Choosing the Right Fence

May 20, 2019

When we’re selecting fence for our property the first question we start with, “why am I fencing this area, and what is my fencing goal?”  There are a few main things to consider:

  1. Privacy
  2. Keeping things in
  3. Keeping things out
  4. Temporary verse permanent

For privacy, if your goal is to simply keep people from easily wondering onto your property, the keeping things in or out notes accomplish the same thing.  If you’re also wanting to create a barrier so people can’t easily see in, the most common fence type is a solid wood fence or chain link fencing with privacy slats.  Another option is to use a fence type you like and then use shrubs, trees, or vegetation for privacy.

For those with a farm or acreage, we’re often trying to keep things in.  The type of animal you’re keeping in matters a lot when you’re putting up a fence.  Here are a few animals and some of our personal factors we consider:

  • Fencing for horses: Typically, avoiding barb wire fence is preferred with horses as their skin is more tender and if one gets caught up in the sharp barbs it creates a dangerous situation.  Many also prefer field fence with smaller holes, commonly referred to as non-climb fencing.  The non-climb fence is more expensive as it has more fence wire per foot due to the tighter grid pattern.  However, an animal is not likely to accidentally stick a foot through the larger holes of typical field fence and the smaller grid pattern allows for a tighter fence that can last longer as well.
  • Fencing for chickens: If you’ve got backyard chickens, the best fence option is usually poultry netting. This thinner wire is in several size options and has the smallest holes to prevent small chickens from slipping out. Just as important, it prevents dogs and animals from getting in.
  • Cattle fence: A simple barbwire fence can work with cattle and due to their thicker leather hide doesn’t create as dangerous a situation like it can around horses.  The barbs are enough to deter them and can be an affordable way to fence. Common 39” or 47” tall woven wire field fence is also good with cattle and offers more diversity if you have multiple types of livestock and pets around.  Often, people run a strand of hot wire or barb wire at the top and bottom of field fence to keep animals from lifting up or pressing down on the fence; so it lasts longer.
  • Keeping in sheep and goats: Fencing for sheep and goats is similar, but if you’ve had goats you know it is also very different.  Goats can jump and are very curious animals, so they are very likely to slip their way out of a fence that holds in sheep.  Either way, normal field fence or the non-climb fence work with sheep. With goats, be mindful of trees or stumps nearby that create a launching pad.  Lots of stories of goats jumping off a nearby tree to spring over a fence. Barbwire is not common with them, but electric fence is an option if you’ve got a good power and grounding source.

For keeping things out, if you’ve ever lived in a rural area and tried to have a garden you know what we mean.  Deer love rose bushes and enjoy taking part in nightly garden harvest parties.  Game fence or deer fence is often used around gardens or areas where you’re trying to keep wildlife out.  Deer fence will be at least 6 ft. tall verse a typical 3.5 to 4-foot fence.  Keep in mind when buying posts you’ll need extra long ones.  We typically sink posts at least 2 ft. so you’re looking at 8-10 foot posts to put up tall fencing to keep out the deer.  It’s always good to go a little taller than you think too, although you can always add extra netting or wire across the top to add some height.

Lastly, it is hard work to put up a good fence, so nothing is worse than tearing one down a few years after you installed it because you decided to put a barn there or change your property’s layout.  For boundary fencing, long-lasting posts and field fence is what we prefer.  However, cross-fencing or inside pastures and fences we always consider electric fence.  Electric fence is very fast to put up and quite effective.  If you use step-in or small fiberglass posts they go in and out quick.


We would love to see your fencing projects, use #mywilcolife on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag Wilco Stores.