The Shocking Truth: My Experience with Tractor Supply Electric Fences

Finding the Perfect Fence to Corral My Chaotic Critters

As a first-time hobby farmer with horses, goats, chickens and who knows what else I’ll accumulate, figuring out how to contain all my animals has been an electrifying journey. When it came to choosing fences, I was wary of getting zapped by the high prices of full-blown installations. Luckily, I discovered that Tractor Supply offers a surprising range of electric fences and chargers that won’t break the bank.

After doing my research, I took the plunge and bought a Tractor Supply electric fence kit. In this post, I’ll share¬†how I chose the right electric fence system from the options at Tractor Supply, how I installed it myself, and the shocking truth about whether it has successfully kept my farm critters in line!

Weighing the Options for Electric Fencing at Tractor Supply

Tractor Supply stores carry several electric fence choices to suit different animals, acreages and budgets. This was great news for my motley assortment of livestock. But I’ll admit, when I first walked down the electric fence aisle, the options were a bit overwhelming!

Permanent electric fences designed for cattle and horses can cost upwards of $300-400 for just the wiring, posts and accessories. Those were out of my startup budget.

Luckily, Tractor Supply also offers temporary and portable electric fences that are much more affordable at $100-200. These can be set up as temporary enclosures or dividing lines.

I decided a temporary electric fence would be the perfect solution for my small acreage. It gives me flexibility as my farm grows, without a huge upfront investment.

Choosing the Right Electric Fence Charger

The most important decision was which electric fence charger (also called an energizer) to get. This is the power source that runs current through the wire and gives the fence its zap.

Tractor Supply sells solar, battery and plug-in chargers. I ruled out solar since I have access to an outdoor outlet. Battery chargers offer portability, but I didn’t need that either. I settled on a plug-in charger as the most economical option.

For the power level, Tractor Supply chargers range from .5 acres up to 500+ acre capacity. I asked for advice and was told the minimum for horses is a 2-mile charger. The price difference was negligible, so I decided to size up and got the 5-mile model for about $120. This gives me flexibility to expand in the future.

The clerk recommended getting a solar-powered charger as a backup power source in case of outages. At $70, the peace of mind was worth the extra investment.

Choosing the Right Wire, Tape and Accessories

The next step was selecting the right fence wiring or tape. Horses and cattle are prone to pushing through thin single strands of wire.

Tractor Supply has several wire and tape options for high-tension fences:

  • Polywire is a brightly colored plastic cord with fine metal wires woven inside to conduct electricity. It’s very visible so animals can see the fence.
  • Poly Tape is a flat ribbon in widths up to 2″. It’s made of plastic filaments woven with fine metal wires. More surface area gives animals a stronger shock.
  • High tensile steel wire is thicker and more durable. But it’s less visible and has a smaller shocking surface.

I decided on red and white 1″ polytape as the most visible option. For accessories, I got insulated post clips to attach the tape and inline strainers to keep the fence taut.

I also added a few temporary step-in posts, a gate handle kitinsulators and warning signs. The whole kit cost around $180.

Attempting to Install an Electric Fence as a DIY Newbie

Installation day arrived. How hard could it be to put up a small perimeter fence, right? As it turns out, installing an electric fence takes planning and precision.

Luckily, the storing clerk gave me a quick tutorial during checkout. The key is proper tension and grounding.

I planned my boundary and pounded in the step-in posts every 15 feet or so. Then I started unwinding the polytape, clipping it to the posts every 2-3 feet.

It was crucial to keep the tape taut, but not so tight it would bend the posts. This took some trial and error. The inline strainers helped adjust the tension.

Grounding the fence was equally important for performance. I used the provided grounding rod and wire to connect the charger to the ground.

The sun was going down by the time I got the charger powered up and the gate installed. I tested the fence using the provided tester tool. The whole perimeter lit up! My DIY fence was electrified and ready for its first test subjects.

The Moment of Truth: Will My Menagerie Respect the Electric Fence?

The big day arrived to see how my feisty farm animals would react to their new electric enclosure. I started by bringing the goats in, since they’re known for their Houdini acts.

Much to my surprise, the moment the first curious goat nosed up to the fence, it leapt back with a startled bleat! The rest of the herd kept a cautious distance from the boundary after seeing the shocked reaction.

Emboldened, I brought in the mare and her foal next. These free spirits usually roam my entire property. But when the electric fence line “clicked” with power, the horses stopped in their tracks and refused to challenge it.

Finally, it was the chickens’ turn. I was skeptical they’d respect the fence since they can fly over barriers. However, it only took one wayward hen lightly brushing the fence to get zapped–after that, the rest avoided it like the plague!

Shocking Revelations After a Month of Electric Fencing

It’s been about a month since I installed my Tractor Supply electric fence. Overall, it has worked better than I ever imagined for containing animals that had previously ignored all boundaries. Here are a few observations after using it for a while:

  • The fence works great when powered on. But even with it off, the animals are now “trained” to respect the perimeter. This is an unexpected bonus!
  • I need to walk the line weekly to trim grass/weeds touching the fence. Otherwise it shorts out sections when the plants grow tall.
  • It takes very little power usage to run the charger 24/7. Much less than I expected.
  • The battery backup has kicked in a few times during outages. Gives me peace of mind that the animals are still contained.
  • The polytape is holding up well despite some pretty rigorous “testing” from my escape artists. No wear or breakage issues yet.
  • I tested the shock with my hand–it startles you, but won’t knock you over. The bigger shock factor is how well it works on unruly animals!

Off the Chain: My Final Thoughts on Electric Fencing from Tractor Supply

Installing my Tractor Supply electric fence kit was a weekend project that already made my farm management infinitely easier. For less than $350, I can reliably contain a hodgepodge herd that could otherwise wreak havoc.

What really amazes me is how fast the animals learned to respect the fence. The key is providing a physical and psychological barrier instead of relying on wire alone to contain them physically.

Of course, an electric DIY option isn’t right for everyone. If you have acreage over 5 acres or very determined livestock, a permanent high-tensile fence may be a better long-term choice. But it requires a professional installation that starts around $3000.

For my small operation, the Tractor Supply electric fence was a game changer for only a few hundred bucks in startup costs. I’m no longer shocked by escaped animals destroying my garden and landscaping–the best feeling ever!

If you’re on the fence about your fencing options, I encourage you to check out the selection at your local Tractor Supply. Get some advice from their knowledgeable staff, too. You may be surprised just how effective even an affordable, temporary electric fence can be. It delivers flexibility, security and peace of mind. I’m so glad I took the plunge!

Hello, everyone! I'm David Henry, a dedicated customer and enthusiastic reviewer of Tractor Supply Company. As a farmer and agriculture enthusiast, I frequently visit Tractor Supply Company to explore and purchase a wide range of agricultural supplies, tools, and equipment. Over the years, I have accumulated extensive experience and knowledge in shopping at Tractor Supply Company, and I aim to help others make wiser choices through my sharing. I understand the importance of selecting the right products for farmers, ranchers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. That's why I enjoy sharing my insights and recommendations to assist individuals in finding the best-suited products for their needs. Join me as we embark on a journey of discovering quality products and making informed decisions at Tractor Supply Company. Together, let's enhance our farming and outdoor experiences through valuable insights and practical advice.