5.) I know for our perimeter fencing we have been discussing a six wire fence. How many wires do you usually suggest for the various applications that people use hi-tensile fencing for?
This will depend mainly on the type of livestock that you wish to contain. Additionally, perimeter fences will have more strands than interior ones will. For cattle we normally suggest 5 strands on the perimeter, but only 1 strand will work fine for interior cross fences. If you are concerned about calves going under this single strand then install a second or third strand.6.) In the past I have read about hi-tensile fences being set up with alternating hot and ground wires in the fence. What do you suggest in regards to a set-up like that and grounding in general?
With sheep or goats, perimeter fences usually have from 6 to 8 strands. I personally know people who get along with 5 strands for goats, but 6 to 8 is more common. Some of this will be dictated by your management practices also. If, for instance, you will be with your livestock daily or more and you are moving them to fresh forage regularly, then you can probably get by with less strands of wire. The animals wont be searching for forage and will be less likely to challenge a fence.
Alternating hot and ground wires can be effective with dry soil conditions, especially in the case of goats or other lightweight livestock. With a all hot wire system, in order to receive a shock, you have to be grounded to the earth while touching the hot wire, thus completing the curcuit. In the case of a small goat, that might be standing on a dry thatch of grass, they may not be fully grounded and do not receive a shock or a full shock. When using alternating ground wires, if an animal touches a hot wire and a ground wire at the same time they will receive a full shock, regardless of wheather their feet are well grounded or not.