Farmers and ranchers know the importance of good fencing—it keeps livestock in and predators out. “Riding fence,” whether on horseback, by ATV, or in a truck is a necessary activity of life for large operations with ample pasture. Even for livestock kept close to the barn, you must keep wire fencing in good condition.
Finding the right fencing type
Fencing lasts longer when the builder plans the layout carefully and constructs the fence correctly, using durable materials. Wire fencing is the most common fencing designed to contain livestock, with the exception of horses. Horse farms may use board or rail fencing rather than wire, to keep from harming the animals and to deter escape, because horses respond to the visual barrier. The type of wire (barbed, smooth, or electric) and the design (mesh, woven, high-tensile, or cable wire) will depend on the animal the enclosure must contain.
Building the fence
Building a long-lasting fence requires the right materials. Galvanized wire (wire coated with zinc) resists rust. Rust resistance is so important that fence wire comes in different classes, depending on the galvanization’s thickness. Class 1 galvanizing is the lightest, and Class 3 the heaviest. Class 3 galvanized wire can add 5-10 years to a wire fence’s lifespan.
Fasteners that attach wires to fence posts contribute to, or impair, a fence’s lifespan, so choosing the right fence staple is critical. Over the years, wires can sag, and staples can pull or work their way out of wood posts as the posts weather and the fence ages. Using galvanized fence staples with “legs” long enough to penetrate the post to a depth that will discourage pull-out extends the life of a wire fence. Fence staples will have pointed legs or barbs, and the staple’s legs will splay outward when using a staple gun to fasten the wire to the post. Steel posts last longer than wood posts, although they don’t look as good.
Fasteners that connect wires to steel posts are essential to the fence’s life, so follow the post manufacturer’s recommendations to select the proper clips to attach wire to posts and hold it taught.