Why is it so difficult to keep my animals from getting out of their pen/pasture? Here I will try to help answer this and many other fencing questions. I know you are asking if there is any type of fencing out there that I can use that they can’t escape from? They can’t crawl under, climb and jump over every fence I have put up.
Keeping livestock where you want them can be a never-ending job. It takes time from other chores, leads to injured animals, and loss of assets from what they get into. It can even lead to loss of life if they get out on the road and a car hits them.
Are these the questions you continually ask yourself? Well, hopefully, I have a few answers to those difficult livestock fencing questions. For a farmer or rancher, fencing is a very frustrating job. Whether you are a huge thousand-acre rancher or a simple backyard homesteader you need good fencing.
Any rancher or farmer who has livestock is always wondering what the best fencing is. What can I use that won’t make me go out in the middle of the night chasing them down the road and break my bank account? Every animal has different needs and abilities to consider before you go out and buy something to keep them confined. If you are a beginner rancher, farmer, or homesteader these are problems you will or have encountered.
I’ve tried several different types of fencing to keep in dogs, horses, pigs, goats, and sheep. Oh, and bulls and cows. Through all the trials with these animals, I did find out most of the time you can’t use what you keep sheep confined to fence in bulls or pigs. Goats will either jump over or climb under most fences. Horses can, but not usually, jump over and push down wire fences. “The grass is always greener on the other side.”
So let’s see what we need for a few of these animals you might have. I’m going to assume that most people visiting my blog are just getting acquainted with livestock and managing their confinement. I will try to include animals that are usually at the top of the list for beginning owners.
COWS & HORSES
Keep in mind I am not going to include the top-of-the-line fencing options. These will be the low-cost easy to build and maintain options.
Cows and horses are pretty easy with four or five-wire barbed wire at sixteen-foot increments. Using “T” posts or treated wood posts you can attach to.
Start with where you want the top to be and put your top wire at (horse) chest/neck height for horses, and about nose (cow) high for cows. Then the equal distance between the rest of them.
With any fence for livestock, you will want to put the fence material on the inside of the pen so if they lean or push on it, it is more difficult to push apart.
Make sure you have purchased T-post clips
or fencing staples for the wood posts, a fence stretcher, fencing pliers, and of course heavy gloves. If you have chosen to use T-Posts, you will need a “post-pounder” to put the posts into the ground. For the wood posts, you can just dig the hole or use a tractor-driven post-hole digger. Most of these can be found at your local https://www.homedepot.com/ or https://www.tractorsupply.com/
There are other fencing options of course if you want to spend a little more money. There are the ranch panels made of 4′ x 16’wire panels with 4″x 6″ squares, Powder River style panels made from tubed steel pipe. They come in several different sizes and configurations including gates. These are simple to put together and can be made into any shape or size you need.
Then there is a “no-climb” fence for horses. It comes in a roll at different heights and lengths depending on your need. You will still need the posts to attach the wire to and a different stretcher to stretch the wire.
If all that seems like too much work, there are several options for electric fencing. You can get plain wire, braided wire, poly tape, and a netting fence.
With all this fencing except the netting, you will need some kind of post and insulated connectors. They even make a connector for a gate opening.
The netting fence is self-contained with its posts and connectors. All you need to do is set it up where you want it and connect it to your power source. Solar is my favorite because I can move and place the fence wherever I want to put it. They collect the sun and have their battery for storage. Just make sure you have a large enough power source for the length of your fence. Several options are available for the solar power source.
Electric fence is the one fence animals have great respect for. I’ve heard “them,” say that animals can actually smell the electricity and will stay far away from it.
Next on our list are sheep. These critters are usually pretty easy to keep in. Although, that depends on the breed. Hair sheep are a little more aggressive and will try to go over or under a fence if there is a hole.
Barbed wire is not usually going to work for them. They can push their way through the wires and out they go. What I have learned about most animals, where ever the nose goes, the rest follows. You need rolled-type fencing with squares or
ranch panels if you aren’t using electric fencing. Make sure the bottom of the fence is secure and flush with the ground. Any little opening will invite them to make it bigger and the predators to sneak in. We have learned if you keep your fences good and tight it keeps the coyotes out. They are a pretty lazy predator and prefer to go after easy prey.
Electric mesh-type fencing is the easiest way to keep them in. You can move them and the fence to wherever you want when you want. So if you run out of feed in one area, just move them to another. The easiest place to find this type of fencing is at Premier 1 Supply @ https://www.premier1supplies.com/c/fencing/
Now we come to my favorite fence-flier. Every time I think I have found the perfect fence to keep the goats in, they have to prove me wrong. So far the only way to keep these buggars contained is to make sure it is sturdy and high enough they can’t jump over or crawl under.
Ranch panels, Powder River panels, or mesh electric fences seem to be the best way to go for them. If you can get the rolled wire fence tall enough that works also. Just make sure you have the posts or poles at good intervals to give the fence enough strength and support. Eight-foot intervals seem to be close enough to lend that support.
Also, for goats, don’t put anything they can climb on close to the fence. They will leap if given the chance. Sometimes I forget and want to lean a panel next to the fence to give them a little extra shade but then, nope, can’t do that. That would just be a nice ladder to the outside.
As for chickens, rabbits, turkeys, or ducks, I don’t have any suggestions for you because I have noticed that most ranchers or homesteaders want to have “free-range” poultry. Rabbit owners have their type of confinement options relative to rabbits. And I’ve never had rabbits. Although the rolled fencing with smaller squares would probably work great.
I hope some of my suggestions have helped give you an idea of which way to go for fencing options. It’s a frustrating job but one you want to make sure is done right.
Check back often for more of my articles relating to livestock care, feeding, and maintenance.
Photos on this blog are only for reference from Premier 1 and Amazon.