In order to determine the type and quantities of barbed wire fences that are going to be best for your needs, it's important to evaluate what you plan on using it for. Agricultural use usually demands a standard double wrap, 12 1/2 gauge, zinc coated, galvanized steel wire, strung along regularly placed steel posts. How many strands you need to install on a length of fence is determined by the livestock you're hoping to keep in (or out). Sheep need the most strands at 7 strips per fence (though the bottom two strands are traditionally constructed of plain wire), while cattle and horses generally don't need more than 4 to 7, depending on the type and temperament. If you're trying to keep people out, you've got a different set of questions to ask altogether, including whether traditional barbed is going to be an effective security solution to start with.