How best to put up woven wire fence? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Well, after much debate about what kind of fencing for goats, I finally did it! My father told me that Quality Farm & Fleet Stores are going out of business and they had fence. Yesterday I went and got 700 feet of 2" x 4" woven wire fencing that is 12.5 gauge. The majority if 5' high, but I do have some 6' high. Ok, so I have my fence, now what? What kind of poles do I need? I figured wood poles could be gotten out of the woods. How long will they last if not treated? How long of poles do I need? Do I dig holes to put them in or hammer them in? How far apart for spacing of posts? How do you get the fence really tight? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm not a handyman. This fence will be to keep 4 goats in & hopefully in the future a horse? I know you guys have the answers! Thanks in advance.

-- Michael W. Smith in North-West Pennsylvania (, February 03, 2002



Treated fence post will serve you better then just plain posts. Cedar fence posts would be your next option for length of service. You could also use treated landscpe timbers which are pine treated and have the top & bottom squared they somtimes go on sale in our area for less then treated posts.

Start with layout marking all corners squre up as required so fence is running in true lines. digg corner posts then approx 7'-6" each way from corner in line with fence run digg in a post. this is how you build corners. you will need cross members and wire ties to tighten corner into itself. (best you drive around and look at a woven wire fence corner at farms.

Posts need to have approx a 4'-0" deep bury so as to have minimal from heaving. Therefore you need post aprrox 9'-0" long if your fence is 5' high. Wood posts in the norm should not be greater then 10'-0" oc. I would recommend buying some steel posts 8' long and putting these @ 8'-0" oc . therefore run 2 steel between each wood at 24' centers.

Once all post are together start at a corner unroll fence along first run wrap next corner. Utilze a come along. cut 2 2x4's to the height of fence and bolt together clamping fence utilizing come along tied to a vechile beyond corner tie it to 2x's which are clamped to fence and pull fence taunt. Then anchor this run continue doing this until done.

It is not easy explaining but it simple but a lot of labor. just look at farm fencing. Also do not stretch to tight as you may pull corner post out.

You can get info at extention office on building fence also.

Good luck.

-- William Rutter (, February 03, 2002.

There are good handbooks on how to build fence, read them first for the basics. Usually they are free by the fencing supplies. (Since the 'Quality' went out of Quality several years ago, I'm sure they are no help to you.) Also do a web search, like for 'pasture fence building'. There is also a good manual on-line, the Pasture FAQ on how to create pastures (as well as hay & predetor control) - I posted the web site here last week, go to again & search for 'FAQ Pasture Hay' and it will be one of the top hits - www.james18.something was the site.

As to making your own posts, what kind of wood do you find in your woods? 'Here' where I live with poor broadleafed trees & wet clay soil, the posts would last about 2 years. Certainly _not_ the way to go. However if you have well drained sandy soil & have cedar or cyperess around, then you'll have better posts than the treated ones you can buy!

Steel posts don't rot, and 'here' can be bought at farm auction sales for $1 a post, so that is the good option 'here'.


-- paul (, February 03, 2002.

This link: Fence Building”, or has several links to county extension and University sites, that may be helpful.

-- BC (, February 03, 2002.

In PA you should be able to find locust posts. Those should last up to 40 years or longer. Cedar will eventually rot off at ground level. Forget about even finding cypress.

The steel T posts are probably the cheapest option. There is some risk of a horse impaling themselves on a steel post. You can buy plastic caps designed to prevent that. For corner post setups there is a company that sells connectors that allows you to brace T posts with other T posts either diagonally or horizontally.

-- Darren (, February 03, 2002.

Wow! Sounds like you got a good deal on all that fencing!

On our last fence we used wooden posts in the corners and for the gates and then used metal fence posts in between and that worked great. I (female, 5 ft 5 inch, 130 lbs) hammared in the metal posts myself using a hammer with a "fat" head on it! The metal fence posts came with wire "attachers" that we used to attach the wire.

I hope soon to build a goat or sheep enclosure and plan to build it the same way. Best wishes!

-- Suzy in Bama (, February 03, 2002.

Since you only have 700 feet of fencing to put up, use steel T posts, even bought new they only cost 2 dollars or less a piece, and they go in with a T post driver, or sledge hammer very quickly. The wire hangers to attach the woven fence come with them, make sure they give them to you when you buy them!

Make sure the T posts you buy will fit your fence, that is, that they are tall enough, T posts come in various sizes, from 4 to 7 feet tall.

Space the T posts 8 to 9 feet apart and you don't have to worry about streching the wire, just string as tight as you can by hand, even barb wire doesn't have to be very tight unless you are stringing miles of the stuff.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, February 03, 2002.

If you are going to use the fence for pasture for a horse, then you will need somewhat stronger posts than just T posts, unless you plan on running a strand of electric around the fence too. I would also advise using a wooden corner post, either 4" or 6" square (I like square as the fence lays against it better than the round posts, but either will do). You need a stout corner post in order to pull the fence tight. I used a "come along" to tighten my fencing.

Some horses find that if a post will "give" a little, then it should "give" a lot and they will lean on posts to scratch themselves or if they are particularly sneaky, they will push the post over and just walk out. I use T posts with field fence only if I also use the 4" wooden posts as well. But have found that just using landscape timbers with 6" square corner posts works great with a strand of electric. Horses will push a field fence down as the grass is always greener on the other side, so you may want to consider placing one or two strands of barbed wire at the top or one strand of electric to keep the horse off the fence. We are tearing all our field fencing down and replacing with either board fencing for the horses or cattle panels for the goats. But we did use field fencing for over 10 years. Just hard to fix once it gets mashed down or a deer runs through it.

-- Cindy (, February 03, 2002.

We used metal T posts with our woven wire fence because it would be easier to move in in the future if needed. I would second the idea of running an electric wire on the inside of the fence. I am not familiar with horses but our goats like to stand on the fence and it does give a little bit. A hot wire might keep them off the fence - might LOL.

-- Trisha-MN (, February 03, 2002.

I've strung miles of the stuff. Heavy duty t-posts 8-10 feet on center. Every 100 feet and at corners a 6x6 treated post. I don't cement the post in so that when it rots and I have to replace it (I will be an old man then) I don't have to monkey around with digging it out - just yank it out with the hoist on my tractor. At your corners there will actually be three posts: the true corner and one at four or five feet away in either direction the fence travels. A six by six horizontally tied back to the corner from the other two posts at the height of the fence, and once you've plumbed the whole arrangement, a diagonal brace run from just below the horizontal at the corner down to the where the standoff posts meet the ground. Ideally these posts should be away from the corner the same distance as the top of your fence so that the diagonals form 45 degree angles. Easier to measure and cut with your chainsaw. If you use railroad ties remember there's often metal imbedded in them which your saw won't like. If you go with posts cut from trees, by all means PEEL and treat them! I'm from Washington State and have used cedar and Fir. If I cut them down around March, I know the sap will probably be running and they will peel easier. Use the same material you dug out to tamp the post in, and don't use a lot of gravel which actually will create the opposite effect you might think, and might, if you have poor draining soil, leave your post sitting in a pool of water. As for stretching, I like a tight fence (hence the overbuilt corners and intermediate posts.) The come-along is a must but what nobody else mentionned is the other handy tool also manufactured by Maasdam: the Wire Grip. Its a cam device that attaches to the come along and grips the wire (works great for barbed wire but also for field fence) I had a hell of a time finding someone who carried them. 1-888 PWR- PULL put me in touch with a distributor, Tucker Sales 1 800 888-6370 who put me in touch with several local retailers, one of which agreed to special order it and have it drop-shipped to me for only $16. I bought four and gave them as stocking stuffers to my farmer friends. Well worth the investment of time and money. The rest is pretty much experience. By the time you're on your last run, you'll be ready to give your own advice. I won't even glibly say have fun, but I will say I hope it turns out the way you want it to.

-- Andy Sharp (, February 04, 2002.

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