Keeping your farm animals from harm is one of the reasons we wanted to talk about farm animal safety tips. Since animals are unpredictable, it is up to you to protect them—and yourself—with proper fencing.

Fencing Safety Tips for Small Farm Animals

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Wire

You’ll want to ensure that the wire hole aperture size is smaller than your animals’ appendages, especially their head and legs. You don’t want your animal to get hung up in the wire and break a leg, or worse, suffocate as it struggles to get loose.

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Fence Height

Farm animal safety tips also include also include fence height. Many animals can escape from a too-short fence. Chickens can fly over a two-rail fence of 36” in height, and even puppies can climb or jump over a two-rail fence.

Fencing Safety Tips for Medium Farm Animals (Goats, Pigs, Sheep)

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Wire

Look at the wire thickness to ensure that it is substantially thick enough to withstand an animal’s weight. At Heartland Post & Pole, we recommend a minimum of a 14-gauge wire for medium-sized farm animals.

If you raise goats, make sure that the fence wire is installed between the wood and the goats, as goats love to chew on wood posts. This way the wire can protect the wood. Electric fencing is popular for goat enclosures.

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Fence Height

If your animals can jump, you’ll want to vary the fence height based on how high they can clear. For sheep, it is important to protect them from predators like coyotes. A recommended fence height is 39 inches.

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Fence Quality

Because medium-sized farm animals have some heft to them, it is important to maintain the quality of your fencing. Their sheer weight could compromise your fence should they lean, rub or jump against it. Check regularly for damaged posts or rails, or holes in wire fencing.

Fencing Safety Tips for Large Farm Animals (Horses and Cattle)

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Wire

Choose a minimum of a 12-gauge wire and a minimum of 2” width for aperture holes in a wire fence.

For horses, avoid barbed wire, especially low-lying barbed wire. Horses can easily get their legs wrapped in the barbed wire and may become lame as a result.

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Fence Height

Since horses are likely to jump a fence rather than go under it, the recommended minimum fence height is five feet, or at eye level to the horse. We recommend a five-foot-tall fence for cattle as well.

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Fence Quality

Verify the structural integrity of your fence to ensure that it is solid enough to withstand a large animal’s weight. If there is a concern, you might want to install a hot wire, also known as an electric fence. Ask us about solar-powered hot wires!

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Be aware of muddy areas in your animal housing areas. Wet soil can cause fence posts to become loose, which can allow large animals to easily push them over. If you discover loose posts, fence off that area for the animals’ safety until the ground dries or posts can be better secured.

General Safety Tips

Farm animal safety tips range beyond animals to those working with them. Here are a few quick guidelines to ensure your own safety.

  • Remain calm when working around farm animals, and avoid sudden movements and loud noises.
  • Wear steel-toed shoes when working with large animals.
  • Livestock can easily become frightened, especially when they feel trapped or become isolated from the herd. They may rush you or inadvertently act in a way that could put you in jeopardy. Protect yourself with planned escape route gates in the fencing that are just large enough to allow you to pass through but not the animal.

Ask Heartland Post & Pole

Heartland Post & Pole does more than just build fences; we care about the people and animals in our community. That’s why we wanted to offer these farm animal safety tips. If you have questions about what type of fence would be best for your animals, ask us.

Mastering the craft of building a fence, we hand-craft each post and pole to work with your particular needs, and ensure that the final result will be a high-quality and attractive enclosure. We guarantee our work with our 7-part Heartland Guarantee.

Whether you already have a fence or need one designed and built, contact us for a free estimate.