By Jason Von Kundra from Sprouting Hope in Marion, VA
The Emory & Henry College Organic Garden is building a low cost deer fence today modeled after Sprouting Hope’s. We built ours in 2012 with help from Extension. This post details everything you need to know about building this effective and affordable fence.
Most of the parts we used were bought from Tractor Supply but you can find these materials most anywhere. The electric fence tape is designed for horses, so it’s highly visible and should be less likely to end up with an animal tangled up in it. The fence controller was a special order, and we had to purchase the battery, a simple car battery, for it separately. The fence tape has a limited life expectancy of a few years due to UV damage.
The fence controller is made by Gallagher. If you have 110 Volt power available at your site, there are much cheaper options. We initially tried using a much smaller solar fence charger but it wasn’t powerful enough.
The fence design was adapted from some information from Virginia Tech, which we were directed to by our local extension agent. We added the solar lights to make it more visible for humans at night and the rat wire was added after the first season to try to keep the rabbits out.
Our initial budget (2012 pricing from Tractor Supply) was:
(4) 656 ft long 1/2 inch electric fence tape @ $33 each = $132
(6) gate handles @ $1.79 each = $10.74
(1) 8 ft ground rod = $18
(2) electric fence signs @ $6.49 each = $12.98
(6) jumpwires @ $4.49 each = $26.94
(1) Polytape to energizer = $3.49
(1) 25 pack T-post polytape insulator = $8.99
(24) step-in plastic posts @ $2.49 each = $59.76
(20) 6 ft metal T-posts @ 4.29 each = $85.80
We also ended up using step-in posts and larger T posts on the corners of the outside runs, so I don’t think that budget quite covers what we built, but it was probably pretty close.
We later changed out most of the gate handles for a metal gate on wooden posts. We were finding that the multiple gate handles was too complex and was leading to the fence sometimes being left in an open/un-energized state but this would be less of a problem with a smaller number of people using the gate.
Now if we can just figure out a way for the fence to keep out the crows!