If you have livestock on the homestead farm you will need fencing. The type of fencing you will want depends on what you can afford, the type of animals or birds, and how much time you have.
The type of fencing really depends on what you want to keep in our out.
Homesteading Tips: Use Electric
Electric fencing is favored over the traditional barbed wire fence. All fencing has it’s limitations. However, if you have electricity you may find that an electric fence is something that most animals respect. You may also purchase solar battery fencers for smaller runs.
Fence posts need only be approximately 20-100 feet apart with insulators placed on them to protect the line from shorting out. All the brush and grass should be cleared away.
Some people are using one strand of electric fencing on the inside of a barbed, corral, or slab fence at various levels to keep livestock from trying to get out.
For cattle the electric wire is placed at knee height. Pigs require it to be six inches above the ground. Some also place one near the top to keep animals from jumping over.
Cattle will respect one electric line at about knee height. Horses seem to need an additional line 12 inches higher. Some use the white electric tapes for visibility.
Goats? Well I had them go through seven wires! But now you can buy electric woven page wire fencing. That keeps them in!
Homesteading Tips: Use Page Wire
Page wire is available in various strengths and sizes but is very costly.
Cattle, lamas, mules, and horses usually do not give any trouble with page wire fencing.
Goats and sheep require a page wire type electric fence or just plain page wire with 3-4″ holes. Goats are particularly stubborn and will push through an electric fence if so inclined.
Although it is more expensive I now favor “Sheep Page Wire” because it keeps most things in and the wolves or stray dogs out.
Homesteading Tips: Use Rails and Slabs
Slabs made from cutting lumber make cheap and affordable fencing for the homesteader. It may take more labor to install but will be far cheaper than that roll of wire.
Place your rails near the top of the posts and within six inches of the ground, followed by nailing slabs vertically to the rails.
Small animals will always try to find some place to get out so keeping the spaces small enough will deter most animals.
An alternative to this for goats and sheep is still use the rails, plus old page wire fencing along with slabs or 1-2″ poles place upright every few inches. Great if you have lots of help.
Homesteading Tips: Use Barbed Wire
Cattle and horses seem to respect barbed wired fencing just as they always have. Once they get barbed a few times they stay well away from it especially if they have plenty of feed on their side of the fence.
The downside is that it require more fence posts about every ten feet. A 40 acre parcel will require several hundred posts and a post hole digger or hammer to install them. If you can afford treated posts they will give you a few good years before the need to replace them.
Barbed wire can then be purchased in 1/4 mile rolls and easily strung out off the spool. Once the corners are braced, the wire is tightened with a tightener before the staples are driven into the posts.