Stray voltage (also known as “tingle” voltage) is any voltage that appears in metal work, stanchions, pipes, conduits, etc. It is usually caused by current trying to get back to the transformer by the easiest route. Stray voltage can cause discomfort to farm animals; for example, if a cow touches a metal feeder that is charged with stray voltage, it gives her a shock as the current passes through her body.
Most farm animals react to voltages too low for humans to notice. They may lap at water rather than drink normally or leave a layer of feed in a steel trough. They sometimes hesitate or refuse to enter areas where they previously felt shocks (stall hardware, for example) while standing on wet concrete. When confined, they may jump, defecate and kick, creating problems for handlers.