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FARM FENCING?! how far apart should my posts be, and what size post?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Okay, I have a smalllllll horse farm, almost 9 acres, and I need to put up new fencing. I was looking at getting 4 inch by 8 ft posts (we're on the morraine so they ain't coming out!), and looking to space them 10 feet apart, is this okay? or should I do the 5 inch posts, and 10 feet apart, or just stick with the 4 inch posts and 8 feet apart. I'm planning on putting 3 boards up, and two lines of electric poly rope off the boards (at shoulder height, and at knee height) to keep the horses from touching the fencing, which is something I KNOW works well.

HELPPPP PLEASE, THIS IS URGENT, i need to place my post order SOOON, i move in like 3 weeks!


Edited by Chick_a_dee - 5/24/08 at 11:05am
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post #2 of 17

HI, we put 10 ft 5-6 inch posts in.  We put them every 8 feet and brace all corners. Make sure you put the posts acutally 2 inches further than counting so the wood will line up and not over lap when nailing up the boards.  Its all up to you an how your horses are with fencing/.  I chose 8 ft apart as I take in WIld MUstangs and it must be tough fencing.  Goodluck.  If you can get away with 10 spacing it will save you money in posts and time to set less posts as well. Goodluck big_smile
I will say BUY an AUGER!  It was the BEST $400 I EVER spent!  We hand dug 28 posts then bought the Auger and saved SO much time and muscle.
PS They also carry a NO climb horse REdline brand 5ft fence.  Very sturdy, its pricey, but worth it.


Edited by Florida chick - 5/24/08 at 1:42pm
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chick_a_dee 

Okay, I have a smalllllll horse farm, almost 9 acres, and I need to put up new fencing. I was looking at getting 4 inch by 8 ft posts (we're on the morraine so they ain't coming out!), and looking to space them 10 feet apart, is this okay? or should I do the 5 inch posts, and 10 feet apart, or just stick with the 4 inch posts and 8 feet apart. I'm planning on putting 3 boards up, and two lines of electric poly rope off the boards (at shoulder height, and at knee height) to keep the horses from touching the fencing, which is something I KNOW works well.


FWIW, I would personally not run horses along field fencing, not even with electric along it, because all it takes is one slide-and-U-turn at the fence for them to put a foot thru the mesh and slice the heck out of their tendons. I have seen it happen. If I were going to use field fencing, I would run a SEPARATE electric fence 3-15' inside of the field fencing (depending whether you want to be able to ride around the perimeter of the property or not), using smaller-diameter cedar posts, or SECURELY capped TALL t-posts. I'd use 4-6 strands of electric tape or electric rope, depending on the idiosyncrasies of my horses, and I would buy GOOD STUFF with low electrical resistance (so's to hold a stout charge well) and extra-good visibility.  (When I say I 'would' -- part of my fence out back actually IS that way tongue)

Some people will say that the horses are more likely to tangle in the electric tape/rope when it's out like this instead of on standoffs from the field fence... it's a matter of opinion I guess <shrug> but as long as you keep your charger FUNCTIONING ALL THE TIME, my experience is that you're less likely to run into injuries this way than with standoffs from field fencing. Matter of taste and opinion, tho.

As far as installing the field fencing... I am pretty sure that the old stuff around most of our property is on posts that are 10-12' apart, but only every 3rd post is wood -- the intervening ones are t-posts. T-posts are lethally dangerous around horses if they are short (less than 5-6' tall) and uncapped, but with a VERY STURDY cap WIRED onto them, and at 6' tall, in my personal opinion they are not so bad.

If you want to know what local standards are for installing field fencing, just drive along, find some, hop out and pace it out or measure tongue

HOWEVER -- if you are going to put up boards over top of the field fencing, you will need closer-spaced posts. You really cannot go longer than about 8' between posts and expect boards to hold up to a horse. Even if horses do not lean on longer boards, they will warp and sag of their own weight and stuff like that. If you just want a 'sight rail', look into some of the vinyl hi-tensile belting (stud fence, centaur, that sort of thing) -- just 1 or 2 strands will not cost the earth. You will need to make extra sure you do REALLY PROPERLY SET AND BRACED corner posts, but to maximize the length of your field fencing you should be doing that anyhow.

I would suggest using the 5" posts if you are going to be there a long time and/or the soil is wet or the site is windy. THey will resist rotting, and thus will also resist keeling over in the wind (weedy field fence has a LOT of wind resistance, actually!), significantly better than 4" posts will. OTOH if you are not going to live there forever and don't care about making an investment on behalf of the next owner, you can probably get away with 4" posts, at least if you keep your charger TURNED ON every moment of every day smile 

Remember you will need stronger posts -- I would recommend 6", but certainly at LEAST 5" -- for every corner, end-of-a-fenceline, and gate opening (both sides); and you will need crosspieces (you can use 4-5" fenceposts) to brace on both sides of each of those 6" posts. You should also brace on both sides of a post every 300-500' in a long fenceline, as well as at the top of any little 'hill' and bottom of any little 'valley' in the terrain.

If you do not use stout (and LONGER, so you can set 'em deeper) corners, ends and gateway posts; and if you do not crossbrace them PROPERLY (which means pinned or mortised in, and braced from the very TOP of the 6" post to just like 3" above ground level on the adjacent post), then your fence is going to be quite short in lifespan. And fixing a woven-wire fence is WAY WAY WAY harder and more obnoxious than installing it right in the first place. Just a pep talk to save you grief down the road wink

Good luck and have fun,

Pat

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by patandchickens 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chick_a_dee 

Okay, I have a smalllllll horse farm, almost 9 acres, and I need to put up new fencing. I was looking at getting 4 inch by 8 ft posts (we're on the morraine so they ain't coming out!), and looking to space them 10 feet apart, is this okay? or should I do the 5 inch posts, and 10 feet apart, or just stick with the 4 inch posts and 8 feet apart. I'm planning on putting 3 boards up, and two lines of electric poly rope off the boards (at shoulder height, and at knee height) to keep the horses from touching the fencing, which is something I KNOW works well.


FWIW, I would personally not run horses along field fencing, not even with electric along it, because all it takes is one slide-and-U-turn at the fence for them to put a foot thru the mesh and slice the heck out of their tendons. I have seen it happen. If I were going to use field fencing, I would run a SEPARATE electric fence 3-15' inside of the field fencing (depending whether you want to be able to ride around the perimeter of the property or not), using smaller-diameter cedar posts, or SECURELY capped TALL t-posts. I'd use 4-6 strands of electric tape or electric rope, depending on the idiosyncrasies of my horses, and I would buy GOOD STUFF with low electrical resistance (so's to hold a stout charge well) and extra-good visibility.  (When I say I 'would' -- part of my fence out back actually IS that way tongue)

Some people will say that the horses are more likely to tangle in the electric tape/rope when it's out like this instead of on standoffs from the field fence... it's a matter of opinion I guess <shrug> but as long as you keep your charger FUNCTIONING ALL THE TIME, my experience is that you're less likely to run into injuries this way than with standoffs from field fencing. Matter of taste and opinion, tho.

As far as installing the field fencing... I am pretty sure that the old stuff around most of our property is on posts that are 10-12' apart, but only every 3rd post is wood -- the intervening ones are t-posts. T-posts are lethally dangerous around horses if they are short (less than 5-6' tall) and uncapped, but with a VERY STURDY cap WIRED onto them, and at 6' tall, in my personal opinion they are not so bad.

If you want to know what local standards are for installing field fencing, just drive along, find some, hop out and pace it out or measure tongue

HOWEVER -- if you are going to put up boards over top of the field fencing, you will need closer-spaced posts. You really cannot go longer than about 8' between posts and expect boards to hold up to a horse. Even if horses do not lean on longer boards, they will warp and sag of their own weight and stuff like that. If you just want a 'sight rail', look into some of the vinyl hi-tensile belting (stud fence, centaur, that sort of thing) -- just 1 or 2 strands will not cost the earth. You will need to make extra sure you do REALLY PROPERLY SET AND BRACED corner posts, but to maximize the length of your field fencing you should be doing that anyhow.

I would suggest using the 5" posts if you are going to be there a long time and/or the soil is wet or the site is windy. THey will resist rotting, and thus will also resist keeling over in the wind (weedy field fence has a LOT of wind resistance, actually!), significantly better than 4" posts will. OTOH if you are not going to live there forever and don't care about making an investment on behalf of the next owner, you can probably get away with 4" posts, at least if you keep your charger TURNED ON every moment of every day smile 

Remember you will need stronger posts -- I would recommend 6", but certainly at LEAST 5" -- for every corner, end-of-a-fenceline, and gate opening (both sides); and you will need crosspieces (you can use 4-5" fenceposts) to brace on both sides of each of those 6" posts. You should also brace on both sides of a post every 300-500' in a long fenceline, as well as at the top of any little 'hill' and bottom of any little 'valley' in the terrain.

If you do not use stout (and LONGER, so you can set 'em deeper) corners, ends and gateway posts; and if you do not crossbrace them PROPERLY (which means pinned or mortised in, and braced from the very TOP of the 6" post to just like 3" above ground level on the adjacent post), then your fence is going to be quite short in lifespan. And fixing a woven-wire fence is WAY WAY WAY harder and more obnoxious than installing it right in the first place. Just a pep talk to save you grief down the road wink

Good luck and have fun,

Pat


We're not using the farm wire fencing, like the paigewire, it's already "up," but literally most of it is on the ground aha. We were going to take out the posts in the first two fields (currently one huge field, to be seperated into two, because on one side we border our neighbour, a farmer and we're waiting to see if he'll extend his fencing from up by our drive-shed, all the way down to the end of the property when he sees we have horses), we were GOING TO/thinking of just putting in 5 inche posts, every 10 feet  and 6 inch on the corners, and at the gates. Then, we'd run three wood rails, there's a cedar supplier by the farm that sells for half the price of the co-op stores, and infact sells to them too wink, and then we have the screw in insulators for our white poly rope which will be at all the posts, and we're going to run a line of the electric fencing around the inside at the top, and eventually depending on how much extra fencing we have, we'll run a second one at about knee height. I don't know where you are, but that centaur crap is.... well crap here, and REALLY FREAKING EXPENSIVE, as in you could easily spend half a million on your farm in it, and well... we're not even close to rich aha. We know how to run our electric, and since we've been horse people for well over 10 years, we know and already do introduce our horses to the electric wire the minute they get in the field, so they KNOW it's there, and won't go near it. We have a 10 mile solar fencer, we only have 8 or so acres, so it'll be fine and yes it's on 24/7, but it's low impedance so it's not going to like... blow up on us smile. We were going to check out one of the stables around our old house and measure, but at the moment I'm thinking 10ft isn't TOO bad, but if it comes down to it, I'll do the 8ft. It's not like our property is gigantic, the front fenceline is 317ft long, and up to the end of the paddock is 310ft, depending on whether or not we crop out all the moraine rocks that are currently on the fenceline, and move the fence back like 4 feet on each side.

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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Oh and, I forgot...ours I THINK might be 20ft apart, the wood posts, with a tpost in the middle, and most of it is standing near the top of the "hill," or knoll by the drive-shed, it's down by the road that it's taken a beating, but I think that's because down by the road theres some of the morraine sticking out, and they've put the posts between the rocks, which clearly hasn't worked out!. We're getting rid of all the crappy farm paige wire, and barbed wire, and old electric cattle wire thats "chillin," on the posts, pulling the posts out, and putting new ones in about 4 feet in from the old fence to get away from the morraine poking out. I think 5" might be okay, and at the moment 10ft is looking alright too, but I'm going to go and take a look at a friend of ours' farm east of here later on, and measure hers, since hers is rather nice and sturdy.

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post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida chick 

HI, we put 10 ft 5-6 inch posts in.  We put them every 8 feet and brace all corners. Make sure you put the posts acutally 2 inches further than counting so the wood will line up and not over lap when nailing up the boards.  Its all up to you an how your horses are with fencing/.  I chose 8 ft apart as I take in WIld MUstangs and it must be tough fencing.  Goodluck.  If you can get away with 10 spacing it will save you money in posts and time to set less posts as well. Goodluck big_smile
I will say BUY an AUGER!  It was the BEST $400 I EVER spent!  We hand dug 28 posts then bought the Auger and saved SO much time and muscle.
PS They also carry a NO climb horse REdline brand 5ft fence.  Very sturdy, its pricey, but worth it.


Yeah, we can't use the 10ft posts, we're on the canadian shield, so we have to use the 8ft and set them like 2ft in, but we've decided to cement the perimeter posts in place, almost like you cement in residential fencing smile we're not sure yet, but i think i'm going to go and measure the fencing at a place we used to board at, this guys fences have been up for like... 60 years, just your regular 3 board, post system, and if they're 10ft apart, then i'll go with 10ft.

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post #7 of 17

I am in Florida so its sand and clay wink I see your problem now.

post #8 of 17

OK, sorry, by 'farm fencing' I misunderstood you to mean field fencing (very large mesh woven wire) specifically, as opposed to 'fencing for your farm' tongue

If you can only put the fenceposts in 2', it is worth making your long fencelines (like, more than 100-150') have a 'jog' in them rather than be totally straight. That is, go 100' along, jog over 8' or whatever your post spacing is, and go straight another 100', do the same, etc. This may sound a little odd, and you don't often see it done, but will go a considerable way to prevent your fences gradually leaning over from wind pressure. (And is cheaper than concrete wink)

Have fun,

Pat

post #9 of 17

Building fences is as much science as it is art.  You will get different responses from everyone here about their preferences and we could point you at some great books.

HOWEVER, the smartest thing to do.  When you move to your new home, drive a 5 mile radius around your place and see what kinds of fences other people are using in that area.  They probably have a wealth of experience which you haven't acquired yet.  So, build the kind of fences you see your neighbors using.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by patandchickens 

OK, sorry, by 'farm fencing' I misunderstood you to mean field fencing (very large mesh woven wire) specifically, as opposed to 'fencing for your farm' tongue

If you can only put the fenceposts in 2', it is worth making your long fencelines (like, more than 100-150') have a 'jog' in them rather than be totally straight. That is, go 100' along, jog over 8' or whatever your post spacing is, and go straight another 100', do the same, etc. This may sound a little odd, and you don't often see it done, but will go a considerable way to prevent your fences gradually leaning over from wind pressure. (And is cheaper than concrete wink)

Have fun,

Pat


It makes sense, we have a 317' frontage onto our street, we were thinking of only concreting those posts that line a road/driveway, so we have something around 60 posts to concrete, which doesn't even end up being THAT much money, of course free being cheaper wink in the means of "jogging," your posts. So far we have to buy something like 126 posts, since most of the posts on the property were poorly taken care of, and have since... let's say "died," and fallen over. At one point, the farm fencing, the wire mesh, has actually grown into two elm trees, making a lovely high tensile fence, seriously! it's perfect, except that it's in two trees, and farm mesh fencing haha.

We've decided to go and measure a fence at our old boarding place, just to make sure we can do the 10' spacing, but as I say... we've never once had an issue with horses going to the fences, infact we like to discourage them from going to them at all. We've always introduced our electric fencing to our horses, so they know its there, and won't go near it. It makes life loads easier, and plus lets keep in mind we're only having 5 horses on the property smile 5 who will be out 24/7 for the first year or so, and then possibly in stalls at night, because we have yet to renovate our bank barn so the stalls are well... enclosed properly and not falling apart. The previous owner obviously roughed it.  However, I have been to, and seen fencing for horses that's been practically on the ground, with a bit of electric wire around it, and the horses couldn't give a crap about it, they just don't want anything to do with it. I guess there is much of a difference between farmer standards, and horse people standards smile because the riding school on our street, that's about 20 farms away has the crappest looking, falling down fencing, with a bit of electric tape around it, I have ever seen, yet the rest of the place is pristine, and the horses are never near the fence.

Plus, it helps we're there almost all hours of the day, a break-out is pretty unlikely to happen when nearly all the windows in your house have a view of the paddocks tongue I suppose horses are like chickens, if they get bored, SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN.


Edited by Chick_a_dee - 5/24/08 at 5:38pm
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