Fence issues.

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Soggy Bottom Ranch

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2006
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Hello everyone!
It's been a while since I last posted, but I've been lurking here and there.

I wanted to get some opinions on our fencing issue again, just to see what others feel who actually have minis. I've gotten some opinions from big horse people around here, and have been told I'm doing overkill for minis when it comes to what I want to have done.

Hubby and I still can't agree on the height of this fence. Everything is bought, posts are in, boards are going on tomorrow, and he's very reluctantly doing what I would like so that I can feel safe. He prefers to build the fence, so that it looks good, and I prefer to do things right the first time by making it look good........and be safe. Maybe I am doing overkill, we don't breed, so there are no babies to worry about. I don't know, but I do know it's been frustrating just trying to work this all out. It's bad enough something like this costs so much to do, but then to not agree on it makes it worse.

We are doing a ranchers white rail fence, with the 2"x4" field fence on the inside between the posts. Hubby wants to go 4 1/2' tall, with 3 rails, electric on the outside bottom, and inside. I want to go 6', with 4 rails, and electric inside and out. We live right next to a woods, there have been wolf sightings around here, and we do have coyotes around quite often.

People have told me it's overkill, because whatever is going to get into the fence, is going to find a way in either going through, or by going under. But I just can't get past the idea of a predator going over.......if they can't get through or under. Not to mention, a taller fence would hopefully keep the many deer we have around here, from getting in also.

You know, I don't know that anything would ever happen. I can't predict that, and nothing is ever guaranteed. But I can do my best to prevent it, and do it right the first time........just in case. Things do happen sometimes.

So, I guess I'd really like to know............am I doing overkill by wanting to go 6'? This isn't about winning an argument, this is about being safe in my mind, for those times when hubby is out of town or something.

Would going 4 1/2', or even 5', with electric inside, outside, and on top be sufficient?

I welcome your opinions, and wonder, if you had to opportunity right now to redo the fence, what would you do?

It just shouldn't be this hard to get this done.
We just had our fence built a year and a half ago, and we went with 5 feet high no-climb mesh. Some people even thought THAT was overkill for minis, but I explained that I wanted to keep stray dogs out, MY dogs in, and I do have a couple of full-size horses too. Would I have liked to go with six-foot high fence? Sure thing, but the expense for fencing thirteen acres was prohibitive, and the five-foot high fence fits my needs ok.

The people who have told you that a six foot fence won't keep out wolves are correct, a wolf will go over that like it's nothing, but I bet it would keep coyotes from coming over.
But, maybe a string or two of strong electric fencing along the top of a five foot fence would be as effective, if not more so, than a six foot fence? I'm not sure. How tall are the posts that you put in? Would a six foot high fence work with them? How much extra is it going to cost to put up four rails as opposed to three? IMO, the rail fence part will be mainly for looks, it's the mesh fence part that is actually going to 'do the job".

I would have loved to put up TWELVE FOOT fences (now THAT'S overkill, lol) because we have mountain lions and wolves and coyotes too, but that wasn't reasonable, so I have two hard-working Livestock Guardian Dogs instead. They warn off anything that doesn't belong, and they aren't afraid to take on anything stupid enough to come inside the fence.
They make me feel much more secure about my horses' safety.
I would go with the shorter size, I have seen a 6' fence and the deer still try and go over it and you will have more accidents with them at that height!! If you have the electric fence then you will keep most critters away anyways. You could always get a donkey for protection!!
[SIZE=12pt]I agree with going with the 4 1/2' or 5' fence, but putting electric on top of the fence too. You don't want deer hung up in the top of the fence and it will still be attractive & do it's job.[/SIZE]
With my personal experiance with the last few months I say stay FAR AWAY from wood! My paddock is wood fence, about 6 foot. With wire inbetween each rail. My horses are all out in the pasture where I dont want them to be right now as they keep takeing the boards down. So for the second time in 3days I am going out to fix wood fence.
I should mention also, that we will be getting a donkey for protection.

Ashley, can you run a strand of electric wire inside your fence, to keep them from taking the rails down? I have one that pushes on the fence, and even just that one strand has kept him from pushing on it.
That is something I am going to do in the pastures and am trying to figure out how to tie the paddock into it as well. So far the electric isnt haveing a whole lot of effect either. They dont go through it but I dont know how many times they need to touch it to beleive it works and hurts!
I also agree with previous posters, you are not going to get what you are aiming for by putting up that extras foot or foot and a half of fence. The deer can jump that and often will take down the top of the fence in doing so making for more repairs and the wolves, coyotes will get over it as well if they choose. You would do better to put a strand of electric at the top and bottom and get a guardian of some sort (the donkey is a good choice for dogs and their relatives).
Personally, if all your minis are under 34", then I would go smaller. But I have taller minis that have laid down the tops of my fences just becuase. Also, I have 5ft fences. The snow got so tall this winter, that my 32" mini just up and walked right over the fence. Crazy! But he did it! :DOH! So I would go with taller fences just for your own sanity. And to help keep other unwanted critters out.
A shorter fence will work fine for the minis, but I would worry about wolves, coyotes and other predators. A four or 4 1/2 foot fence is nothing for them, and most dogs can scale a 6 foot fence with ease- I have seen them do it. The more fence, the more protection in my opinion- I would not just be happy with keeping the Minis in, but also keeping other things OUT!
First you really, really need to know the predator base/problem you have in the area. The fencing I do is not so much to keep the horses in but keep the predators out.

My new night pasture fencing is 8' tall and that is to keep the Bobcats, cougars and so on from jumping over the fence. The Camel backs are every 100' and the heavy duty T-posts are every 7' instead of the standard 10'.

That kind of fencing costs more up front.. but in the long run, is much safer for your animals and cheaper because you do not have to pay for the Vet bills from an attack.

I should mention also, that we will be getting a donkey for protection.

Ashley, can you run a strand of electric wire inside your fence, to keep them from taking the rails down? I have one that pushes on the fence, and even just that one strand has kept him from pushing on it.
I have a B sized Donkey and she is the one that had her face layed open to the bone because of a Bobcat attack a couple of months ago. She now has a nasty scar and still limps.

I say this until I am blue in the face but Donkeys are food like anything else. Their Bray is not going to scare predators away. They can and will be hurt just like any other food animal.

At the Old farm.. large standard donkey guarding Scottish black faced sheep.. was killed and eaten by a Cougar, down at a Farm at the bottom of the hill from us.

I can tell you about many more donkey deaths.

Your best and first defence,, is a proper fence.
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I can't thank you all enough for taking the time to offer suggestions and opinions. And Shari, thank you for replying with such an honest response. First let me say, I had planned on going with a standard size donkey, but we didn't buy anything yet, so I am open to suggestions and proven facts when it comes to the best way to go. Money is not the concern here, first and foremost it is all about safety. All of the fencing for a 6' fence is already bought and paid for, and is here waiting to be put up. Actually, posts are in, and 3 rails 1/2 way around are already up. Some may think I'm being overly cautious, but I have seen pictures of minis who have been attacked on this forum, and I don't want to ever have to be in that position. It's just way to sad. Because the opportunity is there for me, I want to do this right.........the first time, and so does hubby, really. He's being very patient with me.

I have done my research when it comes to the predators in our area..........which is probably why I've gotten myself all worked up about this. There was a momma bear living in our woods last summer before we moved here, but she was trapped, and moved to another location as I was told. She had a den behind the neighbors place, in the woods. There has been a wolf spotted down about 2 miles from us where the woods gets thicker. I spoke with someone from the DNR, and he said there are a couple different wolf packs around this area, but they have not become an issue with people, they've always stayed to themselves so far. Cougars have been spotted, though the DNR won't confirm that! We also have a coyote problem in this area, and I have heard the packs close buy a few times. The neighbors have had them come right up to their back door. There have been two attacks on big horses a couple miles from us, though they don't know what did the attacks. I have also had a medium sized dog running through our yard on a few occasions, and I can't figure out who he belongs to. Don't know if he's mean or not, I'm usually in the house when I see him.

The thing is, we had 18 deer living in our woods, right around the house all winter long. Alot of times during the day, they'd come in to nibble on the pines, and around dusk would come in to bed down for the night. They would be right behind our patio......eating my trees and birdseed. :DOH! They are often up on our ridge even with the snow gone, just hanging out. Sunday, they were all bedded down until around 10:00 a.m., just being lazy. Hubby takes that to mean that they feel safe here, and the predators are not coming in. So, I don't know. But like I said, I want to do this right the first time to prevent anything from happening. I don't want to wait for something to happen, and then have to do it all over again down the road, which is why I'm trying to do the research I need to do now.
Am very glad you do not mind... a lot of people don't like when I write about this sadly.

Just to let you know... we have Deer bed down around our place too. We still have a major predator problem...sadly.

Am very glad you are going to do your fencing right..does make a big difference. <VBG>
Paranoid that I am; If I had bear and wolves and cougar, you darn betcha I'd be going sky high too. YIKES! That's a scarey thought Geri!

I would also get a whole whooping load of cow bells and have them run on a thin rope line around the whole permeter and hot wire and lighting.
LOL, Marty, that probably would be considered 'over kill'.

The only problem with the deer coming in and feeling 'safe' there, is some predator is going to discover that, and come on in too, for supper (or breakfast or lunch) because it's 'easy pickins'. If you are going to have livestock or other animals, their safety comes first, so I think you are absolutely right in going 6 feet!

I am not surprized by the donkeys being killed/hurt either. They can not fend off a bear, pack of dogs, etc... they may get cranky and run off a single dog or two, but they are not a predator type animal, and dont have a chance any more than a sheep, horse or anything else if they are the 'target'.
I can understand your concerns since we don't live that far from you. We have seen the wolves, our neighbors have, and a local police officer told me he sees them often. Neighbors have seen bobcats, coyotes, and bears. The wolves use to trail right through our place. We had FOUR 2" strands of high quality vinyl Ramm fencing, we kept all four strands hot at all times. The fence is 4 1/2 feet tall. It kept dogs away but we watched the wolves run right through it, never slowing down. The pasture they traveled through had three of our geldings in it. SO we bought chain link fencing and placed it on the inside of ALL of our fencing on the whole place (almost 6 acres of pastures) then placed a line of hot wire rope on the inside of that to keep the horses off of the chainlink. With all the fencing the deer stopped traveling through. We never had an animal attack any of our horses, we had 16 horses at one time. Our surrounding neighbors teased us with so much fencing but did help us feel our babies were safer. Our neighbors have two quarter horses and a donkey, they have a wood rail fence that is 5' and one strand of hot wire and haven't had attacks either. My farm neighbor up the hill has had attacks on his cow/calves though but he runs only two lines of hot wire. I like Martys idea!
I was just thinking back to before we moved, back at the old house. We had two different types of fence. One was a 3 strand hot wire that was 5' tall, and the other was the 4 1/2 ft 2"x4" field fence with a row of electric on top. On several occasions I saw deer in the 3 strand fence, and never once in the field fence pens. I "think" I'm leaning more toward going 6' with 4 rails, and taking my chances that the deer will leave it alone.

Here's what we have so far. He's going around with the three rails first............till his wife finally makes up her mind what she wants to do! LOL!
There will be 2"x4" field fence on the inside of the rail fence when it's done.


Your fence looks great. I have to say I don't like the idea of using donkies for protection to me it is no different then saying I am getting a horse to protect my donkies. They are equine and can be killed just as easily as a horse. Too sad that people don't place any value on their lives
. I do hope your horses are safe, good luck.
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Sad part for me.. is my Donkey was never for protection..she is just a pet and the one the Bobcat latched onto first.

Geri,, that is very nice looking fence. Is good you will be adding wire and hot wire too it too!
Hmm, that looks like the same expression my husband gives me when building fence. Personally, I think 6 foot is overkill. A predator will get in regardless of what you try to do to prevent it. When we moved to our new location, the first thing I noticed was that EVERYONE in our area had a donkey or mule in with their livestock. We live in an area with coyotes, feral hogs, bobcats, and an occasional cougar. We have a standard 4.5 foot fence. Some of it's field fencing, slick wire, or hot wire. And we have standard size MULE. We're surrounded by neighbors with calving cows so you know predators are coming in and hauling off placentas, etc. Knock on wood, since we've brought in the mule, we have not had a single predator on the property. Donkeys and Mules are good guardians and I've personally seen a single one run off a pack of dogs. The only predator mentioned in this topic so far that actually hunts in packs is the wolf. Cougars (mountion lions), bears, coyotes, bobcats, etc are solitary animals. And I know that mules and donkeys have feelings too, but at my house, their job is to protect. If they don't protect, they find another home.
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