Mending Woven Wire Fencing
Repairs Done Quickly With Hand Tools
A good fence is the foundation of a healthy livestock operation. Woven wire is a tested and true containment option, and for good reason. It works across varied regions and climates. It is suitable for many types of land and livestock. It is also an inexpensive investment. Woven wire is easily adapted to electric augmentation like plastic insulators and charged wire. All these reasons are why it is one of the most common fencing solutions on farms, regardless of their size.
Woven wire fence is susceptible to damage from animals and the elements, even more so than electric setups. While electric fences discourage animal contact, woven wire becomes part of animal habitat. Sheep, horses, hogs, cattle, and goats learn to rub, press, and use the wire fences as part of their environment. Hard use and weather make fence repairs a constant job. Knowing how to repair and replace woven wire fencing fast is a skill set every farmer should have.
Common Fence Repairs
Understand that with woven wire the question isn’t whether or not your fence will need repairs, but when. Have the tools and equipment you need on hand to deal with these repairs as quickly as possible.
Downed trees, debris, and the crowding/rubbing of large livestock can stretch or bend the fence. Reshaping is often necessary and the most common repair by far. Woven wire held taut is going to sag over time. To keep animals contained and lines appealingly straight means regularly restretching and staking the fence.
Connecting holes or breaks in wire fencing is the second most common need for repair. Areas that deal with the most stress will unravel but that doesn’t mean the entire section needs to be replaced. You can mend or patch those areas easily with fence tools, spare sections, and a prepared kit.
The third most common repair is replacing entire sections on the fly. Sometimes a tree falls or a section becomes compromised beyond salvation. At this point you’ll need to cut out a stretch of woven wire and replace it with newer fence. Having spare rolls and sections or paneling is always useful for that reason. The last thing you want to do when animals might escape is leave to purchase the tools or supplies you need.
Your Fence Repair Toolkit
Be ready for the worst with the best tools for the job. Having a solid fence stretcher in your toolbox is essential, as well as quality bolt cutters and pliers. These items, and a trusty fence tool, are the workhorses of woven wire repair.
The fence tool is a plier/hammer combination that is ideal for working with wood or metal posts and woven wire. Dealing with wire means cutting and reshaping. This tool helps you remove old staples or nails and twisting wire in tight spaces your hands can’t reach. Both of these require the use of fence cutting equipment mentioned above for reconnecting breaks or patching the fence.
Another important item to keep on hand is an electric fence tester. Knowing what is and isn’t charged when you are far from the energizer is key (and safe). Carrying with you a spare roll of electric wire comparable to what is being insulated on your fence line is also smart.
Keeping all these tools in a fence repair kit in your truck or barn is a way to be ready for the next repair. You will need them and not have the time to search all over your shop or garage for the tools to complete the job when animals could get loose.
When entire sections of fence need to be repaired because of damage or wear, make sure your livestock is a safe distance away or otherwise contained. Some people set up temporary electric fences or netting while woven wire is being mended.
When removing sections of fence, make sure to retain tension and fence integrity by using a stretcher. Take note of your overall fence condition when evaluating problem areas to readily address future repairs. If you can move your fence away from tree lines and undergrowth that will undoubtedly damage it, do so. The extra ten yards of grass is rarely worth the extra daylight hours of maintenance.
Mending fences is part of farm life and that is why we should have the tools on hand to deal with it. Is there anything you wish you knew when you started setting up fences that you know now? Share in the comments below!