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Fencing Your Land

Fencing your land is important to keep out unwanted animals. There are different fences, each designed to keep out one or more critters. There is chicken wire for keeping in chickens, there is barbed wire for keeping ir or out cows.

Fencing In, or Fencing Out, or Both

You need to install your fence according to whether you are fencing an animal in or out. If you are more concerned with keeping cows out of your property, then the T-posts must face out, away from your property. This way, when the cows push against it, it pushs the wire into the T-post instead of away from the t-post, which may break the clips.

A "Legal Fence", Fencing and Law Definitions

Fences for cows have standards. For example, a four-wire "legal fence" will have posts no more than 30 feet apart, with stays every 8 feet or less and the strands of barbed wire at intervals of 18, 28, 38 and 50 inches high. The lower strand at 18 inches keeps the cow from sneaking under the strand above it. Most cows are over 18 inches in body thickness. The second strand at 28 inches (2 feet 4 inches) keeps the cow from going through and also from ducking under the wire above it. The third strand at 38 inches (3 feet, 2 inches) blocks the body of the cow, and the upper or fourth strand at 50 inches (4 feet 2 inches) deters the cow from jumping over the the strand below it. A "legal fence" may not keep out cows, but if they do get in your property, and you have a legal fence, then you may be entitled to sue for damages that are caused by the cow(s).

Legal fences must have sturdy t-posts. And the wire must be tight so that when a cow rubs against it, the barbs scratch it to make it quit. Cows will test fences, and if you don't want it pushed over, then make the wires tight. Tight wires pull on the end posts, so make sure they are stiff and braced. Tight wires also will straighten out a fence, bending t posts forward or backwards to where the line is. Putting all your fence posts in a "perfect" line (plus or minus 1-2 inches) will keep your fence upright.

Besides your sturdy corner posts, you may want to install intermiediate angle iron supports every 100-150 feet to keep cows from bending the t-posts too far.

In hot weather, the wire will expand. It may expand a few inches over a 1/4 mile of length. In cold weather, the wire will shrink. So if you stretch it too tight on a hot day, it may snap or pull up low posts when it's cold in winter. Keep the expansion and contraction of barbed wire in mind as you stretch your fence. Also, if it's not tight enough if you install it in winter, it may be saggy in the summer.

Where to Start Fencing

Before you fence, you need to know the property boundaries. If you don't know them, you may need a surveyor. Surveys may range from $750 to $2000. With today's high-tech equipment, it doesn't take near as long to survey a property as it used to. If you find a surveyor who has done work for your neighbors, then it will likely cost much less because this surveyor will have already done research on nearby landmarks, monuments and be familiar with how the land is divided. The surveyor's work is legal evidence in a court of law and can prevent you from putting your fence on a neighbor's property or too far into your own.

Which Side to Start On?

If you have an open-range law in your area, you may want to put in a gate by your driveway and then fence the road side first. This will also help to keep out tresspassers in addition to cows. If you have kids, fencing the roadside may be your first priority.

If you have a gulley, canyon or river, you may want to fence this side first.

Counting the Cost of Fencing

Hiring the fencing work on your property can be expensive. Some estimates are $15,000 to fence an easy 40 acres. If you don't need the entire property fenced, or don't have the money to fence all of your property, you may want to start with a gate, some roadside fence, and then fence off a few acres in which to keep protected from cows. The ranches who put their cows in the area will love this. Then they can graze the property you pay taxes on.

You will need:

Counting the Cost of Not Fencing - Hospital Bills and Death

Ranchers put cows and bulls on the land. If it's open range law, then they can often graze on your land. If you have young kids or older people, or even middle-aged, then consider the cost of a hospital bill or death if you or someone you love is mauled by a bull. Bulls on your property? That's right. And ranchers may not really care. If you are mauled or killed by a bull, you may have no legal grounds to sue. And that bull who won't leave, and is helping itself to your garden? You may talk to the rancher and he will show you pictures of kids riding on it's back when it's young. But then when you ask him to move it, they come it with 3 ranch hands on horses. "If it's so friendly and harmless," you ask, "then why don't they just lead it by a tether?" "Oh, that picture was old.", says the rancher. Then you realize he was misleading you when he says it was a friendly bull and showed you pictures taken years ago when it didn't have horns to maul you to death.


The information on this website is for informational purposes only. Use at your own risk. I am not responsible.