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Proper Fencing for Your Farm Animals

Updated on September 20, 2017

Hot Barb Wire

Hot Barb Wire

Hot Barb Wire is barb wire fencing that is electrified. This type of fencing is primarily used for large amounts of land and large animals, such as cows. This is not my first choice on fencing. Horses have been known to get themselves wrapped in barb wire, hot or not, and cause serious injuries and even death. Goats and sheep can crawl through it, typically injuring themselves in the process. Cows can successfully be housed in this fencing.

Maintenance of this fence can be very time consuming and difficult. Although easy to erect and run miles of it, this fence is easy to ground out. One long blade of grass or small twig can cause this fence to no longer be hot and thus, less efficient on keeping your animals in. To maintain it, the fence needs to be walked or "rode" to be able to spray for weeds, weed-eated, repaired, or checked on every couple of days. This fencing is best for arid climates, where less vegetation grows quickly after a rain storm.

Cattle Fencing

Cattle Fencing

Cattle Fencing is typically a welded gauged fence in either 4 inch by 4 inch sections or 4 inch by 2 in sections. Some types are braided and some have a strand of barb wire at the top. This fencing is great for horses, cattle, dogs, chickens, turkeys, goats and sheep. It comes in various lengths and heights. When selecting this type of fence, be mindful if you are going to have babies of the animals you will house inside and can they get out of the 4x4 or 4x2 openings.

Maintenance on this fence is relatively minimal. Since it is not electrically charged, spraying along both the inside and outside each for esthetics is about all that is required.

Polytape Fencing

Polytape Fencing

Polytape Fencing is rather specific to horses. However, people have successfully housed other large farm animals in it. Polytape is a lot like the Hot Barb wire in regards to maintenance. It will short out on vegetation and smaller animals will try to crawl through or underneath it. One benefit to Polytape over Hot Barb wire is that if it gets wrapped around an animal, it does little to no damage.

Other Fencing Options

Other fencing options are out there. Some people prefer the look of a natural wooden fence. Painting and staining is required, and only large animals can be housed in it.

Chain-link fencing works well for dogs and chickens. However, horses and cows tend to lean on them and break them down. Chicks can actually get out of them and away from the protection of their mother and flock. Goats and sheep will general do okay in Chain-link. But, if you have some adventurous ones, it may not be the best type of fence.


Our Fencing Debate

Type of Fence
Maintenance
Animals that Can be Housed
Expense
Hot Barbed Wire
Lots of Weeding/Spraying and Making sure it doesn't get grounded out
Cows
Low
Cattle
Spraying for estethics
Horses, cows, chickens, goats, dogs, sheep
Medium
Polytape
Lots of Weeding/Spraying and Making sure it doesn't get grounded out
Horses, cows
Medium
Wooden
Painting or Staining for longevity
Horses, cows
High
Chain-Link
Prone to rusting and would need painting from time to time
Dogs, goats, sheep
High

Our New Fence: 4x2 Cattle Fencing

So, after all of the research and personal experience, we have settled on 4x2 Cattle Fencing for our farm. Since we have a toddler, anything that was electrified was not going to be in our best interests. Plus, the idea of having to check it all the time, seemed pointless. The option of 4x4 spacing was going to be too big for goat kids and dogs (who will be housed in a different area than the pasture animals). So our investment in fencing starts!

We plan to space the T-posts at about 7 feet. This allows enough pressure between the posts so that the heavier animals can't lean and push it down. And we are going with a fencing that is 4 foot tall. Because Goats are good jumpers, one maintenance item that will happen prior to goats arriving, is to ensure that there isn't any debris or rocks that they can get onto and hop over the fence!

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