Types of Fences for the Homestead

Learn about the different types of fences, and add value and security to your land by installing a well-built fence.

| February/March 2006

  • Sometimes called “page wire” fencing, the woven wire system uses the same kind of wood and metal posts common to other fencing types.
    LEN CHURCHILL
  • Your choice for fencing should be based on the livestock you want, the terrain of your land, the life span of various fencing options and the amount of effort and tools it will take to build and maintain each type.
    PHOTO: MIDWESTOCK/JEFF MORGAN
  • Barbed wire fencing begins with the same post arrangement as woven wire fencing, but it’s easier to install because it does not require you to handle large rolls of woven wire.
    LEN CHURCHILL
  • For many homesteaders, high-tensile electric fencing is an ideal choice. It’s the least expensive perimeter fencing to install, with the lowest level of ongoing maintenance required over its expected 25-year life span.
    LEN CHURCHILL
  • This fence charger is solar-powered and works well for locations without an electrical power source.
    SCOTT HOLLIS
  • In the high-tensile nonelectric fence, smooth 12.5-gauge wire (sometimes barbed wire, too) is loosely fastened to posts that offer vertical support, but still permit the wires to slide back and forth. This allows for easy retensioning of the fence wires and helps to better contain animals — when they hit the fence, a whipping action occurs that discourages future encounters.
    LEN CHURCHILL

You’ve got a piece of land and a dream to keep some livestock, but your place doesn’t have good fences — not yet, anyway. Many types of fences are available, and installing a fence is a job you can do yourself.

Fencing can range from about $200 to $1,500 per quarter mile (1,320 feet), but your selection criteria will involve more than just the cost. Your choice should be based on the livestock you want, the terrain of your land, the life span of various fencing options and the amount of effort and tools it will take to build and maintain each type.

Fencing options include woven, barbed and high-tensile (both electrified and nonelectric) wire. Electrified poly wire/poly tape is another possibility, but for large livestock it’s only effective for temporary applications within permanently fenced fields. Typical fences are about 5 feet high, though any height is possible — I have a 7-foot-tall electric fence to keep out deer. The approximate material costs that follow are based on information taken from a July 2005 Iowa State University Extension report about livestock fencing (go to the Iowa State University Extension website and search for “fencing costs”).

Woven Wire Fence

Installation: about $1,500/quarter mile with a single strand of barbed wire on top; alternating between wooden posts and metal T-posts spaced 12 to 16 feet apart. (In most locations, you won’t need nearly so many wooden posts — maybe two for every quarter mile.) About 40 hours of labor

Ongoing maintenance: replacing and resetting staples, retensioning corners



Pros: strong, secure and relatively attractive; confines nearly all livestock, including sheep and goats

Cons: highest initial cost, most maintenance required

Devin Taylor
5/13/2009 12:44:24 PM

An alternative to wood that is common in oil patch country is used or reject pipe posts for braces. A single 2 3/8 or 2 7/8 post 8' every 100 ft with t-posts between, and a 'straight brace' - two pipe posts 4' apart with a top and mid rail made from the same pipe - every 400' or so. Corner and end braces are usually two pipe posts 8' to 10' apart, with a top and bottom rail and a diagonal pipe brace running from the top of the corner post to the bottom of the inset post. Set all corners and braces in sac-crete. Some farm stores and country weld shops even sell pre-welded braces and corners so no welder is needed. Just dig your two holes at the proper spacing then set the braces in the holes. Oil field pipe is much heavier than steel 'fence posts' carried at home improvement stores, typically running 3/16 to 5/16 wall vs 1/8th for 11 ga or 1/16th for 16 ga. And it is often cheaper too. Even heavily corroded or blown out pipe from failed pressure tests will last for decades even with no paint.







Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}