Fencing for the Homestead

Reader Contribution by Cheryl In Texas
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I’ve written about fencing before … when we were first getting started on our homestead. We’ve done a lot of fencing projects around here since we bought this property. And depending on the application, there are a ton of options available. We had relatively good barbed-wire fences around the perimeter, except for when trees fall on the fence. Why is it that a tree that falls never falls harmlessly in the other direction, but always on the fence? Must be Murphy’s Law.

Soon after moving in, we wanted to start building a backyard. We needed to be able to let our “city dogs” outside to do their “business” unattended, without having them run wild on our 10 acres … or everyone else’s acres for that matter.

We found ourselves staring at every fence we passed by. We came up with a vision of what we wanted it to look like, and designed and constructed it ourselves. That first phase of the backyard was really hard work. We were in a drought, so the ground was really dry and hard. And the backyard happened to be over nice hard clay. Ugh. It was S.L.O.W. going, digging those post holes. And let me tell you, we dug every one of them by hand (we being my husband). We buried 8-foot treated 4×4 posts 2 feet deep and concreted them in. Then we added three “rails,” which were 8-foot treated 2x4s, and stained the posts and rails with a semi-transparent cedar-colored stain. Finally we wrapped the outside with 5-foot tall welded wire fencing. We used a pneumatic stapler to attach the wire to the posts and rails.

Using this style of fence, we built our backyard, chicken yard and front yard. We also just finished fencing off the driveway and the chicken yard to the front fence to create a “cow-free” zone and our future orchard.

Above top, our backyard before we added gates and, above, our front yard is completely enclosed. We’ve planted jessamines to create some screening for privacy and blooms for the bees.

We have several different types of gates. We have pedestrian gates that are approximately 4 feet wide that we built ourselves to match the fence. We also have several farm (tube) gates so we can get equipment, tractors, trucks or trailers in the yards and near the house if necessary.

We have done plenty of fence work around the perimeter too. We started by shoring up weak areas in the barbed wire before we got cows. We have since decided that cattle field fence was going to be our best bet with Longhorns, so we’ve been adding that right over the barbed wire fence. Cattle fencing (at left) has smaller openings close to the ground that gradually get a little larger towards the top, so the hooves and legs can’t get stuck through the fence. That cattle fence has eliminated a lot of problems with badly behaving young bulls on both sides of the fence!

What kind of fencing works best on your homestead?

You can also follow our homesteading adventures at our website, Pasture Deficit Disorder, or on Facebook.

Until next time, worms rock, bees rule and chickens are my Zen.

Pasture Deficit Disorder – Because Life in a Pasture is the Only Cure

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