Barbed wire is a popular material on today’s farms. Typically, it’s used for fencing cattle enclosures, because it is durable, cost-effective, and an excellent barrier for both your animals and any predators that may want to cross the fence line.
While barbed wire is considered a low maintenance option for cattle fencing, it does require regular attention (like all fencing) to keep it in good shape. It’s important to continually clear debris or overgrowth from the fence line, and every once in a while — when a segment of the fence starts to sag — you’ll need to tighten the wires.
How do you tighten barbed wire fencing? We have a few helpful tips right here for you.
The Importance of Keeping Your Fence Tightened
First, let’s discuss why you need to tighten your barbed wire fencing.
A fence wire can become loose for many reasons. An animal could lean on the wire and push it over, a post could shift due to the animals or extreme weather, and sometimes the wires shift as they expand and contract with the temperature. But no matter the reason, the result is the same: a fence with an open section where anyone can wander in and out.
Your fence is the key to keeping your animals safely inside their enclosure and keeping other pests away from them. If any part of the fence is loose or sagging, the fence will become much less effective, which can result in trouble for your cattle. Tightening the fence is the best way to ensure your animals are safe and secure.
Types of Tools for Tightening Your Fence
If you notice that a portion of your barbed wire fence is loose, it’s wise to tighten it as soon as possible. But don’t simply grab onto the wire and start pulling. You won’t be able to tighten the wire effectively if you don’t have the right tools.
For tightening a barbed wire fence, be sure you have a sturdy pair of pliers, a wire grip, or a come-a-long on hand. You can use one of these tools to get a tight grip on the wire to pull it taught more effectively and safely than with your hands alone.
Another tool you might need to tighten your wire fence is a wire stretcher. This tool is ideal for severely sagging or broken wires because it can help you stretch your wires to their limits and give you a tight fence line that stays put for quite some time.
How to Tighten a Barbed Wire Fence
Once you have your tools in hand, it’s time to head over to your sagging fence. The first thing you should do is make sure that the area is clear for you to work, without any debris or vegetation in your way.
If you’re using pliers to tighten your fence, simply grab a section of the loose fencing (between the barbs) and twist the wire 90 degrees. This should make a “z”-shaped dent in your wire, which will add tension to your wire. Continue this process along the length of the wire until it is taught once again. Finally, use a staple to secure the newly tightened wire to the fence post.
If you’re using your fence stretcher, clip two sides of the wire to either end of the stretcher. This is easiest to do if the wire is broken (you can cut the wire if it’s not already severed). Then, use the ratchet to pull the two-wire sections taught. Wrap any overlapping sections around each other and cut the excess wire. Secure your wire to the fence post with a staple and you’re done!
Tightening barbed wire is a relatively simple process, no matter which tool you use. However, it is important not to make the wire too tight. This can cause the wire to snap, which can injure you or one of your animals. Your fence line should be taught, but not ‘banjo tight’. This will ensure that your fence is tight enough to be effective, but not so tight that it becomes a danger.
Barbed wire fencing is a safe and economical way to protect your livestock. Check out our selection of barbed wire and other agricultural fence products at your local Red Brand dealer or on our website. And, for advice on proper installation techniques, visit our ‘how to’ video library here.