If there is a weak spot in your enclosure, your livestock will know. Whether they are opportunists, hungry, or just bored, your animals will find a way to the other side.

Finding the best fence for your ranch is important, but how do you know which one is best for you? Choosing the right fencing for your land may seem like a daunting task with so many options out there, so what should you consider as you make your decision?

After first identifying the purpose of your fence and what you will be keeping in or out, you can move on to looking at materials.

Barbed Wire

While some cattle farmers gravitate towards barbed wire to reduce the number of broken fences due to leaning cows, there are risks to be aware of before installing this option. Barbed wire may pose a larger threat to different animals, so be sure to consider the safety of your animals before choosing barbed wire.

For example, horses may be at a greater risk of being entangled in the wire than cattle. In addition, barbed wire may affect your chances of selling the property, so if there is a chance of relocation in the future, barbed wire may not be the wisest option available. Barbed wire poses a greater threat not only to your animals but also the rest of your ranch as there is a greater physical threat then just wood. Not to mention the less than desirable curb appeal.

Electric Fence

While there are some uniquely helpful qualities of electric fences, they are generally not considered ideal for the perimeter of an enclosure due to their power source dependency; you will want to research the elements of an electric fence which include wire, posts, and a charger.

You must find a charger for your fence that has the appropriate number of joules in addition to considering how your power is being sourced. Should you use solar energy or volts? These may add up to extra money, making it a less cost-effective option.

An electric fence requires installing grounding rods for safety, which is yet another factor to research and consider if you choose an electric fence. In addition to considering the power source, you will need to make sure the level of power is suitable to ensure a shock big enough to deter the animal, but not too big that you will harm them. There may be a discrepancy between these levels if you are planning on enclosing multiple different types of animals.

Ranch Rails

If you’re looking for flexibility, versatility, and low cost, consider ranch rail fencing made out of cedar wood or composite materials. Because it is more affordable than its counterparts, ranch rail fencing is a top candidate for areas with a large perimeter. Ranch rail fences tend to cost less because of the simplicity of their design and the fact that they are composed of cheaper materials.

A ranch rail is flexible enough to meet most fence needs because you can change the interval of beams depending on its use. For example, constructing a fence with smaller intervals will accommodate smaller animals, but horses may get away with more space between beams.

This type of fence can have two, three, or four beams, giving you options depending on your needs. In addition to their versatility, the ranch rail adds curb appeal to your ranch with clean, rustic beams that you may prefer over the less aesthetic barbed wire.

There are a few different types of ranch rail fencing to consider: a standard ranch rail, a decorative ranch rail, or a split rail fence. Because of the simple vertical and horizontal post design, ranch rail fencing comes with more spacing options. Similarly, a split rail design limits your options to the pre-existing holes within the post. Either way, you should know your budget and research the best design for your ranch.

Going with a standard ranch rail gives you the option of two, three, or four horizontal beams, but there are more decorative options. If you like the functionality, affordability, and appeal of the ranch rail, but are hoping for a more creative pattern than just horizontal beams, a decorative ranch rail fence may be just the thing. You can install the beams horizontally, vertically, or diagonally to spruce up your fence and add a little character to your ranch.

Choose What’s Best For YOU

Your ranch requires a lot of hard work to maintain, and your fence will either aid or hinder your progress. Your primary goal is to keep your animals safe, secure, and enclosed–with as little extra elbow grease from you as possible.