John & Susan Merrell
41390 Hwy 226
Scio, OR 97374
503-551-7219 (cell)
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Fence Supplies

Fencing Materials will determine the longevity of your fences. It is prudent to invest n high quality materials. The materials will be determined by locale, and the use the fence will be put to. We will be building a fence meant to both contain animals and deter predators, so we will not spend much time on alternative fence designs

Keeping in mind that a fence is a permanent structure, it only makes sense to purchase fencing supplies that are up to the task. False economy is seldom prudent.

At a minimum, a livestock fence will require posts, wire, staples and fasteners, and gates. Select each with permanence in mind. The livestock that is in your paddocks today may change over the years. Your fencing can add value to your property, and if you sell the new owner may want to utilize the property for different animals than you have.

With that in mind, it is wise to construct a fence that is adequate to contain cattle or horses, even though you may own smaller livestock.

Select posts that are adequate to the task. Select wire that is of a heavy enough gauge, and that will survive the weather in your area. Use staples and fasteners of a length that will endure.

Fence Posts

Fence posts must be strong enough to withstand great pressure, and must be able to resist rot and decay. For a woven wire fence, the posts may have over a ton of constant tension on them, and even more if animals challenge them. (Imagine ten horizontal wires each tensioned to 200 pounds or more and you will begin to understand the pressures a fence post must be able of resisting.)

There are a number of suitable materials, depending on your location and budget. In our area we have found round wooden posts to offer the best balance between durability and cost. Always select round posts since they do not have corners that cause the wire to bind up when it is being stretched.

Wood maintained at 20 percent moisture or less will not decay nor will wood deep in the ground where oxygen is very low. However, optimum conditions for fungal growth occur in a zone approximately one foot above and below ground level. This is also the area where maximum fence post strength is required. As a result, we use pressure treated posts, although some people will avoid them in the interest of avoiding the toxic chemicals used in their manufacture.

Other alternatives are available, including steel or concrete posts, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Corner posts should be 6-8 inches in diameter, and a minimum of 8 feet long, which will allow them to be set at least three feet deep.

Line posts can be wood, 3-4 inches in diameter, or heavy duty T-bar posts. T-bar posts may not be appropriate for all animals due to the risk of injury. Caps are available that will lessen the chance of impailment with animals such as horses.

Fence Wire

Several types of wire can be used in a livestock fence, including woven wire, barbed wire and smooth wire. Our fence design will use woven wire, although smooth wire is used in bracing the corner posts. A strand or two of smooth wire may also be used to extend the height of a fence.

Most wire sold today has a coating to protect the wire from rust and corrosion. Galvanizing is the most common protective coating. The degree of protection depends on thickness of galvanizing and is classified into three categories; Classes I, II, and III. Class I has the thinnest coating and the shortest life expectancy. Nine-gage wire with Class I coating will start showing general rusting in 8 to 10 years, while the same wire with Class III coating will show rust in 15 to 20 years.

Aluminum coating is also being used to protect some wire manufactured today. Under the same climatic conditions, aluminum-coated fencing will resist corrosion three to five times longer than galvanized wire with the same thickness of coating.


Fence wire will be attached to wood posts with staples, usually 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch. Special clips are available for attaching wire to metal posts. Be sure that you receive an adequate supply when you purchase your posts.

Purchasing Fence Supplies

Your fence design will determine the supplies you will need to purchase for your fence. Each corner will require a minimum of 5 (single braced) or 9 (double braced) posts. Line posts will be spaced 12-20 feet apart - we usually go 12-15 feet between line posts.

Staples are sold by the pound. You can never have too many.

Smooth wire, used for bracing corners, is sold both by the pound and by length. Figure about 20 feet per braced post.

Woven wire is sold by length. Heights up to 48 inches usually come in 330 foot rolls. Height of 60 inches or more come in 150 foot rolls. 2X4 horse fencing generally comes in the shorter rolls, and usually costs about twice as much per linear foot.


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"The llama is the domesticated descendant of the guanaco, and the alpaca of the vicuna...we know that these animals were systematically bred and selected many centuries ago..."

- Charles Darwin
The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication
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