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Fall Fence Forum

Field Fences

Field Fences for Cattle, Sheep, & Goats

Before you choose a field fence, think about the type of livestock you're looking to contain. This information will determine the most suitable specifications for your situation. Different animals' size and behavioral characteristics make certain heights, knot types, and configurations more suitable than others. Understanding these differences will help you to make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing the right field fencing in Worthington, IN, from Farm Fence Solutions.


Cattle are generally the easiest animals to fence in. If they escape, however, they can pose quite the challenge to recapture. Fences "designed" for cattle range from single hot wires to guardrails on pipe posts. A single strand of hotwire, albeit effective with tame cattle, is not generally advisable for a perimeter fence. On the other hand, guardrail fencing is typically reserved for working facilities or crowding areas. Most cattle fence lands somewhere in the middle, so that's what we'll address.

Barbed Wire: Barbed wire is widely regarded as the first economical solution for cattle containment or exclusion and continues to be a viable option. 3-strand livestock fencing is common for the vast pastures of the West, increasing to 5 or 6 as you head East, and even 10- or 12-strand where goats might be introduced. Post spacing is generally no more than one rod, or 16.5 feet. Our preference is 14-gauge HT 4-point from Tornado, available in 1,320-foot and 5,280-foot rolls for increased efficiency on big jobs. We recommend that barbed wire never be electrified.


Electrified HT Wire: HT wire has earned its place as the go-to option for cost-effectiveness. It's typically installed in a 3- to 8-wire pattern with alternating hot wires, and intermediate posts spaced anywhere from 12 feet to 50 feet on center. Vertical stay wires can be added for additional stability. This field fencing is a great option in less populated areas, flood plains, heavily wooded areas, or areas with limited machinery access. You may have to contend with the loss of power, dead shorts, or extremely dry ground (meaning reduced shocking ability).

Woven Wire & Net: This combination is by far our favorite choice thanks to its efficiency when it comes to containing livestock, installation, and affordability. For a cow/calf operation with good grass, our choice for a functional and economical fence is the Titan 842-12 (8 horizontal line wires, 42 inches tall, 12 inches between vertical stays) from Tornado, with intermediate post spacing of 25 feet and a strand of barbed wire on top. For stocker operations on smaller acreages, Titan 1348-12 with a strand of barbed on top and 16-foot post spacing is our top pick. Tornado Torus net also provides the strength of HT wire and a solid vertical stay, with the efficiency of a lighter square knot and rolls up to 1,320 feet long. Various Tornado Cattle Fences


Sheep are relatively easy to keep in. A short net with a hot or barbed wire on top is the tried-and-true standard. Hinged joint holds up fine for sheep, but if you want to rotate in other types of stock, taller, stiffer livestock fencing is a better option.

Electrified smooth HT also works well for sheep, but we've learned to tighten wire spacing up a little at the bottom, and to make the bottom wire hot. Lambs have the tendency to weasel under a cold bottom wire, while the lower hot wire helps repel predators.

5-strand barbed wire would be hard on wool production, so we don't recommend it.

Hinged Joint Fence


Goats are among the most difficult livestock animals to contain. Some folks get by with electrified HT, but we feel that should be reserved for interior livestock fencing. Hinged joints should also be avoided altogether when considering goat fence options.

Our go-to goat fence is Titan 1348-12 net. Goats want to climb, chew, rub, or otherwise destroy anything in their path, so we feel that the Titan fixed knot is the best option.

Smaller opening specs are available in both Titan fixed knot and Torus square knot, but with the strength of the fixed knot and the bigger openings, the likelihood of a goat getting its head stuck in the fence is greatly reduced.

Barbed wire is also a viable option for goats, but it takes 10 to 12 strands with fairly tight post spacing to be effective. As contractors, we only use barbed wire for goats in areas where machinery access is restricted.

Goat Eating
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