Keeping Your Cattle Safe
There are many sizes, styles, and types of fencing today for businesses, homes, farms, and ranches. And within each of those categories, there are more choices to be found that can range from decorative to purpose fulfilling, like on a ranch with cattle. There are varieties of ways to build cattle fences and gates and they can be basic designs or extreme and unique, depending on the rancher and his or her needs and preferences.
In this piece, we are going to talk about different cattle fence ideas and who sells cattle fences as we answer some basic questions about this necessary function of cattle fences for cattle ranches.
How many cows can you have per acre?
A factor that is important for setting up cattle fence when it comes to the population of wildlife is the management operations of livestock, aka, cattle. This is especially true in Crowley and Fort Worth, TX and the surrounding areas like this, and fortunately, it is easy to integrate the management of cattle and wildlife.
It is recommended that livestock be stocked in a grazing plan that is comprehensive with a rate determined from vegetative sampling. As a rule, to have pastures that are well-managed, the rate for light to moderate stocking is determined by “animal unit” which is defined by one or more head and is calculated by dividing the total body mass in pounds by 1000. For example, an 800-pound steer is equal to 0.8 animal units.
Following that formula, one animal unit of cattle should have eight to fifteen acres of native grass, 3 to 6 acres with Bahia / Bermuda grass, or if on wooded land, 50 to 75 acres per animal unit. These stocking rates can vary based on range and soil conditions so that the livestock production is enhanced to maintain suitable wildlife habitat.
How tall should a fence be for cattle?
Depending on the lay of the land where the cattle are kept, a cattle fence may be built connected to a barn made of metal or wood with metal roofing by using cattle fence boards. While making sure the metal roofing on the barn is in good condition, it is even more important to ensure your cattle and livestock are secure within the barn and in the fenced area as well.
The types of traditional livestock fence may be constructed with are:
- Barbed Wire
- Electrified Wire
- Woven Wire
- Combination of the above
With each of these, posts are used to stretch the types of fences listed above along the perimeter to be fenced. The posts may be fiberglass, metal, or wood. For all intents and purposes, this article will be based on using a barbed wire cattle fence.
General recommendations and standards for cattle fence height are 48 inches. This is high enough to prevent the cattle from climbing up and over the fence, with the most common type of fencing used being the woven wire fence. Barbed wire is stretched along the top to deter the cattle from rubbing their weight against the woven wire and pushing it down.
How deep should I put my fence posts?
Before digging post holes, assess and reassess the layout you have in mind so that you place your poles where they are needed and wanted. Taking the time to do this will allow you to properly plan the project, saving you time as well as frustration and headaches. Fence posts are the crucial backbone to any good cattle fence. Digging the post holes for any fence, especially a cattle fence, is hard work and will pay off in the long-term by its performance of retaining your herd(s).
Because these posts are the backbone, they should be buried deep enough to create a strong and sturdy foundation. There are several factors to be considered when determining how deep the holes should be for the posts. Fence height, frost line, and local building codes are three of the most important factors. To establish the proper hole depth for your cattle fence posts, the following pointers are offered:
- The height – A minimum of one-third of the pole should be below the ground. An example would be for a six-foot fence, two feet of the pole should be buried.
- The frost line – The bottom of the buried post should be lower than the frost line. You can find out where the frost line is by consulting the local codes. The frost line is different between each region.
- Building codes – There may be specific requirements determined by local building codes based on the frost line or soil type as well as other variables.
Dig your fence post holes an additional 6 inches more than the 1/3 mentioned above to allow for gravel that will be placed in the hole for drainage. Always check with local utilities for underground cables and lines before digging.
How far apart should fence posts be for cattle?
A solid, strong fence line is started by building the corners of the fence line from wooden posts and bracing those corners. Using T-posts for stringing the fence line, begin by laying a straight guideline between each post and space the post 8 to 12 feet apart for a 5 to 6 strand barbed wire.
Use an anchor plate in the bottom that is perpendicular with the fence line, and the studs situated based on whether your focus is keeping cattle in or predators out. If the cattle may place more pressure and weight on the inside of the fenced area, place the studs facing inward.
Once you have buried the post the recommended 1/3, allowing the 2 additional inches for gravel, secure the studs so that the fencing won’t move up and down and the cattle, or predators, can pull the cattle fence off the posts.
How do you stretch a cattle fence?
Barbed wire fence is set up by stringing individual rows of the barbed wire from fence post to fence post. Each strand must be tightly stretched to secure the fence post so there is no failure or hazard possible. A cattle fence is built as follows:
- Build a corner brace or drive a corner fence post in a hole that measures 20 inches across by 3-1/2 feet and dig 2 holes for the bracing posts eight feet away. Pour concrete in the holes around the posts for reinforcement and then connect the posts with horizontal beams placed at the tops of all bracing posts across to the corner posts. A wire should be running from the top of the bracing posts to the bottom of the corner posts for extra support then pulled tight and secured. Using additional barbed wire, connect the beams to this wire.
- Install the line posts at 15 to 20 feet apart in the planned direction, using a chalk line or cord for a straight line and follow that line. Every 650 feet, create an additional brace assembly, staying straight with the line, and continue to the corner, building corners as defined above as needed.
- The first strand of the barbed wire should be attached with a galvanized steel staple or wire clip and positioned toward the corner post top. The barbed wire should be facing inward to keep the cattle inside the fence.
- Pull the barbed wire to meet the bracing post using a come-along tool, pulling it tight, then attach with a specialized wire clamp for barbed wire fencing. This is then wrapped and is held in place as the come-along tool is attached to either a chain or a hook then pulled tight. When the barbed wire has become fully taut to the bracing post, it should be secured using a staple or wire clip.
- Next, the barbed wire strand is running to brace or corner assembly and attached to the come-along tool again so the wire can be pulled taut then secured to the starting bracing post. Continue stretching the wire and connecting to middle posts.
- Starting with the line post you started with, stretch the barbed wire, securing to each post, and continue on, bracing each assembly as you stretch the barbed wire and attach each wire to each line, keep each one taut so there is no sagging.
- Repeat these steps until each barbed wire strand is hung the length of cattle fence, working for the top and going down until you have hung all strands needed.
Need quality cattle fence installation in Crowley and Fort Worth, TX? Call Ware Fencing today at 817-948-4503!