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Livestock Fencing
Helping You Make Better Decisions

There isn't one type of livestock fencing that will suit every purpose. Rather it is the purpose that will determine the type of fencing used. One farm may use different fencing for different areas.

No matter what livestock species you are starting with, if you are trying to muddle your way through making decisions about fencing or fencing supplies, first determine what the real purpose of the fence is. Then source the types of fencing to suit that purpose (see below).

If you're looking for a recommendation straight away, invest in good livestock fencing material right off the bat. My choice for perimeter fencing is fixed knot woven wire fence. There's more on that on the sheep fencing page.

You can find information about the various types of fencing at livestock fencing options.

If you need specific information regarding fencing for sheep jump directly to our page on sheep fencing.

And before you pound the first post or string out a mile of electric netting check out these other considerations when fencing.

Perimeter Fencing

Serves the purpose of keeping your animals within the perimeter of your property and keeping other animals out.

Typically the first fence to go up on any ranch and is of significant cost since there is more fencing materials involved and greater distances.

Perimeter fences are typically permanent and better served if built to last. You only want to perimeter fence once.

Perimeter fence is like a land improvement investment considering that if you leave the land you don't take it with you. Although it could be argued as to whether or not any livestock fencing is an improvement to the land.

Cross Fencing

If animals get out of the cross fencing it's a pain in your --- but likely not a pain in anyone else's.

Cross fencing serves to divide a paddock into smaller sizes or serves to fence out a natural area within the perimeter, such as a water body or a grove of trees. It can vary from temporary posts and a couple wires or netting or a more permanent posts and wire set up.

Cross fencing can be portable or made permanent. Many people will start out with temporary wires until they sort out the best layout for the fence line. Once they determine the best layout they will make the cross fence a more permanent fixture on the land.

Cross fence is usually done secondary to the perimeter.

The materials used are less as one can get away with using less posts and fewer wires, however, the distance may be more depending on how much sub-dividing one does. So it may not cost less to cross fence than it did to perimeter fence.

Bear in mind how livestock will flow as they move through the paddocks you have crossed fenced, particularly if your plans include intensive rotational grazing.

Handling and Corral Fencing

These are fenced areas where animals will be handled, loaded, unloaded etc. In ranch operations where animals are predominantly on pasture these areas may only be used a couple days in a year, however, when they are used these areas will see high traffic and high pressure. For this reason they are often made very secure and safe.

Often the material is more costly but fortunately these areas do not have to be expansive. The exception to this is feedlots and intensive farming (factory farming) operations. In these operations the animals will live in these areas. The cost then becomes substantial and the owners must run a high volume in order to recover their costs.

Portable Livestock Fencing

As the name implies this type of fencing is designed to be moved. Among cattle producers it is common to use a single strand or two strands of wire on wood posts, T-posts or lengths of rebar that may or may not be removed later.

While two wires can hold sheep, a type of fencing collectively referred to as Electranet is more often utilized on sheep operations.

Portable fencing can be moved to suit. You can adjust according to animal numbers and use it for limiting winter feed areas or fencing out areas you do not want the animals to access.