Choosing the right fence
Types of Fences:
With almost as many fence options available as salt water taffy flavors, the task of selecting the right fence may seem overwhelming. The good news is that with proper planning and research before the project begins you can save a significant amount of money, reduce maintenance and have a higher success of keeping animals in.
Goats and sheep are notorious for finding a way out of almost any type of fence. Whether they jump it, climb it, crawl under or through it, they will constantly test a fence’s integrity. The best option for keeping goats contained is to use a “non-climb” 2”x 4” square wire that smaller goats can’t get their heads through. Because as most goat owners will tell you, “if the goat can get its head through, the rest of the body will follow”. Another option for larger goats is to use a woven wire or field fence. Woven wire typically has smaller 4” tall x 6” wide squares starting at the bottom and going up approximately 1/3 of the wire height and then converts to 6”x 6” squares the remaining 2/3 up to the top. The idea is to select a wire height that will keep your goats from jumping over. The common wire heights are 32”, 36” and 47” for field fence and 36” and 48” for non-climb. Some manufacturers also make a sheep and goat fence that has 4”x 4” squares the full height of the wire up to 48” tall.
Behind goats, pigs are arguably the second most trying hooved farm animal on fences. Rather than jumping and climbing, these guys are prone to digging and pushing through fences. The typical hog fence is similar to goat fence utilizing the non-climb wire or woven wire stretched tightly so that they can’t push out. Another option is to install “stock panels” or hog panels that are made similar to woven wire but with heavier gauge materials. These panels come in 16 foot lengths with height of 36”, 48” and 52”. In addition to the wire or panels it is a good idea to install a single strand of barbed wire or an electric wire near the bottom on the inside of the fence to discourage them from rooting under the fence.
Barbed wire is the most common type of cattle fencing available. Typically the wire is installed 46” to 52” tall depending upon whether it is four strand or five strand fence. A typical four strand fence has a spacing from the ground at 16”, 10”, 10”, 10” and a five wire spacing of 12”, 10”, 10”, 10”, 10”. Another option for keeping cows and calves in is to use 39” or 47” tall woven wire with a single or double strand of barbed wire on top.
With a horse’s quick sense of flight, the main consideration in material selection should be visibility. Common materials for horse fencing include rails or boards and 2”x 4” squares on non-climb wire. Many people also use smooth wire (like barbed wire, but without any barbs) as well. The key is to make sure that wires are clearly marked with ribbon for the first few weeks the horse is in the pasture so he can become accustomed to the boundaries. Woven wire is often considered a poor choice for horse fencing even though it is highly visible. Horses that paw can get their feet tangled in the larger squares causing harm to the animal and the fence. If choosing a rail or board fence, you should consider whether your horse chews or cribs as this can increase maintenance costs.
The main purpose for fencing poultry is to keep predators out and birds in. The most common type of wire is chicken fencing or netting. This is small hexagonal shaped wire that typically has 1” or 2” sized hexagons and is available in heights of 12”, 18”, 24”, 36”, 48” and 60”. It is common to include a rail or board at the top and bottom of the netting to help deter predators from pushing through or pulling the wire down. Many installations also include placing the bottom of the wire underground several inches or making a 90 degree bend in the wire just below the surface on the outside of the enclosure to discourage predators from digging under. Another option is to install 2”x 4” square non-climb wire as it is a larger gauge wire and predators can’t tear it as easily.
Deer /garden fencing:
The average whitetail deer, if pressured, can
jump over an obstacle that is over 12 feet tall, but rarely do so if they can
go around or through it. Therefore a
typical deer fence around a garden or orchard should be at least six feet tall,
but eight feet tall is better. There are
several options available for materials including 72” non-climb wire coupled
with one or two strands of barbed wire or split rails on top as well as 96” tall
field fence. These won’t guarantee that
the deer can’t get in, but it will discourage them from trying when there is
ample food and water outside the perimeter.