Friday, August 20, 2010


So I want to safely confine my horse, her full size goat, and one day a couple of Nigerian mini goats. The back area is currently fenced with sagging death trap 4" square field wire. After weeks of hard thought, here's what I think I will do.

I'm going to run 4 strands of hot wire or polyrope offset a couple inches inside the current fence. Then as I get the money, I'll replace the field fence with 2x4 woven fence or even that horse safe v-mesh fence.

I am going to keep the existing fenceline where it is on three sides and make the area smaller on the east side. The well pump is inside the fence in the northeast corner, and I need to fence the livestock away from the well, so I'll lose a narrow strip along the east side.

I don't know how hard it is to pull t-posts from this ground, so I might need new ones or I might be able to reuse the old ones. If I have the money, and I think I will, I'll put up horse fence on the east side when I move it. 100' of horse wire is about $200, and the area is just over 100' on each side... based on sat maps.

(How do you even measure something that big? Should I get one of those surveyor's measuring tapes or can I cheat with string somehow?)

Before I do that, I'll get somebody with heavy equipment to scrape the deep sand to shallow sand in a strip along the fenceline. The interior will be deep sand and sagebrush, and the Two Stooges can hang out in it if they want, or they can hang out on arena-deep sand along the fence.

I think I'm going to use a pipe and wire mesh gate, not hot. I want 4', but I've had friends tell me to use 6' in case I need the extra width for equipment one day. Still not totally decided on that.

There are two run in sheds. The smaller is in bad shape, and I think I'll fence it out and use it for my manure pile. The larger doesn't need as much repairing and it'll be their shelter.

Any sage advice on this plan?

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  1. We used a measuring wheel/surveyor's wheel I bought at Home Depot for about $30. It did a good job - got us within 2' of the actual measurement on our 40 acres. We also used it to site in the dressage arena, so it was a good investment for us. I looked just now and couldn't find it on line. Ours has 1 large wheel, and the distance displays in the handle. I'm sure you've thought of the other stuff - t post caps are a must (suicide by impaling), and make sure the shed is flush with the ground. I once started and loved a young horse, gave him back to the owners, only to have him get a leg trapped under their shed. Terrible.

  2. T posts won't work long term - they're fine for hot wire but probably not for small mesh or V mesh - those will be too heavy for the normal T posts. Reinforcing corner posts on your final fence with concrete will help stability. I don't know much about fencing for goats, but my understanding is that they're hard to confine and can be escape artists, leaning on and pushing through fencing. Terry's advice is good too.

  3. Do you guys have a 50 or 100 foot extension cord? Or hoses? It's not exact (because of stretching) but it should get you close.
    I have poly rope above wire fencing (slowly replacing the field fence in the pastures with the 2X4 horse safe stuff--paddocks all done right in the first place). Electric gives you the option of living with a configuration for a while to decide if it's what you really want. Same with panels, which also do double duty around here for confinement, round pen, temporary fence, etc. Panels might be better for your pump and older shed, as you wouldn't have to lose the whole edge of the property.
    T-posts can be re-bent, using the stake holes of a stake-bed truck, or similar structure (I use a n open square steel member on my bucket loader) if they're not in too bad shape.
    Get a six foot gate for sure--not as much worry about hips catching, easier in general to carry stuff through. You probably also want at least one 12 or 16 foot gate for hay delivery, equipment, etc. (A panel can work here!).
    Isn't planning fun?!? The work itself, not so much. ;-)

  4. Just hit publish, and now see Kate's comment. You'll need good heavy 6"X6" H-brace posts at all corners and gates (local conservation district should have diagrams, or online) with cement as Kate said. I have been okay with one 6X6 every 90-100 feet of fence, with T-posts (capped) in between. My paddocks all had 4X4 wood posts between the braces, with a 2X6 top rail, but I'm upgrading to 6X6's, as the horses tend to lean on the fence in the more confined space.

  5. Terry - yeah, a surveyor's wheel! I should try to borrow one first. I just don't know how long it'll take me to really get the use out of it if I buy one new.

    Kate, great to know that t posts won't hold up v-mesh. I will take that into consideration. I dunno about the future Nigerians, but my current goat isn't very adventurous. He doesn't plot to escape, whew. I hope the hot fence will keep him from getting any ideas.

    ES - ugh! Nobody likes my 4' gate idea. I hate y'all. Mainly cause you're all right and 4' is too narrow. :(

    The hay will be in the big garage/barn, outside the horse paddock. I don't think the front garage-style barn doors will ever be behind a fence, so no worry about hay delivery. An I can carry flakes out the people-sized back garage door and maybe 50' over to the horse.

  6. Yeah. What everybody else said.


    That'll teach me to sleep in late!

    Surveyer's wheel. Reinforce your corners. Install the biggest gates you can afford. CAP ALL THE T-posts!


  7. I'll use the cap/wire holder things on the tops of the tposts, to cap them AND hold a hot wire at the same time.

    Why H braces instead of those Z-shaped braces? I thought H's were for gate posts and Z's were for corners.

    Maybe I'll get the heavy equipment dude to replace my corner posts when he scrapes the sand.

    I put up a picture of the lot in a new post.

  8. t-posts should come out with a jack. where I grew up it the ground was clay and was hard as cement. It was my job as a 12 year old to pull them and then put them somewhere else until the parents decided they wanted them put yet another place....

  9. Make sure you use krazy glue to sick the cap insulators on. Dumb critters will pop them right off the T-posts the first time they hit that hot top wire. Then you've got a crazed beast and a weapon.

    I'll second the motion for both a wider general use gate plus a 16' equipment gate. Even if you can't imagine using it now, you will be happy you installed in when the unexpected happens (and it surely will). Sounds like a great set-up.

  10. I guess I say H-braces because of my need for everything to be horizontal. You're right, the diagonal braces would work in the corners. H's DO brace both directions--for the fence on one side and the gate on the other (or on a multi-100 foot run with a low or high section needing additional bracing--but it doesn't look like you have that issue). Either way, you need to set two good posts and have the cross piece, either diagonally or across.
    A six foot gate isn't going to be that much more than a 4 footer. Preifert wired-filled (for the goats) D gates: 4'= $103, 6'= $116 (economy wired filled: $80 and $97).


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