Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On The Fence

Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

Like pretty much everything else, fences are a personal decision. Different fences for different folks. And for different reasons.

But it is definitely true that good fences make for good neighbors.

For the animals, we chose electric and we're pleased with that decision. It is cheap, it is fixable, it works, and it isn't dangerous. Most folks around here use barbwire (one word, nearly one syllable). I hate barbwire. And besides, goats don't give a damn about barbwire. We use some field fencing in the garden area and for other purposes, but I'm not a big fan of it either. I've seen animals get caught in it and cut tendons when it isn't tight, and it is so hard to get and keep it tight, especially on non-level land and non-straight fence rows. And we have no level land and almost no straight fence rows. High tensile is nice but again it requires straighter and flatter fencerows than we will ever have. Wood is for looks and if you are fencing for looks, read someone else's blog.

For years our fence was battery powered. Let me tell you, if there is not a little picture of a goat on the guide for the charger, it will not keep goats in. On the other hand, if it does have that little icon, it will keep them in, and all the ones that are effective on goats, sheep, bulls, dogs, pigs and predators are AC, not battery (or solar which is default battery but I assume some of you are too inexperienced to know that, sorry). Bovines and equines are easy to fence so solar or battery works for them. I think tying up baling twine would work for them. But if you want to keep goats in, shock their little noses off.

Now for a few tips. Don't use tape or rope, use naked wire (we use electric, not aluminum). We keep a tape on top so the fenceline is visible to humans but tape and rope do not shock strongly enough to affect the animals. Keep a fencing bag ready with your fencing tools and extra pieces and go fix it regularly. Use fence tighteners because the wire is not effective as it stretches and loosens, and it does stretch (all fence does). The cheap plastic fence tighteners work but break so eventually you may want to put on the high tensile type tighteners, even if you are not using them at high tensile tightness. However, it is a good idea to use the cheap ones until you know your fence is the way you want it.

Which brings me to another homestead type idea. It is not, in general, a good idea to build permanently until you've experimented first. If you've never done something before, no amount of reading about it substitutes for the experience, and most of the "experts" don't actually have any real experience.


Madcap said...

Taking notes....

I'm wondering if we're going to have to fence our gardens b/c of the deer and moose. We were talking to a lady in the area and she's moving back into town because everything she plants is moose-fodder. I suspect she doesn't get aggressive though, and I'd be willing to put moose on the menu and deer on the dinner plate.

Speaking of which, and this was so strange, we were given some young deer recently, and it tasted like salmon. Blerg. I'm curious about what dug-out it was drinking from.

the Contrary Goddess said...

you don't like salmon? (shall I add "either" to the end of that? :::g:::)

I've had very mild tasting deer, and very strong deer, but never deer that tasted like salmon. It is most like beef, if it hasn't run too much when being killed and has been slaughtered and aged right. But finer and leaner and tastier. Of course, real beef doesn't taste like commercial beef . . . .

As far as fences -- ours get broken by deer running through them. It may take a double fence to keep them out of the garden (they jump high, not wide). Make the garden smell as human as possible -- like always pee in/around it. Change something daily. That sort of thing -- helps but isn't fool proof. Ivory soap hanging . . . trying to think of all the tricks -- you will surely try them ALL!

Madcap said...

Actually, I'm pretty fond of salmon, just not the four-legged variety. And I've had game before too, and it wasn't like that. Something must have gone wrong along the way.

the Contrary Goddess said...

If it were REALLY young, as in veal, only had momma's milk, hadn't developed a cud yet, I bet that might make it taste really different.

Dramaw said...

I got my rennant today!! Woohoo. I am on my way to being a cheese maker thanks to you tip about Hoeggars... They were inexpensive and quick to deliver. Now I need to hunt for some milk tomorrow. Thanks again for the tip.