Running a farm involves lots of work from the way you take care of your livestock to the habitat you provide the animals with. If you’ve reached the fencing part and you’re not sure whether to go for a cattle panel fence, the good old wooden fence, or an electric one, you’ve come to the right place as we’ve highlighted below some of the most common types of fences out there.
Things to consider before choosing the fence
Despite the hard work farming involves, there are many rewards emerging from this activity. Making sure that your cows and bulls enjoy the proper environment is part of your day-to-day responsibilities. If they receive what they need to thrive, you will get to enjoy the benefits you’re after.
Even the fence you use counts a lot when it comes to the good functioning of your farm. However, choosing the right one may not be an easy task since there are various factors to consider, from how many animals you have to the type of farming you’re into, your budget, and the area you have at disposal.
Therefore, there are some questions you need to answer before you move on to building the fence. While a wooden fence would do for a smaller herd of cattle, it may not be strong enough to keep up with the abuse of larger bulls or cattle groups, and so on.
Let’s see the most common types of fences available these days, their advantages and disadvantages so you can make a more informed decision.
Wood fences have been around for quite some time now and many farmers still use them. What reduced their popularity, though, is the unavailability of quality wood. While early farmers built their own wood fences using the heartwood of aged trees that lasted for decades, today’s farmers no longer have such wood at disposal.
The wood available today needs regular maintenance to last and, even if you take good care of it, it still has a life expectancy of 20 years or so. The wood needs to be painted every few years in order to last or more frequently if you live in a humid area. Without proper care, the durability of a wooden fence is significantly reduced.
Even if such fences are rarely used for large pastures, they still are a good choice if you have a small pasture or just a small herd of cattle. They are also a good option if you want to separate bulls from cows. Plus, wooden fences are aesthetically pleasing reminding us of traditional farming.
High-tensile wire fence
If you want a fence that is easy to install, strong, and durable, you might want to try the high-tensile wire fence. For cattle, though, you should use barbed wire as, otherwise, they will push through.
Such fences are available in both woven and smooth wire designs and promise to provide effectiveness no matter the design you choose. With a life expectancy of up to 50 years, this fence is worth considering if you intend to stick to farming for a long time. Installing it may cost more than other fences yet, once installed, it requires minimal maintenance.
Barbed wire fence
If you need a durable and strong fence that won’t be broken too soon, a reliable option is a barbed wire fence. It provides durability and it is easy to install. Such fences are often used to contain cattle since cows and bulls will push hard against a fence.
Given its nature, the fence can easily cut or scratch the cattle or people coming in contact with it. This has its ups and downs, though. While it may discourage animals from touching it, it may also hurt the more aggressive ones. Even when you install it, you need to use protective gloves and equipment to avoid injuries.
Moreover, the barbed wire fence is the only legally approved fence in some states whereas certain local government codes render it illegal in some towns. Consider the legal aspects of using such a fence in your country.
A popular choice among farmers of all kinds, the electric fence is not only effective in keeping the cattle in and predators out but it is also easy to install and maintain. It generally has a life expectancy of about 25 years and requires minimal maintenance.
What makes this type of fencing so effective is that it triggers the same reaction cattle would have when in a herd environment. Just like when a bull or a cow challenges the leader of the herd and receives an aggressive response, the electric fence will “bite” when touched by the cattle and this will discourage the animals from pushing against it.
Such fences rely on a charger or controller called the “energizer”. This controller is designed to send short pulses of energy through the wire, so when the animals challenge the fence, these pulses of energy are the ones that “bite” them and thus prevent them from touching the fence again.
Electric fences are divided into temporary and permanent fences. Temporary models are a good choice if you want to improve grazing management or you simply need a replacement until your permanent fence is installed. Electric fences designed for permanent use are often employed yet they need to be properly installed and adequately grounded to avoid mishaps and prevent them from failing.
Today’s market also offers synthetic fences that are divided into various subcategories. PVC fences are the most popular when it comes to this type yet they fall on the expensive side. However, even if the initial expenditure may be high, they deliver longevity, which makes their long-term cost reasonable.
Many farmers recommend using a combination of fences in case you need extra security. If you use an electric fence and somehow it fails to do its job, having a second fence such as a barbed wire fence or a rigid PVC fence will help you keep the cattle inside the fenced area.