How to Install a Fence Post Installation and More
New to the land? Planning to have livestock? Here’s a pasture fence field put up guide to help you get it right. It covers how to install a fence, from fence post installation to galvanized wire fence attachment, and includes fence cost and building a fence pictures.
PASTURE FENCE PLANNING
Before pasture fence field put up activities are begun, careful planning is warranted.
Some general “how to install a fence” planning principles are:
- Because of erosion risk, land that has a slope steeper than 20 degrees is more suited to agroforestry than pasturing.
- For ease of management, understand your soil types and fence them separately. If you aspire to small farm self sufficiency then your best soils should be reserved for horticulture.
- Fences should follow the contour of the land. Keep those that run down slope to a minimum to avoid erosion.
- Keep vehicle traffic to designated access ways to avoid soil compaction. These should also be on the contour as much as possible.
- Ensure livestock can access shade and shelter from the elements in every paddock.
- Gates placed in corners formed by intersecting fences will be easier to run stock through.
- To minimize erosion from stock pathways, watering and feeding points should be close to and below fences that are high in the landscape.
PASTURE FENCE COST
This pasture fence field put up guide covers how to install a fence to keep small livestock such as milking goats and sheep secure, while excluding large dogs, all at minimal fence cost.
The materials we are using are fence posts (1.8 m treated pine logs) for corners and gateways, medium tensile wire (4 strands), 1.8 m black star pickets (at intervals of every 4 meters or so), ring fastener staples, and 1.15 m light dog fencing.
Pasture fence cost (early 2008 in Australian dollars) for this type of fencing is around $435 per 100 meters, typically made up of:
- 8 x RL5 1.8m Pine Poles @ $14.00 each = $112
- 25 x 1.8m Black Star Pickets @ $6.40 each = $160
- 100m roll 8-115-15 Lite galvanized wire dog fence = $138
- 2 boxes Ring Fasteners staples @ $12.50 each = $ 25
However, an even cheaper solution (around half the price of a woven wire fence) is ELECTRIC FENCING which you can learn about here.
We stock inexpensive and effective solar electric fence chargers which you can take a look at here.
PASTURE FENCE FIELD PUT UP GUIDE TO FENCE POST INSTALLATION
The best approach to fence post installation depends a lot on your soil type and is also influenced by the time of year.
How deep should the holes be?
With fence post installation of poles, the fattest end goes in the ground. How deep should the hole be?
Since fence posts tend to vary somewhat in length, first measure off from the skinniest end the height of your netting and mark with a pencil. The remaining length is how deep your fence post installation needs to be. In our case it was around 700 mm.
If your property comprises sandy or lighter loamy soils with few rocks, you will probably find that a manual post hole digger tool will make the job a breeze (lucky you!).
In our case, our soil is mostly rock infested heavy loam and our post hole digger has proven to be useless. We have found a heavy, good quality long metal pinch bar with a spade end and a pointed end is indispensable for loosening up the soil which can later be removed from the hole with a shovel or by hand. The pointed end can even break off the edges of rocks.
Make sure you wear gloves or you’ll soon sport some impressive blisters!
These building a fence pictures were taken in the middle of summer when the soil was dry and very hard. A useful tip for such conditions is to dig your holes in stages, between which you pour in half a bucket of water and leave overnight to soften up.
Level the post
For good looking fence post installation, use a spirit level to ensure the post is exactly vertical. This is best done with a little soil already filled in around the post to help keep it steady, particularly if fence field put up is being done by one person on their own.
Filling in around the post
The gap around your posts must be refilled securely so they won’t lean after fence field put up. We accomplish this by throwing in a layer of small rocks between each of soil, and tamping each layer in hard with a pipe or star picket. Near the top of the hole larger rocks are tamped in where they will best resist the stress imparted by fences strained against the post.
Brace the strainer into corners, and cut a notch into the supported post to accommodate it.
The other end of the strainer post is buried 6 inches into the ground, against a large rock to stop it from slipping. To minimize loose unstable soil, only make the hole as large as it needs to be.
PASTURE FENCE FIELD PUT UP STEPS FOR STAR PICKETS
Then use a string line (for long distances) or measuring tape (for shorter) stretched tightly between the posts as a guide to fence placement.
For long distances the straightest fence comes from working as a pair with one placing the picket according to the sightline made by the other along the previously placed fence posts and pickets. But for short distances the measuring tape does the job nicely.
If you want the option of being able to open up a section of fence to let large vehicles through, you can create a removable picket. This is done by burying a 700mm section of PVC or metal pipe large enough to slip the picket into. Use a picket to get it plumbed straight at installation.
PASTURE FENCE FIELD PUT UP GUIDE TO GALVANIZED WIRE FENCE ATTACHMENT
As our livestock is sheep and goats, when building a fence we use a 1.15m high galvanized wire fence sold as dog netting. It is similar to ringlock and other woven wire fences designed for livestock.
The height is adequate to contain quiet milking goats. We have also used it as a boundary fence to dissuade kangaroos that might otherwise destroy our young trees and vegetables.
The intervals between the horizontal wires is closer at the bottom to exclude large dogs that could otherwise maul your livestock.
We buy the “Lite” gauge because it is cheaper, but reinforce it with medium tensile fencing wire to which the galvanized woven wire fence is attached using ring fasteners.
So the next step then is to put up the fencing wire.
Putting up the Fencing Wire
First we nail four sturdy staples into each post at heights that correspond to the top, bottom and two middle horizontal wires of the woven wire fence. Then we string through the galvanized wire fence post to fence post.
Large rolls of fencing wire are very difficult to unroll and manage without a spinning jenny. We managed to, only by having one person unrolling the heavy roll, while the other pulled and threaded it along the fence, twisting it by a turn every couple of steps to prevent tangles.
It’s a hard and hazardous job so wear gloves and mind your face as the tension in the twisted wire is likely to suddenly cause the end to jump out of your grip and spin around wildly. Bending the end helps with maintaining your grip.
Once a full galvanized wire fence length has been unfurled, use a good set of pliers to secure one end permanently around a post (check local farmers’ fences for ideas there) and strain the other end before securing to get it tight.
To save on fence cost when building a fence we use a fence strainer, but you could also use fencing ratchet strainers, particularly useful to strain short lengths of fence.
Pasture Fence Field Put Up Steps for the Woven Wire Fence Component
Woven wire fence field put up starts with unrolling it along the length of the fence line. Here’s another how to install a fence tip for you: start uphill and let gravity help! Also place something heavy on the end or it is likely to roll up again.
Remember that if your woven wire fence, like ours, has a smaller grid size on one side, that’s the side that should go at the bottom of the fence.
Once it’s unrolled, you can stand it up against the fence and secure it to your 4 galvanized wire fence strands using Ring Fasteners applied with special pliers designed for the task.
If it is a long fence segment then you should first strain the netting either manually starting at one end, or using fence strainers.
Finishing Touches to Pasture Fence Field Put Up
We used rocks to block most of ours, but also found worn and discarded wood fence posts ideal – just hammer them to the bottom wire with U-staples.
The final job before introducing your stock is to establish a water supply. We acquired this old bathtub from a friend who was renovating but you can also get them from roadside collections for free, or salvage yards for around $30.
Pasture Fence Field Put Up Guide for Horses
The foregoing does not pretend to describe how to install a fence for horses as horses have special needs when it comes to fences.
Why? Because of their propensity of go loopy! And unfortunately it seems that the more valuable the horse, the greater the chance of it hurting itself. As such, the pasture fence described on this site is not the most horse friendly.
Because of their grid pattern that can trap hooves, woven wire fences such as the galvanized wire fence we have used are generally not suitable for horses. For this reason horse fences are generally made from plain wire and posts.
To further minimize the risk of the silly buggers hurting themselves the top wire is often a highly visible white plastic coated type or a wooden rail, and any star pickets used are shielded with a white plastic cap.
We hope this pasture fence field put up guide has given you the confidence and know how to install a fence yourself. Happy fencing!