How to Build a Floating Fence
A floating fence allows livestock to drink from a lake or pond but blocks the animals from swimming in, crossing over or fouling the water. Many farmers fence their pastures with an electric fence. A floating electric fence built of PVC pipe can surround the livestock drinking area on three sides to keep livestock confined.
Determine the location you want to fence off. Typically, a floating farm pond fence will extend 12 feet out on the water and will be about 20 feet wide. This will enclose a drinking area sufficient for 30 to 100 head of cattle. Mark out a shoreline area 20 feet wide. Drive a wooden stake into the ground at each end of the marked off shoreline area.
Cut PVC pipe into two sections, each 6 feet long. Cement a PVC pipe tee to one end of each section. Join the two sections together by cementing the teeless end of the first section to the tee that starts the second section. Align the tees so all face upward before cementing. Cement a third tee at the end of the second section. Cement a 6-inch section of PVC pipe to the other side of the third tee. Cement a PVC pipe elbow to the end of the short section, making certain the outlet of the elbow is at right angles to the top of the pipe tees. This forms the first side.
Build up a second side piece identical to the first, except that the elbow at the end of the short section should face in the opposite direction from the elbow at the end of the first fence side piece. Cut two 10-foot sections of PVC pipe. Join them together with a pipe tee. This forms the end piece. Make certain all joints are watertight.
Cement a 1-foot section of PVC pipe into each PVC tee. Cement a PVC pipe cap on top of each 1-foot pipe section. Drill a 3/16-inch hole through each 1-foot pipe section just below the pipe cap, parallel with the long pipe.
Cement the ends of the built-up 20-foot end section into the elbows at the ends of each built up 12-foot side section to form a 3-sided box, with short pipes sticking straight up from each pipe tee. Cement a PVC pipe tee plug into the open end of the pipe tee at each end of the 3-sided box. Thread electric fence wire through the holes in each vertical pipe.
Push the floating electric fence out onto the water. Tie each end of the floating fence to the two wooden stakes you drove into the shoreline in Step 1. Connect one end of the floating fence’s wire to the shoreline electric fence, pull the floating fence wire taut and connect the other end to the shoreline fence on the opposite end of the floating fence to complete the floating fence’s electrified wire loop.
Herb Kirchhoff has more than three decades of hands-on experience as an avid garden hobbyist and home handyman. Since retiring from the news business in 2008, Kirchhoff takes care of a 12-acre rural Michigan lakefront property and applies his experience to his vegetable and flower gardens and home repair and renovation projects.