Fence & Gate Repair
Nothing lasts forever. Fences and gates are no different. As the gateway to your herd and the border that keeps them contained, gates and fences put up with a lot. As time ticks by wires begin to sag due to curious livestock or posts begin to naturally lean or degrade due to weather and temperature changes. That’s why it’s important to establish a routine of regular maintenance to ensure the longevity of your investment, and to keep your farm borders functional and effective.
Tightening and Splicing Barbed Wire Fencing
Barbed wire has been a reliable choice for fencing for decades. If properly installed and maintained, repairs can be minimal and generally inexpensive. Common issues include broken wire and sag between posts.
For broken wires, use a fence stretcher to bring the pieces close to one another. On each side of the break, clear any nearby barbs and slide the ends into a splicing sleeve. Make sure you have plenty of wire poking through the sleeve and proceed to squeeze it shut with a crimping tool or pair of pliers. For additional security, separate the strands of wire and wrap them on either side of the crimped sleeve. On each side, one wire should be wrapped counterclockwise as close to the sleeve as possible. This secures the wire in place. The other should be wrapped clockwise several times over the first wire. Excess wire can be cut or rapped near the splice.
For sagging wire, you may also use a fence stretcher, but often a hammer, multi-purpose fence tool, or long bolt will do the trick. If you cut the sagging wire, fold one end back over itself to create a loop, twisting the end of the wire together with the rest of the strand for stability. Feed the other end of the wire through the loop and fold it over the strand. Push your bolt or hammer claw through the loop and begin to twist. Twist until the wire is taut and then remove your tool.
Sagging Gates and Leaning Posts
Wooden or metal gates are a necessity along fence and property lines. Over time, highly used or improperly set anchor posts may begin to lean, in turn causing frustration as gates begin to sag and drag the ground. For leaning posts in a concrete footing, a steel wedge can be a good solution. Drive the wedge between the post and footing to straighten and add stability. For extreme cases, dig several inches out around the post, then fill with gravel. Make sure the post is level, tap down the gravel, then cover with a Quikrete cement.
As an additional measure to prevent droop, you might consider attaching a wheel to the end of frequently used gates. This will support the weight-bearing hinges and allow the gate to open smoothly and easily along the ground. Consider nearby terrain before installing.
Dealing with Overgrowth and Field Pests
As part of the regular fence and gate maintenance, make sure to clear vegetation and overgrowth to prevent premature degradation. Along electrical fences, overgrowth can cause wires to short and not be effective. Clean fence lines and gate paths manually or with herbicides.
Pasture pests can also be a nuisance. Field mice can crawl into control panels or chargers and cause significant damage to cabling and power supply. Take note of how these items are sealed and make sure they remain protected.
Consider these easy fixes and maintenance ideas to prolong the life of your fencing investment. Fences and gates are important for the smooth running of your farm and can remain functional and effective with regular repair and maintenance.