Our annual end-of-summer contest is here, come on down to the Dave's Garden County Fair!

Fencing is ruining my marriage...

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Okay, well, it's not that bad, but it certainly ain't helping.

I can't seem to convince DH, who otherwise is a somewhat rational man who usually doesn't evaluate things strictly on an financial or emotional basis (that's my job), that barbed wire is bad. I can't convince him that 'possums are an actual threat that we might need to deal with. (And he just might be right on that one.) He laughs and says that I should talk to my neighbors and see what they use. I have very nice neighbors for the most part, but they don't "believe" in vaccinations or vets, for the most part. The dog next door has a growth bigger than a marble behind her ear and dew claws that are curled like ringlets. I'm asking their advice? Nope.

The best priced stuff seems to be the electric stuff. But the different parts and pieces make it an overwhelming task to sort out for someone who has never dealt with them before. Is this too much for a newbie? Should I be hiring the first one out? It doesn't look tough to put up.

Half of the pasture is 4 board fence, wood. The other part is wire mesh, probably 4"x4" squares, about 4' high, with a strand of barbed wire on top. I think I want to put electric tape within all of it, will that work? Do I need more or safer fencing outside of the electric?

Pricing: once again, a tough thing with all the little pieces and parts, and trying to do the apples to apples. Has anybody found a reliably well priced outlet?

Any and all help is appreciated... before I pinch Teddy so hard he squeals....

Fuquay-Varina, NC(Zone 7a)

I really wouldn't worry about refencing the 4-board section. if the wire fencing is 4x4", I would suggest redoing that part completely since 4x4" is large enough to get a hoof stuck.

my suggestion would be to contact the various hot wire/tape companies and get quotes from them. I always get samples from one company, but I've long thrown their info away. get the quotes installed and uninstalled, and make sure to ask them how easy it is to install yourself (read that: for your honey to install). also make sure to ask them about ALL the little do-hickeys you'll need like post caps.

I would think it would be easy enough to install yourself so long as you have the right equipment

Woodlawn, VA

Before I moved out here to the country I kept the boys on a ramshackle place leased by a friend (hey, it was free and 20 acre properties are scarce in the city). He had his horse there for years with no improvements and the fencing consisted of everything from barbed wire to box wire to board fencing made from leftover pallets to a couple of places which alarmingly had no fence whatsoever. I didn't have much of a budget (especially for a place that wasn't mine) but I managed to install electric (the wire string type, not the tape) within all the existing fencing using various insulators depending on what type fence/post they were going on. I also fenced the unfenced areas the same way, using T-posts and 3 strands of electric wire with the appropriate post caps and insulators. It wasn't necessarily pretty but it was safe and I was able to do it in stages as well as add on other sections as needed. I did it all myself with no problems. The biggest expense was the charger- you'll have to make choices of AC, DC, and solar. Just make sure you get one big enough to cover the ground you need and then some in case you decide to add on. This can definitely be a DIY project if you need it to be.
Where we are now the pastures are fenced with either 2 strand metal electric (posts at least 20 ft. apart on a solar charger ..... my engineer Dad keeps chargers in big mailboxes out in the fields to protect from the elements with the solar panels mounted on top) and multi-strand hi-tensile which we've been using to replace old sections of box and barbed wire as we go along.
They boys have never escaped (or even tried to) except when Dad left the gate open on the "Jenny Craig" lot while he was doing something in the immediate area (he said they looked really innocent standing there 60 yards away right before they went prancing up and down the road like they owned the place!)
I hope this helps- Leigh

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

It is dead simple to set up an electric fence, you and Teddy can do it in a couple of hours. Actually, you don't even need Teddy, unless you just want to lull him into a false sense of comraderie and security and then shock him. ; p

Basically, the electric has to go in a straight line from charger, around the perimeter, back to charger, without crossing itself or touching anything. It sounds complicated. It's really not.

Set up the charger. Attach the ground. Attach the wire. Walk. When you can't keep the wire up off the ground, stomp a pole into the ground and attach the wire to form the bottom wire. Repeat. At the end of the paddock/fence line, attach it on the bottom hookie thing (and you can buy poles with hookie things or attach the hookie things yourself, which I recommend), come up the pole, attach it to the top hooky thing, and repeat, heading back toward the charger. Keep attaching to form the top line all the way back. If you run out of fence line, tie a knot and make it longer. Knots are ok. Touching anything but itself and the electric-proof hookie things is not. Reattach to charger. Turn the charger on. Look at the "fault" light. If it's blinking, figure out where it's touching something that is grounding the electricity out...usually a branch, or, it's too low and is touching the ground.

For the purpose of visual cues to the horses, and because the fiberglass rods are pretty cheap, I used them every ten feet or so, which was probably overkill. You can also tie tape to the middle, between the posts, so it will also flutter and alert them, as long it is long enough not to snag on anything that will then ground the fence out.

Buy the poles that are NOT SHARP ON THE TOP ENDS, or buy the caps to cover the ends. It's just to help prevent someone getting stabbed.

That's it. Wire, charger, insulators (aka hookie things), to stop the wire touching the poles. Wear gloves. The metal in the line will shred your hands.

I used electric wire alongside the stream bed at our old place. It flooded every once in a while and I didn't want to have to keep replacing good fence.

I'd leave the four board alone and just do around the inside of everything else.

I'd also seek out some unspeakably ugly pictures of what barbed wired can do to a horse and show them to Teddy. He'll shaddup. ; )

The basics of electric fencing are such that anybody, and I do mean anybody, can set up a line. It's really a no-brainer, it's just intimidating when you're standing there in the feed store with a chaw chewing man who doesn't mind making the little woman feel silly.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Okay ->squares shoulders, puffs out chest<

I can do this.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Pagan, My original fence was a three strand electric. I used it for years with very little problems until I could afford to replace it with the 4 board wooden. I put it in my self with only a little help from Ric for the corner posts and a couple of 4x4's that needed post holes dug. Mostly it was just a 4x4 then several fiberglass post just pounded into the ground then another 4x4. I used plastic keepers and cermaic posts to hook the wire. Along the back at the wood line I just nailed the cermaic posts to the trees. I tied strips of cloth torn from a old sheet on the wire to warn the horses. The charger is very easy to hook up. Luna is right nothing to it. Holly

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

I love hi-tensile electric! You can run hi-tensile wire with the top strand being electric tape for visibility, or just use flag tape on the hi-tensile wire so the horses can see it. I started out using cheap electric fencing and it cost a lot of money having to replace it within a year or two, plus, the charger is able to send out a larger charge over more area when you use the lower gauge wire(the lower the gauge the thicker the wire). We've cut trees off the hi-tensile fencing with the only damage being some insulators damaged which is a cheap fix, the wire springs right back up. Here's a good website for fencing info http://www.kencove.com/ I learned a lot on this website. Some horses are kept in barb wire for years with no problem but when there is a problem it's usually devastating. There are so many types of safe fencing out there that using barb wire is by choice rather than necessity.


(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the encouragement HOlly and Lana (welcome Lana - I haven't see you here before....)

I guess the intimidating part was coming from the choices - in the RAMM catalog alone there must be 9-10 types of wire, and then you get into the accessories = there's another hundred things they "suggest" you get without telling you which of the many insulators are the right ones. I kept wondering why there weren't some kits.

And then there's the chargers...

On the banks of the , VA(Zone 7a)

Honey bunny, I respectfully submit you go down to Central Tractor, or the Co-Op, or the local feed and weed store, and throw yourself on the mercy of the guy who looks least likely to try to hit on you. The oldest one.

This is the beginnings of a beautiful relationship, don't cheat him of his stories ten years from now when he wants to remind you of what a green horn you were.

Do not shop the catalogs. Get Geezer Boy to show you exactly what you need and pay the premium to make a friend at the feed store.

Trust me.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Luna is right, The older the better. They love passing on their knowledge and having a "pretty little thing" hanging on their every word. But completely harmless and full of interesting stories and suggestions.

Buffalo, WV(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the welcome, Pagancat. I was just browsing around and stopped in to lurk :~) I had to get rid of my meat goat herd and horse in 2004 after an auto accident, couldn't care for them anymore. I use to post on Farm Life all the time, still do occasionally. I hope to get some mini horses soon. I would also like a couple goats to help keep the pastures weed free :~) Dh and I put in our hi-tensile during 4th of July weekend several years ago. We bought our fencing supplies at the feed store. Did the fencing research on the internet.


Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

I can post pics of what high tensile wire will do when the horse runs through it.

Nothing's going to be 100% safe, but high tensile wire is right up there-just below barb-wire IMO. If you already have posts, just replace the barb wire with the hot wire.

PS- I still have lots of barb wire running the top of my fence line!

PSS- not that I'm advocating barbed wire! I hate it, just slow to replace it with board!

This message was edited Dec 29, 2006 6:30 PM

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

This stuff looks great to me. http://kencove.com/ShopItemIG.php?item=Safe-Fence+(Electric) I think it's even attractive for the tape. I've only seen it in brown in person recently.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

LOL - you guys! No worries, I'm not above opening my eyes a little wider while they tell their stories - I love those old guys, after working in health care with them for so long (just don't tell them they're sick and everything is fine). Unfortunately, my Tractor Supply is stocked full of *very* polite kids who look like they should still be in 4-H.

We've kind of narrowed it down to some poly braid - I'm still fighting for tape on the top (visibility).... but I think reading Luna's comment to Teddy yesterday might have done the trick.

As far as the high tension stuff is concerned, I'm not interested in something that I'm going to have to keep adjusting if I can get away without it, and KSGrazier had also warned me about the damage it can do to horses, so I hear you Jenks.

Goldthwaite, TX(Zone 8a)

We've had no problem with barbed wire in the 32 years I've been associated with the ranch, but DH said they had a couple of horses cut up badly in the old days. Leo comes running when I go to feed and turns at the very last second. He scares me. We are talking big pastures (50-500 acres) and little reason for the horses to be near a fence most of the time. Low-flying military aircraft did send the horses through a fence at the barn once, but it was not barbed wire.

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

I'd never be able to afford to fence 500 acre pastures!

Goldthwaite, TX(Zone 8a)

I worked several years past retirement time to pay for new fence. Gates that swing, and fences that hold cattle. Sweet.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

I bet it took a couple of years to pay for that.... shew. Sounds like you're enjoying the results, though. Good for you. Me, I'd just be glad if it wasn't me who had to put it up!

Goldthwaite, TX(Zone 8a)

I did not put it up either!! I had enough of that when I was growing up on the ranch. Now I hire a fencing contractor who has the equipment to drill holes, weld braces on the metal pipe posts and drive the t-posts. A good crew can put in a mile of 9 wire barbed wire fence in a couple of weeks if the terrain is not too rough and rocky. A nine wire barbed wire fence will hold any livestock, and will turn even feral hogs unless the soil is so soft they can root under it. Here in the dry country most new fences are made with all metal posts, regardless o f the type of wire.

(Sheryl) Gainesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks for telling us which one you are! I know I'm gonna blow it someday with you two...

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