Spent ALL day yesterday re-fencing the boys. Didn't get as much done as we wanted, because we are doing it RIGHT this time. Which leads to a good post topic:
Fencing. If you have critters, you need good fencing. Take it from me - I've tried just about every type of fence on the market...and spent WAY too much money doing so. Don't believe me? Here:
1. Barbed wire. NO. It's murder on horses, and udders. Doesn't really work *that* well on beef cattle - if they want to go thru the fence, they will, getting torn up in the bargain. Yes, it's cheap. It goes up pretty quickly. It's NOT worth the vet bills.
2. Smooth wire. NO. Yes, it's common. It won't hold back a determined horse. Item: We spent $3500 3 years ago getting the back acreage fenced. We figured, go with a pro, we'd get a good fence. It lasted 3 months...then the horses started leaning on it. Within 6 months, they had it so tilted they could (and DID) walk right over it. :sigh: The fence guy has vanished, so there went the warranty. :shakes head:
2a. Electric. Not really. We ran a top line, with a solar charger (I've used plug-ins before.) They work...as long as the animal is stupid. My horses rapidly figured out how to time their leans to the "click" of the charger......the electricity pulses. If you hit it right, you don't get shocked. You'd think that the pulse is short enough to control damage....Nope.
2a1. Electric tape. WORTHLESS. I tried it when it first came out. My horses laughed at me as they waltzed right thru it. It was pretty the 15 minutes it lasted......not only did the horses destroy it, so did the wind. Save your money and skip this.
3. Sheep-and-goat fence/No-Climb Horse wire. Basically the same thing. It's.....OK. Ran with t-posts it's worthless, because the critter will lean/climb it, and cause it to buckle. You HAVE to run a top rail with it. They don't tell you that, but seriously - I have a stud paddock that's really not tight, because of the leaning. My bucks have figured out how to crunch it down to where they can hop over it......(Fortunately, Dusty doesn't realize he could just step over the fence - he's a good boy. Finn, however.....I'm glad he's an it, now!)
4. Cattle panels. YES. Perfect fencing...except for the cost. $19/16 feet is the cheapest I've found it. Worth every penny...but I have 5 acres needing re-fencing. I can't AFFORD to cattle panel the whole place. (Pity, that!)(OK, we're only going to re-fence maybe 3 acres. Still......it adds up!)
5. Chain link. Yes, but PRICEY. And, if you don't go with "Hurricane fencing" (the tall chain-link) it's worthless, because the critters can climb it/jump it. (Don't ask. For my horses, 7' tall is the minimum for chain-link. :sigh:)
5a. Chain link dog kennel panels. Yes...for smaller animals/areas. They won't work with horses, because of the expense and lack of solid support. Goats.....for smaller ones, sure. My Alpine buck....not a chance. He'd bash, and bash, and bash until he knocked it over/open (I watched him do that to the chicken "porch", which is 2 of the kennel panels *attached* to the coop/fence. In about 10 minutes, he'd managed to wiggle the corner enough to get his head thru......I pulled him out before he did any major damage. Yes, I have destructive animals.)
So, what does this mean? We are re-fencing - again. THIS time, we're doing it right. 5" wood posts, sunk 2' in concrete at 8' centered, with cattle panels for the bucks....topped with another 5" rail. The cattle panels are stapled in place, on both the posts and the top rail. I'm also running cattle panels around the chicken run (the....garden fencing we used has degraded over the past 3 years, and is starting to "pop". We're at the point that it HAS to be replaced...so I'm stapling cattle panels on top of it, in the hopes that the garden fencing will "shrink" the panel spacing to keep cats/raccoons/dogs out of the chicken area. It'll also keep the bucks out...)
For the horses and does, we're going to use the sheep-and-goat fencing (at $229/330 feet, it's not cheap, but it's affordable - 3 rolls *should* do both horse pastures. Might take 4....), with the 5" posts and top rails. The horses can't lean over the sunk-in-concrete posts, and the wire won't be as easy to break - the boys have only broken 3 spots in theirs. (where they bent it down and trampled it. :sigh:) The top rail will keep it from crumpling...and, it looks nice. It's just EXPENSIVE. Posts are $11/each (for 8' ones).....and we need a LOT of them.
I'm going to hit CL - I'm hoping to find some old telephone poles. Those will work.....and hopefully be cheaper than the new posts.
I really don't want to add up what we've spent on fencing just out *here* in the past 7 years. A LOT, I know....because of the latest $3500. That didn't work. (A note: The posts the guy sunk are still perfect. If he'd let us talk him into sinking posts every 16 - 24 feet, the fence would still be sound...but no, we ran t-posts the whole damn way, except for the corners. :blasted horses:)
Now....we *might* be able to get by with sheep-and-goat fencing, t-posts, and a welded steel top rail (similar to my backyard, which is that, but with cattle panels).....but I dunno. I'd feel better with the wooden posts, to be honest. Even if my horses *do* try to beaver them......
So, learn from my mistakes. Invest in good, solid fencing at the outset. Yes, it'll be a big investment...but you won't have to constantly RE-invest. :sigh: Not to mention all the time you'll save, not having to collect your loose animals, finding the holes, patching the holes, running to the store because you ran out of wire/t-posts/whatever......seriously. Sink the money in up front, and your life will be MUCH easier.