Why Do Barbed Wire Fences Fall?

These fences aren’t only essential for maintaining property boundaries and protecting livestock, but they also serve as a symbolic representation of the rural lifestyle that’s deeply ingrained in the state's culture. However, despite their resilience and durability, barbed wire fences occasionally succumb to the forces of nature and fall. Various factors contribute to their downfall, from the natural elements such as wind and snow to the wear and tear caused by livestock. Understanding these factors can help landowners take preventive measures and ensure the longevity of their fences.

What Do You Use to Tighten Barbed Wire?

When it comes to tightening barbed wire fences, having the right tools is crucial. One of the most essential tools you’ll need is a sturdy pair of pliers. Pliers provide a strong grip on the wire, allowing you to pull it tight and secure it effectively. They’re handy for various tasks such as twisting wires together, cutting or stripping off excess wire, and adjusting tension as needed.

For more heavy-duty tasks, a come-a-long is an excellent tool to have. It’s a mechanical hand-operated winch that can pull and hold tremendous amounts of tension. When using a come-a-long, you attach it to your barbed wire and anchor it securely to a solid object such as a tree or post. By cranking the handle, the come-a-long generates great force, allowing you to tighten the wire efficiently and effectively.

Trying to tighten barbed wire with your bare hands alone can be dangerous, as the wire can cause cuts or serious injuries. With the aid of pliers, wire grips, or come-a-longs, you can maintain control of the wire and tighten it safely without putting yourself at risk.

It’s important to note that the proper technique and knowledge of how to tighten barbed wire correctly are essential. Consulting a professional or seeking guidance from experienced fence builders will help you understand the best practices for tensioning barbed wire. This knowledge will ensure that your fence remains secure, stable, and resilient, preventing it from falling or becoming ineffective. So, before you start tightening your barbed wire fence, gather the suitable tools and seek expert advice to make the process smooth and successful.

Maintaining the right amount of tension is crucial when installing a barbed wire fence. Over-tensioning high-tensile wire can lead to potential issues and compromises the fence’s effectiveness. As it’s typically the final step in the installation process, it’s essential to carefully monitor the sag between line posts while tensioning the wire.

How Tight Should a Barbed Wire Fence Be?

Make sure that the tension is even throughout the entire length of the fence, as this will help prevent any weak spots or areas of excessive pressure. A properly tensioned barbed wire fence will have a consistent appearance, with minimal sagging or drooping. It should feel tight to the touch, but not so tight that it becomes rigid or inflexible.

Consulting with a professional or expert in fence installation can provide valuable guidance on the ideal tension for your specific needs.

In addition to proper tension, regular maintenance and inspection of your barbed wire fence is crucial in preventing it from falling or becoming ineffective. Over time, weather conditions, accidental damage, or animal interference can cause the wire to loosen or weaken. It’s important to regularly check for any signs of sagging, broken wires, or loose posts, and address these issues promptly to maintain the integrity of your fence. By ensuring that your fence is properly tensioned and well-maintained, you can minimize the risk of it falling and maximize it’s effectiveness as a barrier or enclosure.

Choosing the Right Materials for a Barbed Wire Fence

When choosing materials for a barbed wire fence, several factors need to be considered to ensure it’s durability and effectiveness. The quality of the wire itself is crucial, as it should be made of high-tensile steel to withstand tension and minimize sagging. Additionally, the gauge of the wire determines it’s strength and longevity, with lower gauge numbers indicating thicker and more resilient wire.

The fence posts play a vital role in supporting the barbed wire and maintaining it’s stability. Opt for durable and weather-resistant materials such as treated wood, steel, or concrete. The spacing between posts is also important to prevent sagging, typically requiring them to be placed no more than 10 to 12 feet apart.

To provide adequate tension to the wire, sturdy braces and tensioning systems are essential. These components work together to keep the wire tight, preventing it from drooping or collapsing. Galvanized or stainless steel hardware and fasteners should be used to resist corrosion and ensure a long-lasting fence.

Proper installation techniques are also critical for the overall strength and longevity of a barbed wire fence. Following manufacturer guidelines, burying the bottom wire to prevent animals from burrowing underneath, and ensuring appropriate wire tension are all crucial steps in creating a reliable and durable fence.

Once you’ve successfully tightened your barbed wire fence using pliers, it’s important to ensure it’s stability and longevity through regular maintenance and inspections. By implementing these simple steps, you can effectively address any minor issues and prevent future damage or deterioration to your fence.

How Do You Fix a Loose Barbed Wire Fence?

When it comes to fixing a loose barbed wire fence, youll want to make sure you’ve the right tools and technique. One common method is to use pliers to tighten the fence. Start by identifying the section of the fencing that’s loose, between the barbs. Grab this section with the pliers and twist the wire 90 degrees. This action will create a distinctive “z” shape, which adds tension to the wire. Repeat this process along the entire length of the wire until it’s taut once again.

Another method you can try is using a tool called a fence stretcher. This device is designed specifically for tightening wire fences and can make the job easier. Begin by attaching the stretcher to the loose section of the fence. Then, apply pressure to pull the fence tight. Be careful not to apply too much force as this may cause the wire to snap.

If you don’t have access to specialized tools like pliers or a fence stretcher, there are still options available to you. One alternative is to use a come-along, also known as a fence puller. This tool allows you to pull the wire tight and secure it in place using hooks and a ratcheting mechanism. Simply twist the wire around the bar, then use the leverage to pull the wire tight. This method may require some physical strength, but it can get the job done in a pinch.

It’s important to remember that proper maintenance is key in preventing a loose barbed wire fence. Regularly inspecting your fence for any signs of damage or weakness can help you catch problems early on. Additionally, be sure to replace any broken or missing barbs promptly. Taking these preventive measures won’t only extend the lifespan of your fence but also ensure it remains secure and effective in keeping animals or trespassers out.

Whether you choose to use pliers, a fence stretcher, a come-along, or even manual techniques, the goal is to add tension to the wire and make it taut once again.


The prevalence of barbed wire fences among Idaho farmers and ranchers attests to the significance and effectiveness of this fencing material. Barbed wire has revolutionized the agricultural industry by making it feasible to enclose vast areas while minimizing costs. By providing robust protection for range rights and enabling livestock containment, barbed wire fences have become indispensable tools for landowners. Despite their resilience, however, these fences sometimes succumb to unforeseen circumstances, such as rust, weathering, or animal interference, causing them to fall. Understanding the underlying reasons behind the occasional downfall of barbed wire fences proves essential in maintaining and repairing these valuable barriers.

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