To fence pasture for animal you need a lot of poles. The distance between poles is usually 2.5 to 3 meters (much more in case of shock wire).

Chestnut is our most durable, native wood, probably because there is many tanning (7 to 10% by dry weight) in the (core) wood. As a result, it is less attractive for bacteria, fungi and insects.
The wood of chestnut (Castanea sativa) is very tough, elastic and durable. It belongs untreated to the Class II Durability.

valseacaciaThe durability class of timber is an indication of the resistance of the heartwood from weathering and decay in adverse conditions. This is determined by measuring how long it takes for untreated wood in contact with the ground to be affected.
There are five classes of durability.

Class 1 means that the heartwood is still good after more than 25 years in contact with the ground,
for Class 2 is 15-25 years,
Class 3 10-15 years
in Class 4, only 5-10 years
Class 5 in less than five years.

Durability class timber (s) (usually harder is more durable)
1 lignum vitae (Guaiacum officinale &-sanctum)
2 yew, chestnut
3 walnut
4 apple, pine
5 ash, maple, linden, poplar, willow

The most durable wood that grows here in usable size is Black Locust or False Acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia), class 1-2.

So the normal life varies over several years. Poles are always rotting in the transition between ground and air. This is the for the bacteria, fungi and insects, most suitable environment with a rather stable humidity.
You can make posts more sustainable through heating this zone (200°C) and char it, as well as was done earlier for ship walls. By carbonizing (partly), lignin is changed into indigestible substances for molds. Try not to damage this layer when inserting it.
It makes the wood more durable, harder, less sensitive to absorption and release of moisture (deformations).

Barking the trunks with a spade, a cleaver or a debarking knife: a thick, slightly curved blade with a handle at the two ends. As a result, there are fewer spoilsport between bark and wood, and the timber keeps longer.
If you don’t use them immediately, store the poles than in a dry place. If they are on a damp surface or lie they will rot.

You can pour the surface area of the pole also in concrete: place a piece of drain pipe around it, above ground level, pour it full, and work it sloped so that rainwater flows away from the pole.

Pointing poles: the much sharper you make the point of a post, so much easier you can slam the pole in the soil. It really makes a huge difference. Think eg. about a nail into wood, or a needle through your skin! The easiest way to sharpen it: place the bottom of the pole on a chopping block diagonally. Then you can hit it straight. First one half, then another, and then in between. From square to octagon. Possibly give it a smoother and sharper finishing with a heel iron or rasp finer.

The top can be covered against rain with a lid, jar, bottle bottom, tin, slanted board or wood shingle. This also extends the life.

Put the poles 60, preferably 70 cm deep, best in to solid ground. The rule of thumb is at 1/3rd, and 2/3rd above the ground. Also depending on the type of soil (sand or clay).

The length depends on the height of the fence wire, or the animals you want to keep in and animals that you want to keep out.

grondboorIt works a lot easier and faster if you make holes with an earth auger of about the diameter of the post. Really worth a small investment when you have dozens (or hundreds) of poles to put.
If you cut a point on the pole you can continue Pile-driving him to the desired depth. Put a shelf on top of the pile else you beat all the wood broken or slide (temporarily or permanent) a tin over the top.

First, place the corner posts in the correct position. Use for those if you have them thicker and longer poles, which you can put deeper. Give them extra support by putting into the fence direction on each side at a height of about 2/3rd a support pole or brace pole at an angle of 45° against them. Where this (charred) goes in the ground drive a short locking pole (perpendicular to the slope) to hold the support pole into place. Nail or screw the angled connection to the corner- and the brace pole, or make a hole in the corner post where the brace fits.

Span a rope between the corner posts to expand where the next target in a straight line has to come.
Use a lever, turnbuckles, a winch, a tractor or a horse to tighten the wire. Therefore, the corner posts should be heavy and tight in the soil. With 2 is easier. One pulls, the other nails with clamps the wire to the poles.

Do this preferably on a hot summer day. In winter, the wire is cold. If it expands in the summer heat, it will hang slacker.

Barbed wire fence is often the cheapest. For sheep the wires should not be too far apart. The lowest should not exceed more than 10 to 15 cm from the ground, or they try to burrow underneath. You have at least 5, more preferably 6 or 7 wires needed. Higher they may further apart.
A coarse grid of galvanized steel is better and kinder.

Electric fence (wire) costs a lot: wire, shock installation, housing, battery (and regular loading) but is very useful to delineate temporary grazing plots. Especially if they are not your property and you want to make no fixed costs. If horses or cows know the system once they stay away, of course, and you can embed them with 1 (or 2) wires (or ribbons).

There are similar networks for ovine. They walk by loose wires. Because of their insulating wool they feel no shock. Well their not wooly head. Hence the mesh.

I also once tried it to milk goats: better don’t. Instead of scaring on the sense of shock and move away reverse from the wire, she ran again in the wire mesh. So they were constantly tangled, and then got shock after shock. I have repeatedly shut down the plant, animal disentangled, again drawn wire, new attempt. From the idea, now they will certainly know and stay away from that wire. No way. I've given up. Then just tethering.

Keep the wires as much as possible free of vegetation, which can work as grounding.
If you stand near the power unit you usually hear whether it is on, it the tap at every surge. If you going to feel, you ‘ll notice it of course. But this is, as intended, not so pleasant. You can indirectly test and feel. Take a long (preferably dry) blade of grass and lay it on the wire. You feel nothing by the relatively high resistance of the rod. Slide the blade, so that your hand is closer to the wire, until you start to feel gentle shocks.
If you still feel with the hand, do it with the outside /top of your fingers. If that then pulls back in a reflex action is that away of the wire path, instead of around it.

A bushy edge of brambles is a sufficient barrier for some animals.
But blackberries not stop a sheep with a thick coat, they wriggle themselves through there without any harm. But you have a lot of extra work afterwards while shearing, to pick all thorny twigs from the wool.

gevlochtentakkenIf you can have enough coppice (e.g. of some rail- and road shoulders) you can put poles closer together and make a braid with at least inch thick (long hazel) branches between, comparable with the twist of barbed wire. Better use too much than too little branches. The lifetime is limited.

takkenwalOf smaller wood (brushwood, and fagot wood) you can also make a (laying) brush fence: hammer a double row of poles in the ground at least 30 cm apart. Fill the gap with branches and prunings (led in long). Even as garden screen this is useful (against wind and visibility) and decorative. You can clip all protruding twigs with secateurs, then it looks pretty. It is a shelter for birds, mice, hedgehogs.

If you may use a pasture (or lease, or rent) to graze, and the fence is not good, or the holes in hedges are too big, you can give the sheep a wooden scarf. You make three branches or strips of about 50cm around the neck of the sheep in triangle shape to each other. Close to the neck so they cannot get out with their head, but not so tight that it would pinch. So they can go walking, eating and lying, but the kennef (old Dutch word) will prevent them to get through openings that would be just big enough. In practice, you know which sheep are clever enough to try it, but the others usually follow. So it may be sufficient to give the leaders a neck(lage) triangle. I don’t find a correct English word for this tool. Yoke (and poke(r))?? (One join is usualy nut and bolt to be able to fit it.)

A ditch jumper is a cow who learned to jump over a ditch (to greener grass). In order to prevent that, an approximately 60 cm long billet was hung in the middle under the neck of the cow. With that she can step, but not run or jump, then the bat hits her knees.

For pigs and even geese (often on common village pastures or coulters) they used also the neck brace, called a kennef .
Animal unfriendly? Yes, a little. But a practical and affordable solution.

For centuries, people all over the world used the available being region- material for fencing arable or pasture plots. Also for example (as in Scotland, etc.) to collect the stones and to accumulate them on the rims.
I once saw a wall of turf. The wide, stacked sods were on top planted with sage bushes to make the wall appear higher and to hold the earth firm fixed. Maybe thistles currently are even more appropriate.

Fences come in different shapes and forms. Provide always it can (closed and open) be fastened, so that animals or strong wind not surprise you.

Barbed wire fence: wires run over some loose railings and nailed. The last bar comes close to the next post, so that it can be fixed with a loop (top and bottom) against it.

overstapjeIf you want regulary to step over the fence without damaging or hurting yourself, then you can make a step ahead or a “shortcut“. Knock inside and outside the fence opposing a stake in the ground to about 50 cm high. Nail a shelf between (over) them. So you can move in one step on them to the other side. It is even easier and safer if you nearby put one (extended) post, so you can find support for your hands to it. If the fence is to high, use 2 crossing step-overs in two levels.

hekkenTimbered fences exist in many forms, boards, sticks... For the strength, it is important that you not only work horizontally and vertically, but also make at least one firm and long, angled connection. A triangular connection which holds the structure in form. (As the support pole against the corner post.) In pylons you see a clear example of the usefulness and function of oblique connections, they ensure the rigidity of the structure. Without it they would snap instantly.

If the post on which the hinges are set is inclining, or the hinges slope, then the gate will automatically fall shut behind you. Because it should keep the animals inside, you let it open inwards. So animals can further close it, but not push it open. Provide a catch pole in the pasture, so that the gate cannot be opened too far, because then it is no longer automatically coming back.
If your gate or fence is very large or heavy you can make operating it lighter by mounting a (not too small, e.g. wheelbarrow) wheel below. On the rolling route you can best lay posts, tiles or stones on the ground so it is not too deeply suppressed. It can be both a swinging as a sliding gate.

draaihekAlso nice, if you have enough space, a trunk with a heavy root ball, and on the other hand, depends a fence. That root stem, you place more or less in balance on a pole on which it can turn.

Animals catching is usually a virtually hopeless and ridiculous statement.
Provide or create a structure in a corner of the site where you can drive them and embed.
Or conditioning them. You have to bring water daily. Also bring some (power) feed, and call the animals to feed them. After a while they come naturally, whether they recognize your call, or the rattle of corn in a tin. Pure Pavlov. Also works with fowls. It can save you a lot of running and cursing.

Fence: the same fence that others shut off, shut you up. (Bill Copeland)
"Why did you hit the witness with that pole? He just stood looking? “"Yes, but he was just on a good position. “(Theo Bergsma)