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The Fence Post

Goat Fencing

September 30, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

The Right FenceAdult and baby goat in pen

4" x 4"

Barnyard or backyard, goats may be a source of comic relief or the creators of mayhem. So much depends on the enclosure you provide for your herd. Goats interact with fencing and will test its limits. Your herd of goats will find a fence's vulnerability and capitalize on it for their own exploring and ravenous ends. 

To begin with, a 4 foot high high tensile woven wire fence with 4" x 4" openings is the rule. Goats are strong and smart and your fence has to be as well. Tough and flexible woven 12.5 gauge wire with strong stiff stay knots is imperative. This combination of factors will stand up to the roughhousing that goats bring to the party.

Let's break down some of those terms--

  • Woven Wire--A woven wire fence's linked yet loose structure allows for a large amount of bend, twist and pull without breaking -- a perfect design if you have livestock to contain.This makes for secure mesh, strong enough to hold together well when impacted by a demanding goat. This also adapts to variable terrain.                                                                                                                                                                           
  • 12.5 Gauge--a thickness of wire with a minimum of 1,350 pounds breaking strength, which you'll find plenty strong for your goats.                                                                                                                                                                                                    
  • High Tensile--means higher carbon steel wire, roughly twice the strength of low carbon wire yet lighter due to the higher grade of steel, the payoff being easier handling. Safer than barbed wire for your goats and can be electrified. Standard Class 3 galvanizing protects the wire and extends its life. With proper maintenance it can last up to 40 years.                                                                                                                                     
  • 4" x 4" Openings--goats can't get their heads and horns through, avoiding injury. It's smooth wire; again, reducing injuries.
  • S knot, (also known as Square Deal): This knot is used insquare deal fence knot making non-climb 4" x 4" mesh sheep and goat fence. The S knot prevents the fence from buckling or sagging. It also provides extra vertical strength and rigidity while at the same time allowing flexibility. These knots add to the fence's adaptability to hilly terrain. One-piece vertical stay wires, attached to line wires--with a crimp--prevent slippage. 

Outsmarting your Goat

Add an extra strand of electric fence wire at the top of the fence to ensure safety, especially for more ambitious goats. Yet, no matter what system is in place when keeping goats: vigilance is required. A break or defect in the fence and your goat will take advantage of it, resulting in runaway goats. Straying goats will munch a rose bush over a clump of grass. When goats are limited to a grassy enclosure, the incidence of worms and parasites goes up. They are known as browsers in their style of feeding--leafy fodder above the ground is of particular interest and they will use a fence to find ways to get at bushy shrubs and the lower growth of trees--or happily climb trees. If you've got a goat that makes a practice of finding new and creative ways of escaping, it may be time to enhance your enclosure for Ms. or Mr. Gruff, upgrading your existing fence. A rebellious goat will readily tutor other goats in your herd with its pillaging tactics.

Look at this goat's ingenuity!


If you're desiring a backyard goat, remember that cities and towns may have size and number limits. Consider your neighbors as they can be noisy. You must have space--you cannot share your yard with a goat as your yard won't exist after a goat has its way. As omnivorous as they seem they will not eat what they've peed on so their fodder must be kept off the ground in a raised feeder. 

a black and a white goat in gated entry

Shedding and Fence Stress

Seems to be that shedding is going to be one of the stressors on your fence. Shedding? Yes, this is why a woven wire fence comes in handy; it flexes with the strains of a goat using it to rub off its warm winter undercoat that comes off in spring. You might give your goats a good brushing to prevent wear and tear on your fence. 

Goat Facts:

  • First and foremost--goats are social animals and being isolated is stressful for them.
  • They walk immediately after being born and are weaned around 3 months.
  • Birth occurs in spring, after 5-6 months gestation, producing 1 or 2 kids.
  • A male goat is known as a billy or a buck; if castrated, they are called wethers.
  • Females are does or nannies. They are generally ready to breed once they have reached 80 lbs.
  • Lifespan of domesticated goat: generally 12-18 years and varies with the breed.



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Topics: goat, woven wire, high tensile wire, 12.5 gauge

Alligator Easily Scales Fence

September 5, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Chain-link Fail

When thinking about alligators in the U.S. one imagines first and foremost Florida, then perhaps Georgia and Louisiana. However, their presence goes much further than that--add Alabama, Mississippi, South and North Carolina, the eastern part of Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and the bottom tip of Arkansas. 

Here is a stunner. There is a plethora of safety guidelines available online for avoiding these threats to life and limb.


The estimated number of alligators in just Florida is 1.25 million. By the late 80s, the American alligator was considered endangered. It has quickly recovered its population since being protected. As humans encroach upon the habitat of alligators, the incidences of interacting with these significant reptiles have increased dramatically. 

In any case, the alligator safety basics are:

  • Do not attempt to deal with alligator yourself
  • Call your local animal control or 911
  • Do not approach an alligator
  • Do not feed an alligator
  • Avoid sudden movements                                                                                                                                                                        
    gray alligator at daytime
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Topics: wire mesh, fencing materials, woven wire, welded wire

How To Install Field Fence On Studded T Posts - Video

July 11, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Keepin' it real...

This video shows some folks putting up a field fence on studded T posts to keep unmanaged dogs out and keep peace in the neighborhood.. 


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Topics: woven wire, field fence, video

What about Zinc Coating?

March 26, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

  rust covered artistic reliefRusty Padlock on Metal Gate net

         The Enemy: Rust                          The Answer: Zinc

Oxygen and moisture working on iron and its common alloy, steel, result in rust. When thinking in terms of the wire used for fencing, sometimes being number one is not always tops. A Class 1 coating for your mesh or fence is anything but top rate. Now think again about that coating. It can mean: this looks fine or it'll do. In the long run (or short run), it will not stand up to the ravages of

  • air
  • moisture
  • abrasion

However, a coating of zinc reacts differently to these factors. As it corrodes. It forms a barrier or patina, running interference between it and the steel or iron that it is sheltering.

The Protector: Zinc

galvanized screw and nut

The Classes of Zinc Coating 

Class 1--lightest coating of zinc; widely available and lasts 2 to 11 years in non-coastal climates. (.28% zinc per sq. foot)

  • protection drastically reduced in humid climates. (For the record, there is no Class 2.)

Class 3--heaviest coating of zinc; lasts 13-30 years, often must be special ordered (.80% zinc per sq. foot)

  • however, in humid conditions, the coating may last at least 15 years with wider wire gauges lasting longer.

Zinc galvanization--a coating for mesh and fencing that lasts

After wires are either welded or woven into a mesh, the entire finished product is drawn through a bath of molten zinc (830°F.) This galvanization-after-weave or weld method (GAW) creates mesh that emerges with a thick coating tightly bonded to the wire. Each strand of wire is protected and more importantly, each vulnerable welded or woven area is thoroughly sealed. In some circles, this is known as "galvanic healing!" Officially, this is termed, cathode-anode protection.

Jaguar Emblem

More zinc = more protection. Delaying the time until rust sets in. So the more zinc per square foot, the longer it is until it rusts.

What is Friability

If something is friable, it is subject to the rubbing process that works on the surface of unprotected iron or steel, which offers no natural corrosion resistant patina. Friability describes the flaking and breaking apart of a solid substance.

So what are the benefits of a Class 3 zinc coating?

  • Lowest cost over the long run
  • damage resistance--the zinc patina guards the metal underneath
  • cheaper than stainless steel
  • consistent results
  • longest life

What does the ASTM standard mean?

Seeing this on a product, such as for zinc coatings, shows that a company is adhering to a certain set of criteria for the quality of a product. These are internationally accepted guidelines, based on research, for the specifications of materials, products, and services as approved by a  governing board. (ASTM International was once known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.) Buyer beware: a company's adherence to these standards is voluntary.   

Other factors for deterioration:

                airborne sand and dust                            chemicals                                   salt                                 air pollution 

Wrecked Ship

Some zinc facts:

Zinc is the 27th most abundant element in the earth's crust. 70% is mined, 30% recycled. More than 50% of this is used to coat steel and keep it from disintegrating.

Zinc is found in rocks, soil, air, water, the biosphere as well as in humans, plants, and animals.

Biology: organisms must have zinc to exist. For example, in the human body, zinc is important for cell division and is responsible for the function of red and white blood cells.

And finally, a short video:

Here's an example of zinc galvanizing in action:


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Topics: woven wire, welded wire, vinyl coated wire, galvanized after, galvanized, galv after

Guarding Your Pets from Wildlife Aggressors

January 14, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Coyotes                  Raccoons               Skunks               Mountain Lions/Cougars               Woodchucks


Protect Your Vulnerable Loved Ones


As more undeveloped land is taken for house lots and commercial areas, the natural habitat for wildlife is increasingly restricted. Sightings of animals such as coyotes and deer are more frequent. The need for ways to protect pets from potentially aggressive wildlife increases. Here are some strategies in avoiding dangerous interactions with a variety of animals, your pets, and you.


One of the best ways to keep pets safe is to build a wire fence. To protect against coyotes, it is best to use a six-foot height. You can either bury 12 inches in the ground or bend it so it lays on top of the ground to the outside of the enclosure as an apron. This will discourage digging.

There are many choices of welded wire fencing and woven wire fencing meshes available:

Welded wire fencing - Galvanized Before Weld (GBW), Galvanized After Weld (GAW) and Vinyl Coated (VC) 

  • 14 gauge, 1" x 2" and 2" x 4" mesh
  • 12.5 gauge, 2" x 4" mesh
Woven wire fencing
Notes on Coyotes
coyote portrait
Generally content to stay out of sight, a hungry coyote may make an appearance. They are resilient and their numbers are increasing in some areas despite efforts to control them. Closer at hand than one realizes, they create dens in forested areas, in parks (yes, city parks too) and greenbelts. Coyote attacks are usually linked to being fed by humans and those rare attacks involve children six and younger for the most part. They will move on once they realize there are no vittles to tempt them. Be sure that pet food is not left outdoors and spilled birdseed can be a problem--it attracts rodents and therefore coyotes. They are natural predators of dogs, feral cats, and outdoor cats sometimes; however, they are more interested in rodents, berries, grasses, and your vegetable garden. 
  • Naturally, avoiding contact is best.
  • Dawn and dusk are times when they roam--avoid walking a dog at these times (easier said than done.)
  • Your dog must be kept on a leash and not far from you.
  • Dogs are vulnerable to diseases that coyotes harbor--be sure your dogs' vaccinations are updated
  • If a coyote comes too close, appear larger by standing on something (a rock or stump) and act in a threatening way, appearing as a danger, not prey.
  • The only way to keep cats safe is to keep them indoors.
  • Use noisemaking equipment to ward off a coyote that shows up repeatedly.



raccoon on porch swingcute

Electric Fence Strategy

Because Raccoons are excellent climbers and diggers, an electric fence is one method for controlling them. A couple of lines of electric fence at a distance of about 8 inches above ground and another line about 8 inches away from the fence is good. Burying the fence 6 inches underground and at a width of a foot will also help. However, there are no guarantees with raccoons, they are agile and clever.

Regular fence must be thick

It's possible to use regular wire fencing, but it must be thick enough so they can't shred it (as they would with something like chicken wire. Louis Page can advise.) Making sure that the fence is far enough from what you want to protect is crucial as they can reach in and do damage. At the top, it is necessary to bend the fencing outward--away from the pen.

A few notes on raccoons--

Widespread across North America, when provoked raccoons are vicious. Raccoons aren't looking for a fight, but if cornered and threatened they will eviscerate an animal. Their teeth and claws are little daggers. 

  • Never feed a raccoon--this is a major reason why they lose their fear of humans and come closer than they should.
  • Keep pet food indoors.
  • Make sure that the area around a barbecue is kept clean.
  • Trash containers lids should be secure.
  • Pet doors must be raccoon-proof.
  • Cats are more prone to diseases that raccoons carry--keep your cat's vaccinations up to date.
  • Don't chase a raccoon away, it may be threatened and invite attack.

Not so cute

angry raccoon




Warding off skunks

Skunks are not gifted climbers and that's good news for us. There are methods to secure a garden area as skunks dig around plants in search for grubs. To control these diggers, apron fencing, two feet wide, must be partially buried a couple of inches around the circumference of the area you want to protect and at a height of four to five feet. This will discourage dogs and coyotes as well. 

Mercifully, skunks find humans and their pets an aberration, so they limit their foraging time to the night. Lights and activity usually repel them, so contact is rare. The spraying happens when a skunk perceives its backed into a corner or surprised. Interestingly, the spraying is used as a last resort and cannot be employed again for three or four days--I know, cold comfort, if you have been sprayed.

  • Do not attempt to scare off a skunk--back away.
  • A dog must be completely controlled for a skunk to back down.
  • In bad situations, saucers of ammonia may work as a repellent to skunks and many wild animals.
  • If the worst happens, have nearby: Dawn dishwashing soap, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and old towels (to be discarded.)


Clean up brush and other debris around your property to keep animals from building nests. Seal off holes and cracks in your house. Look around your barn for entry sites and fill these in.  Make your space as inhospitable to wildlife as possible. Orphaned wild animals should be left alone--their parents are often not too far off and will return to them.


Mountain Lions/Cougars

mountain lion

Tall Fencing is Required

  • Generally, pets are safe in the yard during the day unless there have been reports of a sighting; however, nighttime is another story--this is the time when mountain lions are most active and pets should remain indoors.
  • Dog leashes of 6 feet or less.
  • For the protection of your livestock, tall fencing is required. Mountain lions are powerful: they can jump up to 15 feet and can leap a distance of 40 feet.
  • If approached, avoid running, stand your ground, pick up pets and small children.
  • Do not make eye contact, attempt to appear larger by waving your arms or using your jacket above your head. 
  • Back up slowly.
  • Give the cougar ample room, making sure to steer clear from cubs, if present.  

The name "mountain lion" includes cougars, pumas, and panthers. The reference to lions is only related to their color. Cougar is the most common name in North America. Largely found in the western areas of North America, there are some populations east of the Mississippi that are small. There is a subspecies in Florida, called the Florida Panther, which is highly endangered.

Deer are a mainstay of mountain lions and not attracting deer to your property is an important safeguard. 




Small dogs that dig (good example: terriers) can be vulnerable to a woodchuck that is sensing its territory is being invaded. Also, dogs that are protective of their space can be more aggressive to invaders and prompt an altercation. Woodchucks have razor-sharp teeth and can become hostile when cornered; though admittedly this being rare, animals are unpredictable. Cats are generally not threatened. What is most likely threatened on your property is your garden.

Stopping a Woodchuck from Burrowing and Climbing

The clever woodchuck moves below ground of course, and above.

  • A 6-foot fence is required as a minimum, with 5-foot posts.
  • Chicken wire should be dug in 10 inches or more below ground level.
  • Leave a foot of chicken wire unattached from the post at the top and bend it outwards. This prevents the woodchuck from getting a good grip for climbing over the fence.

Another possibility is:

  • Place 3 feet of chicken wire flat on the ground around the perimeter of the garden.
  • After which, secure a 4 to 6-foot fence vertically 6 inches in from the chicken wire edge which leave 2 1/2 feet of chicken wire on the outside on the ground.
  • At the top, leave 12 inches of the chicken wire bent outwards away from the garden, unsecured.
  • The woodchuck will not be able to dig under the vertical fence because of the 3 feet of chicken wire surrounding the garden.

woodchuck fencing drawing

Image from Mass Audubon

As the Old Farmer's Almanac advises: The best woodchuck deterrent is a fence.



Gophers are highly destructive animals. They live in burrows and like to eat many of the plants that people have in their yards and gardens. They are voracious--eating half their body weight each day. If a family of gophers takes up residence in your yard, you could quickly find your lawn taken over by gopher mounds and tunnels. It is easy enough to kill or capture gophers once they arrive, but it would be greatly preferable to keep them out in the first place.

Fencing is a very effective tool for keeping gophers out of your yard. What kind of wire mesh do you need? To keep the gophers out, choose wire mesh fencing with no more than ½-inch openings. Gophers are burrowing animals, so the fence should extend at least 18 inches below the surface. Because it will be highly susceptible to corrosion, choose galvanized steel or vinyl coated fence wire.  If your yard is already populated by gophers, you will need to use one of the other methods to get rid of the gophers once you install the fence; otherwise, you could end up with a gopher sanctuary. Electric fencing is another option for restraining gophers.

Bad News on Gophers

Gophers can cause a number of problems. The aesthetic damage to your landscaping is just the beginning. Gophers also eat garden plants like carrots, lettuce, and radishes. Gophers also carry dangerous diseases like rabies. They have sharp teeth, and like any other animal, they can be dangerous when they feel threatened. Worst of all, gophers make holes in your yard; these holes are a trip hazard for anybody, but especially for children and elderly individuals. Before you know it, a child could have a sprained ankle and an older person could end up with a broken ankle, wrist or hip. Then there are the diseases--

  • Rabies
  • Plague and hantavirus
  • Monkey Pox, the most common--which exhibits flu symptoms--aches, swollen glands, fatigue and small pustules on the skin
Their tunnels can cause soil erosion by diverting irrigation water. During a gopher's digging activity, lawn sprinkler systems and plastic water lines can be gnawed on and damaged. 
  • A burrow system can cover an area of 200 to 2,000 square feet.
  • Food storage and nesting areas can be as deep as six feet.
  • Feeding burrows with a 3" diameter are most often 6" to 12" below ground. 

gopher holes 



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Topics: woven wire, welded wire

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