Are you planning to put up new wire fencing on your farm? We are going to explore the top options you can use.
Wire fencing suitable for use on agricultural land includes:
- Welded Wire
- Barbed Wire
- Horse Fence
- Chicken Wire
- Deer and Wildlife Fence
- Rail Fence
- Electric Fence
Different fencing types are suitable for specific purposes.
It’s important to pick the right fencing for the job, so let’s explore these kinds of fencing and their uses.
1. Welded Wire
Welded wire is typically lightweight and is often used where there is minimal need for strength. It isn’t suitable for keeping large livestock in pens, but it can be used to fence medium and small livestock.
This fencing is made from strips of rigid wire that have been laid out in horizontal and vertical rows. The joints of these rows have then been welded so that the strips form grids. These can vary in size, but they are usually around two inches across and three inches high.
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Flexible and useful in many different places
- Inexpensive compared with other options
- Not very strong
- Not useful for any heavy applications, e.g. fencing in large livestock
You can get this wire in 14 gauge and 16 gauge, so you can choose a heavier wire if the application is more strenuous.
2. Barbed Wire
Barbed wire has many applications around a farm, but must be used with caution, especially near livestock or public footpaths.
It is made by weaving three strands of wire with sharp barbs inserted, and it is intended to keep animals and people away from the fencing.
- Good for confining docile animals that are not hugely strong (they will stay away from the fencing because it is painful)
- Reasonably inexpensive
- Not useful against wildlife or deer
- Sometimes the use is banned so check local restrictions
- Not suitable for containing a large animal
- Not suitable for containing small animals that may be injured if they try to cross it
- Not aesthetically pleasing
Barbed wire has its uses around the farm, but it is not pleasant to use in fields that you will need to access regularly, as it can snag and tear clothing.
3. Horse Fence
If you are keeping horses, welded fencing is an attractive option, but it does have a major flaw. It is rough on one side. Horses often scratch themselves against this roughness. Horse fence is a similar but superior option because it has been smoothed on both sides.
If you don’t want to risk your horse scratching itself, this is a good solution.
- Good for horses and other non-aggressive livestock that might scratch themselves on the fencing
- Reasonably inexpensive and easy to install
- Some designs have V-mesh rather than rectangular grids, which reduces the risk of animals getting caught in it
- Not useful for fencing heavy/strong livestock that might push the fence over
- Not very attractive
This kind of fencing is a good alternative if you are trying to pen horses or similar animals, but it won’t do for strong livestock, such as bulls. It may be more expensive than welded wire fencing, but serves a similar purpose.
4. Chicken Wire
Well-known by farmers everywhere, chicken wire is useful in some instances on the farm, but it is quite lightweight and therefore its applications are somewhat limited.
- Good for keeping predators such as foxes away from livestock
- Inexpensive and easy to install
- May also keep rabbits and other grazers out of crops if used correctly and well maintained, but some animals may go under it
- Weak fencing that will not withstand pressure
- May rust in a relatively short period of time
- Not rodent-proof; rats can bite through chicken wire easily
You can use chicken wire to protect your flocks, but many farmers find that more robust fencing is necessary. Its best use is probably in keeping rabbits away from crops, but any gaps in it will quickly be utilized, so make sure you are maintaining it well.
5. Deer and Wildlife Fence
If you are having issues with wildlife, especially deer, you will need some of this fencing as none of the other kinds will prove very effective against most wildlife. This fencing has been specifically designed to keep all sorts of wildlife out.
It is very tall, which discourages many animals from trying to jump over it (usually six feet or more). It also uses very small squares near the bottom of the fencing, where small animals might try to slip through, and larger ones at the top (to keep costs low).
- Great for keeping wildlife of all kinds away from your crops and livestock
- Designed to be robust
- Reasonably easy to install
- May prove more expensive than other kinds of fencing, as it is quite a specialist piece and uses a lot of metal to keep the smaller animals out
- Not suitable for containing strong livestock
6. Rail Fencing
This kind of fencing involves attaching two metal rails to wooden posts. It is high maintenance and has mostly been retired from farm use now. However, it is occasionally useful when you want decorative fencing.
This should be reinforced by an appropriate barrier, such as barbed wire fencing.
7. Electric Fencing
This kind of wire fencing is suitable for containing large, aggressive livestock.
- The electric current will quickly deter livestock from challenging the fence
- Great for deterring predators
- Generally expensive
- Requires a power source
- Can pose a danger to households with small children
- Ongoing cost of electricity
Electric fencing is a good choice if you want to contain strong livestock, but it’s overkill for many smaller animals. You may not want to use this kind of fencing near public pathways.
There are many kinds of wire fences that are suitable for use on farms, so make sure you think about the application of your fence and whether you need strength, economy, or wildlife proofing.