Based on our farm and 25 years in business, here are our thoughts on what works well for cattle or livestock. Read through for background information or to help you decide which product might be best suited for your specific needs.
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New Zealand Electric Fence
One or two strands of electrified high tensile wire can create quick, effective fencing for cattle and hogs. If you're looking for a cost effective, immediate solution to your fencing needs this may be the way to go. We recommend using New Zealand electric when fencing large paddocks with clear distinctive edges or boundaries. It is ideal for use on rented ground or new property when you aren't quite sure where you want your permanent fence but need to contain your animals.. High tensile wire is more permanent and secure than temporary fencing.
Three to seven strands of electrified high tensile wire can create quite the visual and emotional barrier to many kinds of stock (including sheep and goats) if kept hot and maintained. Remember electric fence works on each individual animals experience. Each animal will have to learn that touching the fence is not a pleasant matter. Think about the last time you inadvertently contacted an energized fence for an example. By keeping the fence energized every animal has a consistent experience and respect for the barrier. This is the key principal behind the success of electric fences. Whether fencing your cattle in, or the coyote out, the effectiveness of the fence relies on the likelihood of the animal contacting a wire long enough to be shocked.
NZ electric is ideally suited for heavily wooded areas, where trees are likely to fall on the fence as maintenance and repair are far easier than with more robust products. Add coated electric wire on the top, such as Equi-fence to improve visibility. Unlike applications for horses, cattle are typically easily handled in mass with a single, energized wire. Consider using one as a break line on fresh feed to assist with rotational grazing or when moving the cattle from one side of the farm to another.
Barbed wire, also known as "barb wire" is a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand(s). Barbed wire was the first wire technology capable of restraining cattle and was instrumental in "taming' the western frontiers. Still affordable today, barbed wire fencing is a strong, long term option for fencing livestock. We recommend a minimum of 4 to 5 strands of wire with a post or stay spacing of no more than 12 feet for the best result. The right application with optimal circumstances, barbed wire is an excellent choice. Barbed wire fencing is about the same cost as New Zealand electric - strand for strand.
Field Fence Mesh
A great option for livestock is field fence mesh (Red Brand) . If you are trying to control predators during calving, run multiple species of animals on the farm, or just want a bit more security, field fence or mesh fencing may be your best bet. Typically about double in cost than barbed wire or New Zealand electric, you end up with a strictly physical barrier that keeps most things in (your livestock), and many things out (your neighbor's dogs). It is very safe for young stock such as calves, lambs and kids. With an electrified bottom wire on the inside, it is fabulous for hogs. With an electrified bottom wire on the outside, you double your predator exclusion properties.