Discussion in 'Sheep' started by carly, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. carly

    carly on winged flight...

    Mar 20, 2003
    What is the best fencing to use for sheep? I am going to have a small amount----4-6 sheep---on 4 acres and the back is already fenced by the cattle farmer behind me. He used high tinsel wire, 5 courses that will be electricified 2 months of the year towards fall. I think I want to put my own fencing just in front of his as I do not want the sheep near the electric fence.

    I have to fence apprx. 3 arces, incl;uding a fair amount of road frontage. Also there is a small spring fed pong on the high pasture---do I need to fence around this to keep the sheep out? Right now it is about 6' deep.

    My sheep will be Jacobs and Romneys, and I will not have a ram as i do not plan on breeding.......

    Any advice??

  2. LeahN

    LeahN Well-Known Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Most of our fencing is 5-strand high-tensile electric, and it usually does a good job of keeping the sheep in. The only time they go through is if a dog or something chases them through. I don't separate ewes and their lambs by electric fencing at weaning though. We also have some regular woven wire fencing, and when I think the fence will be stressed, such as at weaning time, I make sure its woven wire fencing between the sheep and lambs. I also have some polywire I use for temporary fencing when I'm doing some rotations, but my polywire was old, broken in several places, and its time to replace it, since the sheep were getting through it. I'm trying to decide what material to get fr temporary electric fencing...I'm thinking about premier's "intellitwine". I'm trying to figure out if it really is better than regular polywire. I'm trying to find what fencing holds up the longest with repeated moving, and with the best "zap"!

  3. BetsyK in Mich

    BetsyK in Mich Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 13, 2002
    I have to vote for high tensil fencing too. I have it around both my pastures with solar fencers on two of them and a electric fencer on the front fence. The sheep learn early, as young lambs, that the wire will "poke" them when they get close enough to sniff it and they seldom challenge it. The "poke" isn't really that painful for the sheep, they just jump back unlike my border collie who insists on slipping under the fence and getting zapped on the tail and then yelps all the way to the house. Seems she considers it a challenge since she chooses to do it for no apparent reason. The fence on the big pasture where the ewes summer wasn't on for most of the grazing season and I did not have any escapes. We don't have a problem with coyotes in this area yet, if we did I would need to rethink the wire because I think it is easy for them to get thru it.

    Disadvantages, you HAVE to keep the grass and weeds out from under the fence. I do this by spraying with roundup before the sheep go in that pasture in the spring and some trimming with a weed whip of I have to. You have to be deligent about checking the fence, I do about every three days when sheep are in the pasture, but you should be checking on your animals that often anyway. Also the deer can't see the fencing during the winter and I have to replace some insulators every spring where they run into or try to jump over and miss. I've not found a deer tangled in the fencing, it does have "give" when an animal hits it and the insulators holding the wire pop out if hit very hard.

    Advantages, the biggest is cost. It is much more economical to use high tensil wire. I cost it out for a section of pasture I need to do this spring, three acres with a cross fence, HT = 530.00 verses woven = 877.00, this is just for supplies, your labor would be more with the woven too. These costs are as of last fall, I looked at a roll of woven wire fence a couple weeks ago and I think the price was half again as much. Your post holes are further apart, less posts, and the wire is much cheaper, you do however need to be careful about installation and be sure your end and corner posts are set securely. If you ever need to move the fence or take it down it will be much easier with the HT. HT is easier to install in hilly locations. Stretching woven wire takes a bit of skill where HT is stretched after it is strung, one wire at a time. Replacing a post if one should get broken or split is easier too.

    The fella who shears for me has 200-400 head of sheep on pasture and has used HT on his farm, switching from woven. He said his lane between the fields he has different ewes and rams in is HT and he has not yet had a ram go through the fence. Always possible if the electric goes off or it get grounded or if you have a REALLY tough ram (if he could do that would you want him on your place anyway?) but highly unlikely. Hope this helps.
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    I have had poor results using electric fencing on anything, and I blame the operator not the system. The majority of fencing here is standard 9 guage woven wire fencing, it lasts and is easy to work with. I tried the light guage stuff but for the little cash you save up front you lose in the long run and when you're workign with it. Good old fashioned log rails work well too.
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    central Ontario
    Carly, I now use 6 strands of high tensile electric with the biggest Gallagher fencer I could buy to keep the coyotes at bay. Faster to put up, least expensive and effective. I may put up some close spaced woven wire this summer with an additional electric strand on top and an additional electric "trip" wire at the bottom on the outside. By 'close spaced' I mean the 4" x 4" mesh made by Red Brand (Keystone).
    I do not recommend electric 'sheep net' fence!!!
    It's grim finding a ewe killed by a coyote and even if you do not have them in your area what about dogs?
  6. I use woven wire fence, the progressive stuff that's smaller at the bottom than at the top. I'm doing this more to keep predators out than sheep in. I've used electric effectively but I don't trust it against dogs. It half kills me to put up and it's expensive but I'm also next to a major highway and can't take the lawsuit of one getting hit. It's tough keeping rams in with anything.
  7. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    May 11, 2002
    Now in Virginia
    I also use Woven Sheep fence. But add to that, the 5 strans of hot wire, to keep the sheep off the fence and the predators out of the pasture.
    The charger is one for predators, it is well grounded, so it has a good bite to it.

    Does take some maintance to keep the hot wire clear of tree limbs after storms and such, but for small acreage it is great.