Home Fence Products Types of Wire Fencing & Their Uses

Types of Wire Fencing & Their Uses

by Judy Knowler

Around the farm, wire fencing comes in many different forms. Welded wire, woven wire, barbed wire, and electric wire each have their uses. Choosing the right fencing material depends on a variety of factors, like the purpose of the fence or the type of animal it contains. If you’re planning to put up a new fence, all the options can be overwhelming. Here’s a quick guide that will help you compare the options and make an informed decision.

Welded Wire Fencing

Welded wire fencing is recognizable by its grid-like pattern. There are a number of horizontal and vertical wires that are welded at each intersection to create a fencing panel. Welded wire fencing comes in different gauges and heights that are suitable for different uses. Welded wire can be sold in panels or mesh rolls, offering a lightweight, flexible fencing option for general use around the farm.

Welded wire works best for smaller animals. While spot welding provides enough sturdiness to contain a flock of chickens or even create a dog run, the fence is only as strong as the welds and often doesn’t hold up to the demands of larger, more destructive animals. Use this wire fencing material to keep rabbits out of your garden and ducks out of your swimming pool or contain smaller livestock in short runs. However, because weld strength is a concern, choose a quality brand that can provide the durability that you need most in a welded wire fence.

Woven Wire Fencing

Woven wire is similar to welded wire in that it features a grid-like pattern of horizontal and vertical wires. However, the key difference between the two is that a woven wire fence is constructed by wrapping the intersecting wires around each other to create woven ties providing greater strength than a spot-welded fence. Woven wire also comes in many different sizes suitable for different purposes. A small gauge woven wire fence is a great general use option for gardens and dog runs. A medium gauge woven wire fence is suitable for containing goats and sheep. And a heavy-duty woven wire fence makes a good, safe option for horses and cattle.

Barbed Wire Fencing

Although barbed wire is an iconic staple of a traditional farm or ranch, it’s one fencing material that gets a lot of apprehension–and for a good reason. The barbed wire fence has been around since the mid-1800s and found its claim-to-fame as early settlers claimed their stake to land across the midwestern prairies. A barbed wire fence is traditionally a series of horizontal wires strung on t-posts or wooden fence posts that feature evenly spaced barbs–or sharp tangles of wire protrusions.

Barbed wire fencing is still used as an economical option for some larger livestock like cattle and hogs, with limitations. In general, prey animals that are prone to running are a bad combination for barbed wire fences. If an animal, like a horse, accidentally comes into contact with a barbed wire fence, the injuries will likely be severe. The barbs tend to become embedded in flesh and muscle and animals. Unfortunately, animals are not easily freed from a barbed wire fence, so you’re unlikely to see this material used for horses, goats, or sheep. Barbed wire is more commonly used as a boundary or perimeter fence rather than a pasture enclosure.

Electric Wire Fencing

Electric wire, or smooth wire fencing, is another common staple that elicits mixed feelings from different farmers. These fences are constructed with horizontal bands of smooth wire affixed to t-posts or wooden fence posts with special brackets made from a non-conductive material. The wire strands are electrified so that they provide a small electric shock to whatever contacts the fence–usually an animal.

Electric wire fencing typically varies in voltage between 2,000 and 10,000 volts–much less than the voltage required to produce an electric shock injury but enough to elicit a response and enforce a boundary that any animal can understand. While the voltage is comparatively low, accidents can happen anytime electricity is involved, and that’s not a risk every farmer is willing to take. Electric wire fencing can be used in combination with other materials to add a little enforcement or as a stand-alone fencing material that offers a cost-effective or temporary fencing solution. It’s well-suited for a variety of applications, including keeping predators out and a variety of livestock contained. Electric wire can be used for horses, sheep, goats, cattle, and more.

Final Thoughts on Wire Fencing

When choosing the right fencing material for your farm, consider what goal you are trying to accomplish first. For many, it’s containing or protecting livestock. If that’s your first goal, the type of animal and temperament of the herd will help narrow down the selection. However, that’s far from the only use of fencing around the farm. Perimeter fences, like electric or barbed wire, can keep unwanted visitors off your property. Garden fences like welded or woven wire can keep pesky animals from stealing your food. Each fence has a purpose, and each fencing material has an appropriate use. Red Brand has a long history of providing quality wire fence materials. Shop our premium wire fencing materials today.

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