I have been using their products 12 years now and have been pleased. they might be more expensive but the fencing and insulators last a lot longer then cheap lookalikes sold at the local farm store.
Happy farm'n

Peter said...

Hi David,

I have not used Polytwine fencing before but I have read about it. We get Premier's catalogs once in a while but we haven't ordered anything from them. I like their products a lot and also like how they test them and explain how they work.

Since you have used polytwine, I have a question for you. Does it fray and come apart when you cut it? Or maybe it is not a problem if you are splicing it together again.

I have been using aluminum wire because it's cheaper than polytwine or rope and requires a lot less tension to keep it from sagging than steel so it works well for cross fences. Visibility is probably a lot better for the white twine though.

Thanks for checking out my blog!


David said...

Hi Peter
No the pollytwine dos not fray when you cut it, although you can untwist it and then it may fray a little. It is like a twist-tie the wire in it helps keep the plastic fibers together. I move our cows twice a day so It is a lot easer to use pollytwine in my opinion then aluminum wire it would get too many kinks and would take more time to set up. It only takes me 5 minutes to move the cow and so I think that the expense of the pollytwine pays off in the time it saves

Peter said...

Hi again,
My brother was just ordering some poultry netting from Premier so I went ahead and bought 660 feet of Intellitwine to try it out. I like it but I've already got most of the wire on spools that I need so I am going to try setting up a really temporary paddock fence with the twine for the cows.


Kris of Electric Fence said...

I like your DIY mentality - I'm going to give this a go myself. I'll let you know how I get on.