In this Post: Learn every thing you need to know about farm fencing, with a full guide on posts, wire, and gates!

When it comes to the farm there are many, many fencing options to consider. How do you know what option to choose? First you need to consider what your fencing needs are.

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Do you need to keep an animal in? Do you want to keep animals out? How much is your budget? How quickly do you need the fence in place? Is it important for the fence to be aesthetically pleasing?

Once you have in mind what you are looking for you can begin to narrow down your options.

 

Homestead and Survival: Learn all you need to know about fencing on the farm so you can build the exact fence you need for the cost you want.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Farm Fencing

 

Fence Post Options

Fence posts can be simple or they can be fancy. From metal t-posts to wooden locust posts, each option has its pros and cons. Here are a few of the options to consider when purchasing fence posts.

 

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Metal T-posts:

T-posts come in a variety of sizes from 4 ft to 8ft. They usually come in bunches of 5 and are easy to find at your local farm store.

Pros:

  • T-posts are easy and quick to install. And require only a t-post driver or even just a sledge hammer.
  • Often less expensive than wood posts
  • Reusable, moveable and long lasting

Cons:

  • Not as aesthetically pleasing as wood posts
  • They require the additional purchase of clips or insulators in order to attach your fencing.

The Bottom Line:

The average cost for a single t-post is $3-$4 (depending on your area). This is significantly cheaper than store bought wood posts. They are easier to handle than wood posts and can be used with all different types of fencing. A good option for someone looking to get a fence up in a short amount of time and not break the bank.

treated wood fence posts

Store Bought/Treated Wood Posts:

Treated wood fence posts are usually round posts that come in sizes ranging from 6-8ft. They are easily found at your local farm supply or home improvement store.

Pros:

  • Uniform shape and size
  • Posts are resistant to rot, which increases their lifespan

Cons:

  • Most posts are treated with chemicals that are not healthy for people or the soil
  • Heavy and cumbersome to carry
  • Requires digging 1-2 foot holes in order to support the posts
  • More expensive than t-posts

The Bottom Line:

Store bought treated posts cost about $8-10 per post and can be found almost anywhere- from your local farm store to large home improvement chains such as Home Depot.

Due to their uniformity they are more aesthetically pleasing than other fence post styles. I personally do not recommend these posts due to the chemical treatments used on them.

 locust post option for fences

Locust Posts:

Split locust fence posts are a way to get wooden fence posts without the chemical treatment. You can usually find them locally ranging from 6-8 ft and sometimes longer.

Pros:

  • Locust posts are naturally resistant to rot and require no chemical treatment
  • Posts have a long lifespan
  • They have a very natural, rustic look

Cons:

  • Locust posts are not uniform in shape, size or looks. Depending on your personality, this can either be a good or bad thing
  • They are harder to find
  • The cost is usually higher than metal posts, but usually less than treated, store bought posts
  • Like other wood posts they are heavy and require a deep hole to secure them in the ground

The Bottom Line:

Locust posts are a way to bring natural beauty to your fence. They can be harder to find and are best found locally through farms, sawmills or even your local Craigslist listings. Cost will vary greatly by area and based on the size of your posts. We recently purchased local, 7 ft locust fence posts for $3.50 each, making them less expensive than t-posts.

 

step-in fence post option

Step-in Posts:

Step-in posts are light-weight posts used primarily for temporary pastures. They are most often made of fiberglass or polypropylene.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive with no extra materials required to secure your wire to the posts
  • Very quick to install, using nothing more than your foot to push them into the ground
  • Good for dividing pastures

Cons:

  • Due to their lightweight nature they cannot be used for large animals or animals that will test a fence
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Can only be used with electric wire, tape or netting

The Bottom Line:

Step-in posts are an inexpensive way to build a fence fast. They are best used for dividing or temporary pastures. They are readily available at your local farm or home improvement store and usually cost between $2-3 each.

Related Reading: 6 Fencing Mistakes That Are Costing You Time and Money

 

Fence Wire Options:

Just like with your posts, you have a lot of different choices when it comes to wire. This is where you need to decide the purpose of your fence- what do you want to keep in our out? Not all wire is created equal and knowing the answer can help you decided what is best for your farm needs.

 

welded wire fencing

Welded Wire

About:

Welded wire fencing is constructed by welding the connections between the horizontal and vertical wires of the fence. It can be purchased in a variety of gauges and most commonly comes with 2″x4″ mesh openings in heights between 3 ft and 5ft.

Use:

Welded wire fencing is not quite as strong as its woven wire counterpart, so it is best used with animals who will not lean or stand on the fence. It is a great option for a chicken run or garden fence as well as used as a guard to protect trees from deer or livestock.

The Bottom Line:

Welded wire fence is typically less expensive than woven wire and can be found at most farm or home improvement stores in rolls of 5oft to 300ft. It is less durable and can be harder to stretch than woven wire. It can also be harder, or impossible, to fix if the wire welds break.

 

woven wire fencing

 

Woven Wire

About:

Woven wire fencing is constructed with a wire knot at the junctions of the horizontal and vertical wires. It comes in lengths from 50ft to 330 ft and in a variety of mesh opening sizes and heights.

Use:

Woven wire fence is a durable, long lasting fencing option for livestock. Depending on your needs, you can choose “goat fence” with smaller openings and strong construction to prevent animals from putting their heads through and to withstand impact from the animal leaning or standing on the fence.

Larger animals or those who don’t stress a fence can have wider openings.

The Bottom Line:

Though it tends to be more expensive than welded wire, when it comes to durability, woven wire fences are the way to go when it comes to livestock. It is easier to stretch and easier to fix.

If you are fencing in a very large area you might want to consider other options such as electric or barbed wire. On our farm we use woven goat and sheep fence for our male goats- it keeps them contained and away from the girls!

 

field fence

 

Field Fence

About:

Field fence is a specific type of woven wire fence. It typically comes in rolls of about 330ft and is much less expensive than other types of woven wire fences. The mesh spacing is variable, ranging from 3 inches to 7 inches, with the bottom spaces being closer together and the top farther apart.

Use:

Field fence is best for low impact animals or if you need a secure, full fence for a large area. It is great for keeping deer out of a garden or for fencing a dog run.

The Bottom Line:

Field fence is an economical way to fence a large area. It is readily available online, through your local farm supply store or from large chain stores. It is easy to stretch and can handle changes in terrain. On our farm we have field fence around our garden area.

 

barbed wire fence

 

Barbed Wire

About:

Barbed wire fencing consists of 2 strands of wire that have been twisted together, with barbs placed every 3-5 inches throughout the length of the fence.

Use:

Barbed wire fencing is best used for large animals such as cattle or bison. It cannot be used safely with animals such as goats, sheep, llamas or alpacas.

It can also be used as a perimeter fence for you property or in conjunction with a woven or welded wire fence. Most barbed wire fences are made up of 5 strands of wire.

The Bottom Line:

Barbed wire is an inexpensive way to fence in a large pasture for cattle. It is strong, long lasting and easy to repair. With barbed wire you can also place your fence posts much farther apart, reducing the overall cost of the fence even more.

Related Reading: The Best Fencing for Goats

4 strand electric fencing

Electric Wire

About:

An electric fence is made up of multiple strands of high tensile wire. It requires the additional use of a fence charger, grounding rods and insulators. Most electric fences consist of 4-5 strands of wire.

Use:

Electric fencing is a durable, long lasting and flexible way to build a fence. It is a good option for goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, horses and llama.  They are a good deterrent for keeping predators out as well as your livestock in.

Keep in mind that, an electric fence is only a psychological barrier and may not be the best option for very head strong animals- such as a buck in rut.

Electric fencing can be used as a permanent fence, temporary fence, or to divide pasture.

The Bottom Line:

Electric fencing is a very economical way to fence in a large variety of animals over a large piece of land. It is easy to build and can be used in conjunction with wood or metal fence posts.

Like with barbed wire, your fence posts can be placed much farther apart than with woven or welded wire. We use electric for our female dairy goats and our alpacas.

 

Gate Options:

When it comes to gates, you don’t have quite as many choices to choose from. It comes down to looks, cost, and convenience when choosing a gate.

3 ft tube gate

Tube Gate

Tube gates come in a variety of sizes from a small 3ft walk-through gate that is perfect for a garden or yard to a 16ft drive-through gate that will allow tractors, large trucks or a large number of livestock pass through easily.

Tube gates are durable, long lasting and are easy to install on your wooden fence posts. They are also available with panels to prevent smaller animals, such as kids or lambs, to jump through. Tube gates can be expensive, usually running between $50 and $200.

 

Wooden Gate

Wooden gates can be custom built to your size and tastes. They can add a beautiful finish to a wooden-post fence as well. They are easier to build yourself from reclaimed wood. We even use a wooden pallet as a gate to our alpaca yard.

Gate Handles

Gate handles are a low cost way to put a gate in an electric or barbed wire fence. They can be a quick and inexpensive way to place a gate in an area that will not get a lot of traffic.

 

Of course these are not your only options. There is also a split-rail wooden fence, cattle panels, chicken wire, and I’ve even seen a fence made completely out of recycled wooden pallets.  But the fence options I listed are the most common used around the farm or homestead. It seems like fencing on the homestead is a never ending project. What fence will you build next?

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