Thursday, July 21, 2011

Basic Fence Safety (Part 3) Wire types

The gauge or size of wire you're going to want depends a great deal on why type/size of animal you are planning on enclosing as well as the ages. Consider not only the livestock you have now but what you may have in the future. A little extra money now can save you from replacing the fence before it wears out.

Here is what we have.

Field wire

If you never plan on having babies on property (as in, you own all geldings and are not going to change your mind for the life-time of your fence) a field-wire (cow-sized wire) is inexpensive and combined with electric you've got a pretty good fence. This wire size always works great with cows/calves, but kids & lambs can slip through it, especially if even one wire is missing, creating a gap. 

This is not no-climb, but has a very small hole size.
V-Mesh and No-Climb 

Both are very similar, and are my choice for fence wire. As the name suggests they prevent your animals (like goats!) from climbing the fences with small holes. They also prevent stray legs from going through the fence & becoming entangled.

Chicken Wire

Chicken wire is not only good for keeping chicken (and other poultry) contained, it will also keep wild-birds out of places you don't want them to be.

I can tell you from personal experience, small chicks can fit through just about any other size of wire.

Electric Wires

The gray galvanized wire isn't good for horses because they can't see it. If you put flags on it & keep it tight you're minimizing your risks. I'm not really sure on why galvanized would be more okay with other types of livestock.

Wide-tape is better then thin rope for the same reasons, and white is best for visibility as well. We went with 1/2" up to 1 1/2" poly tape (depending on where it was located). 

How High?

First: Check local by-laws! There may be rules about how high your fences need to be, especially if you have stallions

If you're keeping miniature horses, your fences don't need to be very high at all. If you've got quarter horses, appaloosas or similar breeds (not built to jump), you can probably also get away with a 5' fence. Cows, sheep and non-flying birds, are also fine with a lower fence.

If you're going to house 17Hh Hanovarians, or stallions of any breed, you're going to want taller fences. The general rule is 6" above your tallest horse. Really if you're planning on building a big stud farm you're (1) not reading MY blog (2) already know about external fences and lane-ways.

If I were re-building all our external fences, they'd be 6' high because I know my mare can jump 5' from a stand-still. 

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