Corral Board Fence

Over the past two summers, we have added a few miles of 4 strand, high tensile wire fences around the shop, the backyard field and the mountain field. Stringing high tensile wire fence is lot of work, however it pales in comparison to replacing a board fence. The three board corral fence has been in need of repair for years, and I wanted to redesign the cattle working area inside the corral to handle our increased herd size. The first step was to remove the old boards and posts from the corral which we completed back in May. August rolled around by the time we were ready to put up the new boards, with the typical average day time temperatures in the 90’s. Here I was again, working on fencing in the dog days of summer. So goes farm life!

For the perimeter, we decided to try 3/4 faced posts thinking that the face gave a better place to nail the boards than a round post and the size was larger than a half round. Although the plan sounded fine, when we reused the original holes from the old posts which were wider than the new posts, many of the posts twisted as we drove them into place. Another factor adding to the twisted posts was that we did not have the proper attachment on the post driver for the 3/4 faced posts. So, the flat face of many of the posts were not in line with each other. To fix this situation, we used a chainsaw, circular saw and chisel, to notch almost every post so the boards would fit flush.

To hang the boards, we used 3 1/2 inch, galvanized twisted nails. I predrilled the boards to prevent cracking and to make nailing easier.

By the time the all of the perimeter fence boards were nailed to the posts, I was exhausted. The cattle working area still had to be completed and the weather, although beautiful, remained unusually hot and humid.

Moving our focus to the cattle working area, which is located on the northern side of the corral, we switched to oak boards for strength in the crowding pen and bud box, and four & five boards instead of three. I had redesigned the crowding pen to be a bit larger and more circular for better cattle flow so all of the gates had to be rehung as well.

Since the gates were being rehung, we decided to upgrade all of the standard gates with bull gates, and hang them higher on the posts. For this part of the project, we hung nine gates, five on the corral perimeter and four in the working area. Two of the perimeter gates were 16 ft bull gates, each of which weighs about 150lbs. To get these gates aligned, we set them on cinder blocks to make the hinge placements.

For the gates in the working area, we used flipper gate latches. These work well because they are easy to use with one hand and they keep the gate level, with no stress on the hinges, in the closed position.

On the perimeter gates, we use a hook and chain latch which is easy to use even when wearing gloves, and then added a large gate screw at the bottom of the closing post that the gate rests on when closed.

Just when I thought the project was nearing the end, I discovered that the post holding the interior gate leading from the pen to the alleyway was leaning because years ago we hadn’t done a proper job. The post had to be dug out, straightened with the tractor and then reinforced with a couple bags of concrete. No photos of this, I was cranky and irritated at having to reset that dang post.

Workably completed project! As always there are a few tasks to do before being 100% finished. I will paint the boards in a month or so after they have time to dry and we will cut off the top of the posts to the height of the top board. But for now, we can use the corral for housing the horse and the crowding pen for working the cattle.

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