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Cattle For Those Who Like To Have A Cow.

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Old 09/24/11, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: B.C.
Posts: 1,189
Fence height for cattle + horses?

Is there a "standard" height that fencing should be?
I've been looking into a cedar rail system for my "winter pasture". But the max heights are 4'6" or 5'6". That is once installed. Both seem short for a big snowfall area, and the taller is actually over my budget.

I've had trouble with electric fencing once the snow hits, and don't like the idea of PT near my food. T posts lean easily in my bog/farm. So cedar is probably my best bet.

Would appreciate hearing what heights others fence at. Thanks.

Last edited by fireweed farm; 09/24/11 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 09/24/11, 11:48 PM
francismilker's Avatar
Udderly Happy!
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 2,835
I try to build my barbed wire fences at or around the same level of an animal's back height. Although anywhere between the top of the shoulder and top of back should be acceptable. I'm not sure about the snow thing. The most snow I've ever had at my place was 11" at a time and I thought I'd died and gone to Heaven!

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Old 09/26/11, 06:18 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 6,325
5 ft is the very minimum for horses.

Quiet cows will stay in a a fence a few inches short, but only if they are interested in staying at home.
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Old 09/26/11, 11:39 PM
ErinP's Avatar
Too many fat quarters...
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SW Nebraska, NW Kansas
Posts: 8,545
5 feet?? Holy cow! lol
Most barbed wire fences are hip-high on my 6'3" husband. Four feet, maybe?

We've lived on ranches all over the High Plains and cattle and horses will usually stay in a four wire barbed wire fence that's this tall... I don't see building anything taller. I mean, 5' would be up to my chin!
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Old 09/27/11, 08:37 AM
haypoint's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northern Michigan (U.P.)
Posts: 11,890
I think snow makes a differencee. I've seen people keep cows in with a strand of electric 2 to 3 feet off the ground. But I've seen sheep walk on snow over a 6 foot fence.

A small pasture will require better fence than a large one. A horse in an acre enclosure will ruin a short fence, but a 20 acre area might require just a couple strands of wire.

I don't know what you pay for cedar, but a whole fence of cedar would be too costly for me. 8 foot cedar posts, in the ground 3 1/2 feet, spaced 16 feet apart and three strands of hi-tinsle elect. will hold my cattle and horses.
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Old 09/28/11, 12:02 PM
Thumb of Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 219
All of mine are 47" field fence. It works for the cows and horses. I am in Michigan so we get a fair bit of snow.
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Old 09/28/11, 02:51 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CANADA
Posts: 931
All my cows and horses are behind a 4ft woven wire fence(page wire), the cows are Jerseys and the horses range from mini's to a shire. The only one I ever had a problem was with the dam goats that are no longer with us! Because I am not going to build a 6ft fence for the smallest animals on the farm! hahaha
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Old 09/30/11, 06:43 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 7
You could build the fence and buy the 5in long plastic adapters for electric the ones for wooden post and place them on the top with a hot wire. I have nailed them up ward on top of post. I still get the respect of the hot wire and gain some height..
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Old 10/01/11, 12:36 AM
Sugarstone Farm
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 811
4 ft is pretty standard for pastures. You can always run a strand of electric along the top. I have several horses and cattle here and snows can get deep in a bad winter, but the animals don't wander if the food is in front of them. A light animal can walk over a drift easier than a 1/2 ton cow, that cow is going to stick close to the hay bale.
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