How to Install Ranch Fencing

Written by sharyl stockstill
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How to Install Ranch Fencing
Install a good ranch fence to protect your livestock. (fence image by Brett Bouwer from

A good ranch fence will protect your livestock and help you to get along with your neighbours. A ranch fence can be installed economically using barbed wire. It is relatively easy to install and maintain and is very durable.

Keep in mind the type of livestock you will have on your ranch. Goats and sheep will require a different fence wire than horses or cows.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood posts
  • T Posts
  • Barbed wire
  • Gate posts
  • Gates
  • Staples
  • Hammer
  • Wire Stretchers
  • Wire cutters
  • Post pounder
  • Post-hole digger
  • String line

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  1. 1

    Use the posthole diggers to dig holes a minimum of 24 inches and install all corner posts and gate posts. Perimeter fences need heavy-duty fence posts at the corners and at gate openings. If desired, you can use concrete to ensure a good set on your posts. If your fence line is longer than a quarter-mile between any gate set or corner set, consider installing an H-brace every quarter-mile. Barbed-wire comes in rolls that are one rod in length. A rod is a quarter-mile long. The H-braces will act as points to tie your two lengths of wire together as well as provide extra strength to your fence line.

  2. 2

    Run a string from your corner posts to your gate sets or H-braces to serve as a guide for installing T-posts.The string should be close to the ground and will keep your T-posts in line.

  3. 3

    Place the bottom of the T-post next to the string line. Drive the posts into the ground using a post pounder. Be sure all of your T-posts face the same direction.

  4. 4

    Starting with the top wire, tie one end of your barbed wire to a corner post, then unroll enough wire to reach your gate post or H-brace. The wire should be about 44 inches above the ground for cattle and horses. Use the wire cutters if necessary. Tighten the wire with the fence stretchers until it straightens and has good overall tension. Tie off the loose end of the wire to your H-brace or gate post.

  5. 5

    Fasten the wire to the T-posts. Use either the clips that come with the T-posts or use smooth wire to secure the barbed wire to the fence. Be sure to measure at each post to ensure an equal height between the ground level and the top wire. Use staples and a hammer to secure the wire to any wood posts you may be using for corner or gate posts.

  6. 6

    Install three more lengths of barbed wire, placing each subsequent wire approximately 10 inches below the wire above it for cattle and horses. For goats and sheep, you may wish to install woven wire on the bottom of the fence rather than barbed wire.

  7. 7

    Install gates between the gate posts. There are many types of gates, including homemade and prefabricated. Actual installation will vary, depending upon the type of gate you choose.

Tips and warnings

  • Measure your gate sets carefully to ensure premanufactured gates will fit before you install the posts.
  • Always wear protective clothing when handling barbed wire.

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