These wildlife-friendly fencing alternatives are better than Creosote-soaked wood or barbed wire. Many people choose to fence ponds and areas to stop wildlife getting to them (including ponds). This post includes information gleaned from experts like The Wildlife Fencing Project that says to ensure fences are high enough to stop animals bearing down, yet flexible enough to stop them putting their heads through. Also see safer alternative to netting for wildlife.
80% of wildlife entangled on barbed wire get caught on the top strand, so place it at the right height, if used. It does not always deter (cattle have thick skin, and use it for scratching!) The project suggests avoiding barbed wire where bats live (near feeding trees, on ridge lines or over water). And to avoid electric fencing and barbed wire near horses, who can get injured with it.
Fences made from recycled plastic never rot or need painting. For wooden fences, use Lifetime Nontoxic Wood Stain (sold in UK) over Creosote. Although fences are used to keep terriers and pet rabbits safe, if you have no pets it’s good to leave a gap for a hedgehog highway, as they travel up to 2 miles each night.
Wildlife-friendly fencing alternatives are better than electric fences (although the current is low, horns can get trapped and one child died after the child’s head touched the wire, on wet grass). Don’t let pets (including sheepdogs) play nearby (their heads are the same height) or when it rains. You can buy a device to know if a mammal is trapped, which turns off voltage, until the animal is free.
Dry stone walls can keep sheep safe, and involves removing mortar and replacing with walls that last 200 years. You can volunteer at Conservation Volunteers to build walls for farmers, or download the handbook Dry Stone Walling. This shows how to build and repair dry stone walls, stone-faced earth banks, retaining walls and other dry stone features. Held together by stone, it’s the skill of the builder who selects and fits the stones.
Check dry stone walls for ragwort. Although home to a native caterpillar, this weed is lethal to livestock and equines, and must be removed of to DEFRA laws. World Horse Welfare has tips and you can remove it in 4 easy steps with a ragfork (bright colours, to see in the field).