A barbed wire fence is a fence made with barbed wire, a fencing product which consists of wire strung with barbs. Barbed wire fences are used to keep people and animals in or out of the fenced area, depending on the need and the design. They are utilized all over the world, and there are a number of fencing products which can be used in the construction of a barbed wire fence. Hardware stores and livestock suppliers often carry the equipment needed to make a barbed wire fence.
The development of barbed wire dates to the 1800s, when farmers were looking for a fencing product which would contain livestock and be cheap to implement. The design, using wire strung with small barbs, proved to be highly effective and very popular. A basic barbed wire fence with three to four strands of barbed wire can be an effective way to keep many breeds of livestock contained, as they will be disinclined to push up against the fence, because the barbs are painful.
Other barbed wire fences may blend fencing products. For example, a mesh fence may be installed with a strand of barbed wire at the top. This design creates a more solid barrier which is difficult to penetrate or scale. Barbed wire can also be used with razor wire, also known as barbed tape, which includes sharp blades which are often used specifically to repel humans from the fence.
Barbed wire fence posts can be made from wood or metal. One advantage to metal posts is that they can be driven quickly and efficiently, and they may be equipped with loops or clips which can be used to string barbed wire. The wire itself can feature barbs at varying intervals, may be single or double stranded, and can be treated to resist rust and other forms of corrosion, which can be a common problem with fences exposed to the elements.
Other variations on the barbed wire fence include electrified fences, in which contact with the barbed wire results in an electric shock, and fences blended with more solid barriers such as concrete walls. Such fences can be seen in use on farms, prisons, and military installations, used to control the movement of people and animals for safety and security. Firms which specialize in fence construction can be consulted by people who are not comfortable designing and constructing their own fences.