Fencing on a farm is an essential part of the farm security – either to keep stock in a certain area, or to keep them out of another area. So how do you build a wood farm fence? How to build a pasture fence? Is it cheaper to build a fence yourself? Read on to learn more in this guide (+ video below).
What You'll Learn Today
How Do You Build A Wood Farm Fence?
The very first thing you need to do is to establish what type of stock you are looking to keep in – or out – of your wood farm fence.
Most fencing is suitable for most animals, but it is important to be aware of their differences. A wooden fence won’t keep chickens from roaming, for example.
Your fence needs to be tall enough that your animals can’t jump over it, and have narrow enough gaps that they can’t squeeze through (goats, we’re looking at you)!
Cattle are probably the easiest creatures to keep inside a wooden fence, as they will neither bulldoze it down nor try to dig under it.
Building a wood farm fence is simple – all you need are upright posts, horizontal posts, and possibly a bit of wire to keep it extra safe.
How To Build A Pasture Fence?
A pasture fence is different to a corral; in a pasture the animals will be living within it for some time, so it needs to be bigger.
A pasture fence will not need to be as strong as a corral fence, as the animals should be grazing peacefully rather than trying to escape.
You will need to spend a bit of time working out the size you need your fencing to be, and where it is going to go.
You will also need to contact your local planning authority, just to check that your fence is legal.
- Start by digging holes in the four corners, where you will need your strongest posts to be, so that the fence is stable and sturdy.
- Insert the corner posts into the holes and tamp them down hard with a post knocker (you may wish to consider using concrete to set them in).
- If using wire, use fence tacks to secure the first part of the wire to the corner post.
- Place your next posts at regular intervals in between the corner posts, post knocking them into the ground so they are sturdy and secure.
- Unroll the wire along the length of the fence, tacking it securely to each post as you go.
- If you are using wood instead of wire, hammer the horizontal boards into the vertical posts.
- You will need at least 2 levels of horizontal boards, and if you are housing small stock then you might consider adding a third level.
- The wire will need to be tensioned to prevent it sagging and allowing stock to escape.
How Do You Build A 4 Board Fence?
Building a 4 board fence follows the same basic principles as building a 3 board fence, just with a little extra materials to create the extra layer of boards.
- First, work out the dimensions of your fence, factoring in how much space you have have and what type of stock you are trying to keep in.
- Dig the holes for your supporting posts – these should be sunk at least 3 feet deep.
- If your posts are sunk deep enough and your ground is solid, you shouldn’t need concrete, but if the ground is hard then you may wish to try some extra sealing.
- Measure a line 1 inch from the top of the supporting posts – this is where the first rail will go.
- Rails are long, so you can use them to span 3 of the vertical posts – but you might wish to stagger them to add stability to your fence.
- You should align the boards to intersect the verticals; simply cut them an inch or two smaller than the length between a vertical post and nail them together.
- It is best to stagger your horizontal posts so that they don’t all finish on the same vertical – this will increase the strength of your fence.
- Place the horizontal posts inside the vertical ones, for extra strength.
- Use a nail gun, or long screws, to secure your horizontal posts, making sure these are galvanised.
- Place the screws or nails at least an inch above the bottom and top of the boards, to prevent splitting.
This rough n’ ready video will give you a few pointers for how to build a 4 board fence:
3 Board vs 4 Board Fence
3 Board Fence
This is a great fencing solution for large animals – cows and horses – and it is also effective for sheep, who don’t often try to escape.
A 3 board fence is cheaper to build, as you won’t need as many materials.
If you have installed 3 board but then discover that the gap between the ground and the lower board, you can always add a line of electric wire to discourage escapees.
4 Board Fence
A 4 board fence is ideal for those smaller animals, and the ones who have Houdini tendencies – small, cheeky horses, goats, and young stock.
Building a 4 board fence will cost you a little extra, but it is a very sturdy fencing solution.
4 board fencing will keep your stock safer too, as it will prevent outside predators from being able to access your paddocks.
Ultimately, it is up to you which type of fencing you install, but bear in mind that a 4 board is generally safer for your stock.
It is hard to add to a 3 board fence once it is installed, so try to weigh up what sort of stock you will be keeping.
If, at any point, you might end up with smaller animals or escape artists, it is best to start with a 4 board right from the get go.
How Far Apart Should Timber Fence Posts Be?
Your fence posts will be spaced differently depending on what sort of material you use for the connecting fence.
If you are using wire then the distance will also depend on the type of wire:
- Standard mild steel should be placed between posts no more than 11ft apart.
- High tensile wire can happily sit between posts that are up to 20ft apart.
- For a standard fence, the posts are usually 13ft apart.
If you are using wood then you will probably base the distance between your supporting posts on the length of the horizontal boards.
However, you won’t want them too far apart, as this can compromise the stability of your fence.
Between 6 and 8ft apart is standard for the distance between vertical posts for a wooden fence.
Is It Cheaper To Build A Fence Yourself?
Building a fence yourself is definitely cheaper than paying someone else to do it. Not having to pay for labour will save you thousands!
If you are building your own fence, the only things you will need to pay for are:
- Planning costs
And that’s it!
Another advantage to building your own fence is that it is a really useful skill to learn, and you will have a wonderful sense of satisfaction when you’re all done!
It is wise to spend the money on decent, quality materials, because you will be saving so much on labour, and the more quality your materials are the longer your fence should last.
Yes, it will be a bit of effort to build your own fence, but it is well worth it in the long run.