Fence-building help needed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by horsewishr, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. horsewishr

    horsewishr Chillin' With My Peeps

    440
    18
    151
    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    We'd like to fence around our 20 x 25' garden to give the girls a second run. Right now the garden is bordered by railroad ties, to which I'd like to attach the bottom of the fence. We'll probably use 2X4 welded wire. This will be for day use only, and we add plenty of composted horse manure/bedding every spring, so I'm not worried about the chickens (or other beasts) digging under it.

    I'm having a hard time sorting out the process of erecting the fence. If we attach the fence to the outer edge of the RR ties, and then dig holes for the upright posts, what's the best way to stretch the fence and attach it to the uprights?? Or should we mount the uprights first and try to squeeze the fencing between them and the border? Should we attempt to do this in one piece, or would we be better off cutting the fence into sections?

    So many questions. . . I just can't seem to work it all out (in my mind).

    Thanks for the help.

    edited to add a picture of the coop and garden:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2007
  2. First-time-raising

    First-time-raising Out Of The Brooder

    81
    0
    39
    Oct 20, 2007
    Mid - Michigan
    If the 2x4 welded wire fence is what I believe it is, It's a pretty rigid fence I don't think it will stretch much. I think you will be better off erecting the fence with panels and just twist pieces of wire to bind together the corners.

    Hope this helps

    I love the coop.
     
  3. First-time-raising

    First-time-raising Out Of The Brooder

    81
    0
    39
    Oct 20, 2007
    Mid - Michigan
    Sorry I didn't answer your question about the uprights. I think I would attach the panels to a 2x4 wood frame maybe 10x10 foot panels then stand them up on top of the railroad timbers and nail them all together.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    For everything except the corner posts, the easiest and probably most effective thing would be to use t-posts. If the fence is going to be more than 2.5 - 3' high, I'd suggest using heavier duty ones, not the really light crappy "garden" type ones. You should be able to get them at your local feed store or TSC or whatever. Fastest way to put 'em in is with one of the whammer thingies you can rent, but a sledge works too (wear eye protection).

    T-posts don't generally make strong corner posts. Unless you don't mind some wibbliness in the fence, you might need to dig holes and put in wooden corner posts. I think if it were me and I wanted to run the wire on the outside of the rr ties, I'd plant a post just just outside of each corner (so post will be as close as possible to the rr tie corners), then attach the wire mesh to the INSIDE of the post by using a shorter t-post or other bar of metal tied back to the wooden post with the wire sandwiched in between. I'd tie the metal bar to the wooden post with wire or something like that. Kinda like this (ties not shown):

    ---------------------[ ]
    0|
    |
    |

    This minimizes the number of post holes you need to dig.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. horsewishr

    horsewishr Chillin' With My Peeps

    440
    18
    151
    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    well, I forgot to mention that the biggest problem is that my husband is absolutely picky about it looking good. He'll never go for T-posts (the T-posts on our electric horse fence have plastic "cosmetic" sleeves over them).

    I like the panel idea, but again, I wonder if it can be made "perfect" enough to satisfy my husband. If all the panels don't line up exactly, he'll make himself crazy trying to fix it.
     
  6. First-time-raising

    First-time-raising Out Of The Brooder

    81
    0
    39
    Oct 20, 2007
    Mid - Michigan
    How tall is the wire fence?

    He sounds just like me as I'm am in the process of building my coop. My father in law keeps telling me that the chickens won't mind if its not perfect.....LOL I just like things to look great.

    Just build the panels as if you were framing a wall but you won't need all the studs maybe just some corner braces, Depending on how long the panels are maybe one stud in the middle of the panel. But as long as the panels stay square as you staple the fence on it should go together pretty good and also look nice.

    I live between lansing and grand rapids and there recently was a for sale ad at my local hardware store for a dog kennel I believe it was 10 x 30 I thought they had a good price on it, but that could be reshaped to form a 20 x 20 area. I could check on it if you would like I see you are in west michigan.?
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Ah [​IMG]

    Well, then if it were me I'd probably put in 4x4 posts for the fence (make your husband dig the post holes LOL). First remove the rr ties that are around the garden, then set your posts and build your fence and attach the wire, then replace the rr ties and staple the fence wire to 'em. How about that?

    (edited to add: you attach the wire to the posts AFTER the posts are already set in the ground, you know? You shouldn't need to really "stretch" the fence other than hand-tight - if you are really picky, take a scrap of 2x4 roughly same height as fence, wham some nails in at a strong sideways angle, hook 'em onto the fence meshes at the end of the piece of fencing and have one person pull it tight by hand or with lawn tractor while the other person nails in the fence staples. The tighter you plan on stretching the wire fencing, though, the more you have to worry about bracing your corner posts, so honestly I wouldn't personally want to do more than just take the slack out. Use 1" galvanized fence staples.)


    Pat
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2007
  8. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Chillin' With My Peeps

    990
    4
    151
    Aug 18, 2007
    Southeast Texas
    You will want to build corners with either H patterns or at least with diagonals back to the corner posts so they do not lean in when you stretch the wire. To stretch it you can have someone pull it tight while you tack it. or hold a tension with a pipe or something strung through a corner end with tractor or truck. It does not stretch so not much tension is needed. but if you do not want it to sag or lay over between post a little tension is needed. IMHO
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2007
  9. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

    464
    0
    139
    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    Here is a simple tool for stretching the fencing.
    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=howTo&p=LawnGarden/chainLinkFence.html#10

    So long as there is something to connect to, even if it means running a length of rope to a distant post or tree, that's the easiest way to stretch fencing.

    If you have a comealong, you don't really need the fence stretcher tool, but it makes things easier. I usually just weave a piece of iron pipe or flat metal bar into the fence fabric and connect a rope or chain to the top/bottom. Then pull with the comealong.
     
  10. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

    145
    0
    129
    Apr 18, 2007
    Ah, so it's *got* to look good. In that case, you are stretching the fence to pull it tight, and the corner posts have to be strong and braced.

    If you are determined to attach to the wooden railroad ties at the base, build the fence posts into that as a foundation. You will have to well brace the end posts. Do not merely diagonally brace them! That just results in them being jacked out. H-brace the end post, and diagonally brace the inner side of the H.

    You cannot roll out 2x4 welded wire fencing and have it look good. It'll be all saggy and floppy unless you pull it tight. And you'll be surprised at how far it does in fact pull.

    A 2x6 on each side of the fence, bolted together squeezing the fence wire makes a dandy puller. Wrap a chain and tug away. A come-a-long is precise, but a tug from the bumper of a car works well to. Staple the fence in place, and then release the tension.

    You will want a top bar, and you will want to staple the fence wire to this. Otherwise, the top will get floppy, and your husband will be upset.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by