Farm / Ranch Fencing Tips

Farm / Ranch Fencing Tips

Farms and ranches have been using fencing and gates of one kind or another for centuries. In today’s modern world we have many choices on what we can use to build our fences. Having all these choices can lead to choosing the wrong fence or gates and hardware for your intended purpose, this can lead to a lot of frustration wasted time and especially money.

Here are some things to consider when you are putting up a fence and gates for livestock. What is the intended purpose of your fence is it for horses or cattle, is it a fence for sheep or goats, hog fence, chickens or even a garden fence.

The first thing to consider when doing a fence is where to put the gates is it in the most convenient location for feeding or moving the animals in or out, is your gate big enough for equipment to get through, tractors trucks hay machines.

When building a fence, one of the most important things to consider is your post spacing for the type of fence you are putting up. For metal pipe fencing, 8 to 12 foot spacing depending on the size of metal fence tubing used will suffice.  Wood post and fencing should be in the 7 to 10 foot range depending on the size of lumber used. Closer post spacing is always a better choice but becomes more costly and labor intensive.

With very few exceptions your corner post and gate post are the foundation of a good fence and should be as strong as possible.  This is where most fences and gates start to fall apart.

Fences for Horses

Our equine friend is probably the most accident prone of all the livestock you will ever own this is a big consideration when building a fence for horses, never use barbed wire sooner or later a horse will tear themselves to shreds on barbed wire. When using woven wire for your fence, make sure the squares are either too small for a horse to get its foot stuck in it or that the squares are plenty big enough to get their foot out if they do stick it through. When setting corner post and gates for your equine fence, be sure there are no cross members in which a horse can get a leg caught in and break it. Always select gates where a horse’s foot cannot get caught up in it and no sharp corners to get cut on. When using T post for horses, always put a cap on them. I know of several cases of horses being impaled on T posts.  It usually doesn’t end well.

Cattle Fences

Cattle mainly need fence, gates and hardware that they cannot push through. Barbed wire works good for cattle it is especially a good choice for larger pastures as in T post and barbed wire are less expensive and easier to put up than most other fences and only require sturdy corner posts and gate posts. Nearly any kind of fencing can be used for cattle, metal panels ,wood panels metal gates wood gates, woven wire fence ,iron pipe fence and electric fence.

Goats and Sheep Fencing

Barbed wire is not a good choice of fence or gates for goats and sheep it has to large of a spacing to contain them and sheep will get there wool tangled up in it and goats will cut themselves on the barbs. Goats are expert climbers and are constantly climbing and pushing on a fence so it needs to be very sturdy fence and have small enough squares in which they cannot climb through and also to not let predators in. 

Electric Fence

Electric fence works great for nearly all Farm and ranch animals keeping farm animals in and predator animals out. It is also the least expensive and most cost effective fence to use. It is not a good perimeter fence all on its own as sometimes excited or scared livestock will run through it.

It is a good choice to use electric fence in conjunction with all other types of fencing  and will extend the life of the fence by keeping your farm and ranch animals from pushing climbing and scratching on it.

With preplanning that takes into account the size of the enclosure, the materials desired, the cost and special consideration to the type of livestock you’ll need enclosed (horses, cattle, goats), you’ll have a fence that will serve you and your animals for years to come.