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4 board vs. 3 board for multiple species paddock

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  • 4 board vs. 3 board for multiple species paddock

    So we are going to do board fencing along the driveway and the side of the house, mainly because it looks nice. [And by God that is what is important! ] Approx. 250 linear feet. The rest will be 5 strands of coated wire. I was planning on doing 4 board, but a friend told me that was a pita here with high snowfall (any thoughts on this?). The lowest board will get buried and they step on it or something.

    Fence height will be 3-6 inches shorter than five feet.

    Throw in my desire to graze some sheep in the pasture to help with "mowing," but keep in mind I am planning on running hot wire down low (could be inbetween a gap if that's best) and along the top board.

    3 board or 4 board? I will likely put up some type of woven wire in the back yard and it will double as a dog containment fence on the horse side. I'd rather not run the woven wire along the driveway though if I can avoid it.

    One more question. I can buy a 2" x 6" x 16" board for a dollar more than a 1" x 6" x 16' board. Keeping in mind neither is really 1 or 2 inches in depth, I'm leaning towards the 2." Overkill? Thoughts?
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    We used 5/4 boards.... 1.25 inch thick ruff cut...treated popular which had some spring but they were strong enough to withstand most all.abuse

    Just had the top rail as we used V-mesh to keep the dogs and kids (human) out


    • #3
      I would also suggest looking at rough cut lumber.

      I think 4 board looks nicer, but it is A LOT of lumber.

      3 board with the hot wire on top and at the bottom would work and still look good.

      During the heavy snows, would the bottom wire ground out due to contact with the snow? I'm clueless on that one, but if you are in an area that consistently gets lots of snow it may be important to know if you electric would remain hot.


      • #4
        If you are planning to contain sheep, I'd recommend going with woven wire or some kind of wire mesh for perimeter fencing, basically something that forms an actual physical barrier. Three board fence plus a hot wire at the bottom will not reliably contain sheep. Four board fence plus a hot wire at the bottom will pretty reliably contain well fed adult ewes, but I'm not sure it would be reliable enough to be the only barrier between a sheep and the road or your neighbor's property. If you have three or four board fence with a wire at the bottom, when it snows and the sheep are standing on a foot or two of snow they might happily squeeze out through the first and second board or the second and third board.

        Sheep are much easier to contain than goats and generally are very content to live in a contained area, but they are "well insulated" over most of their bodies, so electric fence needs to be HOT to work well, and occasionally a wily sheep can learn how to squeeze through electric barriers without getting much of a shock. Just like horses, some sheep respect electric fence perfectly their whole lives, but occasionally you'll get one that only respects it only as long as it suits them. If you are thinking of breeding sheep, small lambs or rams wishing to visit ewes need a physical barrier to be reliably contained. The other thing to consider is that sheep can be a little bit vulnerable to visiting predators/stray dogs. Your horses would probably provide some level of protection, but a perimeter fence that discourages predators is helpful.

        FYI I rotate and co-graze sheep with horses and it really conditions the fields beautifully and cuts down on weed-eating and mowing. Sheep graze down the "roughs" that horses won't graze, love to nibble on interesting weeds, and their little cloven hooves don't crush grass shoots or dig up fields.


        • #5
          I agree with 2foals, you need a mesh fence inside the boards to keep sheep in, stray or PET dogs OUT, since dogs are the worst of predators on sheep or just chasing the horses. All FUN to a dog! You may own a nice agressive dog chaser among your horses, but most horses won't do that for you, so mesh to keep the dogs out is very important. One low wire won't do it for dogs, even if wire is hot.

          I would only do 3 boards with a mesh lining. Easier to trim under high boards, snow goes under higher boards, snow doesn't get caught near fences until you plow. Less paint or spray to keep the 3 boards looking nice. Set the fence BACK from the driveway, so you have room to put that plowed snow if you get quantities. 10-16ft shoulders on each side of drive is not unreasonable in deep snow areas. Check local snow records for the WORST it can be, so you are not surprised when depths of snow make MOUNTAINS when plowing the drive!

          Your "midwest" location is not a clue for quantity. My mom measures her snow fall in feet, while we are 150 miles north of her, but almost never get that kind of snow depth. She lives in a snow hole to begin with just south of Kalamazoo, has Lake Effect add-ons!!


          • #6
            Originally posted by goodhors View Post
            Set the fence BACK from the driveway, so you have room to put that plowed snow if you get quantities. 10-16ft shoulders on each side of drive is not unreasonable in deep snow areas. Check local snow records for the WORST it can be, so you are not surprised when depths of snow make MOUNTAINS when plowing the drive!
            THIS. And, in fact, MORE than this. If you haven't installed your fence yet, you're in luck because there's still time to plan the most useful (or least awkward) location.

            Before you install your fence, talk to your farmer neighbours about fence height, design, and setup, and find out about prevailing winter winds. Most people who put up pasture fences don't actually plan for them to become snow fences, but that's often how things work out. A three- or four-board fence that's parallel to a driveway may have to be installed VERY far from the drive (like 100' or so) if you don't want it to cause the snow to drop into the drive and create big drifts, especially if your driveway is at all below grade (ask me how I know this, sigh).

            Here are links to two documents that are very helpful (talk to the neighbours anyway, though):

            I'm in Illinois and find both of these useful - and so does my brother who lives in Wyoming.



            Good luck!
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            • #7
              You can put cutoff switches on sections of your fencing. Put them on your lower strands so when snow is predicted you can cut off the electricity to the bottom strands.


              • Original Poster

                SE South Dakota. So not a huge snowfall. Can definitely have a few feet, although it has been less and less lately (we are in a drought).

                Our driveway is completely wooded (i.e. in the north shelter belt), so I'm not worried about snow blow as much as ice. Also, the fenceline is probably 25-45 (angle) feet from the drive (yard and then a row of trees) The east line of the property is open pasture/highway.

                I really want to do the fencing ourselves and I'm not sure I'm up to the task of correctly installing high-stretched woven wire. Ugh. I have done high tinsile before, but then you only have one stretch point at a time. I've seen videos on the woven mesh, but can people really DIY well? What about shod horses catching a shoe on the woven wire? Maybe we can't do the sheep. I'm picturing you are referring to the diamond mesh type...

                The majority of our fencing will be coated wire (like White Lightening) and I thought the wood along the drive. I appreciate the comments and am leaning towards the three boards instead of four.

                The VAST majority of fencing around me is barb wire for cattle or high tensile (non-coated) wire for horses. Like 99.9% Sheep are behind barb wire with a large square (usually with a low, sagging large square wire fence along the bottom).
                Last edited by TrotTrotPumpkn; Dec. 17, 2012, 01:36 PM.
                DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/