Jump to content

Advice on lamb-proof, horned-sheep safe and horse safe fencing

Recommended Posts

Hi there, I have a need to upgrade an existing fence on a property I have moved into recently, to protect a newly planted hedge from a neighbour's horses, lambs and sheep, using fencing that would be considered to be safe for sheep and horses.

I'd really appreciate opinions from those who keep horned sheep and produce lambs. If anyone also cross grazes those with horses your input would also be really appreciated!

My existing fence is a 90cm high tensile wire fence with a single top rail, with wires at intervals of 200mm at the top, reducing, lower down the fence.

There are no horizontal wires.

Part of the fence has an additional line of barbed wire about 10cm below the top rail.

We need to upgrade the fence to:

1) Stop lambs getting in which they do currently through the gaps in the tensile wire

2) Stop lambs and sheep and horses eating the young hedge by putting their heads or noses through the fence

3) Stop horses from chewing and breaking the top rails of the fence, and getting their feet caught in any wire fencing (which is a big issue we currently have).

4) Stop horses leaning over the fence and eating the young hedge.

5) Be low risk of injury if the wire were to be broken.

Note that the hedge plants are already protected from rabbits by plastic spirals.

To meet requirements 3 and 4 we've added stand-offs and electrified rope to the top of the fence. This is working well.

My neighbour is not convinced that the electric fencing will keep the horses away from the fence and that there is still a risk of injury from either broken wire, loose wire or getting feet entangled.

To meet requirements 1 and 2 we've put up some chicken wire fencing on our side of the fence.

This is actually been stretched over the top rail to also prevent the horses from chewing that rail should they get under the stand offs (which we very much doubt they will).

So far this solution is working.

My neighbour is not in agreement with the use of the chicken wire. 

She regards the use of chicken wire with sheep as "lethal" and has insisted we remove it. Even though it is on my side of the fence.

I have looked at options for fencing that is both sheep, lambs and horse safe and it's clear that the Tornado R12/110/5 or 8 Horse fencing would be the ideal product but our fence is lower than this at 90cm to the top rail so this may not be viable as she won't want any wire at ground level.

Standard stock fencing HT/8/80/15 would be adequate for us to prevent the lambs getting in but does not meet her requirements to be horse safe (not that the current fence is horse safe.)

I am advised by the Tornado sales team that it's not uncommon for farmers to use rabbit or chicken netting on fencing to stop lambs getting through but my neighbour insists that it's common knowledge that chicken wire is "lethal".

Can anyone suggest any alternatives?

We've suggested she puts up additional tensile wires across the fence.

Ideally I'd like to leave the chicken wire up!

I've tried to upload a photo of the solution we have in place but I can't get a decent quality picture to upload due to file size restrictions so I've included a link to a photo in dropbox. 

Photo of existing solution

Can anyone please suggest a solution and could you give me a professional opinion on how the sheep farming industry generally would view the use of chicken or rabbit netting in places where sheep or lambs could come into contact with it!?

Many thanks!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Sheepneighbour, and welcome to the forum.   It seems that the R12/110/5 with a strand of electrified White Lightning on top would tick all of your boxes for the horses, and most likely the sheep, as well.  We have used similar spec wire for horn goats, and didn't have any troubles reported.  I can't speak to the lethality of chicken wire in the horn sheep world, but it seems they are born with an overwhelming desire to die, so I would imagine there is a way for it to happen.   I have attached a picture of our version, which is R13/122/5, or 1348-2, with an electrified coated HT wire over top.  Good luck with your project.  I'm sure that some real sheep experts will be along shortly to offer more/better solutions.  


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for your reply! Horses do seem to have similar tendencies! 

Our thinking with the chicken wire was that it is actually more likely to deform or break and aid the escape of a horned sheep. 

I suppose we should be grateful at this point that unicorns do not exist. That combination would make a glorious challenge for fencing.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spent about 10 years raising horned sheep.  My uncle still runs a few hundred. I couldn't imagine life without horses. 13484 is perfectly adequate. A strand of good barbwire on top and another at about 24" on the sheep side to prevent belly scratching should be a adequate fence. Any thing that still gives problems needs 50 grains on the x.

Chicken wire has no place in fencing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never heard that chicken/rabbit nett is leathal. Plenty of rabbit nett is used to keep rabbits out of planted woodlands and hedges.

The electric will keep the horses off the fence along as you keep power in the wire.

If you just wanted to add proper netting to the existing fence I would put up tornado HT/8/80/8. The 8 cm spacing which would be safe for horses and sheep and stop them eating the hedge. Being only 80 cm would fit on the 90 cm gap

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want to thank you all for your help. I've been for a walk on my neighbour's land today - we have right to roam in Scotland and another neighbour came with me for company to show me what she sees when she walks there every day. My neighbour who is ordering me to remove the chicken netting has rolls of loose barbed wire, loose strands or loops of tensile wire, rabbit netting all along one fence by a plantation with some of the netting falling off and barbed wire on her own fences, next to her neighbour's horses. I've realised it's not about the fence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...