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Barbed Wire Fencing Tips

by Judy Knowler

If you have cattle on your property, you’re going to want to get familiar with barbed wire. This kind of fencing is great for cattle enclosures, as it is inexpensive, quick to install, and provides a very effective barrier to keep your cattle in and predators out.

Building a barbed wire fence can be a simple process, but it is critically important that you do it right. If you have the proper tools, the proper bracing, and the proper tension, you’ll have a fence that will last for years… but how do you know what you’ll need for “proper” installation?

Don’t worry: Red Brand has your back. Here are our tips for working with barbed wire.

Tips for Building a Barbed Wire Fence


First things first: anytime you build a barbed wire fence, you need to have the right safety equipment. Barbed wire can be very dangerous, so make sure you’re dressed to protect yourself from lacerations or other injuries.

Put on protective clothing, including thick boots and gloves before handling barbed wire. It’s also important to wear eye covering, as sharp points like the barbs and the wire’s end can cause serious eye damage. It’s also wise to work with a partner (who also has protective equipment) while you build the fence.

Proper Tools

In addition to the safety equipment you’ll need to protect yourself, you’ll also need the right tools for building your fence. The tools you’ll need for a barbed wire fence include:

  • Post hole digger
  • Tamping bar
  • Shovel
  • Fence pliers
  • Hammers
  • Fence stretcher
  • Wire grip

Using high-quality tools will save you loads of time on installation and will help ensure that your fence is sturdy and safe. Great fencing tools are also a a worthwhile investment if you plan to build several fences on your property. Don’t be afraid to get the good stuff.


Once you have everything you need, it’s time to start thinking about bracing. Good bracing is the key to a sturdy fence, so this should be a high priority from the very start. 

First, walk the fence line and study the type of terrain you’re working with. If you’re working with a flat stretch of land, you can get away with one brace every quarter mile. If you’re working with a hilly area, you’ll need several more braces (at least one for every low and high spot). You can build a barbed wire fence on any terrain – if you adjust the bracing to suit the area. 


Posts are also an important element of your barbed wire fence. But what kind of post should you use? How tall should they be? The answer really depends on your project – specifically, whether you plan to use 3, 4, or 5 wires.

Most posts you’ll find today are made from metal or wood. Metal posts tend to be more durable than wood, but a hard-wearing wood will also suit your needs just fine. Additionally, while the most common heights are six and eight feet, you really only need your posts to be about a foot taller than your top wire.


Once you’ve found the right posts for your fence, you need to decide how far apart they should be. This will depend largely on the type of wire you plan to use, as well as if you plan to use stays (high tensile steel wires that lie vertically over your barbed wire strands).

If you’re working with high tensile barbed wire and you plan to use stays for extra support, you can get away with spacing your posts as far as 30 feet apart. However, if you’re using low carbon wire, most fencing experts recommend placing posts every 12 to 15 feet. This will give your fence enough support to stay standing.


Let’s say that you’ve placed your braces and your posts, run your wires, and secured your stays. Are you done? Not quite. The last thing you’ll need to consider is your fence’s tension. A barbed wire fence needs to be tight enough to stay straight in between posts, but not so tight that it vibrates when struck. Take it slow as you tighten the fence; if you over tighten it or tighten it too fast, your wire might break.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to build a barbed wire fence that will stand up to anything, from unruly cattle to heavy snowfall. And if you want fencing that’s built to last, visit the Red Brand online store or find a local dealer near you. We’re proud to offer our customers the best fencing materials and tools you’ll find today.

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