Voltage Requirements for an Electric Fence

The amount of electrical voltage required for an electric fence depends on the size and hide thickness of the animal the fence is supposed to contain, as well as the length of the fence.

Cows and Pigs

Electric fences are used for a variety of purposes.Electric fences are used for a variety of purposes.
An electric fence creates a barrier for animals and people by using electric shocks to deter them from crossing the fence line. Electric fences are primarily used for agricultural purposes and the vast majority of them do not have the capacity to deliver a lethal shock.

Powerflex Fence, an electric fencing manufacturer, recommends using a minimum of 4,000 to 5,000 volts for a fence designed to contain cattle and pigs. According to Nicole Castellano, the voltage emitted by a typical electric fence is between 2,000 and 10,000 volts.

Horses and Pets

Electric fences are commonly used on farms to keep livestock contained.

Powerflex suggests using a minimum of 3,000 volts to contain horses and smaller pets, such as dogs. According to Sureguard Animal Containment Specialists, "most animals are well covered with an electrically insulating surface such as fur, hide, feathers etc."

Goats, Sheep, Bison and Deer

For animals such as bison and deer, which hunters may want to keep inside a fence and farmers and gardeners may want to keep outside a fence, Powerflex recommends a minimum of 5,000 to 8,000 volts.

Sheep and goats have thicker hides. Powerflex advises using a fairly high voltage on these animals, suggesting a minimum of 7,000 to 9,000 volts to keep them contained.

About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.