Fencing Tips and Strategies

May 27, 2020

Fencing protects and divides a property to provide privacy and security, mark boundaries, and for pastoral fencing, maintain livestock and keep animals out. Fences don’t just have to be a practical necessity. You can have fun designing a fence to suit your unique needs based on your location, livestock, property size, and privacy needs.

How Many Entry Points /Gates?

Sketch out your farm fence including lines, farming gates, and corners, and then mark the location using surveyor tape or other measuring tools. Fence lanes should connect buildings with potential pasture fields. Ensure your lanes are set in dry areas such as natural ridges or terraces to avoid gullies.

Ask for help from an agriculture government agency or a commercial aerial survey firm to find out how much linear feet of fence you need. Red Brand and Gallagher, two reputable fence manufacturers, offer fence building modules on their website so you can estimate the number of posts and amount of wire needed based on your unique landscape.

When possible, include entry points/gates on the corner of each field nearest to the farm buildings. If fields are divided by a highway, place entry points opposite each other for easy access for livestock.

donkey looking through fence

Fencing Strength

Consider your environment when buying your permanent or temporary rural fencing supplies from your fence supplier. For instance, untreated wood posts can rot in damp soil. Possible livestock fencing material includes barbed wire, board, woven wire, high-tensile, mesh, electric, and a mix of them.

Your farm fencing needs depend on your crops, livestock, and geographical limitations, especially the nearby vegetation that can attract any cattle, hogs, and sheep alike. You’ll need extra support there to keep your animals contained.

Poultry netting is the perfect chicken wire fencing material because it’s made out of thin wire and has small holes. For a cattle fence, an easy-to-install barbed material can keep cattle contained and won’t seriously damage their thick leather hide. Sheep fencing wire can range from the regular field fence or the non-climb fence.

Most posts can be spaced between eight to 12 feet apart. Narrow spacings can work over irregular ground and in curved fence lines.

Rail fences are common border fences for homes and farms. For livestock, farm fences four to five feet high are ideal. The cost of rail fences is typically higher than other livestock fencing materials due to the labor, paint, and materials involved.

Barbed wires are made of multiple strands of galvanized wire steel classified as either standard or suspension barbed wire. Standard barbed wire comes wrapped with two to four barbs. These fences are affordable and only require wire, posts, and staples as ranch fencing supply.

Woven wires are made of smooth horizontal wires held apart by stays, or vertical wires. Choose from varying woven wire heights depending on how high your animals can jump.

Mesh wire fence is a resilient and affordable livestock fence material and is used for corrals, feedlots, and small crop acreages. Mesh wiring is ideal for show horses since they don’t pose great harm to hooves or the body, unlike barbed wire.

Electric fences are secure and can be either temporary or permanent. Multiple strands of an electric fence are visible to animals.

white horse fence

Permanent vs. Temporary

Permanent fences are designed with durability and low-maintenance in mind. Higher up-front investment for quality materials and construction could be worth the effort for some property owners.

Temporary fences serve a short-lived use as they are only meant to contain a property for a short time. Temporary fences may be constructed of lower-quality materials to avoid a large initial investment for construction.

Putting in Posts

After your designs are completed, prepare the area by removing excess shrubs, rocks, and other obstructive material. For wiring fences, wood or steel posts are preferred. Corner posts need bracing and tight, but not too tight, wiring all around.

Steel posts are usually hand or power-driven. Wood posts are driven with power driving equipment such as the Titan 1.3 HP or Prime-Source Red Fence drivers, which is quicker and provides a strong foundation. Just make sure to drive the post with the small end down to reduce damage to the post when driving.

When setting posts in dug holes, center the post before tamping it down to provide tight support. True Temper post hole digger with a fiberglass handle or the Seymour post hole auger can dig up a variety of soils with ease.

When driving in corner posts, drill a pilot hole about four inches smaller than the post before driving to reduce resistance and gain more control over the lean of the corner posts. Corner posts should be driven in at a slight angle away from the pull of the wires. Use two posts for fencing over 200 feet or multiple posts of wire more than 650 feet.

wooden fence sunrise

Stretching Woven Wire Tips

Ideally, stretch the wires in sections instead of one go. Start from one corner to the next brace post. Begin assembling the wires from the bottom up and attach it to the side of the post nearest to the animals. Use a wire stretcher such as the DL Goldenrod 400 and Zareba Fi-Shock-54 fence stretcher for construction and maintenance.

Use galvanized staples or wire clips to attach the wires. Staples should be at least 1 ¾ or 2 inches long. Don’t staple the wires too tightly. Leave enough room for the expansion and contraction of the wires with livestock pressure and the temperature changes.

The brace assembly keeps the wires in place. Driving staples parallel with the grain can weaken the wood. Stagger the staples to avoid the post cracking. Turn the staples about 40 degrees to the right to open up as it goes into the post. Most farm fence lines require around four lines, but farm fencing can use up to six lines in certain areas.

Fencing Maintenance

Once you’ve built your farm fence, the journey isn’t complete. Regular maintenance may be needed to maintain the integrity of the structure. A wire fence can loosen with temperature fluctuations which may require tension adjustment. Clear weeds from the wire fence to keep your ranch fence intact, especially with electric fencing.

Good farm fencing takes hard work. It’s better to do things right the first time to avoid tearing down and replacing broken segments. Consider the current and future layout of your property and install the right farm fence. Using and sourcing materials from fencing suppliers such as Wilco can get you one step closer to being complete.