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Cattle Psychology and Electric Netting

Posts: 67
Location: Mille Lacs, MN
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I just got my first heifers- all about 800lbs.
They came from a farm that only had barbwire fencing, no electric.
I ONLY have electric fencing, and it took 24 hours for them to learn this. In the process they ran through my electrified netting.
But, after that rough first day, they seem to 100% respect electric fencing- and my 48" tall electrified poultry netting.
It's been a month and I have had zero issues since the first day.

My question is this: How well do cattle associate the netting/fencing with getting a shock when it comes to new pastures?
I have an area I want to graze, but there is no perimeter fence.
I want to encircle it with the 48" poultry netting.

Obviously I'm not looking for someone to reassure me that my cattle won't run away, but I'm wondering if the change of scenery will stifle their respect for the fencing?
How much of their fear of electric fencing is inductive (applying to all fencing anywhere) and how much is strictly situational (since they are used to it in a specific area).

Anyone use electric netting with cattle- have any input?

Posts: 307
Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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I always walk animals new to the farm, or animals new to a different field, around the perimeter of the field. It shows them where the fence is and where they are allowed. Large animals don't always see (a new to them) fence at first and sometimes can run into it, until they learn it's there. I'm of the opinion that most large farm animals don't really know how big they are. They mostly just see the end of their nose. And so sometimes (I think that) they think I'm am much large than them, because they can see more of me. That's a reason to never let a large animal get over on you. Never let them win a disagreement between you and them. You must never let them win, or they become the alpha of the herd, and can therefore push you around. You must remain the alpha. Don't make the mistake and become the "beta", you could get hurt right quick. (This can also apply to small animals like roosters and billy goats. Animals have sharper beaks, bigger teeth, more muscle, heavier feet, harder horns, lots more weight and can kick like the devil. All we really have is our authority & attitude, and sometimes a stick to enforce it.) All that includes the fences. They are yours, and the animals are not "allowed" to challenge you or what is yours. If they ever found out how big & powerful they are, there is very few fences of any kind that could stop them. Show them the fence (and the rules) so they know.
Posts: 52
Location: Western Side Of The Great Oak Savanna
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In my dealings with training cattle, mules and hogs to electric fencing, I've found the following process to work well:

Place animals to be trained into a reasonably sized, standard fenced area.

Place a run of electric fence from one side of the standard fence to a point 3/4 of the way across the pen, allowing enough space for the animals to comfortably pass between the end of the electric fence and the standard fence.

Place a water source on one side of the electric fence and a feeder or mineral block on the other.

Put animals in pen for 3-4 days.

They tend to learn fairly quick and I've not had problems  with animals escaping as long as the fence you use to train them is generally the same as what I've used in the field.

Posts: 525
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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In my experience cattle react to fencing, not scenery, so in a new location with old fencing they should be (mostly) fine.  That doesn't apply to just any old hot wire, but to whatever you are specifically using.  That is, you shouldn't expect them to automatically respect a steel wire, for example, the way they respect netting, just because they're both electrified.  They would have to learn that the steel wire is electrified, which as you know can be a process.

That said, I find it highly irresponsible to have cattle (or any large livestock) in an area without a boundary fence strong enough to physically restrain them. Even if they're broke to hot wire, they can--and eventually will--get out, potentially causing great damage.  On the mild end of the scale would be trampling someone's garden.  On the severe end would be causing a serious (potentially deadly) automobile accident.  Or they might just never be seen again.  It's just not worth it.
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