Farm Fencing 101: Understanding Your Livestock Fence Options

March 31, 2024

Around the world, billions of livestock animals are raised and used for meat, milk, and other products. If you are raising livestock or thinking about it, one of the first things you’ll need is land and a fence. When you explore options for a livestock fence, there are certain things that you should know. The type of fence you want will depend on the kind of animals you’re raising and local laws. Barbed wire, for instance, is illegal in some areas, and in others, it is the only legal type of fence you can get. A lot of this comes down to liability, and the risk you assume if animals escape their pasture or pen.

Livestock Fence

In general, livestock fences come in a few varieties. We will break down the types of fences you may want to look into, and what they are best used for. Barbed wire, for instance, was the most popular type of fence for a hundred years, but recently has fallen out of favor.  

1. Barbed Wire 

A standard barbed wire fence is a mainstay anywhere agriculture is practiced. Barbed wire is a metal wire fence with barbs placed upon it. Barbed wire was invented in the 1850s in Texas and has been used all over the world since then. Barbed wire works by sectioning off an area and making it painful to push against. This has long been used to reduce cattle escapes, but it isn’t foolproof. One of the significant dangers of barbed wire is animals becoming caught up in it. This can cause serious injury. 

Barbed wire is also tough to work with. If you try to put up a barbed-wire fence yourself, you will have torn clothes, possibly torn gloves, and maybe even torn skin. This is because it is sharp, and while working with it having to pull and push against the fence can cause tearing and cutting. 

2. High Tension Wire 

The type of fence that replaced barbed wire is a high tension wire. This type of fence lasts a really long time. In most areas, it can survive for up to 50 years with some maintenance. It doesn’t harm any animals, but also doesn’t give way. This creates a physical and psychological barrier to your animals. 

Modern livestock ranches use high tension wires, and they are very good with horses. Animals don’t get caught up in them, and therefore aren’t injured by the sharp barbs. High tension wire works with most large animals, but it isn’t always the best idea if you are raising smaller animals like chickens, sheep, and goats. If you opt for a high-tension wire fence, you can rest assured that it will provide you with protection and be durable. This is one of the main reasons that people enjoy it, the other being that it is cheap to deploy.

3. Wooden Fences

Back in the days of the settlers, wooden fences made of heartwood were standard. In fact, this was the most common type of fencing for centuries. The modern problem with wooden fences is that they are expensive and high-quality lumber that will last for decades is not available everywhere. Wooden fences used to guard livestock can be beautiful, but they are fragile. Over time the sun breaks down the integrity of the wood and, combined with wind, water, and weather, will cause them to fail. Wooden fences are still prevalent in some areas but do not have the lifespan of metal fences. To get good wood for your fence, they can also be costly. 

4. Vinyl Fence

Modern vinyl fences are a way to get the beauty of a wooden fence without the downside. These fences are long-lasting, being protected from the sun and weather. They are beautiful and work well with most types of animals. If you want to improve the look of your property while also maintaining security for your animals, this is a great option. A vinyl livestock fence doesn’t require much maintenance and doesn’t need to be painted or continuously stained like a wooden fence.

5. Woven Metal Fences

This type of fencing is famous all over the country. It is especially useful for commercial applications and as a livestock fence. Woven metal fencing is excellent for containing animals like sheep, goats, and chickens that can be difficult to pen up. Woven metal fences are also very popular for use with horses, as there is no danger the horse will get tangled. These types of fences last a long time and provide good value for the money spent to erect them. They do require strong posts, but having a professional installation will make having a secure fence a cinch. 

Snow can be a significant danger to these fences, but if you don’t live somewhere where it snows a lot, you won’t have any trouble. You can expect a fence like this to last at least twenty years and provide not just a pen, but also protection from predators that try to breach your enclosure. 

6. Electric Fences

These types of fences are very popular when you don’t have a lot of livestock or used in combination with other types of fencing. They provide a strong psychological deterrent by giving an uncomfortable shock when grounded. An electric fence makes for a great deterrent against predators as well. The best thing about electric fences is that they don’t need to stand alone. They help increase the protection offered by other types of fencing. The only downside is that they can be expensive to operate and maintain. You should also be careful when working with an electric fence because it isn’t fun to get shocked by one. 

Fence Installation 

The Rio Grande Fence Company has been installing fences for 40 years. 

If you need a fence put up in and you live near Lexington, Kentucky, we can help you out. Whether you are going for a livestock fence or a residential fence, we can provide the solutions you need for protection, beauty, and function. 

Don’t run the risk of your animals getting out and causing damage you may be responsible for. Contact us today to have a great fence installed by the Rio Grand Fence Company.