Farmers put up fences for multiple reasons. First and foremost, for functionality of their farm. This is especially true in a place where farming is popular, such as Grand Rapids. Farmers have livestock they need to maintain and keep secure in a certain area of the land to care for them and ensure of their safety. Secondly, farmers want their fence to be an aesthetic addition to their property. Having unattractive or inefficient fencing can create a range of problems, from decreasing the property value or upsetting neighbors for an unsightly view of the land, as well as it can create the risks of animals escaping or even injuring themselves on the wrong type or dilapidating fencing. Choose the right fencing for your livestock, whether you keep horses, cattle, sheep or goats, there is fencing that will serve all the purposes you want and need it to.
Livestock (Cattle, Goats, Sheep, Horse) Fence? What you need to consider before choosing
What type of animals will your fence be corralling? Making sure you understand your animal’s behaviors and what they are capable of is important before you spend thousands of dollars fencing-in your property. Animals come in different sizes, have different personalities and behaviors. While some animals are more content being fenced in, others have a curious nature and will try to escape when given the opportunity, and even look for opportunities and ways out.
Here are a few things to know about different livestock:
Anyone who raises cattle, whether it be one or a hundred, knows that it is not fun to have to find and chase down a loose cow, and cows are known for destroying fences unless there is a deterrent. The best way to prevent a breakout is to install the right type of fence that will contain your cows without worry of breakouts or harm to your cattle. Cows need a fence that is both a physical and a visual barrier to them. They need sturdy fences that won’t bow when they lean on it since one thing cows like to do is rub themselves against something to relieve an itch, and the first place they usually go is to the fence. If there should be an unexpected breakout, make sure you have a gate to bring the wandering cow home. You will certainly not be able to fit him back through the hole he escaped from.
Goats are a little more of a challenge when it comes to fencing them in. Their typical behavior pattern is to jump over, crawl under and through fences. The best type of fence for goats is one that is high enough they can’t jump it, low enough they can’t crawl under it and for a wire fence, the spaces need to be small enough between that they cannot put their heads through them. If they can, then they will fit their entire bodies through and simply walk through. A wired fence is often recommended and one that is electrified or has a fence charger is best for these challenging little animals.
Sheep are probably the most docile when it comes to testing fences. They aren’t as curious or as adventurous as goats so erecting a fence similar to keeping a small domestic pet contained is sufficient. Typically an electric fence is often used for sheep as well. If the area needing to be fenced is not a large area, however, a field fence is often used instead. Keep in mind that the field fence is harder to stretch and will require the proper tools.
Of course horses are large and can jump high which makes them a risk for jumping fences. They are also intelligent and many can figure out how to unlatch gate latches, so making sure your corral fence is tall, strong and sturdy is important. If you have a Stallion in the fold, he is the one that you will measure your fence standards to. Stallions are the most challenging so be sure your fence is Stallion-tested and Stallion-proofed.
Choosing your fencing
There are different types of fencing that is used for farm land to contain livestock. Because all types of livestock are different; different sizes, different behaviors and care requirements, not all types of fencing work for all types of livestock. It’s best to do your research on your livestock and types of fencing before constructing a fence to prevent harm to your animals as well as frustration from the fence not doing its job of containing your animals.
Researching types of livestock fencing also helps you choose the right fence for your type of property. Different types of terrain, environmental issues and landscape can influence your choice. Putting in the wrong type of fence for your property and area can result in a breakdown in your fence in various ways. Weather can be hard on certain types of fences as well as different types of terrain may make it difficult to properly install certain types of fences without using specific types of equipment.
The most common types of fencing
Traditional barbed wire
Traditional barbed wire has a built-in physical barrier which is obviously the barb, and it does discourage cattle from wanting to try to escape, however, it does not offer a visual barrier like other types of fences. It will also depend on how many cattle and how large of an area you are wanting to fence-in, to determine the number of strands of barb you’ll want to install. For instance, for a smaller number of cattle in a smaller area, three strands of barb will probably do a sufficient job. However, if you have, say, 10 cows per 10 acres, that’s a lot more cattle and a lot more chance of greater pressure being put on the fence so 5 strands is probably a better plan. Barbed wire fences are lighter and less expensive than woven wire. Cows tend to avoid barbed wire more and are less likely to try to push through it than the woven wired fences. Maintenance on barbed wire requires retensioning the barbed wire and fixing any breaks in the fence. You will also need to check poles to make sure there are not any that are loose or out of the ground.
Woven wire comes in two types: high tensile and no tensile. The high tensile is the stronger of the two and is better for livestock that are prone to pushing on the fence or attempting breakthroughs. Woven wire gives your livestock both a good visual and physical barrier. Even so, cows are just destructive to fences unless there is some real deterrence from trying to break out, that is why it is recommended that a strand of either barbed wire or electric wire is added to the fence, approximately 24 inches down from the top of the fence, to give added protection against bowing and breakthroughs. Woven wire pre-crimped woven wire mesh that is made of wires that have been crimped before they are weaved together using a loom. The crimping before it’s weaved gives it stability and a consistency in the larger spaces of the wire mesh. There are various styles of crimping have been developed over the years in the attempt to improve their efficiencies, function and the look of it. Because of the tightly wound wire mesh, woven fences are a great fence for keeping predators out, especially bigger sized predators.
High tensile smooth wire
High tensile smooth wire is used to construct an electric fence and is an economical means of installing fencing. In comparison, it is 25 to 75 percent less than either barbed wire or woven wire. It’s also a very durable fence. With the weight livestock can put on a fence, it needs to be able to withstand a lot of weight, and this fence can. It can withstand up to 1,000 pounds of pressure from livestock as well as low temperatures. Low temperatures can cause some fences to contract which can cause breakage. High tensile will not lose its elasticity during cold months. It is a low maintenance fence than others and requires fewer poles. The longevity of a high tensile fence is up 20 to 30 years.
Of course you want the best fence for your property and for your animals but you will also want to consider a few other things.
Budget – Budget is always a concern for anyone wanting to add a fence. Depending on how much property you need to fence, it can be a pretty pricey project. Because choosing the right type of fence that fits your budget is important to you, your professional fencing company can help you decide which fence will work for your animals, your property and your budget. A professional fence company can go over all your options and give you quotes on all types of fencing for your acreage.
Keeping predators out
Fences are most often not just for keeping your animals inside the fence but they are also for the purpose of keeping predators out. Predators are a common problem among those who raise and keep livestock of any kind. They can big or small but they can be a nuisance and even detrimental to your livestock. Depending on where you live and the type of animals you have, this may affect the type of predators you get. Knowing what type of predators are a risk for your animals will be beneficial in choosing the type of fence you choose. Even if you aren’t sure, knowing this is a risk for most people who own stock, you will want to keep this in mind while going over your fencing options.
Hire a fencing pro
Installing a large fence for containing your animals is a big job, especially if you plan to encompass a large area, and even more difficult, if you need to erect it over a large area of land. It takes knowledge, skill and the proper equipment to put up any type of fence, but specific fences can be even more difficult, such as barbed wire fences. It may seem like a good idea to save money and DIY, but hiring a professional fencing company uses highly trained professionals to put up all types of fences so that you are guaranteed it is done correctly and in a timely manner so that you can get back to what you do best, tending your animals. You should also get a guarantee that if anything happens, the work and fence is warranted for repairs.
For many people, maintenance is a big issue so you will also want to make sure the type of fence you choose meets your desired time in maintenance. Meaning, if you need a fence that does not require a lot of maintenance, this may affect your choices. Some fences will require regular maintenance, while other fences are more maintenance-free. Maintenance can mean general repairs or re-securing posts while other maintenance requirements may be more costly.
Researching the types of livestock fences is the best way to determine which one will best fit your needs in every aspect. The bottom line is that you will need to determine what your primary purpose of the fence is; to keep livestock in, predators out, or both. What type of livestock you are raising is a big factor as well as budget and maintenance expectations. Your professional fencing company can explain your options and go over all the details of each type of fence. They can explain the installation process, including the need to have your land surveyed before the fence is installed. Your professional fence company should be able to give you a quote on your new fence as well as their responsibilities toward warrantying your fence, maintenance plans, and the aftercare once it is installed. If you are considering having a new fence installed on your property, call your professional fencing company to set up a time to get all the information you need to get started on your new fence.