Electric fencing is an excellent way to maximize grazing and increase profits, as it allows for greater flexibility and versatility in livestock management. However, it's important to remember that electric fencing, especially poly-wire, is a psychological barrier, not a physical one. Livestock must be trained to respect it for it to work effectively.
To train livestock, start by confining them to a catch pen with water and hay for 24 hours. Then, release them into a trap, which funnels into the working pens. The trap should have two rolls of hay and a water trough, with a single poly wire running across it, except for a 15-foot opening on one side.
The key to this process is allowing the cattle to move from the catch pen to the trap on their own, without being driven. This reduces stress and gives them a chance to explore their surroundings. When the cattle encounter the poly wire, they will receive a shocking experience and will quickly learn to respect it. After a day or two, the cattle will have learned that all fences, including the poly wire, will shock, and will learn to avoid them.
When it's time to turn the cattle out into the paddocks, start with a small area that will provide one day's worth of grazing. This reduces walking and helps the cattle become accustomed to the electric fence. While it may take some time for the cattle to learn to come when called, the fact that they will have access to fresh grass will make it an easier task. The key to success is allowing the cattle time to learn about the electric fence through their own experience.
Electric fencing is an effective tool for livestock management, but it requires proper training to be effective. By following a step-by-step process, cattle, sheep, and goats can be trained to respect the electric fence, reducing frustration, wasted time, and ensuring a successful operation.