Saturday, April 05, 2008

Perimeter Fencing

For our pastures and garden, we have woven wire fencing, with wooden corner assemblies and T-posts in between. Actually, I still have one last length of fencing to put up before the main pasture is completely fenced. Woven wire won't work for the rest of our perimeter fencing, though. The pond pasture is low enough that you hit water about two feet down. The rest of the perimeter is in the forest, where the ground is very rocky and it's impossible to go in a straight line because there are trees in the way. Also, if a tree or branch falls on a section of woven wire, that can mean that the whole section needs to be re-stretched.

My next thought was to use livestock panels. They have the extreme disadvantage of being very expensive, but they have numerous advantages. They can be bent around trees, they only need T-posts to hold them up, they can be used as gates, damaged sections can be replaced without affecting the rest of the fence, and they can be taken up and moved to another property if necessary. Granted, that last one requires renting or hiring a truck that's capable of hauling 16-foot long fence sections, but it is doable.

However, livestock panels are far beyond our fencing budget, so I've had to think further. The next possibilty I thought of was heavy duty electric netting, which is meant to stay in one place for months or years. This would be less than half the cost of the panels, with most of the advantages. An extra advantage is that these fences can be hauled in a normal pickup truck, so there would be no need to use specialized hauling. The only disadvantage is that if the power fails, the fence fails. However, that's already an issue with the movable fences we already use.

Thinking further, there's also the option of using T-posts and multiple strands of electric wire (actually, I would use Intelli-Twine). My initial calculations show that this option would be approximately an eighth of the cost of the netting. The disadvantages are that it is no longer movable (less of an issue with such a low cost), and it is more complicated to design and more work to implement.

After looking at all the options, I think that I will use the last option for most of the remaining perimeter. However, the sections near the creek are prone to flooding, so I think that in those areas I want to use the netting. That way I can remove them each winter and whenever flooding is an issue. Also, in the coming years I plan to rent additional pasture, so I'll want at least some reasonably portable fencing. I'll probably also use the netting for any internal fencing, since I'll want to be able to change the size of paddocks to fit the grazing requirements.


Tracy said...

Doesn't that last option also have the original issue of being harder to repair of damage occurs? I mean like if tree limbs fall and wipe out a section?
But I definately understand having to consider cost. We want to do panels for most of ours, but even finding a way to transport them home is an issue.

In reply to what you posted on mine, yes we got them from the local feed store's mass order -- which is why the hatchery would allow a minimum order of 5. However, ducks don't survive the shipping as well as chicks, they say.

Mel said...

Yes, it would be slightly more difficult to repair than the netting, but far easier than woven wire. For one thing, the electric strands won't be under tension. Also, Intelli-Twine splices together very easily, so any breaks could just be tied back together. So it's more likely to be damaged from falling limbs, but easier to repair.

I'm trying to remember the details from the last time I ordered ducks. I know I had really high early mortality with the Muscovies (which are actually a different species from all the other duck breeds). I believe 16 were shipped, 4 were dead on arrival, and I lost another because I accidently put a bowl over it (didn't see him there and discovered him several hours later, when he had already gotten too cold). However, the Pekins had no losses, out of I think 6 shipped.