fencing know-how

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Hi! I have just bought my 30 acres in the country and now need to fence some of it in to keep my horse from wandering into the road. I would like to put up about 100 feet of no climb fence along the road. The terrain is open and very slightly rolling but the ground is rocky. I can get someone to put up the poles and a bunch of people to help but I don't know where to get info on exactly how to put up/stretch etc the fence. I would like to try this on my own but will call in more experienced (and expensive) help if it is too difficult. I would appreciate any information that you can give me. Thank you for being such a wonderful resource to someone who is scared she has just bitten off more than she can chew.

-- teresa mandracchia (teresam@ascent.net), April 22, 2000


Teresa, it is very possible for a beginner to fence. However, I don't know what you mean by "no-climb". If this is a brand, check with the folks selling it for more information. I'd just use what I always use-either panels (no stretching) or woven topped with 2 strands of smooth wire. If your "no-climb" stretches anything like woven, you may know someone who has a stretcher or might be able to rent some of the things you need. You can improvise with a couple of lengths of timber which you bolt together with the wire sandwiched in the middle and stretch with a come-along. The smooth is a bit trickier to stretch but do-able.

And guess what book I'm going to recomend? Build it Better Yourself by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming ISBN O-87857-133-7. They've got a nice section on fencing, including stretching (and a home-made barbed stretcher that I suspect would work on smooth). They also have a section on gates. Your library might also have other books that include fencing. Landscaping books would be a bit chancy, but the livestock and agriculture sections might yield something useful.

And congratulations on the new place. It will all fall into place eventually. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), April 22, 2000.

I'll try. Fencing consists of corner posts, posts, stretching breaks, and gates. A corner post consists of 3 verticle posts and 4 horizontal braces. The post should be in the ground, 1 foot for every 3 feet above the ground. I run my two 90 degree verticals 5 feet from the actual "corner post" with the horizontal braces fitted between at 2 foot and 4 foot high. I install my streching blocks at 100 foot intervals along any straight runs. The streching blocks consist of two vertical posts and two horizontal braces (5 foot apart again). When trees are available at similar intervals--than these blocks can be eliminated. Gates require in line bracing the same as corner post and streching blocks. I would use a rented auger to drill 30 acreas worth of holes at 8 to 10 foot intervals. I stretch with a fence strecher that clips to the end of the fence and then pull it with truck and apply the emergency brake while we steeple it in. I apply a lot of pressure to the strand for a tight fence. This requires some expermentation. For horses--I would use 8 foot posts with 6 foot exposed, 5 foot fencing wire and 2 strand of barb wire and 1 run of electric fence wire above the field fence. Width and style of gates is optional but I use 12 foot gates for easier access. Hope this helps !

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), April 22, 2000.

I have to disagree with Joel on part of his fence -- NEVER use barbed wire around horses!!! Smooth wire can cut a horse up pretty bad, but nothing like the damage barbed will do to their thin skins. They may not try to go through the fence under ordinary circumstances, but if they spook at something it's like they forget the fence is there, even if it's very visible (which wire fences are not, to a horses eyes). We uses to have a section of fence attached to the house (the back of the house was in the pasture -- which led to some unusual four-legged visitors coming in the back door at times!!) that was made of 6x6 posts and 2x6 rails. One day my little (for a horse) mare spooked at something and bolted right through that fence, snapping one of those posts right off. She only had a few scratches, furtunately -- but the thing is, she knew the fence was there, and with wood rails it was quite visible, and in a panic she didn't care!! I've seen horses that had gotten tangled up in barbed wire fences, and had to doctor a few, and it isn't pretty. Barbed wire is ok for cows, but not much else that I can think of.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), April 22, 2000.

We have alot of no climb horse fence. Is yours 5 foot? If it is it will be harder to do but not impossiable, even by yourself. Here each roll comes in 100 foot section but there is no extra for a wrap around each end post. Hopefully, your 100 feet is a couple of feet less so one roll will be enough. The red top wire is the top of your roll so make sure you are able to roll it outso the red is not at the bottom of your post line. This will make the next step easier after you roll all the wire out. Make sure you have enough fence wire to make the wrap on the 1st post before you roll it out.Tie the wire end or put something really heavy like maybe one of your friend that is going to help you so the wire doesn't take off and reroll itself. After you roll it out take some hay rope and stand the wire up and tie loosely to some of the posts. When you get to your begining post make a wrap on the postand secure it with staples. go back to the other end and put in a small diameter pipe and weave it through the horse wire mesh. Don't put it right on the end but leave enough so you can do your end wrap. To this small diameter metal pipe tie a strong rope and hook it to you truck hitch and slowly go forward. As the fence tightens check those hay ropes. you may need to loosen them up. When the wire is tight enough start stapleing to the post. Use staples on the cross X of the joins on the wire if possiable. not to tight not to loose. Also, very important put a hot wire with extender insulaters on the horse side of the fence. Especially in the spring the horses love to put all their weight into leaning on the fence and rubbing . i have used a come along before but found eventually, this method worked the easiest for me doing it by my self.

-- lynda (lyndadan@cyberhighway.net), April 22, 2000.

I've never owned a horse so I never thought of barb wire hurting one. Smooth wire than. Everyone that houses horses around here uses barb wire. I just fiqured that if you want to keep it in--than barbed wire is the age old secret.

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), April 23, 2000.

Last years I stretched 20,000 feet of barbed wire and 4,000 feet of woven wire, (stock fence as it is called in these parts). I used 4-5" wood posts for my corners, gates and braces with 3-4" verticle braces, for the line I use T-posts. My corner posts are set in concrete. I use a come-a-long with a wire dog on one end for the barbed wire, I also have used the winch on my ATV. I pretty much do what Joel describes. I use 12' 14' and 16' "HY-QUAL, Bull Gates". My barbed wire fences have 5 strands of 4-barb spaced; 6-6-8-8-10. The stock wire is 52" high with 2 strands of barbed wire on top. I also use barbless wire which is the same as barbed without the barbs, as versus smooth wire. I have a predator problem and so on the inside of my barbed wire fence I have also a strand of electric wire at 10". It is like the Berlin wall out there. I know horse people don't like barbed wire but they make the best fence, stock wire bends and stretches, I had a deer run inot my stock wire just after i got it up and stretch and broke a strand, there is not much you can do to fix that. Stock wire comes in 320' rolls and barbed is 1330' I think but there is other fence too "Gaucho High Tensile" no stretch stock wire & smooth wire fence. Everytime you change direction you must build a brace even if it is a few degrees, if you have low spots you stretch across them then go back and step the fence down, (with your foot) and staple or clip it off, taking into consideration the added tension, on high points you stretch to it, attache and then pull to the next point.

-- Hendo (OR) (redgate@echoweb.net), April 23, 2000.

In my short lifetime I have put in miles upon miles of fence, woven, barb, plank, and high tensile(smooth). The high tensile is by far the absolute best for ease of installation, maintenance, and if you should change your mind about where you want it, it's the easiest to tear out and re-use somewhere else. Once the posts are driven, one person can put in a seven wire high tensile fence almost twice as fast as two people can put in a woven fence. We have three horses on the farm where I work, and they respect a six wire high tensile as much as anything else that we use to keep them corraled. They got spooked one night and one of them went through it and didn't get any injuries and only broke the top wire, which is no problem at all to fix. Just go loosen the wire at the strainer, pull the wire together and crimp it, go back to the strainer and re- tighten! This style of fence can be used for any livestock, horses, cattle, sheep, I even found a guy who pasure farrows hogs who has a website, and he uses it for the hogs! You may have to modify the number of wires and which ones are electrified and the spacings, but it should hold most any kind of domestic livestock. Here is the brand that we use:

Kiwi Fence Systems, Inc. 121 Kiwi Road Waynesburg, PA 15370 Phone:(724)627-8158 Fax:(724)627-9791 www.kiwifence.com

They have a catalog along with a fence building guide for their fence products, which is nice for beginners, and more than likely they will have a distributor near you so you don't have to order from the catalog and pay shipping. Also, we have tried other brands of this style of fencing such as Gallagher and Red Snapper and they did NOT measure up. It will be cheaper, but that's what it is, CHEAP. You should not be able to cut this wire with slip-joint pliers, if you can you don't want it. If you decide to go this route, e-mail me before you order and I can give you pointers on what you do and don't need and how to build it. GL!!

-- dave (tidman@midiowa.net), April 27, 2000.

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