Alternatives to Barbed Wire Fencing

Barbed wire fencing is a staple of many ranches and cattle farms throughout the country. It is an incredibly common system used to define property boundaries and contain livestock of all types. It’s principal benefit on a ranch is that it provides substantial protection at a very efficient cost because much less material is used than in other fencing types.

But barbed wire has its drawbacks. Typically, barbed wire is constructed of wire strands that are twisted together to form very sharp points. While they are incredibly effective as a deterrent, both for animals and people, barbed wire can be difficult to work with. It’s very easy to be injured by the barbs, particularly when constructing, repairing, or replacing the fencing. Animals can also be injured quite severely by the barbs, and of course the barbed wire can be a source of accidents for people as well, especially small children.

People might be surprised to know that there are some affordable alternatives to barbed wire out there. Here is a brief overview of some of the major choices.

Woven Wire

A woven wire fence works with the same principle as barbed wire in that strands of wire are woven tightly together. Of course, there are no sharp barbs, but the high tension of the wire is very effective in containing livestock. The cost is typically a bit higher than barbed wire, but they reduce injury potential and are generally more attractive in appearance.

Steel Fencing

This is a much more expensive option than barbed wire, but steel fencing is particularly well-suited for smaller enclosures where the potential for inadvertant contact is much higher. They’re perfect for use with horses or contained livestock. Steel fences will last much longer than typical fence post setups and are extremely strong and usually injury-free.

Electric Fencing

Electric fences work by delivering a low-voltage electric shock when touched. It’s usually more than enough to teach an animal to stay on one side of the fence, and can be an effective deterrent for human trespassers as well. The voltage is, of course, non-lethal but it is extremely effective. The electrical wire is usually contained in rope or tape strips and while electric fences do require some amount of repair and maintenance, it’s usually inexpensive and the fences can last quite a long time. There is a cost to power the fence with electricity, but there are solar battery powered options available on the market today that keep these costs very low.

Consumer Reviews

  1. Great article! We actually ended up going with the electric fencing for our cattle as well. Very quick to install and easy to maintain.

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