Fencing Livestock 101
Fencing livestock is important for many reasons. It can protect your valuable livestock, keep them contained for easy herding and even allow you to manage the health of your farmland. While early farmers supported livestock roaming freely throughout the fields, as crop farming became more popular and more heavily relied upon, fencing for livestock became a must. Today, fencing can be done in a number of different manners, and we here at FarmTek offer a wide variety of fencing solutions that allow you to quickly and efficiently contain and protect livestock.
One of the top reasons to install fencing for your livestock is to keep your herd confined to a specific area. Providing a designated pasture for your livestock ensures that you know where your herd is at all times and allows you to quickly and easily wrangle your herd for feeding, milking, housing, medical treatments and more. While pastures can range anywhere from less than an acre to 25 plus acres, erecting a fence along the entire perimeter keeps livestock from roaming too far from safety. When left to roam freely, livestock are at risk of injury, due to rocks, mud, rivers, etc., and not being able to quickly account for your entire herd could result in profit loss from serious injury or death. With a designated area for pasture, bringing livestock back into the barn for any reason is quick and easy. Depending on the size, you may even be able to visually spot any stragglers by simply scanning the area, eliminating the need to search for a missing animal by driving or walking throughout the field.
Aside from keeping your livestock contained, proper fencing also keeps your livestock safe from potential predators. When left to roam freely outside, livestock, especially young livestock, are left to fend for themselves against foxes, coyotes, bears, bobcats and a number of other natural predators. Be sure to check your fencing regularly and repair any holes that a predator could use as an entry way. You will want to plan the type of fencing based on the livestock you own and the types of predators that inhabit your area. A good example of this would be providing woven wire fencing for livestock that live in an area where foxes are commonly found. Providing a pipe or wooden fence in this type of area would be a bad idea, as it would allow plenty of room for foxes and smaller predators to enter the pasture.
Allowing livestock to roam outside for at least a portion of the day is an ideal practice. This enables your livestock to carry out their natural behaviors, but perhaps most importantly, it reduces the likelihood of illness spreading throughout the entire herd. When kept in a small, crowded area for extended periods of time, an illness can spread quickly and may infect the entire herd. This is why allowing for at least a few hours of fresh air, sunlight and open pasture is important for your livestock. However, this can mean that an acre or two of quality land can become barren and useless within a short period of time. If space is limited on your farm, fencing can be used to help manage your land. Rather than confining your livestock to just one patch of land for years, you can plan and set up fencing to evenly move your livestock throughout all of your land. If you have a designated area for crop production, you will of course want to keep them away from that area, however allowing your livestock to graze on every acre of land in a timely manner can prolong and benefit the life of your land. As livestock moves throughout the pasture area, they will graze on weeds, fertilize the ground and heavier livestock, such as cattle, horses and llamas, can help loosen hard top soil. Rotating your pasture area on a schedule is also beneficial for your livestock as well, as it provides them with fresh, healthy pasture for grazing.
Over the years, fencing has gotten easier to install and better equipped for containing livestock and keeping out potential predators. Simple fencing solutions include:
- Barbed Wire Fencing
- Woven Wire Fencing
- High-Tensile Wire Fencing
- Wood, Metal or Batten Tape Fencing
These options are time-tested solutions that offer a simple and effective way to secure your pasture.
Barbed wire is one of the earliest forms of fencing. This fencing is great for deterring predators, but can be dangerous to both livestock and people, as bumping it will result in cuts, which can be deep and very serious in some instances.
Woven wire fencing is best for smaller livestock, such as sheep or goats. This fencing is made of vertical and horizontally connected wire, which creates a wall-like fence. Where many other fences are made by stringing a single line of wire, this fencing offers a secure barrier and allows very little room for escaping or entering.
High-Tensile Wire Fencing is good for larger livestock as it offers some give if animals run into it. This fencing is best suited for larger animals that may tend to spook easily or livestock that challenge the pasture’s boundaries on a regular basis. This fencing will not injure the animal and will not break easily.
Wood, metal and batten tape fencing are some of the more expensive solutions, but these can be useful for larger animals, especially ones that have taken down other types of fencing previously. These fences can be made much stronger and sturdier than thin wire fencing, but you can also incorporate a woven wire, barbed wire or electric fence with these types of fencing to assist with predator protection.
More modern fencing solutions include:
- Electric Net Fencing
- Electric Wire Fencing
- Deer Fencing
- Poly Tape Fencing
These fencing options have become increasingly popular over the past fifty years and are now widely accepted as the best ways to contain livestock.
Electric Net Fencing is an electric version of woven wire fencing. This fencing is also designed to resemble a wall, however it has an electric charge, which prevents livestock and predators from fussing with it. This is good for teaching your livestock the boundaries, and once your herd has shown that they know their limitations, you can turn the fence off to reduce electricity consumption and prevent injury.
Electric Wire Fencing can be added to the top or bottom section of an existing fence or it can be used to make an entire fence. This can also be used to teach boundaries to livestock, but is also highly effective in preventing predator attacks. A strand or two of electric wire fencing can be added to an existing wood or metal fence to effectively shock predators that try to enter, while being positioned in an area where it will not come into contact with livestock.
Deer Fencing is great for preventing deer from intruding on crop fields and livestock pastures. This fencing is lightweight and very tall, preventing deer from jumping right over it. This fencing is great for keeping deer, rabbit or foxes out of your crops, but it is also a great solution for keeping goats and birds in, as the high clearance prevents them from being able to jump or fly out.
Poly Tape Fencing is a counterpart to electric wire fencing, but has a very short life expectancy. This fencing is not an ideal option by itself, as it breaks easily and is best intended as an addition to more permanent fences rather than being used as a complete fence solution. Consider adding poly tape fencing to wood fences or batten tap fences as an additional form of protection.
We here at FarmTek offer a number of fencing solutions that help make containing and protecting livestock easier and more affordable than ever. We offer a wide selection of both electric and non-electric fencing options, as well as fencing accessories. Our non-electric fencing options include: Bird Fencing, Deer Fencing and complete Deer Fence Systems, PVC Coated Hex Wire Fence, Galvanized Wire Mesh Fencing, as well as Batten Tape Fencing and accessories. For those looking to add electric fencing, we offer: Hot Rope Fence Systems, Powerfields Premium Polytape and Polywire, Electro-Web Electric Net and Safe-Fence High Voltage Burial Wire. We also carry nearly every fence accessory you may need, such as fence chargers, fence controllers, loop brackets, manual cage ringer tools, cage rings and more.
There are many advantages to keeping livestock contained. Protection from predators, greater profit down the line and improved land management all can be achieved simply by erecting a fence. Keep your livestock safe and secure by adding fencing or improving your current fencing this spring.