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Electric fence to protect sweetcorn

 
pollinator
Posts: 1054
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I’ve got a patch of very healthy looking sweetcorn that will be ripe in a week or so. Last year, raccoons destroyed 90 percent. I have solar powered red eyes and solar motion detectors. They don’t seem to work. I see the lights coming on over and over again. Seems to be raccoons. I’ve seen tracks.

I think I’m ready to try an electric fence.  I’ve never built one before. It will only be on and in this location for a week or so. I don’t understand if a six foot ground rod is really necessary? I thought the animal grounded it when it touches the wire? I think I’ll go with plastic step in posts and the poly wire. I will get the weakest charger that I can find, some are supposed to be safe even for rabbits. I have not picked one yet.

I thought about trying one of the capsaicin sprays, but I’m not sure how you’d use it on corn.
 
gardener
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Location: mountains of Tennessee
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An electric circuit is just that ... a circuit. A complete loop. The critter doesn't ground the fence. The critter completes the circuit when it simultaneously touches the fence & the earth ground. Which is connected to the power supply through the grounding rod.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1539
Location: northern California
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Why are you going for a "weak" fence?  I would think that all things being equal you want the strongest fence you can afford.  The critter that gets a good shock will not come back for a long time, and he will tell his friends too!  Some mesh type fences will include ground wires in the fence, so that if the animal touches one of each it will shock even without touching the ground.  But I'd do a ground rod even so.  If the ground is damp in the area where the fence is, it probably doesn't need to be six feet down.  You might even be able to hook the ground wire to something like the end of a metal pipe or stake already in the ground, too.   Another thing you can do to improve the effectiveness of an electric fence is to bait it!  Put little tags of aluminum foil here and there on it with a dab of something yummy on it like peanut butter.  Critter will smell it and give it a lick, gets a REALLY good shock, and doesn't come back for months.  I have used this on a single wire to keep deer out and goats in!
 
pollinator
Posts: 361
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
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Grounding is necessary to make the fence work.    Usually any pipe or rod driven in the ground with work with good conductivity ground.  Here if conditions get really dry the best answer is use metal posts and run a ground wire around so every post is a ground.  It reduces the distance the wire can be powered successfully especially for low fences like coon or rabbit fences.

Now I am going to second Aldur on this.  You mostly want the strongest fence you can put out(maybe not buffalo fencers but everything below it).  I have never seen a rabbit killed by fences.  Birds occasionally and 1 mouse but with 50 years of dealing with electric fences they don't kill a lot.
 
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