15-Steps of How to Build a Livestock Fence

Electric Fences for Goats

Livestock fencing is highly dependent on the type of livestock you intend to keep inside the fencing. There are many types of fences that livestock are kept behind. This article provides an overview of a typical livestock fencing. Please feel free to start an article on any special type of livestock fencing.

step 1

Determine what kind of fence or livestock fences you want to build. What you decide to build depends on the livestock you own, how much money you are willing to spend on purchasing materials, and what size it will be. There is a huge difference between paddock and pasture fences.

For example, with cattle, paddock fences need to be more rigid and stable than pasture fences. Pasture fencing for cattle requires simple barbed wire or high-stretch fences, while for pigs, goats and sheep, pasture fencing requires up to 3 to 5 feet in height. Horse pasture fencing can also be barbed wire or high-stretch fence, but people love a little more fancy fences and opt for wooden fences or aesthetically pleasing iron fencing.

There are numerous types of fencing available. Some examples:

  • Electrical fencing can be permanent (as well as high tensile) or temporary electrical. Electric fencing can be the fastest and cheapest to build. This will apply to any animal that is trained and is also useful as a psychological barrier to wildlife. A wire that is electrified is said to be energized or “hot”. The temporary electrical wire is ideal for rotary or steerable – intensive pasture because it can be moved all the time.
    This article will not tell you how to install an electric fence, because usually all instructions are for installing temporary electric fences, not a standard permanent livestock fence.
  • Barbed wire fencing is installed from four to six or more wire fences, smooth wire in the form of high strength or low stretch fencing (this type of fencing is often electrified), or a combination of smooth and barbed wire. One level of barbed wire, as a rule, runs from the top of the fence, and sometimes at different levels, or vice versa, standard wire is located at the top of the fence, and barbed wire is at the bottom. Both types of fencing are best for livestock.
  • Piedge wire, while more expensive than barbed or smooth wire, is best suited for fencing pastures or keeping goats, sheep, and pigs, and is a common grazing fence for bison and elk breeding. The wire can also be used on farms or ranches that breed cows – calves. Page wire is also called “truss fence” or “woven” and comes in braided wire or 12 to 14 wires welded together to form squares of varying lengths apart from each other, four to six inches apart. Such a fence can be 3 to 8 feet high.
  • Wood planks are best for those who want a more aesthetically pleasing farmhouse and don’t want to worry about the potential problems posed by wire fences. It can be expensive, but it is safe and effective for horses. Wooden board fencing is also suitable for keeping cattle.
  • Iron fencing is also suitable for farms that have horses or want aesthetically pleasing yards. It can also be used for other livestock like cattle and sheep, especially in high traffic areas such as holding paddocks.
  • Iron fences are arranged in groups that need to be stabilized with wooden posts or stand-alone groups that need the tractor to place them in the right place. Depending on their size, they are great for keeping large animals such as deer, cattle (especially bulls), horses (including stallions), bison and even elk.

step 2

Determine the location of your fence. You will need a ruler, protractor, pencil, paper and eraser to draw lines and a shape for where your pastures will be, how many pastures you want to make, where your gates will be, mark all the lanes and how you are going to organize and build the fence as you are going to smoothly transition from one pasture to another. This is so that you reduce or even eliminate the risk of damage to livestock.

  • You can take printouts of your land from Google Earth to position where you want fences, gates, alleys, pastures, and even corrals. It will be much easier than trying to scale everything on a large piece of paper from memory!

step 3

Decide how you are going to build your fences according to the type of livestock you have. Plan how to build your fences at the same time, keeping in mind those special, individual animals that are potential diggers, fence pests, fence jumpers or climbers, or those who might just walk through it as if it weren’t there.

It is very difficult to predict which animals you are going to keep and how they will check the fences.

  • Goats are notorious for testing fences, being prone to climb, jump, crawl under, climb over, or even walk over fences. Build your fence so that it is high enough that they are unlikely to jump over, and so low that they do not crawl under it. The space between the wires should be less than the size of their heads, because if a goat can stick its head in, then the rest of its body will surely pass too! Electric Fences for Goats might be a good solution for you
  • Sheep are less known for climbing over fences, but they are as small as goats; thus, similar fencing requirements are required for them.
  • Pigs are better known for digging tunnels under fences than climbing over them. You will need to set up a fence deep enough underground that the pigs will not dig through to escape.
  • Many horse owners argue that barbed wire fencing is the worst thing for horses, that it is better to spend the extra money on parallel bars, or board fencing, than wire fencing. Horses are more likely to jump over a fence and figure out a path through a gate lock than to crawl under a fence. However, stallions tend to check the fence; thus, if you have a breeding herd of horses, make sure the paddock where you keep them, the fence must be strong, sturdy and high enough so that the stallion will not jump over it.
  • Cattle fencing is a little easier to choose because it has more choices a breeder makes to contain their cattle depending on where he wants to keep them. Barbed wire fencing is the most common type of fencing for grazing cattle. Electric fencing is best for those fence lines that too often need to be crossed or for those designed for round-robin cattle. Stronger fencing such as freestanding iron fences, wooden planks, or iron bars are best for paddocks and resting paddocks, and are highly recommended for keeping bulls and cows.

step 4

Plan out what kind of corner brackets you need or want for your pasture fences. This is your closing point for the fence that takes the brunt of both fence lines, the angle bracket is the first and most important thing you should build for your livestock fence. You could look around your area for these corner braces. You will understand that all the angles have been maintained over the years to varying degrees. Considering the cost at which you bought the fence, you need to build your corner assemblies to the highest standard in your area.

  • Corner brackets range from H to N brackets and wire extending from the top of one side to the bottom of the other. In other words, when two H-brackets are positioned towards each other, which are typically mounted on a pasture corner fence, three vertical posts, two horizontal braces, and a stretch are used to construct such an angle bracket. This type of construction is standard and will hold up any fence for many years.

step 5

Call the help center and gas service to invite one of their workers to map out any gas lines on your property. Make sure you know where the gas lines go before you start digging, otherwise you could damage it and spend a lot of money on repairs or hurt yourself. Your local gasman or service company will mark the areas where these lines are located before you start building your fence.

step 6

Get an overview of your land. A legal survey may be required to determine the exact perimeter of the land you own, or where your land ends and a neighbor’s begins. You may need to do this before starting construction as it may take time.

  • Note that this is extremely important to define, especially if your perimeter has no existing boundaries, such as a road or a row of trees. This is less important if you are building interior fences in the main fence on the site because quite often you can determine how those interior fences will be positioned without spending money to hire professional inspectors.
  • Distributing indoor grassland and paddock fences requires a good knowledge of markings, determining whether the fence is straight or not, surveying measures, tape measures and chalk or marking paint – the latter two items will be needed to mark out smaller pens and handling equipment in addition to those mentioned above.

step 7

Buy fences. In addition to fence posts and wires or fence rails, you will also need other tools and equipment to stretch the wire, secure it, and cut it. Buy everything you need before you start digging holes.

step 8

Dig holes. The earthmoving machine will dig the holes that are required especially for starting the construction of the angle brackets. Place the posts as deep as necessary depending on the type of soil. Corner brackets should be dug so that the base is submerged at least 30 inches to 2 feet deep.

step 9

Install the corner posts. Corner posts are usually larger in diameter and even longer than full length posts. Some install them in concrete, but others argue that this will make them more susceptible to rotting than if they were installed in gravel, sand or soil. Make sure they are straight and level (never bend the corner posts!) Connect all three recessed posts before installing them. Fill the space around the three posts with soil that has been dug, gravel, sand, or concrete.

  • Attach the top post from three pieces. You will need a tape measure and a chainsaw to cut the points where they need to connect. Quite often, you will use a hammer to attach everything properly.
  • Place the wire on the posts. The wire is crossed from the top down, and by winding it with the stick as tightly as possible without breaking it further, increasing the strength of the fence.
  • Continue with the middle post and each of the other corner posts.

Note that with a wooden or iron fence, corner posts are not required. Even electrical temporary fences do not require permanent corner posts.

step 10

Place the first wire fence line. This will serve as a guide for where to place the rest of the lines. The first wire should start eight to ten centimeters from the ground.

  • This step is generally not necessary for wood or iron fences, as well as temporary electrical fences.

step 11

Place the pillars on the line. The posts are made of wood or steel. This distance varies considerably from fence to fence and can be as close as 6 feet to 50 feet. It is best to do this closer, if finances permit, and is necessary if you are building holding or working pens with a large number of animals. Inspect all lines and pillars – make no exceptions because damaged wood will have a shorter life time than those treated under pressure.

These same posts will taper at the end, making them easier to drive into the ground.

  • Ideally, the poles along the line should be submerged 14 to 18 inches deep regardless of terrain. More posts will be needed for more uneven terrain, such as hills or ravines.

step 12

Lift up the rest of the wires. You will need to decide how many outskirts you want specifically for wire fences. The standard is four wires along the fence line (especially for barbed wire fences), but some manufacturers prefer to install five or six wire fences especially along roads.

  • Make sure each wire is evenly spaced over the other. This will make the fence strong and sturdy. If the wires are not evenly spaced, this allows the animals to stick their head over the fence or even walk right through or under it without any problem. You must prevent this.
  • Installation in a hedge is standard – three planks, one on top of the other, evenly spaced along the fence line.

step 13

Use a hammer for the main parts. Each part of the line should be tied with wires stretched to the posts. This is important because livestock will find a hole in the fence that is not connected to the main fence posts or wires. The staple can be driven directly into the post, or at a slight upward angle to bring it closer to the wire to be removed by the animals.

  • Check the perimeter along the fence line to see if you missed any major details or anything else that might be wrong.

step 14

Repeat the steps above for the rest of the fences you need to build.

step 15

Take the animals to pasture. Once everything is done and the fence is ready, you can finally take your animals out to pasture. Monitor them for one hour as they explore the perimeter of their new pasture to see if they can find their way out. If there are no problems, then you are great and you can go!