Sunday, January 13, 2019

Premeir 1 Electric Fencing

"D" asked me how could I confine the sheep to just the garden area? Wouldn't they go anywhere they liked? 

I accomplished that feat by using a portable electric fence. I'm using Premier 1 fencing designed for sheep. I splurged this past Christmas and bought the farm a present. I purchased 5 rolls of mesh fencing plus a charger to use with it. 

I've seen this fencing being used at Kapapala Ranch, so it wasn't totally foreign to me. But I had never actually used it myself. So this was a new adventure. 

The fencing arrived on schedule, neatly packaged, complete with everything needed. I followed the instructions for opening the rolls up and setting the fencing in place. It turned out to be easier than I anticipated. I really had myself braced for a difficult time, but it didn't happen. Rolling up, moving, and re-setting the fencing has proven to be fairly easy too as long as I paid attention to what I was doing. Paying attention is the main point. I had memories of untangling strings of Christmas lights as a child, but the tangles never occurred with this fencing...thank heaven. 

The fencing I choose has fiberglass posts every 6 feet. That proved to be a good choice. The 12 foot spacing would not have worked so well for how I intend to use it. I'm moving the fencing frequently and the 12 spacing would have been very difficult to handle alone by myself. 

I took the time to train the sheep to the fence. Having had experience training dogs to the Invisible Fence, I was aware how important it was to correctly introduce the animal to the new fencing. So the first 3 days were short sessions where I kept an eye on the sheep. I didn't have the electric charger attached, therefore the sheep could investigate the fencing, learn how to get their heads out from the holes, and slowly untangle themselves if they happened to put a foot through the fence. I didn't pressure them so that they wouldn't panic. Plus since sheep don't like to move in reverse, they needed to learn how to do that automatically on their own if they got a body part in the fence. On day 4 I left them corralled for the day. All went well. It's now been 2 weeks and they are comfortable with the fencing. Nobody gets tangled in it anymore (only one apparently learning disabled ewe kept getting caught up in it.) They understand it now. And guess what......I haven't hooked up the charger yet. Of course, they haven't run out of grazing either, so they don't see a need to bust out. But they are not challenging the fencing so far. I do plan to introduce them to the charger next week in order to train them to respect the fence, but I am impressed how they are taking to it so far. 

Noooowwwwww, the goats are another story!!!!

What can I say...goats are baaaaaad! It didn't take them long to investigate this new contraption. They tried chewing it, climbing over it, pulling it with their horns, pulling the fiberglass posts up, sticking their heads and legs through it. They also managed to get tangled up in it. Mean mommy (me) let them get tangled ultra good, stuck there laying on their sides well bound up in the fencing. I walked around them, talking to them but ignoring their struggles. After 10 minutes I began to untangle them....after binding their legs with duct tape so that they wouldn't cause more harm while I freed them. Freeing them was almost as tedious as unraveling those strings of Christmas lights! Once free of fencing and duct tape, I let them loose. Being smart goats, they are now leaving the fencing alone. Good thing! ....... It's also a good thing that the charger wasn't hooked up. They have learned their lesson the easy way. 

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