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Author Topic: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?  (Read 3572 times)

Offline andersonjk4

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Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« on: June 03, 2016, 09:38:37 AM »
Hey guys.  Looking for opinions on fencing.  I recently bought a new house on 5 acres with about half of the 5 acres being pasture.  The previous owners had a weak two wire electric fence set up for awhile and then got rid of their animals and removed all of the fence wire after a bull moose took a bunch of it down for them.  Anyway, I want to feed out a couple steers next year and need to get the fence back in shape before then.  If you were going to fence off a couple acres what would your preference be?  Barbed wire, or electric wire?  3 strand, 4 strand?  Wood post or t-posts? Also, I have a 9-month old and potentially more children in the future to consider.  I am leaning toward a 3 or 4 strand barbed wire with a hot wire around the top.  But the previous owners left the electric wire on spools, so I wouldn't have to buy much if any electric wire.   

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 10:03:23 AM »
I had field fence with a hot wire top and bottom. Then I got a steer that would ignore the hot wire and fence. He paid attention when I electrified a strand of barbed wire. Hot barbed wire is the way to go from my experience and is pretty cheap.

Offline Encore 280

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 10:15:49 AM »
My neighbor has 5 acres that has 4 strands of hot wire to keep the coyotes away from the sheep and goats. Haven't seen a 'yote around in a long long time. They used to come in and take the babies at night but not anymore. I imagine if the bottom one was hot, that might work.  :twocents:

Offline andersonjk4

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2016, 10:25:14 AM »
I had field fence with a hot wire top and bottom. Then I got a steer that would ignore the hot wire and fence. He paid attention when I electrified a strand of barbed wire. Hot barbed wire is the way to go from my experience and is pretty cheap.

I've known people with some real stubborn steers.  That's why I am leaning toward a real stout 4 strand barbed wire fence with a hot wire along the top.   

Offline andersonjk4

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2016, 10:29:07 AM »
My neighbor has 5 acres that has 4 strands of hot wire to keep the coyotes away from the sheep and goats. Haven't seen a 'yote around in a long long time. They used to come in and take the babies at night but not anymore. I imagine if the bottom one was hot, that might work.  :twocents:

Has 3 strand or 4 strand of hot wire been sufficient for people?  I want a long term solution that I am not having to repair every year or having to chase down loose animals.

As of now I don't have any plans of getting anything smaller than weaned cattle, so coyotes aren't much of a concern.  And I have 3 bird dogs that would probably appreciate not having a hot wire on the bottom. 

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2016, 10:30:45 AM »
We have just under 10 acres and have been replacing all the stretched wire fencing with Gallagher Equifence. 

The fencing can be set with posts up to 50' apart with a couple stays in between, the first section was done this way, with three strands and a charger, kept our longhorn cattle contained with no problems.

I have settled on a five strand with posts about 20' apart on average, depending on the layout. Doing the work myself, it is running about $4.00 - $5.00 per foot, but again, I am using double the reccomended posts, and they are the round, pressure treated wood posts vs the metal tee posts.

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Offline andersonjk4

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2016, 10:40:00 AM »
We have just under 10 acres and have been replacing all the stretched wire fencing with Gallagher Equifence. 

The fencing can be set with posts up to 50' apart with a couple stays in between, the first section was done this way, with three strands and a charger, kept our longhorn cattle contained with no problems.

I have settled on a five strand with posts about 20' apart on average, depending on the layout. Doing the work myself, it is running about $4.00 - $5.00 per foot, but again, I am using double the reccomended posts, and they are the round, pressure treated wood posts vs the metal tee posts.

I like the looks of the equifence product.  I like the higher visibility than standard high tensile wire.  I will have to look into it some more.  Thanks!  :tup:

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2016, 12:27:40 PM »
Parmak makes some good high tensile poly braided rope with aluminum or stainless conducting wire woven into it. Its like 3/8 inch diameter rope instead of the tiny electric string. They also make the webbed strap type too. They have a really good solar charger on Amazon too for around $150. It's a low impedence 25 mile range zapper that's guaranteed to never rust and has lightning warranty as well. Low impedence zapper's are better if you use anything with poly because the higher rated zapper's will actually melt the poly when they get grounded on a blade of grass or a stick and ruin your lines.

Offline Badhabit

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2016, 01:10:14 PM »
This might help if you go barbed wire.

http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=16.60.010

The RCW is silent in regard to an electric fence. RCW 16.60.011 is vague in its description of what an alternative legal fence would be.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2016, 01:16:49 PM by Badhabit »

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 07:39:53 PM »
We have had all types of fence over the years, the best by far for us is the New Zealand four or five strand electric. The tensioners built in make a world of difference when a tree falls on it or a truck drives through it  :bash:. You can electrify as many or few of the strands as you want by just hooking up or disconnecting a jumper. The key to any electric fence is the best charger you can afford and solid grounding system for it  :twocents:. Good luck.

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2016, 08:04:15 PM »
Field fence with three rows of barbed wire one above, one in the middle, and one a little off the ground. Keeps them from rubbing it plus not pushing it out to get grass on the outside of it. Then if you ever resell it horse folks like it better than barbed, plus keeps the yotes out if you keep it tight to the ground.  :twocents:
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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2016, 03:20:01 PM »
It depends if you want to keep something in or keep something from going through. We have miles of electric fencing for cattle. I use smooth wire. 2 strands.  One thigh high and the other belly high on me.  Me being a strapping 5'10".  As long as it is electricified you should have no problem.  In the winter we use only a single strand around corn fields.  Once again. As long as it is hot you will have no problem unless something is chasing the bovines.   We used to use the horse fencing for gates bit over time you will have problems with arcing within the nylon wrapped wire.  If you do not electrify your fence eventually the livestock will start reaching and pushing.  I love a good hot wire fence
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Offline PolarBear

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2017, 09:42:51 AM »
DO NOT electrify barbed wire!  Critters can get tangled up in it, panic due to the shock and die.  Very dangerous.  If you go barbed wire go with a minimum or 5 strands and 12.5 gauge if you can get it or no less than 14.  I have 5 strand 12.5 4 point barbed with stays between each post.  I also run a heavy gauge hot wire 12" off the ground and another 2' up from that. 
« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 09:51:09 AM by PolarBear »
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Offline andersonjk4

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2017, 11:12:11 AM »
DO NOT electrify barbed wire!  Critters can get tangled up in it, panic due to the shock and die.  Very dangerous.  If you go barbed wire go with a minimum or 5 strands and 12.5 gauge if you can get it or no less than 14.  I have 5 strand 12.5 4 point barbed with stays between each post.  I also run a heavy gauge hot wire 12" off the ground and another 2' up from that.

I was just going to bring this topic back up as I am going to start building fence in the next few weeks when the pasture is a little less marshy.  I'm leaning toward 5 strand barbed wire with one or two hot wires on the inside as Polar Bear said.  About half of the pasture is already fenced with 5 strand barbed wire so at least this way it would be consistent.  Here is a picture of the existing fence.


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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2017, 11:26:46 AM »
DO NOT electrify barbed wire!  Critters can get tangled up in it, panic due to the shock and die.  Very dangerous.  If you go barbed wire go with a minimum or 5 strands and 12.5 gauge if you can get it or no less than 14.  I have 5 strand 12.5 4 point barbed with stays between each post.  I also run a heavy gauge hot wire 12" off the ground and another 2' up from that.

I have field fence because it was there when we bought the property.  It's not enough for cows.  They lean on it, push it to reach brush and grass on the other side, and, if you have the wrong cow, simply ignore it and go through it.  I electrified some wire about a foot off the ground and strand of barbed wire on the top.

I had one steer that ignored the hot wire I use for cross fencing.  I replaced it with a strand of electrified barbed wire and that solved it.  I know a lot of people electrify barbed wire, but suppose I could see Polar Bear's point.  It sure is effective though.

Offline andersonjk4

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2017, 03:03:47 PM »
I think I have decided on going with field fence 39" or 42" high, with 2 strands of barbed wire on top of that.  And probably a hot wire or two as well just because the previous owners left all of the equipment to do that.  After talking long term livestock goals with my wife we decided that most likely goats, pasture pigs, and other farm smaller farm critters are very likely, so going with the field fence to cover all bases seemed like the smart thing to do. 

So now to decide if I want to go with metal posts or wood posts.  Do you have to have an mechanical post driver to drive the smaller pointed wooden line posts or will a regular driver/hammer work in soft ground? 

Also, has anyone seen anyone carrying red T-posts?  If I go with t-posts, I would like to go with red to match what is already on the property but I haven't seen any anywhere.


Offline PolarBear

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2017, 09:41:20 PM »
Red t-posts are light duty. There were some in my fence line ehen I bought my land, they were the first to come out and be replaced with heavy green. 
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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2017, 07:53:50 AM »
The red posts we have installed right now are the heavy duty 1.33 #/ft posts.  I know there are some manufacturers making heavy duty posts in red, but can't find them locally.

http://www.grip-rite.com/us/en/products/wire-fence-and-accessories/post-and-accessories/studded-t-posts


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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2017, 08:20:51 AM »
DO NOT electrify barbed wire!  Critters can get tangled up in it, panic due to the shock and die.  Very dangerous.  If you go barbed wire go with a minimum or 5 strands and 12.5 gauge if you can get it or no less than 14.  I have 5 strand 12.5 4 point barbed with stays between each post.  I also run a heavy gauge hot wire 12" off the ground and another 2' up from that. 
:yeah:  We don't take any chances with bovines. They're big strong dummies. I can't stand to see them get out because they can cause a lot of damage to a nice yard or god help you if someone hits one with a vehicle. Do what PolarBear suggests and build a 5 strand barb wire with hot wire on the inside for good insurance. It doesn't get any better than that.
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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2017, 08:43:31 AM »
The red posts we have installed right now are the heavy duty 1.33 #/ft posts.  I know there are some manufacturers making heavy duty posts in red, but can't find them locally.

http://www.grip-rite.com/us/en/products/wire-fence-and-accessories/post-and-accessories/studded-t-posts
If all you can find are green then just paint them. My "Martha Stewart" wannabe Aunt insisted on all black t posts. They didn't come that way so I had to paint over a miles worth of t and wooden posts.
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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2017, 10:10:29 AM »
Having built and maintained miles and miles of barbed wire fences to keep cattle inside them,  Four strand with one electrified works pretty well.   Fence line was four steel T-post between treated wooden post.    You can insulate both the steel and wooden for making one strand electric.    I made the second strand from the bottom "Live" cattle tend to try and stick their heads through that one the most.   Most cows and calves once they've been "hit" a time or two learn.  Only the stubborn ones don't!  YOU send them to the slaughter house ASAP!

"Moose" will go through(don't jump) any kind of fence no matter how well it is built!!  So will two bull elk rutting!(their minds are on other things)  Been there done that!!

If you can find it, don't know if its still made, "Red Barbed" wire is the best,  cuts like a razor blade!

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2017, 01:41:22 PM »
I've tried a bit of everything, to include electrified barbed wire.  I didn't see it mentioned, but due to the resistive qualities of barbed wire, it REALLY takes the punch out of the shock and significantly reduces the length you can run compared to regular hot wire... 

Best fence I've ever run is "New Zealand" or "High Tension."  It's very comparable to what some folks on here were mentioning, but I run 5 strands, electrify 3, and I only need a post in the ground every 30'.  It looks WAY better than anything else.  My only escapees are when the young fainting goats faint from a shock they tend to fall through the strands. 

Offline PolarBear

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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2017, 07:58:17 PM »
My cross fencing  used to be the New Zeland stuff. The problem is that after a really dry summer, since it is in such high tension can pull your posts and sag. Another negative is that if your power goes out a critter can smell it and, especially cows will walk right though it. They won't with 4 barb barbed wire. I have been replacing all of my NZ wire with 12.5 gauge barbed. Unless you plan on cementing in wooden posts you will be re tightening a couple times per year.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 08:32:18 AM by PolarBear »
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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2017, 07:40:08 AM »
It doesn't take long for a cow to know the hot wire isn't working  >:(
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Re: Pasture Fence Preference - Barbed Wire or Electric?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2017, 08:36:48 AM »
 :yeah:
The bulls will actually cautiously smell the wire and if it isn't hot will try to push through.  Not sure if they can actually smell it or are just testing it with the fine hairs around their nose.  My cows and calves know better but bulls and steers seem to want to push their boundaries.  If anyone still wants to try NZ type fencing I have 3/4 of a spool that I would make you a deal on and will be taking a bunch more to the dump.  The only thing I use it for is around my garden to keep deer out and will probably be trashing that as well..
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