How to Install an Electric Cattle Fence

Although you can contain cattle with just about any kind of fence, an electric cattle fence provides one of the easiest, most affordable fencing options.

Once they become acclimated, cattle develop a healthy respect for electric fences and stay away from them, a fact that greatly lengthens the lifespan of your electric fence. Depending upon your goals, you can install an electric cattle fence that is temporary or one that is permanent. Do not install a permanent electric cattle fence until you have made a final decision about the final location of your fence.

Determine the location of your fence. Base the fence location and size on the number of animals you plan to contain, as well as the availability of water. If you're not certain about the location, choose temporary electric wire that you can move, if needed.

Clear the fence line. Once you have decided upon the location of your fence, remove all debris and brush from the fence line area. The strength of the charge that runs through your fence weakens considerably if it grounds out on weeds or brush that you didn't clear away. A weakened charge means that your cattle will be more likely to test your fence and ultimately escape.

Install the posts. A permanent electric cattle fence requires 8-inch diameter wood corner posts and 3.5-inch diameter wood posts or steel T-posts for the line posts. Use a hand-held post hole digger to dig a hole for the wood posts. Insert the wooden posts into the ground and tamp the dirt down around them. Use a post driver to hammer the T-posts into the ground. Use small metal or plastic push-in posts if you are constructing a temporary fence.

Attach the wire to your posts using insulators. Wooden posts require screw-in insulators, whereas insulators for steel T-posts and temporary metal posts clip around the post completely. Most plastic temporary posts have plastic attachments that eliminate the need for hook-on insulators. String the wire through the insulators starting at a corner post. Use at least five wires for a permanent electric cattle fence. A temporary electric fence for cattle requires only 2 to 3 wires.

Hook the charged wires in the fence to the fence charger. Connect every other wire on your permanent fence to the fence charger, leaving the others as grounded wires. If you choose to install a temporary electric cattle fence, connect all the wires to the fence charger.

Things You Will Need

  • Posts
  • Wire
  • Post hole digger
  • Post driver
  • Insulators
  • Fence charger


  • Check your fence daily after you install it to ensure that it is not grounding out on weeds or other vegetation.