From the Fencing Act 1978, Schedule 2 s 12(2), Specimen types of fence: Rural
6. 7 or 8 wire fence: A substantial wire fence, having 7 or 8 wires properly strained, ...the battens (droppers) to be affixed to the wires and of durable timber,
metal or plastic, evenly spaced, and not fewer than 3 between posts; ...
7. 9 or 10 wire fence: A substantial wire fence having 9 or 10 wires properly strained, with or without battens (droppers) ...
9. Live fence: A close and sufficient live fence.
I've been thinking. We're doing a huge boundary fence job at the moment and also thinking about another similar fence we did in recent years where the battens have never been put on. But, it could be argued that a hybrid of 6. and 9. could be a 5m posted 7-wire fence including one live wire along its length. That might, wouldn't it, constitute a close and sufficient live fence? Live enough to stop animals going through it.
The battening on a km-long fence is going to be a killer in areas through the bush where cattle pressure is only ever going to be extremely light, on our side where the third wire down is electric and without battening, I presume subsequent repairs and re-straining might be more possible if trees fall down on the fence. (I'm just thinking this, haven't discussed it with the fencing expert here yet.)
Except we've already bought the battens ... Maybe they'll have to go on then. What else can you do with battens?
The previous fence, 70-odd years old, was only standing up in some places because of the trees grown around the remaining wires. In some places it had fallen down. It looks very much like my cattle just never left home along its length. I've long culled the families of those inclined to do that sort of thing. So it's not as if they're cattle that push things. Mind you, one day I'll be dead and someone might have different animals.
The so-called "specimen fences" are examples the fences that were adequate for what it was legal to farm before 1978. Now there are other stock permitted to be farmed, so these fences are totally inadequate for them. The important part of the Act is the word "adequate". Cattle and sheep fencing as described would be totally inadequate for bison, deer and probably pigs, and would also be inadequate for an escape artist. The word "adequate" thus implies that if you have an animal that you know is a jumper or a pusher then you have to either make your specimen fence adequate, or get rid of that animal .
By building a specimen fence you are doing what is right, but it might not be right enough , or it might be too right.
We do our fences, both internal and boundary at 4 metre, 7 No. 8 wire and 5 battens to the span. We have systematically got rid of pig barb and High tensile wire as both are dangerous and damaging to horses. We use barbed staples on the battens and posts to prevent slippage especially on the battens. We also put stafix pinlock outriggers on to carry electric fencing around the farm and to last. They don't rust like the sort you hammer in to a post and you can replace the insulators in the event one gets damaged or breaks.
Here's our new creek fence.
The advantage of battens instead of netting is that the fence looks like an obstacle. The disadvantages are that the staples do not hold tight forever, so they need an annual repair job to re-align the battens and hammer in the staples. Most of my battens now have two batten staples holding the wire, in an X shape over the wire. Also, a couple of lots of battens that I bought were not properly rot treated, so have had to be replaced.
With battens it is very important to use them when they are new, so only buy as many as you are going to put up within the next week. Dry battens are very difficult to get staples into. I have learnt that from having to put a second staple into a dry batten .
We have a bit of movement on one of our new fences up the back and at a couple of points where the staple has gone too deep/hard against the batten, the wire has simply snapped.
According to Husband, this is the downside of using a fencing staple gun.
However, we have new fences where we haven't got around the battening yet and I have a couple of weaners/R1's who have learnt to lean against the wire and presto, into the next paddock. Usually the one with the silage bales!
Sheep also seem to master getting in between the fencing wire (we have and on another newish section, have noticed the bottom wire has lifted to lamb height off the ground.
Personally, if you have the battens, I would batten.