The Electric Scarecrow

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

cause it to starve. Building an electric fence is simple, requiring a minimum of tools and experience. Most hardware and farm stores carry the slender posts designed for use in an electric fence. The posts are made of either wood, plastic, fiberglass or steel. Steel posts have the added advantage of a flat triangular piece of metal welded to one end to help hold them firmly in the ground. Regardless of the type of post used, make certain the posts are pushed deep enough into the ground to hold the wires tight.

Spacing of the posts can vary, depending on the distance fenced. Flower beds may require only a post at each corner. For larger areas, like vegetable gardens, the posts can be spaced 10 feet apart. There is no ideal spacing for the posts - whatever works for you is exactly right. Just remember to set them firmly in the ground so they will support tension on the wires. Fasten plastic insulators to each wooden or steel post - one insulator for each strand of wire. Plastic or fiberglass rods do not require insulators because they are poor conductors of electricity. The electrified wire should be suspended off the ground, touching only non-conductive material. If the wire touches anything - even weeds - the fence will not work properly. With the posts in the ground and the insulators in place, string wire through the insulators as shown in the diagram. Space the wires about 6 inches apart with enough tension to keep them from sagging. Use a pair of pliers to cut the wires at desired lengths.

If more than one wire is used, connect them together with a short length of wire, as shown in the diagram. This provides a path for the electricity to reach each wire. String as many wires as you choose but three should be enough to intercept nuisance critters ranging in size from young rabbits to adult raccoons.

Squirrels are more difficult to control. They often gain entry to forbidden places by dropping down from an overhanging tree. In some cases, it may be necessary to remove a tree limb to eliminate their aerial approach.

If the problem is deer, only one wire is necessary. String the wire 2.5 feet off the ground and smear it with peanut butter mixed with a little cooking oil. Next, choose a fence charger that will deliver a loving spoonful of

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