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    Hi-Tensile Fencing

    cow

    Hi-tensile fencing is relatively new to the United States, where it is growing in popularity, though it has been used for many years in other countries to control cattle and sheep.

    Hi-tensile fencing is made of smooth wire, and generally consists of four to 10 strands, depending on the animals that you're fencing in.

    Hi-tensile fencing can be used in place of barbed wire; in fact, it's generally more economical than other fences and has a longer life expectancy. And, it's easier on livestock.

    It's preferred by some because it doesn't lose elasticity despite livestock that lean into it and temperature changes.

    Hi-tensile fences can be either electric or non-electric.

    Use this guide to help you determine if hi-tensile fencing is the route you want to take.

    Benefits of High-Tensile Fencing
     
    • Better looking. Hi-tensile fences have a smooth, clean appearance that blends well in any setting.
    • Lasts longer. With galvanized components and Class 3 zinc coating, hi-tensile fencing should not rust for at least 50 years.
    • Easy to build. It's much easier to install than barbed wire. You need fewer posts and you don't have to tie off at the corners — you go around them. Plus, you don't have to fight the barbs.
    • Maintenance free. Requires only occasional tension adjustments. Hi-tensile expands with the summer heat, so you'll simply use your ratchet handle to tighten the tension on each strand.
      In the winter, use the same tool to reduce the tension slightly. This is the only maintenance your hi-tensile fence will need.
    • Costs less. That's because you can spread your line posts up to 50 feet, whereas barbed wire posts must be placed every 8-10 feet. This also means less work setting posts.
      You can probably install a six-wire, hi-tensile fence cheaper and easier than a four-wire barbed wire fence.
    • Strong hi-tensile fencing is strong. A 12.5 gauge hi-tensile wire will not elongate until reaching about 1,350 pounds of pressure and has a breaking point of about 1,650 pounds. This is per strand. Remove fallen trees from the fence and it springs right back into form.
    • Easily electrified. If you want extra protection to keep your livestock in and predators out, you can easily install insulators on all or several wires to electrify the fence. To electrify the fence, you will need an electric fence energizer, which is also referred to as a charger, fencer, or shock box. An energizer produces pulses of electricity on a fence wire so that animals touching the fence receive an intense shock. If possible, mount the energizer in the middle of the run of fence, so that the energy goes in both directions, effectively cutting the distance it must travel in half.

    Pieces and Parts

    To build a hi-tensile fence correctly, you'll first need to figure out how much fencing you need. Then you need the appropriate tools and parts:

    • Posts — you will need vertical and horizontal brace posts, end and corner posts, and line posts.
    • Poly spacers and spacer clips enable the installer to increase the distance between line posts. This saves money and time because you don't have to buy or set additional posts.
    • In-line strainers and strainer handles to tighten the hi-tensile wire.
    • Tension springs to indicate the amount of tension on a wire.
    • Spinning jenny — also known as a de-reeler — which holds the wire as you unspool and string it (as pictured left).
    • Brace pins to attach vertical and horizontal posts (as pictured to the left).
    • Keeper staples to attach wires to posts.
    • Crimping sleeves to attach wires securely to one another.
    • Class 3 galvanized staples do not rust and last longer than regular staples.
    • Line tightener is used to add tension to all wire sized up to 9 gauge and poly tape up to a half-inch (as pictured below).
    • Lightening protection devices help protect the fence energizer from electrical surges caused by lightening.

    Tools Checklist

    Use this list to help you in gathering all the tools and supplies you need to build your new hi-tensile fence:

    • Hi-tensile galvanized steel wire
    • Pressure-treated wood posts
    • Brace posts
    • End posts
    • Corner posts
    • Line posts
    • Poly spacers
    • Spacer clips
    • In-line strainers
    • Strainer handles
    • Tension springs
    • Wire-spinning jenny (also known as a de-reeler)
    • Brace pins
    • Keeper staples
    • Crimping sleeves
    • Crimping tool
    • Cement
    • Twitch sticks
    • Class 3 galvanized fencing staples
    • Wire strainer and crank handle
    • Hand and eye protection
    • Line tightener
    • Gate and gate handle