Livestock and Horse Fences

Livestock fences enclose large areas and cost adds up quickly

Different animals respond well to different types of fencing.  Barbed wire is still frequently used to pen cattle. Horses do best when they can see their fence easily. Therefore barbed wire is not recommended for horses. Horse and cattle fences are generally at least 4-5 feet tall. Electrified fences are an effective way to pen livestock and horses with minimal damage to fencing and the animals. Goats are very aggressive about trying to escape their pens. Field fencing (often called goat wire) is a tight enough weave that goats can't get their heads through the wire holes.

The following fence types are all common livestock fence choices:

  • 3 rail wooden fence
  • Electrifed fences
  • Vinyl rail fence
  • Smooth wire fencing
  • Goat net wire
  • Barbed wire
  • Feedlot feedlot fencing panels

3 rail wood fences: Posts are spaced 8-12 feet apart with rail wood rails hung at 3 different heights. While inexpensive to install, 3 rail fences need a lot of maintenance. Horses can damage or break the rails by kicking, leaning or chewing, and the rails rot over time from weather exposure.

Electric fences: Eletrified wire strung between posts. Electric fences shock  the animal when it contacts the fence line. It can train animals to stay away from the fence line altogether, minimizing physical damage to the fence itself. Some potential issues: keep brush away from the wires to prevent fires. If an electrified wire gets too wet or contacts metal, the fence will short

Vinyl rail fence: requires less maintenance than wood because they do not need painting and horses won't chew on the rails. However vinyl fences aren't strong and can be easily be damaged by horses

Smooth wire fencing: a post fence with wire running between posts instead of rails. Not recommended for horses who cant see the wire fence lines very well

Goat net wire: a woven wire fence with a tight enough weave that goats, naturally aggressive and intelligent, can't escape.  

Barbed wire: steel fence wire with sharp stars or points spread intermittently. Often called bob or bobbed wire in the Southeastern US

Feedlot fencing panels: steel panels of vertical and horizontal rails, widely spaced.


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