Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Building A Woven Wire Fence: Part 1

Whoever hung the old fence loved baling wire as much as I do
Last week we started our latest big project: fencing the goat yard. When we bought this house it had a 20' x 50' fenced dog run out back. The fencing was a combination of wood posts, T posts, and floppy 7-foot wire panels with 6-inch square openings. I wanted to use that same space for our goats but the fencing was not nearly tight enough. It is a challenging location because it's on a slope so the current fence gapped horribly at the bottom. The previous owner of this house had filled in all the gaps with big chunks of limestone (there is plenty of that around in our soils). 

Big sister removing limestone chunks from the fence line

Our first step in rehabbing the dog run into a goat run was to tear down most of the old fence. First we recruited the kids to help us haul all the chunks of limestone to a central pile. We used a rusty old  Radio Flyer wagon I found in the trash about a year ago. When I got home with that wagon I regretted picking it up because it was just too rusty but it was perfect for this job: less tippy than a wheelbarrow and easier to fill. 

The growing rock pile with a little chivito on top
After we had hauled off the rocks I cut down the wire fence panels and we stripped them of the honeysuckle vines that had been growing on them for years. I have been throwing the honeysuckle vine into the temporary goat pen like big tumbleweeds and they have been eating it up like crazy. Honeysuckle vine is like chocolate pie for goats.
Mr. Chanclas doing battle with the honeysuckle
Next we used the shovel and the pickaxe and a lot of brute force to remove the T-posts. This required Mr. Chanclas' good pickaxin' skills. I couldn't believe how solidly those things were buried in there. I am pleased because we will be using T posts for the new fence, too. The corner posts will be wood set in concrete.

While we were in demolition mode we also removed one wooden post from the back corner of the run and we are not going to build again in that corner. That corner post prevented us from having vehicle access to the back of our property, which may be necessary at some point. I now have enough space to get a car or truck through the trees and into the back forty. (Okay, okay. The back half acre.)

My next step is to get out there with the machete Mr. Chanclas gave me for my birthday. I need to trim back the vegetation along the fence line. Then we will dig holes for the wooden posts and cement them into place. After that it will be time for T posts and hanging the woven wire fencing.

I bought a 200-foot roll of 2"x4" no-climb horse fencing. It was expensive (about $230) but I don't want to have to rebuild this fence ever. I'm going to make a fence stretcher out of a couple of two-by-fours and some bolts and we will use that and our neighbor's come-along to stretch the fence nice and tight. Wish me luck on that part because I have never hung fence before and it sounds hard! Anybody with fence-hanging skills is welcome to share advice, tips, and hilarious stories with me.


  1. Your husband bought you a machete for your birthday.
    I just like you guys so much.

  2. All of the cowboys I know say building fence is the hardest work they do. You are definitely the woman for the job!

  3. Well, I've been out of the loop for a bit... So it's possible you're well on your way to fence hanging, but I must share the single most awesome and necessary tool for hanging woven wire fencing.
    We call it the "blue tool" as it has a blue handle and we are such insanely creative people. But it's actually called a Clip Bender. You use it with the sort of 'W' shaped fence clips that attach the fencing to the t-posts.
    It saves your hands, it makes the clips nice and snug against the post and it takes full minutes out of each fence clip attachment. Add up the number of fence posts you need to attach your fence to and it literally saves you hours of work. It certainly did for us. Tractor Supply has them. And the clips.

    1. Bless you, child! I am going to buy a blue tool. Thank you so much for the tip!

  4. Either a "blue tool" or go into Lowes in the electrical hardware area and get the 4-inch flat bracket with 4 offset holes. Does the same thing and only costs 49-cents. :) It's called a Four Hole Steel Splice Plate.

    Dad and I have done literally hundreds of green T-posts and the V clips ties with the electrical tool.

    1. What a great use! And I'm very impressed with the price tag. Can you tell me how to use it exactly?

  5. Really nice work you are doing and its very interesting info you shared here and I enjoyed a lot.

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