There was a time when the only place for fences was at the edge of pastures, marking the end of one person’s land and the start of another’s. The fences saved cattle from cross over to the other’s pastures to avoid disputes and keep the cattle from harm. These fences also helped keep predators such as wolves and jackals away from the cattle, so the intended uses of fences were very important but hardly diverse in any sense of the word. Not surprisingly, materials used for constructing fences were also quite limited; in fact they were made only from wood. Plastics had not become too common yet and metals were not too readily available as they are today.
With the evolving nature of society, the nature of fences has also evolved and they are now employed for three very diverse purposes. Firstly, fences are used for voluntary demarcation of territory or area; they can be put up around your house or compound for voluntary demarcation of area. In such a position, the fence need not be too high or secure; in fact such fences can be made from materials such as wrought iron and made into aesthetically pleasing designs. The reason for this design work is that the fence is not meant for security and need not give a fortress look, in such a case it should add to the beauty of your compound rather than making it look isolated and withdrawn. In the other case, fences are also needed for security purposes to forcefully restrict entry and exit from a given area for a variety of reasons, in such cases the fences are taller and made from stronger, more impenetrable material. Barbed wire fences, aluminum or metal fences and concrete fences are amongst the categories of security fences. Lastly, there are the fences that are still true to the role of their centuries old ancestors, the humble cattle fences! However, time has brought some changes and besides the wooden fences that have remained largely unchanged, new electrical fences have also been gaining popularity which are cheaper to install and maintain, they do not form a physical barrier, rather they deliver a harmless electric shock to the animal that touches it, either trying to escape or enter the fenced area. In that way, the cattle does not stray to unwanted areas and wild animals do not get the chance to hurt cattle.
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