A good stock fence is hard work.
So firstly, unless you’re prepared to roll your sleeves up and get stuck into a sweat, it is better to call in professional fencing contractors. That having been said, get it right, “straight down the line”, and you’ll be a big proud bear.
There are a number of aspects of groundwork you’ll need to lay down and consider before you start building a fence, including checking the lay of the land, how to choose the line of the fence and deciding which side should be the stock side for your fence.
In this article we’ll have a look at all of these aspects in more detail so that you are fully prepared to get stuck into building a first rate, sturdy fence.
Checking the lie of the ground for your fence
Take your time and study the lay of the land. Concentrate and look closely, you need to know how the ground dips and rises.
This largely dictates what the fence will look like and the decisions you make based on the following information will significantly affect the finished fence.
You can’t change this, but you can ‘massage’ it to look its best.
At the bottom of the fence, you’ll have one to two inches to play with up and down, which means if you are building the standard 4ft stock fence, means your posts need to be between 3ft 10 inches to 4ft 2 inches out of the ground.
When you see a slight rise, followed by a slight fall (or vice versa), you can create a smoother, more flowing fence line by using the fence to take margins off the height and understate the variations of the lay of the land.
A good flowing stock fence should flow smoothly up and down the ground it sits on OR run straight, change direction up or down, and run straight again until the next variation in the land gradient. Short and sharp “wiggles” in the flow of the fence are not pretty.
If you’re not using stock netting, then in most cases you should have a few more inches to play with on the minimum height, providing you don’t go below the height that is needed to keep your required animals safe.
You can go as high as you like, providing the posts are long enough to still retain enough underground length to hold their strength, and your animals can’t slip underneath the lowest horizontal rail or wire.
How to choose the line of the fence
Lastly, check the line, and make sure there are no trees, branches or other large obstacles in the way. If there are, you may need to do some pruning.
If you are using a chain saw, make very sure you are protected and safe. Don’t take risks – use full protection.
Unless you are certain you know what you are doing, exactly how to hold the saw for different actions, you must call in a tree surgeon who does.
Deciding which side is the stock side of your fence
The stock side is the side of the fence that you mostly want to keep animals in. If this does not apply because you’re planning on having stock on both sides, then put the stock side on the side you want the fence to look the best.
This is particularly important if you are using wooden rails.
By taking your time and putting effort into properly preparing for a stock fence, you will often find that your hard work will pay off in the form of a strong, sturdy fence that keeps stock in and lasts in any weather, for many years to come.
Whether you choose to do the work yourself or you invest in the help of a professional, a high quality stock fence will benefit from checking the lay of the ground and making sure that the line of the fence.
As with any kind of construction work, proper planning and research goes a long way!