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Sheep Fencing: Save Livestock & Money

Top quality sheep fencing is a must-have on any sheep farm. Since it's the largest expenditure made, doing it well is paramount, as any sheep farmer will attest. You can modify existing fencing or install secure new fences without breaking the bank. Look to a good supplier, plan your system out, and you're sure to save money and animals over time. There are several options to use, and fencing for sheep usually has several elements to it.

Perimeter Sheep Fencing

Perimeter sheep fencing, erected around property borders or grazing areas, is the most vital part of any sheep fencing system. Threatening animals (usually red foxes) must be stopped from entering and taking costly livestock. Therefore, the fencing has to be sturdy and permanent. Typical perimeter fences are constructed of high-tensile wire, with additional fencing components like wove wire.

Tensile Wire

Tensile wire sheep fencing has more cross-strands (usually 5-7) than such fencing for larger stock like cattle. This is primarily to keep out predators, and secondarily to keep the sheep contained. Since most predators are ground hunters, and baby sheep are very short, wire spacing is closer at the bottom than at the top.

Barbed Wire

Barbed (or barb) wire, with its evenly spaced, sharp metal barbs, is sometimes used along the top to prevent climbing predators from gaining the fencing. But, it cannot be used at the sheep's level, or it can catch on fleece. Sheep entangled in barbed wire can sustain serious injuries or even die. Using barbed wire may be prohibited in some areas.

Using top quality high tensile wire is key. Galvanised high tensile wire will resist the weather corrosion that sheep fencing faces. Wires are strung tightly between strainer posts, around which the wire is wrapped and then tensioned, using a tensioning tool. Wiring can be eye-bolted into pre-drilled holes or stapled onto intermediate posts.

Video from Draper

Steps

  • Wooden fence posts are most commonly used, often back-rammed securely into firm ground. Corner or end posts invariably take more pressure from tensioned wires, so you'll need to dig holes and cement in the fence posts. To ensure durable, corrosion-resistant sheep fencing is placed, purchase top quality timber from a known dealer like AVS. Peeled and Treated Half Round Stakes and Half Round Rails, combined with Galvanised Plain staples is an ideal combination.
  • Next, attach 50m rolls of durable sheep fencing (without sharp edges to catch fleece or damage animals). This fencing can also be extended underground to a degree to keep out digging predators. Mesh wire is sometimes used in more closely watched barn yards.
  • Adding electric fencing is recommended to deter predators, and it works to discourage sheep from escape attempts. For this component of your sheep fencing, you'll need energiser(s), insulators, grounding wires and stakes. Monitor constantly, to keep loose foliage from grounding out your system.
  • Interior or cross fences used to subdivide fields for grazing, can be erected with electrified Polywire or polytape.
  • AVS have all these products, as well as many options to modify board fences or other barriers into effective sheep fencing, or to use as temporary corrals.

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