Barbed wire cannot effectively contain pigs, goats or sheep. Where these animals are to be fenced, woven wire (called sheep or pig netting in Britain, sheep fence or hog fence in the United States) is used instead, often with one or more strands of barbed wire at the top. For swine, a ground-level barbed wire strand or electrified wire is used as well to prevent them digging beneath the fence.
Agricultural woven wire is identifiable by wire "knots" wrapped around each intersecting wire. Cheaper forms of wire used in residential fences are often spot welded at junctions and as such are less sturdy and may break, creating a hazard for enclosed animals. Woven wire is more costly to purchase and time-consuming to install than is basic wire, but is often safer and less expensive than wood, pipe, or other materials.
Woven wire with large openings (known as "sheep fence" in the western United States and Ringlock in Australia) has some potential hazards. Animals contained inside the fence can easily put a foot through the wide squares while grazing along the edge of the fenceline or while reaching over it, and then become tangled in the fence. It is also dangerous for wild animals, such as deer,kangaroos or wallabies that attempt to jump such fences. These can become trapped when their back feet clip the fencing and get caught. While they can be cut out, they are often seriously injured and must be euthanized. A variation, called "field fence," has narrower openings at the bottom and wider openings at the top, which prevents animals from getting their feet entangled while grazing close to the fence, though is of little help if an animal becomes tangled in the openings higher up.
Horses and ponies in particular are safer kept inside woven wire fence with squares of smaller dimensions, such as "no climb" fence with squares that are approximately two inches by four inches. This type of wire is also more effective for containing goats.
Another variant on woven wire is the "hog panel," which consists of heavy welded wire approximately .25 inches (6 mm) or more in diameter. It resembles field fence in appearance, but is sold in panels rather than rolls and is not easily wrapped or bent. However, larger livestock such as horses or cattle can easily deform hog panels, so if used to contain large animals, it requires supporting rails or pipe on both the top and sides. It has some of the same strengths and weaknesses as field fence. Though animals are less likely to become entangled in it, the wire is far harder to cut if they do.
Chain link fencing is, arguably a form of woven wire, and is occasionally used for some livestock containment. However, due to cost, it is not particularly common for fencing large areas where less-expensive forms of woven wire are equally suitable. When used in small enclosures, it is easily deformed by livestock, resulting in high ongoing maintenance costs.