Gallagher SmartFence

Posted by Gallagher Electric on

I posted a month ago asking about the Gallagher smart reel fence. Here is my review after buying one and using it some.

One smart reel was $262 including the shipping which took 8 days. Its 328' long so that is comparable to 2 rolls of Electronet from Premier1 which would be $250 with free shipping and arrives in about 3 days. (Though I appreciate the homemade contraptions from the previous post, my primary motivation was to save time, not money.)

I run a flock of 20-30 Katahdin ewes (+ lambs in season) in the Arkansas Ozarks. With a wooded, very hilly, and sometimes flooded terrain, my pastures are a hodge podge of different shapes scattered through my land and the neighbors', circumvented with 5 wire 14 ga electric fences (and sometimes employing the existing half-century old fencing.)

I like to move every 1-3 days, depending. I like to move the sheep from one end of a pasture to the other, leaving a back fence about every 3 days. I don't like moving multiple net fences every day.

Some might get by with 2 wires, and in that case two hand reels would probably work fine. Because of my hodge podge, I have to move chargers around, and sometimes I'm a bit lazy about that, so my sheep can unlearn their training quickly.

First time I used it, it went well. I lowered the top wire down 8". That's one of the two changes one can make (the other is to lower the bottom wire so its a couple inches off the ground). It took about half the time of a net fence to deploy, and will go faster with experience. Its especially nice that I don't have to fit the fence to length like with a net fence. I also like that I can put the posts where I want to. I had trouble figuring out how to hook the wires up to an existing hot fence, directions say I'm supposed to buy some fence (alligator) clips. And I still don't know where they can connect on the reel side.

At this point I wondered why they didn't make a longer fence. The reels are only half filled, and it wouldn't take much to put another 4 posts in the contraption. But the first time I reeled up a fence I understood - it gets heavy winding it up. I suppose the other reason is to keep it to a cost and size that most people will accept. But I'd sure pay a few bucks more for something that's 50% longer.

One reason it gets heavy is because its not a geared reel, so one has to hold it 2-3x longer than if they were walking at a good trot. This would be the biggest negative of the product for me - if I bought another one, I would look for geared reels.

The other reason is because it pulls the top forward when winding (handle friction), and the handle isn't shaped well to leverage it right with one's hand. I could let it push against my waist to keep the top from pulling forward, but the reels are turning. If there was a $4 plastic shield over the reels that would help quite a bit. Even better, put a little hook on the shield that I could put over my pants waist, and the weight of the contraption could be doubled.

Every other pole comes with an orange string and a little ground stake. Since I make a pretty straight line across my paddocks, these have so far been of no use to me. I'll probably use one here or there in the future, but I'd rather just carry a spare in my pocket for that rare occasion.

I mow my pastures at the start of fall, so have not tried using it in tall grass yet.

At this point, its hard for me to imagine buying another full length net fence. Before buying another multi-reel fence (which I probably will do soon), I'll check to see if any other brands have a geared reel. Gallagher SmartFence

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