How to Install Barbed Wire Fence with T-posts

To install a barbed wire fence with T-posts, start with the bottom strand & terminate(knot) the wire at the starting post.

Then continue to the other corner post, stretch the wire & terminate it. In this way, complete all the strands. At last, attach the wires to the T-posts(between corner posts) using T-post clips.

Below we’ve discussed step-by-step how to install barbed fence wire with T-posts.

Read the complete guide:

How to Install Barbed Wire Fence with T-posts

  • First, drive T-post at a regular interval of 6-12 feet.
  • Then decide the number of strands you want to install in your fence.
  • Then start installing fence strands from the bottom & continue up.
  • Tie off(terminate) the barbed wire at the corner post, making a termination knot. Then stretch the barbed wire tight & terminate it at other corner posts.
  • Use T-post clips to attach the barbed wire fence to the T-posts between the corner posts.
  • Similarly, install all fence strands.

Follow the step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Drive T-posts:

The first step while installing a barbed or metal wire fence is to drive T-posts at the proper distance. But before installing T-posts, you must learn some basics, such as T-post height & spacing for barbed wires & how deep to drive T-posts.

Decide on the size of the T-post according to fence height:

While choosing T-posts, remember that it must be at least 2 feet higher than the fence height because as few feet get driven into the ground.

For example, if the fence is 6 feet, choose 8-9 feet T-posts. Similarly, for a 4-feet fence, you should use 6-7 feet T-posts.

T-post spacing for barbed wire fence:

T-posts are usually spaced 8-12 feet apart for barbed fence wires. However, T-post spacing can vary depending on the expected load of animals & fence wires.

For keeping small livestock, you can space t-posts 12 feet apart. While for larger live stocks, it’s better to keep the distance less.

How deep to drive T-posts?

As per a general rule: “½ -⅓ part of the fence post that is out of the ground must be grounded” It means if the T-posts are 10 feet long, you must drive 2.5-3.3 feet.

How much t-post should be driven depends on the t-posts height, fence weight, animal expected load & the hardness of the ground. It’s recommended to drive the t-posts at least up to 2 feet or 1/3 of the posts.

If the ground is soft, the t-post will lean(bend) with time due to the force of animals and the weight of barbed wires. Hence it’s better to install t-posts as deep as possible.

Incorporate wood posts for stability:

Wood posts are the most sturdy type of fence post, so it’s ideal to incorporate them with t-posts with a ratio of 5:1, especially when covering large areas & long-term fencing.

Installing wood posts at the corners is recommended to provide extra support, as the corner posts bear the most load.

Tools you can use to install T-posts:

We can use a T-post driver, a cast iron pipe or similar heavy pipe closed from an end, an automatic post pounder, or a bucket tractor.

If you don’t have post-driving tools, you can dig holes to install T-posts, but it’s not recommended for hanging heavy fence wires such as barbed wires.


  • Drive the t-posts at least up to the anchor at the bottom.
  • Use a level tool to check if the posts are straight.

Step 2: Decide the fence height & number of strands

Fence height according to animals type:

  • For goats & sheep, a 4-5 feet high fence is required to keep them from jumping.
  • A barbed wire fence should be at least 4 feet high for cows.
  • The fence for horses should be at least 5 feet high up to their chest.
  • To keep wild animals, i.e., deer or elks, out of the property, the fence should be 6 feet high.
  • Dogs are athletic and easily climb, so the fence should be 6 feet high.

The number of strands according to animal type:

To protect your property, you should install 3-6 strands of barbed fence wire, depending on the type of animal.

4-5 strands of barbed wire are enough for small livestock such as goats and sheep. The bottom strands should be close to the ground with a maximum distance of 10 inches.

For large live stocks, i.e., cows & horses, 3 barbed fence strands should be sufficient, one at the bottom at the centre & the bottom. The lowest strand should be 1 foot higher from the ground. The rest you can space 2 feet from each other.

However, if you’re keeping sheep, goats(small livestock) & cows(large livestock) together, keep the spacing low between the bottom strands and increase as you move up.

Barbed fence strand spacing:

Spacing between the barbed fence wire depends on the type of kept animals(purpose of the fence) & the number of strands.

If you are installing a barbed wire fence for small animals like goats & sheep, fence strands can be spaced 6-10 inches apart.

To keep baby goats, the lower 2-3 strands must be kept close to each other at an interval of 6 inches. Generally, fence strand spacing increases from bottom to top.

To keep predators & dogs from digging under the fence or small animals from escaping, install a barbed wire close to the ground.

Tip: To protect animals from injury, install high tensile/hard metal wire between the barbed wires at an offset of a few inches. So the running animals may not directly collide with the barbed wires & get injured.

Step 3: Install fence strands:

Must wear safety gloves while working with barbed wires.

First, open the barbed wire spool along the fence. Start by installing the bottom strands.

Terminate(tie off) the fence wire at the starting/corner post, making a termination knot.  A termination knot is a costless DIY method to terminate metal wire fences.

To make a termination knot:

Pull the fence wire tight either by hand or using a fence stretcher, depending on desired tightness.

Wrap the barbed wire around the post. Keep a foot extra at the ends for making a termination knot. Place the wire’s end at the top or bottom of the fence strand.

Some space will be created between the fence wires and the t-post. Pass the barbed wire’s end through the hole/space and pull the wire’s end to make the knot as tight as possible.

At last, twist(turn) the extra wire around the fence strand at least 5 times & then cut off the remaining wire.

You can also remove the spikes from the ends of barbed wire by twisting the wire. This will make the wire termination easier.

As the barbed wires are quite heavy & rigid, they’ll either break or damage the fence post while straining if you’ve covered the whole parameter continuing with a single wire. Hence it’s better to terminate the barbed wires at the corner posts.

In this way, install all the fence strands around the parameter. At last, you can tighten your barbed wire fence using a plier, chain fence strainer, or a daisy wheel.

Step 4: Attach barbed wire to T-posts:

At last, we’ve to attach the barbed wires to the T-posts so they don’t loosely hang or entangle, and there is no extra space for animals & intruders to escape.

T-post clips are widely used to attach metal fence wires to the T-posts. It’s a simple U/V shape steel clip that fits around the T-post.

The two U-shaped hooks at both ends of the t-post clips are twisted(bent) around the fence wires. In this way, the barbed fence wires stay hooked to the T-posts.

Use T-post clips to hook the barbed fence wires to the T-posts. On each t-post, use t-post clips equal to the number of strands.

How to install T-post clips:

Wrap the U/V shape of the clip around the T-post.

Hook the barbed fence wire in both hooks at the end of the clip.

Use a clip bender or plier(plass) to twist the hooks(ends) around the barbed wire fence.

T-post studs will keep the clips from sliding up or down, while the hooks(ends) of the clips will hook the barbed wire to the T-post.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is T-post spacing for a barbed wire fence?

For barbed wire fences, T-posts can be spaced 6-12 feet apart depending on the weight of the fence & the ground softness.

How many strands of barbed wire for cattle?

For cattle, 3-6 strands of barbed wire are sufficient at an interval of 1 foot.

Can you put barbed wire on a residential fence?

Generally, it’s not legal & recommended to use barbed wire fences in residential areas. As per rules & regulations in the US, if you have to install barbed wire in a residential area, it must be 6 feet higher than the ground to prevent accidental damage.

However, you must check your local rules & regulations before installing barbed wire fences.

How to electrify a barbed wire fence?

Electrifying barbed wire fences is not legal as they are already quite dangerous. Instead of electrifying a barbed wire fence, it’s better to install metal wires offset to barbed wires & electrify them with a fence charger(energizer).

This will keep the animals from heading toward barbed wires & getting injured.

What are barbed wire fence stays?

Barbed wire fence stays is a simple but useful tool for keeping fence strands in place and preventing animals from pushing fence strands & escaping.

Barbed wire fence stays are made of two twisted(spiral) steel wires available in different lengths according to your fence height.

It simply catches all the fence strands and keeps them from excessive movement due to animals trying to escape or due to wind.


The most important thing for installing barbed fence wires is to drive t-posts as much as possible because barbed wires are quite heavy.

Another important thing is to tighten barbed fence wires as they are quite heavy & difficult to strain with hands.

To terminate barbed fence wires making a termination knot is the best DIY option as it doesn’t require any tool, however, you must be physically strong.

If you still need assistance, ask us in the comments below.

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