Archive for March, 2011

March 30, 2011

For the Love of High Tensile!

**UPDATE** Please read an updated post here: (http://herdmarmalade.blogspot.com/2011/12/high-tensile-for-goats-revisited.html) to find out what we think of this fence 8 months later!

Jeremiah and the kids were on spring break last week. We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather (in the 70s!!!). No goats kidding, we were free and clear to work. And work we did.

We ended up buying all of the high tensile wire we needed (6 rolls @ 4,000′ each), the 8 foot corner t-posts we’d need for a few places that we’d be doing cross fencing on and the beginning of the fence where the new orchard will be. Wooden posts seemed daunting. We don’t have a tractor (yet) a 2 man auger was an expensive buy for something I don’t hope to have to use too much and to be quite honest, after all is said and done, the t posts work swell and while the t post/Wedge Loc system we used is more expensive than wooden posts, the cost of labor and time was priceless! Putting in a corner really does take 15 minutes or less! So, to all the nay sayers to the Wedge Loc system (of which there were some and of those, most of them had never even used it), they really are a class act! Course, we’ve yet to see how they’ll do long term but they’re aluminum, not like they’re gonna rust.

One problem I did have when it came to the Wedge Loc system was that their brochure is pretty awful when it came to detailed photos and there isn’t too much out there as far as photos go. So, after a bit of beating one of the pieces on to the t post -only to find out no beating was required, Jeremiah was trying to put it on wrong!- I’ve got some good photos to show of how it SHOULD be done.

We spent a whole day just taking down approximately 3200′ of the smooth twisted wire that was up before (4 strands high). I never would have imagined taking it down would be so time consuming or how much I’d love a good fence pliers!!! I really had it in my head that with a little help from a couple students (who ended up not being able to make it) that we could get the entire perimeter done. HA! Can you say biting off more than you can chew??? Jeremiah thought it best to remove the east property line fencing and get up the east pasture(s) to get a better idea of how this would all go before we start ripping it all out. 2 of our neighbors to the west have horses and if it comes up, it must go back up within a short amount of time.

As it stands, we learned a lot. The first string was the toughy with all the sleeve insulators we had to put on. By strand 2 we made just a mistake or two and by 3, 4 and 5 we were right on task like we knew what we were doing. The one section of cross fencing we put up (had enough wire left on the spool for just 4 strands so will have to go back) but wow, it took no time at all!

Now we need to get juice flowing and I can let the does out.

First, our homemade spinning jenny. She needs some more tweaking but overall did the job well. Following the advice of others, we didn’t attempt the job without one! How did hubby make it? You’d have to ask him! The sloppy nontechnical version? He took some sheet metal, a plasma cutter, some bolts, a few pieces of flat stock, used the press brake (A.K.A. the metal bender thing), did some welding, some hole making, some cutting, some bending and made our Jenny and for a lot less than the $170 for the heavy duty one!

home made spinning jenny 

Our fence layout was a 3 sided square (the 4th is currently in field fencing and is a common fence with the actual goat pen. It’ll later be cattle panel fencing but anyway…) The total length we ran of high tensile was approx. 800 feet (times 5 wires). In hindsight, I wish we would have just used sleeve insulators when we wrapped the corner posts and when we started it at the brace post instead of the donut ceramic insulators. Live and learn, we’ll do it different on down the line and can always come back and change them out later on. . It just looks so much nicer and this wire is 200,000 KPSI made by  Bakeart (in the USA) so it’s a real ::bleep:: to work with!  It doesn’t bend real easily that’s for sure and as for making hand knots, forgetaboutit! Crimp sleeves are the way to go!

High tensile beginning brace

So, as for the Wedge Loc, it’s as simple as can be…

Wedge Loc 4

Wedge Loc 9


Wedge Loc 11

Wedge Loc 5

Wedge Loc 7

Wedge Loc 3

Stringing the first line! As I said, we did not end our line(s) in the corner, we continued them (hence the ceramic donut insulators).

high tensile, stringing the first line

Fortunately for us many of the bigger posts are still rock solid. We installed cross fencing using this post to start our line on using the Wedlge Loc and t post as a brace which is mostly for looks but if there is any pulling on the line, it doe serve as a brace as well. We used the sleeve insulators here to wrap around the post and it looks so much cleaner, was less work and while it may not be cheaper, it’s a time saver!

High tensile cross fence corner

Oh, and by the way, our 5 strand spacing is 6″, 6″, 8″, 10″ & 12″ (6″ off the ground, 6″ from that, 8″ from that and so on.) I did a lot of research on how many wires and spacing for goats specifically since their “needs” are totally different than other animals. In the end, we were comfortable with 5 strand and as I said, it will be electrified so more than likely, the psychological aspect of it should be enough to keep them away from it.

And, there it is!

High Tensile 1

If you’re not familiar with high tensile smooth wire, I believe I’ve discussed the technical aspects of it in prior posts. If you’re wondering why our line posts are so spread out, the reason for it is, less is more when it comes to high tensile. High tensile is springy. The more you “hold down” your wire (with posts), the less spring it’s going to be. Keep it simple. Our terrain is hilly (as you can see), we used as few as possible to keep the spacing right (and off the ground or from being way up in the air.)

The rest of the fencing will come in time. For now I’ve got 2 nice usable pastures and I’m super happy with the results!

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March 30, 2011

Ug. More Boys!

Granite's 2011 Buck Kid #1 

Granite kidded at 7:20 this morning after laboring all night long with 2 spotty buck kids! The up side is that her 2nd freshening udder is fantastic! The downside is, not a single doe! Though, the other upside is that I don’t have many options as to who to keep :o).

And thankfully it wasn’t nearly as cold as what Bonnie kidded in in negative 4!! I was cozy enough sleeping in the straw in the barn.

Granite's 2011 Buck kid #2
Buck #2 says please excuse the fact that I looked smooshed up. It will take a few days to unsmoosh myself.

March 30, 2011

Bottle Babies

If I ever have another for as long as I live…it’ll be too soon!

Rachel with bottle babies

I really loathe everything about this act I cannot even tell you.

Probably the worst part about bottle kids, in my opinion, is how incredibly irritating an naughty they are!!! I spend more time teaching them not to nip and jump than I do actually loving on them. Loving on them is what I want to do. They don’t love me for me like my dam raised kids, they love the bottles I bring.

I’ve never had a bottle raised kid from beginning to end. I’ve bottle raised them until their dam could take over (for numerous reasons), I’ve bought older bottle babies (who are annoying too!) but never raised ’em start to finish and God help me if-during a fit of insanity- I choose to do it again. 

My bottle fed yearlings are in my face annoying. My dam raised does are just as wonderful and quiet on the milk stand as any bottle baby and aren’t at all pushy or irritating. Why? Because of how and how much time I spend when them. So, there’s my 2 cents about bottle raising.

March 30, 2011

King Size…

…nuzzles…

King size nuzzles

…jungle gym…

King size jungle gym

…kissses…

King size kisses