We purchased 7 acres in northern NJ that we will be homesteading. We would like to raise some livestock, grow some vegetables and tree seedlings as part of our homesteading plans but before we can do any of that we've come to the reality that we would need a good property fence.
The property is pretty much wooded with the exception of the house area. The wooded 6 +/- acres have a lot of deer browsing. We hope to fence off the house area initially before fencing the rest of the property because of it being too costly.
We have been doing our research and have been told the best permanent property line fencing we should look into is 8' deer fence which we have decided we would like to have installed ourselves because of the following:
We inquired and received two quotes for different options of fencing which ranges from $12k for just the one acre house perimeter area, all the way to $18k for the whole property.
To be honest, we highly doubt we can afford that or it just isn't something we feel we should spend right now because the property's house has needed a complete house renovation and new septic approved by our lender and we need to stay in budget with our finances.
We would though like to start raising some animals and doing some activities on the property but it doesn't make sense to do so if we do not have a good fence to contain and protect our animals from predators and keep anyone or thing out.
Due to it being cost prohibitive in hiring a company to do the instalation themselves, we were thinking in building the deer fence on our own. We know a source for good black locust posts and would purchase the 8' woven metal wire ourselves.
We just don't know how difficult or well we could build this permanent property deer fence and how to exactly built it. I'm sure we could built it at a much lower fraction of the cost of someone else doing the work and that will defintily help us out to begin well with our dreams.
If anyone has any suggestions, advice and ideas we would greatly appreciate it. We really would like to know how to do this project well and our own if possible.
Thank you very much.
If you plan to have goats you will need field fence. With chicken you can use chicken wire.
Planning is the key. You can use barb wire for a property line fence. All fencing mentioned is not hard to install. The internet will probably have something to show you how to do it. You can hire local labor to help and they probably know how also. The cost of the wire chosen and fence posts are the big expense.
I have what is considered a predator proof fence (for wildlife management purposes) and it is 4 foot high page wire fence, about $179 per 330 foot roll of wire. (fence posts and bracing wire would increase the cost obviously).
But to keep out deer, an 8 foot fence is not required, (2) fences will do the same thing. That is because while a deer can bound over a 4 foot fence quite easily, they cannot do it from a standing jump, they have to get a running start, and thus they have room to land too. You cannot do anything about them having a running start, but if you situate the second fence just where the deer would land, they will not jump over the first fence. Make the first fence a full 4 feet, and the next fence 32 inches high, and you will most likely defeat deer without looking like your inside a county prison farm.
You will have to do the math, but it probably is a lot cheaper too then 8 feet page wire fencing. (You might even be able to get away with cheap step-in electronet fencing for the second fence to stop the deer from jumping)
The property line deer fence is not only for deer but to keep away any predator from going in and to keep our animals inside. We also are getting a Great Pyrenees and they require at least a 6' fence in order to keep them contained in our property.
We have two close neighbors on one end so we really don't want any issues with that either in any animal going into their property.
Any advise and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Does anyone have any recommendation for a source for high tensile woven wire for deer fence and how to install them?
Please let me know.
The standard here is 6ft+ out of the ground, with the same depth "in" the ground....so 12ft star posts (a custom order here)...plus what we call "ring lock". Its terribly expensive just for the components so I can understand the quote you've been given.
....needless to say we're doing other things
If you want a 6 foot fence, and LGD's and all that, it is one thing, but if you think it is a requirement, then I hope I might be able to save you some money. That is all. I know when I got into sheep in 2008 I was petrified of my sheep being eaten by nasty predators, and flooded their 3 acre pasture with lights at night time. Now I have quite a few more sheep, graze a lot more acres and sleep just fine. I am just saying, over time you just get used to life. Coyotes are my biggest threat, and honestly, if there is easier prey, they go for that instead. If you have a lot of deer, they will undoubtedly be dining on venison and not sheep or goats.
In Maine we call High-Tensile Woven Wire; Page Wire...a commercial brand much like you might grab a Kleanex to blow your nose...it is facial tissue, but everyone calls it a Kleanex. Anyway with this stuff, the key is to not overtighten the fence. It has little z-bar kinks so that it is not over-tightened. It is a physical barrier and not a pain barrier like electric fence, so some give actually helps. Also make sure you use BARBED staples. I live on a hill and thus snowdrifts knocked down a half mile of fencing simply because we used non-barbed staples. I won't make that mistake again. And of course there are corners. Make sure they are H-style and well braced. DO NOT use a winding stick, not with woven wire. Over time the frost action plays havoc with the H-Brace and you will need to tighten it up. With a winding stick now covered with woven wire, you cannot tighten it up. Instead install high-tensile tensioners. They look like mini-come-alongs that you put a handle in and crank tight. In this way, if your H-Brace loosens, just crank it tight for a notch or two and it is as rugged as ever. All the braces I install now have them. I space my posts 16 feet on center, but you can do as you wish. They have sagged a bit over the last 10 years, but nothing bad. My sheep do not get out
Overall I like woven wire. Its not really that expensive because once you put it up, it stays up for 30 years. Depreciated over a life span of that length of time and its actually pretty cheap.
A you tube on this might be better. I installed a fence like this one with the help of 2 laborers. I showed them how to do it.
High tensile electric fence- 4 or 5 wire 4 or 5' tall will keep in all your livestock except the chickens/birds but that can be fixed with electric moveable poultry netting if your really worried about them. I could fence 20 acres for about $1000 with this and it is MUCH easier to install than a woven wire fence. Space the line posts way out, mine are 40-50' where it is flat enough. You just need to keep the wire off the ground, you dont have to stretch it tight at all. It is not a physical barrier fence, NOTHING even touches the fence once they know what it is. Metal t posts with plastic insulators work just fine for all the line posts and are cheap provided you space them out good. I would guess you would be in about $1000-$1500 for your 7 acres with a good fence charger( i recommend a parmak brand with the voltage display in the front). Set up a physical barrier fence corral area with a couple hot strands inside to train your animals to the electric so they cant escape when they get hit the first couple times(make it a fairly large area because animals tend to freak out in small confined spaces). Then your good to let them roam once they figure it out. You do have to maintain a clear fence line though(which you should be doing with any type of fence anyways)
Livestock guardian dog- The first year i planted my apples in the field, every single tree got eaten by the deer. After i got my Pyrenees, no more deer even come into the field. Deer can jump over the fence, but they wont if there is a dog in there. Your 8' tall fence isnt going to keep out coons. The dog will constantly work to keep all predators off the land. And the high tensile fence works great for keeping the dog in( dog has to be trained to fence just like the livestock). Just watch the gates as these are the places the dog will crawl under, not the fence. I had to make a lot of my gates hot too to keep the dog in them. I would expect to pay around $200 for the dog and should be able to feed him on $20/ month on the cheap dog food. You may have to fence off your gardens to keep the dog out but that is easy as he will respect a single strand of electric just like a cow.
This solution is under $2000. A fraction of the cost of what you are thinking about doing. Dont let anyone tell you high tensile dosent work. I got a buddy with a goat farm that uses this fence and that says a lot if you know goats.
Unlike her, however, I did not use woven wire but poultry netting, as I could not afford any better. I did use 12 ft. metal T posts.
Since I only have to keep deer out but no livestock in, my fence need not be super strong. However, I recognize that poultry wire, although galvanized, will break down relatively soon. Therefore, I am planting shrubs along the perimeter of the fence so that within several years I should have a decent hedge that deer can't see over.
This sort of thing may be adequate for your kitchen garden. Also, you might search on the forum for a thread titled something like "dead hedge". This is something I am testing myself. It is building enclosures out of dense piles of brush. The o.p.of this thread is successfully keeping goats in such an enclosure.
For years we had only a 4' woven wire ("horse fence") around our garden but had very few deer problems. However as soon as our dog turned 10 yrs old and slowed down some, the deer showed up. What I ended up replacing that 4' fence with is a 6' woven wire horse fence topped with several strands of electric wire. That took some adjustments to get the spacing right on the electric wires, but it now keeps the deer out; coyotes, dogs and foxes too.
I have tried the two fences spaced apart and can tell you they do NOT work for the deer here in the West. I have heard good things about an all electric solution, using a combination of high and low wires spaced over some horizontal distance. But like any electrical solution it requires keeping the wire area mowed and the wires free from shorts.
You can save yourself some money and work putting in a shorter fence or even just an electric fence, but do your research first. Things that may keep mule deer out in Colorado may not be effective on white tails back east and vice versa. Talk with neighbors in your area and find out what works and doesn't for them. And I would not count on any one fence working for all animals, whether you are trying to keep them in or out. Chickens have different requirements than horses or coyotes or bears.
Deer fence. Yep.
We're in the middle of it right now.
1200 feet of fence around ~ 2.5 acres of our total 5 acres.
Essentially zones 1, 2 and a bit into 3 - so we skirt just inside the woods which are the upper portion of our 5 acres, and leave wildlife corridors on both sides. We'll have some wooded shade for our mushroom logs and shady perennial gardens (and also have the fence up there more or less invisible from below as it's in the woods about 30 feet - just below the main deer trail.
We are installing ourselves, using red brand and black vinyl coated hexmesh deer fence - the hex on the wooded eastern upper edge (it's black and harder to see) and topped with 2 plain wires - fence is to 6 feet and wires take us to just under 8 feet. Round wooden posts in concrete for corners and a few H braces - and metal T posts set in the (mostly clay)_soil for the rest - it's not cheap - we saved up for it - ~5K with supplies and some helping labor from a local permaculture school - great helpers!
We started with earthworks in late 2015 - a sloping swale to draw water off the hillside above the house/chickens and garden area and into a basin that flows to a spillway to a lower pond - this spring the entire area is full of water and the frog chorus is beyond amazing. There is a natural pond up in the woods for the wildlife, so they have their own water access.
But our plantings of the first of the food forest, currants and flowering plants for our bees were getting chomped by deer relentlessly - and I was tired of losing my battles to keep the garden deer proof.
We talked a lot about whether to just fence one garden area, but after discussions with other permaculturists who've done their whole properties or at least the larger inner zones, it made sense to us to give ourselves the freedom to really open up what we can do inside a larger protected area.
It is a lot of work, but we're really happy with our decision.
We also have regular foxes, coyotes, cougar and the occasional bear around here, so the fencing will mean they can't just waltz right up and eat our ducks or knock down hives for honey. This winter we lost 2 of our ducks for the first time, and have nearby bee keepers who lost hives to bears.
We used electric fencing around the garden for the first 2 years here OK but by year 3 the deer were onto us - the fencing doesn't really bother them, esp. in dry summer weather - they don't ground much on dry earth - tiny hooves. So then they just walk through it - basically shoulder barrel it out of the way. They send their kids in under the lower wire and figure out really quick how to negotiate the '3D' style of off setting the lines - we've tried it all.
By last summer (year 4) they just walked through anywhere and took what they wanted.
If you rent a one man auger and only put in wood posts and cement in your main corners, a few H braces and braces around gates you can use metal T posts for the rest - and get a lot of fencing for a lot less money than doing wood/cement posts all around.
We paid $189/roll for 165 feet of 6 foot redbrand deer fence at the local farm supply store - and about $7ea/10 foot T posts (most places seem to be at about $10/ea)
Since you're going 8 feet tall (assuming you want to actually keep the deer out) you need a 10 foot post - 12 foot were too hard to find and too expensive when we did find them, but the 10s are working out just fine.
You can also use 2 4foot fences one on top of the other - we know of at least one place where they did that and like it. We were really looking to keep the visual impact as low as possible -hence the wire on top instead of solid fence to 8 feet.
It might be possible to find better pricing or get used materials for some of this - we just made our budget and planned for it and did our best to hold the line on the expenses once we had it set. If you can wait and plan and take your time, you could gather materials 2nd hand and other ways for more savings.
The best money spent by far was for the people helping us. Find your local permaculture people and hire them. Local fence contractors go for $30 to $50/hour according to our research. But you can pay half that (a decent wage for short term help) and get great hard workers who know their stuff.
PLUS you make great new friends! Best thing we ever did was take the earthworks class at Aprovecho four years ago! It got us the education we needed first, and the team to actually create our vision and get it in motion. Highly recommend finding your local permaculture center!
Earthworks, plantings and fences are just the first parts of the plan, then the real fun begins!
Good luck with your place! Don't forget to think about earthworks ideas first!
This winter we got about 5' of snow and that's the real danger with fencing, that it seems like it's really tall but in the winter when the deer are hungry and you're walking on ice a few feet above the soil, the fence isn't that high at all. However, what mattered is that the fence broke the deer's habit of browsing in our orchard. We have had no problems with deer jumping what is now a low fence. Elsewhere where we planted unprotected apple trees, most of them have been grazed, so the deer are still in the area.
Because we've cut down a copse of pines to make another orchard near those unprotected apple trees, we know we're going to have to fence in that area too. I'm not looking forward to the expense; however, my husband left a ring of pines at the perimeter, and the fence will attach to the pines. This means that the bulk of the work — which is digging the holes and pouring the concrete for the poles — can be skipped. So this fence will be cheaper. If you can leave trees on which to attach your fence, do so.
we have fenced 8 pastures for our sheep and llamas and 3 for our goats and they cut off their trail. we have 3 dogs that are out during the day and in at night. i believe their presence and the fencing have made them try a new path somewhere else. we have only seen one deer and always the same one. we see it at the upper pond with our male miniature horse. apparently they have become friends and we often see them standing together and eating. this is in an area that is wooded and only has the 4ft fence. so i guess i am saying that for us, we just deer fenced the areas that were important for us and what we could afford. i am not sure but i think it was about $1000 to $2000 for all the fencing, wire, t-posts, wood, small gates my hubby made of wood and the big metal gate so we could drive the tractor in. my hubby, son, and daughter did it themselves. i am sure you will find what works best for you. take your time if you can and really think about your options. i have found that as we improve the farm, i have an idea about what, how, or where i want something done and then i change my mind for the better
Thank you everyone for your ideas and advice, thank you very much.
I also thank Becky for the information and idea as I might be proceeding with something similar in what we have planned.
What I have in mind to do is the following:
My plan is to build an 8' high deer property fence around the house area and added acreage perimeter which would be a wide square/rectangle around 1-2 acres from our total 7+ that is wooded. Purchase 50-80 4"-6" X 11' (3' dug in) black locust posts, High Tensile 12.5g Solidlock®Pro Fixed Knot at around $380.00 per 330' roll and set posts every 15'-20'.
Hire a laborer and work together with another friend that has experience with building fences and other things and start from there. I think I will be spending around $3,000-$5000 for this whole plan and it will also include the gates I need to access the outside of the house area road, access to the rest of the property and woodland, and access to a trail that leads down a cliff to the Delaware river.
Keep in mind I was quoting around and 2 fence companies wanted to charge $12k-$18k depending on what layout I had in mind but just at the minimum is way too much for us and we would prefer to learn to make our own fencing for future referencing. They also were only going to use treated pine which we do not want as we want to go organic. If we used black locust with them it would have been an additional $3k!
I have a source for black locust posts in upstate NY but I wonder if anyone near me in NJ or PA might have it at a better price and availability.
The reason I am thinking of doing such a fencing plan is because of our heavy deer population which crosses through our property and home area as well as bears as I've been told bears have been seen in our home area by people working there and seeking their droppings.
Another main reason for this is we have neighbors around surrounding our 7 acre property and a main county Rd and though we have some privacy to some extent, we do not want to risk any of our livestock/animals having access to outside areas, unwanted visitors/animals to enter the property, and deer having access to where we will be growing some nursery stock trees and vegetable/fruit planting. Not to say we would prefer to feel secure that we have a well made 8' fence that surrounds the home from any invader and bears to some extent and help keep inside our guardian dogs because we have heard of them climbing over 6' fences.
We have though about the electric fence/powered high tensile wire and we might put a strand or two on the inside of the fence to give extra security in no animal trying to touch the fence but we have heard stories as mentioned above of electricity not bothering deers, not containing livestock, and definitely not containing guardian dogs that have resistant long coats and stubborn demeanors!
In my opinion and after research a high and strong fence solves all that. We would barb wire or use high tensile powered wire for the rest of the property line fence to make it more economical but for the main house living around it feels better to have a well made physical fence.
Any additional advice and information is greatly appreciated. I'm just trying to learn more on building this fence and how to build well made H/corner braces to support the fence and how we will be able to work with the 300lbs roll of wire we would be using as do not have any equipment but just myself, a paid laborer and a friend or two that would help.
Thank you all once more.
Our previous wires were all at 9" spacing. Although the wires were tight, the deer would take a run, lift their undercarriage and ping through nose first....they left a lot of hair behind. We wasted lots of time on the other formats, even using forestry and US corn growers advice. None of them worked, but our current pattern does, and is a lot cheaper. We've used some reclaimed rabbit wire too, but that was just to save throwing the stuff. We've even planted tayberries, loganberries and blackberries on the inside, so as it can double-up as a trellis. If you scroll down on 'facebook.com/moondawnfarm', you'll find the pics. Good luck!
Edison Avecillas wrote:Hello everyone.
the reality that we would need a good property fence.
If anyone has any suggestions, advice and ideas we would greatly appreciate it. We really would like to know how to do this project well and our own if possible.
Deer cannot judge distance very well, so Travis is right that if you do a double fencing with a space in between, the fence does not need to be as high as 8'. To "stick the landing" they need to have enough room and sometimes a running start. If on the inside you have raised beds that are parallel to the fence, they will be afraid they may not stick the landing, especially at night, which is when they are most active. The other thing is that they will not jump over a fence if they cannot tell what is on the other side (But that thorny fence might be years down the road, so let's think about now.) Armed with that knowledge and a tight budget, this is how I fenced my orchard: I planted a metal post every 8 ft. At the bottom, I placed some chicken wire (2' high)That was for the rabbits, and also because deer will go under if they smell something good on the other side. Besides that, I can keep it cleaner so that grass, bushes, don't create a short and defeat the purpose. (I mow close on both sides, occasionally burn the 6 inch width under. Another thing to know is that if a deer can stick their head through, they will panic and keep pushing. Above that, I used the electric wire that works with a solar fence. The biggest expense is the posts and the solar zapper. Don't go cheap on the solar zapper. It will work for years, day and night. The wire is cheap, so put as many strands as you can afford, and place the strands close enough that they cannot put their head through (like 6"). I cheated: I put 6-7 "hot" strands, and filled to height with dummy wires . Just seeing a barrier with multiple strands is a deterrent. I had to deal with a door, so I made the door high and impassable (2 heights of cattle fencing, cut to length works slick: They come in 16 ft length. One cut in half still gives you a door 8 ft high and wide .With the hot wire, I went from the door all the way around to the other post, then up 6" and come back to the first post, then up 6" and repeat. (or go 12" and place a dummy wire in between. They won't know the difference after they get zapped by one.
Now you have that 8' fence, you can start planting the thorny stuff and you will have several years before you can remove the original and do another area. Repeat at will.
Incidentally, you may want to contact your county extension. they may offer a free zapper to protect a crop if you are a registered farmer, or go to your DNR, they will know who offers this in your area. Good luck with your project.
Every foot or 6 inches add high tension wire until desired height.
This is my style for all fencing and it keeps dogs in, chickens in or out and deer out. The dogs help with the deer.
I have used a high grade woven wire and large enough posts to keep pigs in one day.
In my plans I expect to run a single strain of electric wire 2 inches above the woven to keep critters from crawling over the fence around my growing area.
Depending on your climate you can likely find a species that works suitably.
Thorny hedges may work, but during droughts here (in AU) the local wildlife here will happily spend all night nibbling every single leaf off a prickly tree (roses, brambles, wild citrus, etc). Plus prickly plants a pain to manage if you need to do any pruning / re-planting, etc.
I've been experimenting with Bambusa oldhamii -- edible, useful as timber, non-thorny, fairly upright, hardy, frost-tolerant, grows to about 12 metres (but can be trimmed to preferred height). Also good for retaining soil -- if your fence lines align with your contours. Fodder option, too, of course. It'd certainly grow tall and thick enough to stop deer, but depending on climate it may take 3-5 years.