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So we just moved to this place and all the boundary fencing is this nearly useless five wire HT. The sheep aren't really motivated to run around ATM because there's plenty of grass now that the Bermuda is growing (I discovered I had a problem between the clover sprout and the Bermuda greening up!).


In eight years of raising sheep I've gone back and forth on fencing - first we used the field fence and I hated it because it was so hard to keep tight. Then we were talked into HT seven wire and it worked wonderfully for several years then we had one little problem and the sheep learned to go through it, and besides we've gone from hair to wool sheep. Now I may as well try fencing them in with toilet paper as anything electric.


We've got 40 acres here which we will eventually cut down to seven, two- to five-acre permanent pastures. I THINK we can get away with doing this cross-fencing in smooth wire HT.


Some of the boundaries are defined naturally in ways the sheep will be unmotivated to challenge - heavy woods, water, etc. I think we can do HT wire there too.


We've been looking at HT woven wire for the remainder of the boundaries, where there will be a ton of pressure from within and it's highly dangerous for them to get through - the road, the neighbor's hunting preserve. Premier has a design with offset electric wire that looks like it would reduce the wear and tear from sheep messing around with it. The woven wire is 32" high, which isn't too expensive around here. Then there's two HT wires above that. It looks very sharp and seems just the thing to keep in our jailbreakers.


If this works, it would be well worth the expense and trouble putting it up. Our landlord is very excited (the property will go to his daughter to farm when she finishes vet school in about six years), and since he's a neighbor it's certainly true that "good fences make good neighbors"!


Does anyone have experience with a similiar setup? I'm worried about the HT woven wire having gaps on the bottom - our experience with the regular field fence was that this was an invitation. How easy is it to get tight and straight? Do we have to use all wood posts or has anyone tried this with metal T-posts as line posts?

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Hi Rebecca,


I don't know if we had put it up in Amherst when you visited, but we used a 48-inch HT woven wire called Solidlock from Baekert. There's no way you could justify it for a six-year installation, but if you could get the landlord to kick in for half of it, it would be the way to go.


You need a very well constructed H-brace at ends and corners, a wooden post at bends, rises, and dips, but you can use steel T posts every 25 to 30 feet for the rest of it.


The wire we used was 13 horizontals with 3 inch spacing at ground level, and verticals every 6 inches. It was absolutely lamb proof. There was no need for an offset hot wire, as the sheep couldn't get their noses and heads through anyway.


I have seen a Solidlock installation that used 54 inch posts, and put a HT hot and grounded wires above the 48 inch solidlock. It was as close to a coyote proof fence as I have seen.


As with any HT fence, following contours can be tricky. Solidlock is heavy enough that it will follow gentle changes pretty nicely, but if you have a gully or a quick change in slope, you'll have to get creative. In one place, I had to cut the verticals and make a V-shaped splice with less wire at the top and more at the bottom. Kind of like a dart in a lady's top, if that makes any sense.

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WE do have some gulleys to cross on one pasture. The rest is pretty straight with sort of normal dips here and there. Our new landlord looooooves his bulldozer and a lot of this place looks like a golf course in terms of terrain - not grass of course.


We thought we'd end the run on the one really bad hill and fill with cattle panel there. the "dart" is a good idea, though.


Seems like what we were looking at was six inch squares. The trouble of installing offset hotwire would be well worth the saving in expense and labor.


Yes, the top two wires were hot and ground. The five wire here uses hot smooth and ground barb, which worked really well for a while - I don't like the way the barb seems to lose tension so easily though. We started losing the integrity of the fence when the barb started sagging almost immediately after we got here. Yuck. Sheep started learning they could leap right through the holes.


Premier suggests running a line of barb along the ground, in their fence design. Do we HAFTA? I've really learned to hate the stuff. . . .They say if you put hot on the bottom, they won't graze the fenceline. But I know know if they push on the barb it will loosen, and if it's loose they'll push right through.


I think I might take up cattle farming. There's a single wire on step in posts around the big field, which was all the last tenants needed to keep their beasts in. Sheesh.

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I've never used any barbed wire in any sheep fence I've built. To my way of thinking, a stock fence that needs a fence to keep the stock off of it is flawed from the get-go.


On a perimeter fence, simply keeping the wire on the stocked side of the fenceposts ought to be enough. I suppose on cross-fences (where stock graze both sides) you might need to have an offset wire or two on the side of the posts without the main fence.


Those single-wire fences work great until they don't work. I found that if you push cattle at all to get them to clean up a field, they will snap down a single-wire fence with 7,000 volts on it, and once they do that they never respect the fence again. I needed two or three wires to contain some heifers I grazed on contract one summer.

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Yeah, they just had a little herd of half a dozen stocker calves on oh, twenty acres. They were very surprised when I said the sheep wouldn't respect it at all.


One thing I was surprised to learn, is that the lighter the animal, the better the electric setup needs to be. More ground, greater contact with ground, ect. Cows don't need as much current and you can get away with a pretty slack setup altogether, because they are so big. Apparently, anyway. I'm not an engineering type and it didn't make intuitive sense to me. But now I have practical knowlege of that fact!


Bill, what's the address for your new forum? I lost it when we redid the operating system on this machine.

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I use the Premier design with the Solidlock high tensile woven wire fence Bill suggested. We put this in last year as a perimeter fence in a 20 acre field. We use 5 strand high tensile fence to seperate the paddocks. The perimeter fence and divider fences have an electric offset at the top (primarily in case I want to graze my horses in the same paddocks). We don't use the barbed wire. The rest of our grazing is accomplished using premier electonet. I've been really pleased with the fence. Our pasture has a rolling terrain. It was fairly easy to put up - my husband and I did it ourselves over the course of the summer - but it wasn't cheap - probably cost around $12,000 for supplies alone, including rental of a post pounder. We haven't had any problems with sagging, but it's still early. The nicest thing about the fence is freedom from worrying about escapes. I don't have predator problems with either type of fence, although we are surrounded by coyotes (and have been having them come right up to the barn the last couple weeks or so).


What aspect of the fence, specifically, were you concerned about?



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