Whether you are trying to keep your animals in, or wild animals out, a good fence is going to be an essential part of nearly all homesteads. Simply putting up some wire between posts will not get you much. Even if you are able to contain your animals, it could be because there is a steady supply of food and water available, rather than their inability to escape. But potential predators will not be deterred so easily. The following is a few tips on getting your wire fence stretched out tight and started right.
Determine the Grade
After getting your corner posts in, the next step to hanging your wire fence is to determine if the ground is flat, or sloping. This will not be as much of an issue for shorter fences, but even a very gradual slope can make a huge difference in a longer fence. To determine if the ground at your location has too much of a slope, loosely hang the fence on the corner posts and pull it tight by hand. This will allow you to determine if the angel the fence is hung at needs to be adjusted.
High or Low Spots
If there are high spots in an otherwise flat area this can be addressed by digging out the high area if possible. If the ground is too rocky, the fence can be carefully cut to the size and shape of the obstruction so that it fits snuggly to the ground. If there is a low spot in your fence line you can fill the depression with a heavy log, and then nail or staple the fence to the log to keep it tight. Pile on rocks afterward to keep predators from digging in around the log.
To stretch the fence out to the proper tension prior to securely attaching it to the corner posts, you need to first find an anchor point. If a suitable anchor point is not available, you can use a truck or a tractor. If the location will not allow you to get a truck or tractor in position, then as a last resort you can use the corner post itself. Once you have a suitable anchor point, attach a come-along to the anchor, and to the fence. If you attach directly to the fence it will stretch unevenly can damage the fence. For this reason, use a tension bar, or a piece of rebar if a tension bar is not available.
Still Not Tight Enough
If you have secured your fence between your posts and found that there is still a little more slack than you would like you can still fix this. Get a pair of pliers and grasp the top horizontal wire between two vertical wires, then twist the wire until it looks like a “Z” instead of a straight horizontal line. While remaining in between the same two vertical wires, make your way down the fence, twisting each horizontal wire in the same manner. This might need to be done at multiple spots along your fence line to achieve the proper tension.
To avoid losing your animals to predators or escape, put in the effort beforehand to get their area secure. This initial investment of time and energy will pay off in the long run.
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