MR. MCGREGOR'S FENCE®
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  Keeps Out Small Animals 100%

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INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR MCGREGOR GARDEN FENCE

Installation Instructions (General)
Installation Videos (Kits)
Written Installation Instructions for Kits
Written Installation Instructions for all McGregor-style Fences


CONGRATULATIONS!

Welcome to many years of critter-free gardening. You have here the instructions for installing the world’s best and kindest tool for keeping rabbits, woodchucks, groundhogs, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, armadillos, possums, pets, and other small creatures out of your garden–permanently.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These instructions are not easily printable as you see them. To print them, click on the link below, save or open the link as a PDF using the PDF menu that appears, and print out the pages in that PDF.  

McGregor fence installation instructions McGregor fence installation instructions (325 KB)

     These instructions contain the following:

  • A list of parts needed to set up a McGregor Fence;
  • A list of tools and other materials you will need to install your fence;
  • Step-by-step installation instructions;
  • Maintenance tips.

 

Parts for a McGregor Fence (for details and part descriptions see www.bestgardenfences.com:)

  • A charger/energizer (AC, battery, or solar-powered, depending on the fence)
  • Enough rolls of 50' x 18" green wire mesh fencing to go all the way around the garden;
  • Enough rolls of 50 x 3 foot polyethylene mulch weed barrier to go all the way around the garden;
  • Enough wood chips or bark mulch to cover the polyethylene sheet to a depth of 1 inch;
  • Enough 3/8 x 18-inch fiberglass posts to place one about every 8 feet along the fence line;
  • Enough 3/8 x 27-inch fiberglass fence posts to place one about every 6 feet along the fence line;
  • Enough clip-on insulators for round 3/8-inch posts to place 2 insulators on each 18 and 27-inch post;
  • Enough 14 to 17-gauge aluminum electric fence wire or electric fence polywire to go twice around the garden;
  • A ground rod;
  • An electric fence tester;
  • Installation instructions;
  • Only for fences with AC-powered chargers: Enough electric fence hookup wire to reach from the nearest AC outlet  to the fence;
  • Only for fences needing to keep out squirrels: Enough galvanized small mesh chicken wire fencing plus attachment ties (see our squirrel barrier kits) to go all the way around the garden;
  • Only for fences where the fence line may become bone dry or frozen at times when the fence needs to operate: Enough galvanized small mesh chicken wire to go all the way around the garden.

 Tools and Supplies:

  • Gardening or work gloves
  • Pliers, scissors, wire-cutters, a hammer, and a yardstick or measuring tape.
  • Wood chips or bark mulch.
  • Weatherproof electrician’s tape.
  • Small stones to secure the weed barrier to the ground.

Videos:

We provide several short videos on installation of Mr. McGregor’s Fence®.  These can be accessed from www.bestgardenfences.com. Before starting installation you may wish to view one of these videos.

 

A. Preparation

 

  1. Clear and level the path over which the fence will run.
  2. Choose a spot for your electric fence charger/energizer as close to the fence as possible. If you have an AC- powered charger then that spot should be at an AC outlet in a shed, barn or garage or professionally installed outdoor outlet. If you have a battery-powered charger it should be within a few feet of the fence. If you have a solar-powered charger it should be in full sun facing south, also close to the fence.
  3. If you are only installing the electric portion of a McGregor Fence, either because you already have a barrier fence in place or because you only want the electric portion of the fence, skip sections B1 and B2 below; then follow the instructions in step C1, skip steps C2 through C7, and follow the instructions relating to the weed barrier in C8.

 

B1. If You Have a Squirrel Barrier, Combine it with the Main Barrier Fence as Follows:

 

  1. Open a roll of GREEN WIRE MESH barrier fence from your Mr. McGregor’s Fence Kit.
  2. Open a roll of bare metal mesh.
  3. Attach one long edge of the bare metal mesh to one long edge of the green wire mesh fence with twist ties, applying one twist tie every foot or so along the entire 50 foot length of the two fence rolls..
  4. Attach the other long edge of the bare metal mesh to the green wire mesh fence with twist ties, again applying one twist tie every foot or so.
  5. Continue this with your other rolls of fencing until all your green metal fence rolls are attached to squirrel barrier rolls.
  6. Continue with your kit installation, ensuring that the side of the green barrier fencing with the squirrel barrier attached to it is the side placed upon the ground.

 

B2. If You Have Obtained Grounding Mesh to Cope with Dry Ground, Proceed as Follows:

  1. Complete steps C1 through D8 below.
  2. Unroll the bare metal mesh over the weed barrier and mulch, using stones or bricks to keep it flat and running one side of it right next to the short posts carrying the electric fence wire. If you have more than one roll of this grounding mesh, connect all the rolls electrically by cutting a short (several inch) length of your electric fence wire and using it to bind the end of one roll to the beginning of another, repeating this process if necessary until all your rolls are electrically connected.
  3. Now take a short length of left-over hookup wire, or electric fence wire, or any other metal wire you may have handy, and use it to connect your metal mesh to your ground rod. Do this by stripping off a couple of inches of any insulation present at both ends, winding one bare end of the connecting wire tightly several times around the part of the mesh fencing nearest to the ground rod, and then winding the other bare end several times around the ground rod. If this connecting wire is a bare metal wire, make sure none of it touches the charged wire on the electric fence at any point.

  

C. Installing the Green Wire Mesh Barrier Fence:

  1. Unroll the weed barrier and lay it down over the path you cleared. Unfold it to its full 3 ft. width and weigh it down with rocks or bricks to keep it in place. Cut the weed barrier with scissors at each fence corner to change its direction at the corner.
  2. Unbundle the 27-inch posts and clip two of your insulators onto each post. Do this by holding the insulator perpendicular to the post and twisting it until it snaps on. If the weather is cold, do this indoors because low temperatures (within 10 or so degrees of freezing) will make the insulators brittle, AND THEY CAN BREAK WHEN YOU TRY TO SNAP THEM ON. Make sure that the opening in each top insulator’s wire hanger is toward the BOTTOM and the opening of each bottom insulator’s wire hanger is toward the TOP. Slide the insulators so that the upper insulator is near the post top and the lower insulator is about 18 inches down from the post top. Once the insulators are on, put one post at each corner and one at either side of any gate door you want. Space the rest of the posts about 6 feet apart all around the fence. Insert each post through the polyfilm weed barrier (about 1 foot in from the garden side of the barrier) and insert it 9 inches into the ground. Wear gloves in handling the posts to avoid getting fiberglass splinters from the cut post tops and bottoms. If you need to tap a post with a hammer, put a small piece of wood board between the hammer and the top of the post to avoid marring the post top.
  3. Starting at one of the corners, unroll some of the green wire mesh fence against two or more posts. If you have attached a squirrel barrier, put it on the other side from the posts. Then use the insulators to attach the fencing to the posts. Do this by catching one of the horizontal green fence wires in the upper insulator’s hanger and sliding the insulator up or down until the top of the fencing is flush with the top of the post. Next, catch another horizontal wire in the lower insulator’s hanger and slide that insulator up until the fencing is held firmly, arranging things so that the bottom of the fence is in good contact with the ground.
  4. Repeat this at each post until you come to the place where you want a gate (if you want one) or until you reach the end of the first fence roll.
  5. To make a gate, go to a point about 3 inches past your first gate post and cut the fencing’s horizontal wires with a wire cutter. Then take the remaining portion of the fence roll and cut a width of fencing about 8 inches wider than the gate opening. Now attach the fencing to each gate post so that each length of fencing overlaps about 4 inches into the gate opening on both sides of the gate, and also attach the gate door to those same gate posts, as in step 3 above. To open the gate, simply slide the top insulators on the gate posts up and remove the gate door. To close the gate, replace the gate door in the lower insulators and move the top insulators back down to secure it.
  6. Continue attaching your fencing to the posts until you reach the end of the first fence roll. Then open the next roll of fencing and join the two rolls by bending the wires that extend from one roll around the last vertical wire on the other roll. (This method will also serve to attach successive fence rolls if you have them.) Then continue attaching the remaining barrier fencing to the posts as in Step 3 until you have gone all around the garden.
  7. When you reach the corner post where you started, cut off any excess fencing, leaving enough wire extending so that you can wrap the wire extensions around this last corner post.
  8. If the fence bows, straighten it by moving the posts slightly or changing their position. Cover the weed barrier with wood chips or bark mulch until none of it is showing. This completes installation of the barrier fence and weed barrier.

 

 D. Installing the Electric Fence:

 

  1. Unbundle the 18” posts and clip 2 insulators to each post as above; but this time arrange things so that the openings in the insulators’ wire hangers are all at the TOP, and so that one insulator is at the top of the post while the other is about 4 inches below it.
  2. Position the 18” posts by laying them down in their intended places around the barrier, or along the intended fence line if there is no barrier fence. Place one post at each corner and two at each gate (at either side of the gate door) if you have a gate, and space the remaining posts out evenly about 8 feet apart. Push each post through the polyfilm about 4 inches out from the barrier fence (5 inches out at the corners) and insert it 9 inches into the ground, as in step C2 above. If there is no barrier fence, stick each post through the polyfilm at a place about halfway across the polyfilm (about 18 inches from each edge).
  3. If your fence will not have a gate, begin hanging the wire at a point where two barrier fence sections come together. (In rare cases where heavy equipment needs to enter the garden, this will allow you to create an opening by undoing the wire at this point, also undoing the barrier fencing, and then pulling the wire and barrier fencing aside to create the space you need.) Start the wire hanging process at your chosen post by winding the end of the wire around the top insulator a couple of times to secure it. Then go to the top insulator of the next post and place the wire in that post’s top insulator. Proceed in this way all around the fence, but at each corner wind the wire around the insulator a couple of times to stabilize the system.
  4. When you get back to the fiberglass post where you started, wind the wire a couple of times around the post just above the top insulator, in such a way that the wire is held securely without preventing you from unwinding the beginning of that top wire should you desire. Then bring the wire down to that post’s lower insulator, wind it a couple of times around that lower insulator, and proceed in the opposite direction around the fence to hang the wire from each of the lower insulators (taking an extra turn around the corner insulators) just as you did with the top insulators.
  5. When you get back to your starting point, cut the wire about 3 inches beyond the last post and wind this 3 inches around the last lower insulator to ensure the wire stays put.
  6. If your fence will have a gate, start hanging the wire at one of the gate posts. Wind it a couple of time around the top insulator on that post. Then proceed across the gate opening to hang your wire from that second gate post, and proceed as in Steps 3, 4, and 5 above.
  7. Check to be sure the wire is not sagging anywhere. If it sags or touches the green fence, adjust it by shifting individual posts.
  8. In a location near the fence, tap the ground rod into the ground, leaving a couple of inches above ground. If you are using our 2-foot ground rod, be sure not to damage the threads at the top of the rod.
  9. Measure the distance from your charger/energizer to the ground rod. If you have enough insulated hookup wire left over to cover this distance, use that. If you do not have enough hookup wire, use any insulated metal wire (house current wire will do). Cut a length one foot longer than the length needed to reach from the charger’s ground terminal to the ground rod’s nuts.  
  10. Strip an inch or two of insulation from this wire at both ends. Then attach one end to the ground rod (using the two nuts if you are using our 2-foot rod) and attach the other end to the negative (ground) terminal on the charger (see charger instructions below).

 

E1. Installing an AC-Powered Charger/energizer:

  1. Read the instructions, including the safety provisions, that come with your charger/energizer. Do not use an ordinary extension cord to carry house current out to the fence; and don’t use anything except hookup wire to connect the charger/energizer to the electric fence wire on the fence. (Regular extension cords are not made to carry the type of power utilized by the fence.) The charger must be plugged directly into a 110-volt AC outlet. If you have a professionally installed AC outlet outdoors you can plug your charger into that and should then provide the charger with modest shelter against the weather (rain and snow). This can be as simple as a cut-off 1 gallon milk bottle with a small vent hole cut in the top of the part going over the charger. If your AC outlet is located indoors, plan on providing a small drilled or other opening through which your hookup wire can pass. Don’t pass the insulated hookup wire through a door or window opening, as opening or closing of the door or window can damage the insulation.
  2. Plug the charger into the AC outlet and turn it on. Check to ensure that the indicator light comes on. 
  3. Turn the charger off and unplug it.
  4. From the roll of insulated hookup wire cut a piece long enough to span the distance from the fence to the chargerr plus 4 ft.
  5. Strip an inch and a half of insulation off one end, exposing bare wire, and attach this bare wire to the POSITIVE (+) terminal on your charger/energizer.
  6. Bring the other end of the hookup wire to the electric fence.  The hookup wire should not be taut but should rest on the ground comfortably. Remove any excess hookup wire and strip four inches of insulation off the end, exposing bare wire. 
  7. Connect the bared 4 inches of hookup wire to the electric fence wire at any place on the fence by winding the two around each other (be careful not to break the hookup wire). Make sure that this connection is tight, and wrap the joint with weatherproof electrician’s tape.
  8. Go back to the AC outlet and plug the charger in. 
  9. Turn the charger back on and confirm that its indicator light is on.
  10. Hang your fence tester on the electric fence and see if the indicator light comes on. If the light is on, it means your fence is operating. If the light is not on, use our troubleshooting instructions below.

 

 E2. Installing a Battery-Powered Charger/energizer:

  1. Read the instructions, including the safety provisions, that come with your charger/energizer.
  1. After adding the necessary D Cell (flashlight) batteries, turn the charger on.
  2. Confirm that the charger’s light comes on.
  3. Hang your fence tester on the electric fence and see if the indicator light comes on. If the indicator light is on it means your fence is operating.
  4. To prolong the charger’s life, provide some protection from the weather (rain and snow), perhaps with something as simple as the bottom of a 1 gallon plastic milk bottle, with a small vent cut in the top of the part that goes over the charger.

 

E3. Installing a Solar-Powered Charger/energizer:

  1. Read the instructions, including the safety provisions, that come with your charger/energizer.
  1. Place the solar panel in a sunny place near the fence and oriented so as to catch maximum sunlight.
  2. Wait the necessary time to charge the battery, either before or after turning the charger on (see the instructions provided by its maker).
  3. Once the battery is charged and the charger is on, confirm that the charger’s light is on.
  4. Hang your fence tester on the electric fence and see if the indicator light comes on. If the light is on, it means your fence is operating. If the light is not on, use our troubleshooting instructions below.

 

Troubleshooting – If your fence doesn’t seem to work:

  1. Check the charger to see if its light is lit or blinking. If it is, your fence is most likely working properly. You may not get a shock when you touch a charged wire because your footwear may be providing enough insulation to prevent passage of the charge. Use your fence tester to confirm that voltage is on the fence. If the tester’s light is too dim to read, take a cardboard tube from inside a roll of paper towels and view the tester’s light through that. If both the charger’s light and tester’s light are lit, your fence is in business. If the charger’s light is lit but the tester’s light is out your tester may be defective. Call us at 508-888-8305 and have us send you a new one. If the tester’s light is lit but the charger’s light is out the charger may be working but its monitoring light may not be working. If both the tester and charger indicate no charge on the fence, you need to determine whether the problem is with the fence or with the charger, so take step 2 below.
  2. Detach all wires from the charger’s positive (+) terminal. Then plug it in or turn it back on and see whether the charger’s light is lit or flashing.
  3. If the charger’s light is lit or flashing, while it was not before, the problem is almost certainly with your fence. Inspect the fence carefully for any weeds, blades of grass, or anything other than insulators touching the charged wire(s) and remove any such objects. In addition, confirm that the charged wires are not connected to the ground rod or any part of the grounding system, and also confirm that the wire connecting the charger’s ground (-) terminal to the ground rod is tightly connected at both ends. Then reconnect the fence to the positive terminal on your charger and see if the situation has improved.
  4. If the charger’s light is still not lit after all wires on the positive terminal have been removed, the problem is either with the charger or its power source. If you have an AC-powered charger, unplug the charger and plug an ordinary lamp into the outlet to confirm that the plug has power. If you have a battery-powered charger, use an ordinary voltmeter or other battery tester that can test across the battery’s terminals to make sure the battery is charged. If you have a solar-powered charger, remove the solar battery from inside the charger’s case (so long as you can do this without voiding your warranty) and test across the battery’s terminals to make sure the solar battery is charged.
  5. If your charger has a suitably active power source but is not putting out power, you need to contact the charger’s maker to activate your warranty and/or get a new charger.

 

 Maintenance Tips:

  1. The soil and mulch near the wires should be damp enough so that any animal touching the wire will be grounded. Wetting the area during normal garden watering should accomplish this.
  2. If you have a battery-powered charger you should know how long the battery or batteries will last, so that you can recharge or replace it or them before that time arrives. A good way to do this is to note the date you installed it or them and the next replacement date on a label affixed to the charger.
  3. A small amount of vegetation in contact with the charged wire can neutralize your system. Thus, it is essential to periodically inspect the fence and remove encroaching vegetation before it touches the charged wire. In gardens with grasses or weeds growing just outside the mulch barrier, or with vegetables planted close to the barrier, this should be done every week or so. Witch grasses and certain other sharp grasses can pierce the plastic mulch. When the fence is inspected, these grasses should be removed from around the area of the mulch barrier.
  4. Your system can be left out in winter. Simply disconnect the charger and bring it inside. (If the charger is solar-powered, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper storage.) In the spring remove any accumulated leaves from around the fence and wires, and make sure the two electrified wires are held in their insulator clips and do not touch the fence or soil. Undo the ground-rod nuts or clamp and make a new connection between the wire and ground rod using the old wire. If your charger is battery-powered put in fresh alkaline D cells or connect it to a fully charged battery. Then reinstall or plug in the charger and turn it on. Check the light to see that the unit is working (refer to the installation instructions that came with your charger). If the light does not turn on, check to be sure that all the connections are secure (see Troubleshooting above).

 

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