I’ve been dipping into All
Flesh is Grass by
Gene Logsdon, and his fencing chapter was right up my alley.
For a farm less than
five acres in size, he recommends building your fences entirely from
cattle or hog panels since they’re very long-lasting, easy to install,
and work well on uneven terrain. In retrospect, I wish we’d spent
the extra money to install panels since they would have allowed us to
put any animals we want in our pastures, not just chickens.
The other tip that hit
home was about fencing rolling pastures. Can you see the chicken
running down the hill along the fenceline in this photo?
Fencelines inevitably become pathways, so if you don’t want to cause
erosion, make sure fences follow contour lines and don’t run straight
up and down the hill. (Oops.) If you have to install small
sections of steep fenceline, it’s best to think of these as
erosion-prone areas and nip the problem in the bud, perhaps with some
brush or a thick layer of mulch.
minimum by providing clean water that never spills.
In hindsight would you have put in hog panels or cattle panels? We’re currently in the process of moving to a place with a 2 acre back pasture (unfenced), and I’m looking for a solution to fencing it.
After reading your post I did a bit of research. Hog panels stand just a bit less than 3 feet tall, so they’re not going to be ideal for goats who can jump, but the holes get smaller towards the bottom, so they will work well with young animals and chickens. Cattle panels are about 5 feet, but they have uniform holes, which would allow smaller animals in or out.
I’m interested in what you feel would have best suited your pasturing needs – we’re looking at chicken and goats in the pasture – so neither seems ideal 🙁
Turns out our library has the book too – so I’ll have to pick it up and read it myself after the move is complete 😉
That’s a great question! I think that in your shoes, I’d probably go for cattle panels, as long as you think the adult chickens can’t get through the holes. I’ve found that you don’t need to worry too much about chicks if they have a mother hen — the chicks won’t stray far. And it’s a lot easier to add a bit of chicken wire or hardware cloth to the bottom section of a cattle panel than to make a solid barrier above a hog panel.
That said, goats can be tough. I’ve read that you could have trouble if the goats can stick their head through the holes in your panel — they’ll get stuck and sit there crying. And I’m not honestly sure if the cattle panel would be enough to keep in goats without a strand of electric wire across the top.
Looking at Tractor Supply online, it looks like there are other panel choices that might fit the bill, though. Horse panels seem to be small spacing all the way up for a five foot height (although I can’t figure out why they’re so expensive — $75?! Really?!) The “Feedlot Panel Combo” has the same small holes at the bottom as a hog panel, but might be taller. (The website clearly needs some work…) And the Sheep/Goat panels look like the holes are a uniform four inches by four inches in a four foot tall panel.