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How to Build a Cattle Fence

Last Updated: 22.04.24



Getting your own cattle farm running takes lots of work ranging from building a durable cattle fence to using the right cattle feeders as we have highlighted in one of our recent posts. Despite all the work involved, the results can be quite rewarding and all the effort required pays off in the end.

Whether you’ve just started your activity as a livestock producer or you already have some experience in this field, there’s always something new to learn and if you need to provide your cattle with the proper habitat including a durable cattle fence, you might find this post to be of help. Building a fence may not be that difficult if you follow a few basic steps.


Fence type

Before buying the required supplies, you need to consider the various types of fences used for such purposes. The most common fence employed for pasturing cattle is barbed wire fencing which is available in slightly different models.

Electric fences are also used because of their effectiveness and the costs involved. Building such a fence is both fast and cheap, the very reason why it is commonly used. This fence type is divided into permanent and temporary models. The latter is typically used for rotational-grazing cattle.

In case you need something more rugged to keep up with the habits of bulls and cull cows, you might want to try iron railing fencing or iron panel fencing. Wooden board fencing is also employed for holding cattle since it is considered to be safer than wire fences. Moreover, they are pleasant from an aesthetical point of view. Still, they may cost more.

Choosing the right fence thus depends on the safety provided by a certain type, how many animals you have, their behavior, your budget, and other such aspects. Some fences may be more expensive yet they provide you with extra benefits, therefore, you might want to keep that in mind before you make your decision.

Things to do before you build the fence

Once you’ve chosen the type of fence you want to build, there are some things you need to consider to make sure the whole process goes smoothly and you get to build the fence properly and enjoy the desired results.

Locate any underground water pipe or gas line on your property. The gas or utility company should help you with that and mark the areas that should be avoided. Determine where the fence will go and make a plan for your fencing system.

Consider the number of gates you want to have, how long the fence line should be, the type of corner braces you need, and so on. All these characteristics should help you maximize the space you want to dedicate to your cattle and the way they will feel when inside the enclosed area.

Use bright paint, measure tape, or chalk to mark out the corners, gates, and fence lines. If the gas company used a certain color, make sure you use a different one to avoid mishaps.


Getting the right supplies

After you’ve taken the above-mentioned steps, you need to stock up on the supplies you need to build the fence. The supplies will vary depending on the type of fence you’ve chosen.

However, you will usually need several fence posts. Make sure that you get a few posts that have tapered ends and a few that have no such ends. You will generally find metal, treated wood, or metal T-posts. Choose the ones that best suit your needs.

Get the boards, rails, or wire you want for your fence. Just make sure you’ve properly measured the area that needs to be fenced and buy as many boards or as much wire as needed. In case you’ve decided to go for a wire fence, you will also need a wire stretcher. Get all the other supplies required for such activities including a post hole digger, a hammer, pliers, and nails.

Building the fence

Make sure you know how to operate the hole digger safely and properly before starting to dig. Once you master it, dig holes where the posts will be placed. The depth of the holes depends on the soil type you have. Install the corner posts and fill the space around them with sand, gravel, the soil you dug out, or concrete.

If you’ve chosen to use, let’s say, brace wire, this one should be installed next. It should cross from the top of one post to another. Make sure you wind it up as tight as possible. Don’t pull too hard, though. Secure the wire on the standing posts by hammering in a few staples and continue by putting up the first line of wire.

If you want to go for temporary electric fences or rail/board fences, there’s no need to install corner braces or lines of fencing wire.

The next step is to install the line posts and do so at regular intervals. If you have a large herd of cattle and your budget is not limited, you might want to use more line posts and thus set them closer to each other. This will help the fence last longer even when there’s lots of abuse from the herded cattle. Use treated posts for enhanced durability.

Once you’ve installed the line posts, you will have to install the rest of the wire and hammer it in place with staples. Connecting the wire to the post with staples and doing so properly will prevent the cattle from finding a soft spot and thus from breaking the wire or creating a hole in the fence.

Check out the fence to see if everything is secured in place. The fence should stand the tension or pressure from the cattle in your herd. Repeat all of the above-mentioned steps for all the fences you want to build. In case you’re new to this, ask for professional help to get a safe and durable fence.




1) Cattle fencing ideas for your farm

2) Livestock Fencing Thoughts

3) Planning & Building fences on the farm

4) How to Build a Livestock Fence



Leave a comment


Penelope Smith

September 9, 2019 at 11:41 pm

My sister’s husband really wants to get a cow on their property. He thinks it will be a good way for his kids to learn some responsibility. Thanks for explaining that the most common fence used for cows is a barbed-wire fence. That is great to know because they will need to get a fence on their property before they get their cow.


September 11, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Hi Penelope. I’m glad the article was helpful!

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