Perimeter fencing is very important for security as well as the safety of your animals. During a SHTF scenario you may want to have better perimeter fencing and fortification. Once your fence is established, adding fortifications is relatively inexpensive.
In this post, we are going to explore the pros and cons of the major fence systems available to the average person and discuss some options for making your perimeter defenses far more formidable.
Woven Wire Field Fence
This is the best value overall for any size property. While it can be a challenge on rolling hill properties, it can be done. We tried electric when we were younger and on a more limited budget and it was a nightmare of maintenance.
We were relieved to get the entire 11 acre property in woven wire after many years of mediocre fences. There are different heights and weave patters of woven wire fence. The standard field fence like that below is fine for most animals and perimeters. The tighter the weave, the taller the wire, and the thicker each strand of wire, the higher the cost and the more each roll weighs per 100 feet of fence.
I recommend Red Brand Field Fence. We tried the Sierra Brand Fencing that Lowes Home Improvement sells and it gets rusty fast. Not worth the $15 or so per roll it saves you at all.
Even if it was $50 less per roll I still would not buy it because it takes considerable work to put up a woven wire fence and it is even more work if you have to take down old wire and put up new fence. We use the 47″ height field fence.
This is okay as a supplement or a very temporary measure when you need it. Electric is not reliable and if you are away a lot of the time then it is not for you. If you get it be prepared for calls that your animals are out when you are at work. Be prepared to spend over $100 for a good fence box. If you are going with electric I recommend the ParMak line of fence.
Parmak MARK8 Electric Fence Charger
Field Guardian Aluminum Wire
If you are going with electric fence then high tensile is the best you can do. In this system wires are stretched so tight and then tensioner are used to get them as tight as possible.This creates more of a physical barrier than the standard electric fence.It is always done as a permanent fence but it is much easier to take down than a solid barrier if you ever change your mind.
Zareba Systems In-Line Fence Wire Strainer
Chain link is great for those that need a car proof barrier or that are in town.The standard height averages 4 feet or so but if you can get 6-8 ft high fence then it can be a formidable barrier even if you get a climber. Chain length basically lasts forever but it is heavy to install and more expensive than woven wire field fence.
If you find some used rolls of it then you might get a good deal. The advantage of it is that the links are so small that you can keep just about any animal in it with no problems. Some woven wire field fence has large enough holes that smaller animals can slip through, especially when they are babies.
I like barb wire for making areas impassable and if extra protection is needed during a SHTF scenario but for animals and areas that small children will frequent, I do not. Animals can really injure themselves if they get caught on it. A frightened farm animal can bolt and get in a mess.
We had a goat staked once years ago and she jumped through a barb wire fence that was on the property well before our time. She ripped her udder and could no longer raise little goats. With sheep it can become entwined in their wool or around body parts. We have gotten rid of all of the old barb wire around our place.
Barbed wire is a product that is only practical for most people to buy at Tractor Supply, Lowes, Home Depot, or other farm or home improvement stores. In some areas you may have to have it shipped to store. Maybe it is just me but the selection at major home improvement stores definitely varies between urban and more rural areas.
I know that wood looks very pretty and quaint but it does not last so I cannot recommend it for a long term fence solution. It can also be set on fire, especially if you have done the right thing to keep it in the best shape and used a wood preservative.
If you have free wood, I can see how you wood want to use it but I can never recommend anyone spending the money on a wood fence in terms of overall value and longevity.
Supplements: The Combo Fence
While I have talked about some of the major types of fence, I have not talked about the supplemental things you can do to create a more formidable barrier.
Fish Hooks and Line
Lazer Sharp 50 pk Egg Hooks
This is a terrible thing to do but if someone is really out to get you and civil unrest is high then you need to do what is necessary to keep you and your family safe.
To do this tie a series of egg hooks onto clear fishing line. Stretch across areas where you no questions want someone going through. This is nasty stuff so use with caution. You can use any type of fishing line that you cannot break with your fingers.
Stren High Impact Fishing Line
Barb Wire On Top
A huge roll of barb wire is a security bargain. Pick up an extra roll or two and store just in case you need some fast and cheap fortification. Tractor Supply or any farm or home improvement supply should have it on hand. You don’t need the heavy duty stuff either. The finer 17 gauge wire is just fine for fortifications like barriers or a top wire on a woven wire or chain link fence.
OrangeA Razor Wire Galvanized Barbed Wire
It is illegal in a lot of places to put up razor wire so double check if you really want to have it. There is no question that this will keep two and four legged intruders out but like the fishing line “wire” I suggested it is nasty stuff to put up or if something gets caught in it. It will cut very deep. This is much more serious of a fortification than barbed wire.
Remember That Fencing Can Be Done As You Can Afford It
Fencing doesn’t have to be done all at once. As someone that started out in a bramble with a tent, I can attest to the fact that you can do it one roll of wire at a time.When it comes to homesteading that is a valuable lesson.
You don’t need $2,000 to do that fence, you need $200 at a time and then to work through your supplies and then proceed when you can. Over time you will get it all done and fit it into your budget in a way that is not so overwhelming.
Good fences make for better neighbor interactions.
Sorry, but boundaries are important no matter how good of a neighbor you have. Between dogs and livestock, good fences keep them separated and not harming one another.
On Sharing Fences and Installation Costs
Rule number 1 is to never expect anyone to help out with border fences. Some may even say they will but actions speak louder than words. We have some neighbors that made efforts in the past before we moved and if you have people that do help then that is a major bonus.
I am just saying don’t expect it. When budgeting money and resources for your fence, you need to assume that you will be doing it all if you want it done in a timely manner and to your own standards. What you think is an acceptable fence may not be the same thing your neighbor does.
Protocol For Establishing A New Fence Between Neighbors
If you build a fence exactly on a property line then the right thing to do is to talk to your neighbors and agree on the property line before hand. If you have a survey then you can find the markers.
If you cannot find them then it is worth it to get a metal detector out and find them so everything is fair. If you set a fence back from the property line enough that you are sure it is on you then you don’t need to ask but it might mean you are giving up a bit of land.
If you don’t get the fence exactly on the property line or entirely on your property then it is possible your current or future neighbors can raise this issue in the future. It’s best to save yourself the trouble.
Fences Require Maintenance, Some More Than Others
No fence is going to last forever but some can last a very long time. As someone that moved onto property with a very old barbed wire fence surrounding most of it and a very new and well done barbed wire fence on one side, I can say that a lot of people will never to any maintenance unless they have animals getting loose and even then they still might not.
Controlling plant growth on fence lines is on of the challenges. You can spray a mixture of vinegar, citric acid, clove oil, and water to naturally control plant growth. Some livestock like sheep do a good job as well. Of course there is always weed eating too!
Any Fence Has Its Limitations
Fences can be fortified to make them more effective but all fences have their limitations. A good example of this is the fence required to keep White Tail deer out. There is a fence in Black Mountain, NC that is 15 feet high, chain link, and it curves in several feet. Deer still get in and on the grounds of this facility!
Fences can be dug under, too. Porcupines, skunks, groundhogs, and other small animals will dig under fences if they are determined. Dogs patrolling can help prevent this but some may wish to bury fencing a foot into the ground. That takes a lot of work and it is not something anyone does if they can avoid it.
Finding Weak Spots
It can take awhile to get a fence system worked out on larger properties. If your land is mountainous or rolling then there can be high spots that have to be addressed. You can wire in pieces of stock panels or an additional piece of wire to address this.
If you have livestock and pets that are escape artists then look for places where there are skid marks where they are squirming under. Longer haired animals often leave behind stray hairs on wire. We had a Great Pyrenees that used to like to roam a bit before we had a good fence and you could see his hair where he squirmed under barbed wire.
Now days you could also hook up a dog camera to their collar and see where they are getting out. That was newer technology when we were having our problem.
Saving Money = Doing The Fence Work Yourself
Fences take time and money like most things. Like so many home improvement projects, doing the labor yourself is going to cut the cost dramatically. The cost of labor for a project can double or triple the total cost. You can do a lot of things if you pace yourself and do a little at a time as you can afford it. If other family members are on board then you can do even more!
What type of fencing do you use? Any tips for fortifying your fence for hard times?
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