Wire fence is a common staple across the agricultural landscape. Wire provides a durable, cost-effective fencing option to keep farm animals in or out, depending on the application. Wire fencing can be found along pasture perimeters to keep livestock safe. It can be placed around the garden to keep free-range animals out of the food. Wire fences come in many different sizes, making them a great choice for yards, kennels, livestock, and more.
Installing a woven wire fence requires some hands-on manual labor. With the right help, most fences can be erected in a couple of days. Of course, when budgeting time, there are many factors to consider. For starters, the size and type of the enclosure will give you a good idea of how much time you’ll need to commit to the project. Other factors like terrain, weather, complexity, location, and available tools will also play a role in the time commitment required to get the job done.
Let’s take a look at what you should consider before jumping into a fencing project.
What Factors Affect Fence Installation?
No two fences are ever exactly alike. You can get a good idea of the time commitment required by looking at the size and scope of a project. Here are the most common factors that affect the time it takes to install a wire fence.
Fencing a 400-square-foot garden to keep farm animals and wildlife out of the produce is a much different project than perimeter fencing forty acres of pasture. Longer fence lines will require more materials and more bracing, which will add more time to the overall project. Understand the scope of the fencing project, how you will get materials where they’re needed, and how much help you will need before you begin.
Wire fences come in different forms. A woven wire fence is typically sold in a mesh roll and requires stretching to properly tension. An electric wire fence is sold in wire strands and requires stringing the wire on non-conductor wire holders. The type of fence, along with the other materials like posts, factor into the total installation time required to erect a fence.
If you’ve ever spent time on a Midwestern cattle ranch or in the mountains in Colorado, you understand that geography can play a big role in any fencing project. Working with relatively flat land and soft, black soil like that found in the Great Lakes region can feel like a breeze compared to digging post holes in rocky soil found across the western US. Plan extra time for fencing in rough terrain.
Solid work ethic aside–weather conditions can slow you down or even halt progress when working outside. In some cases, like heavy rain, it’s difficult to continue working outdoors. And in others, like lightning storms and high wind, it’s downright dangerous. Even in less obvious weather patterns–like cold or hot weather that falls outside of our comfort zones, we can move a little slower than on those days when it’s 70 degrees and sunny. Think about the time of year that you’ve planned your fence work and possibly the time of day you intend to work. Make the most of early mornings in the summer and clear afternoons in colder weather.
Most fences are rectangular. This shape provides strong, clean fence lines and efficient use of space. It also means that you’re starting your fencing project with the most efficient design for a quick fencing project. However, if you’re adding additional steps like a wood top rail for visibility, you should plan extra time to complete the fencing project. The same goes for fence post selection. If you’re putting t-posts in the ground, the project will go a lot faster than if you are digging wood fence post holes by hand.
Have you thought about how accessible the fence location really is? If you have to carry posts and wire rolls out to a field, it can take a lot more manpower and many more hours to get the job done than if you are fencing along a road or driveway. When considering the location of your fence, you should also consider options for transporting materials. If you have a tractor or utility vehicle on the farm, put it to use to save time.
How Different Wire Fencing Options Compare
The time commitment needed varies by fence type. Welded and woven wire, both sold in mesh rolls, should take a similar amount of time to install. For 100 feet of linear fence, this is typically about 15 hours of labor. For a two-person crew, that’s a full day’s worth of work. As we’ve already discussed, weather conditions, terrain, and inexperience can all slow down the rate at which work is completed, so this estimate is merely a baseline.
If you’re installing welded wire panels, there’s no stretching, so you may be able to save some time, but you’ll have less flexibility with post placement. And with high-tensile barbed wire, you’ll need to run three independently tensioned strands of wire, so you can expect the process to take longer than the mesh rolls of woven wire.
The Bottom Line on Installing Wire Fences
Installing a new fence requires manual labor. You and a few friends or farmhands will put in a couple of good days’ worth of work getting the job done. And for large farms, the work may never really end. By the time you get a new pasture fence up, it might be time to work on perimeter fence maintenance or tackle a smaller fencing project. Whatever task you’re facing, Red Brand can help. Our premium wire field fencing products have stood the test of time. For more than 130 years, our brand has been a top fencing choice across the agriculture industry. Shop Red Brand fencing today.