The first step before construction of an electric fence is to determine what the fence is intended to do for you. Are you keeping animals in or out, penning up livestock, keeping small or large animals and so on.
Almost all electric fences are powered by a twenty-four volt output transformer powered by standard house 120 volt voltage. Installation of the fence is fairly easy. Electric fences can be store bought metal fence posts, wire, insulators and a transformer power source. Fence posts quite often are wooden made from local trees harvested on the site.
The height of the fence will depend upon in the case of a corral, how tall the horse or cows are that will be kept there. Sheep require a lower height fence and so on. A two wire strand fence is generally sufficient with one near the top of the post and the other about one foot up from the ground.
Common sense will dictate where the wires should be placed to prevent animals from slipping between the wires. Also a note must be made that the voltage in the wire will not kill a healthy animal but will scare it into retreating thereby preventing escape or further attempts at entry by a predator.
Wires are strung on small ceramic insulators similar to what you see on power poles along the roadsides. After installing the proper number at the proper height on a post you are ready for wire.
Most insulators are split into two pieces with a center screw that by simply slipping the wire between the halves and tightening the screw, the work is done. Keep the wire taut as you work your way around your pen or pasture. Complete all your wires bringing the ends back to the entrance gate and the transformer.
Connecting the wires is a simple matter of mounting the wires to the positive and negative terminals on the transformer thereby making a complete circuit. An animal touching the upper and lower wires at the same time completes the circuit and incurs a light shock.
Some small amount of maintenance is required from time to time to assure no insulators are broken, posts are stable and the transformer is actually working. Some places require that these fences be plugged into a Ground Fault Interrupter Circuit (GFCI). A problem may rise that when even a small of moisture is present that moisture will trigger the GFCI and disable the fence.
In all cases, signs must be posted warning all persons that the fence is electrified. The number of signs is not specified but common sense should prevail to provide enough signs for a good warning.
Electric fences are intended for livestock and predator animal control not for children or pets. These types of fences should not be installed in urban areas or anywhere where a child or perhaps a family pet dog could accidentally come into contact with the wires.