Archive for ‘high-tensile’

August 23, 2014

August

Moisture has been few and far between the last month. Yesterday the thunder started to roll but the storm past us to the west. I took the kids up to the pool about 2 and peak heat was 103. UGH!!! Yesterday evening the thunder was close again and I brought the clothes in off the line just in time for the sky to open up! The turkeys, being turkeys, couldn’t figure out where to go so I ran out to the barn and opened the small roving coop for them for shelter. I don’t know if they ever did end up going in the silly things!

We lost power at 6 and headed to town for a bite to eat, came home to a tree down in the front yard and debris that had plastered the front of the house even under the 6 foot roof overhang which I have never seen happen! Our favorite local weather people said there were 50-70 MPH straight line winds, that’ll do it! I have not checked the rain gauge but I’d say at least a good 1/4 inch if not 1/2 and bow howdy did we need it, every little bit!

Back to the turkeys, of the 4 we ordered, 3 survived past their 24 hours mark and have grown up! We have 2 toms and a hen and they have got to be one of the most entertaining animals here! They are also the best bug catchers which is great because the grasshoppers, like last year, are horrendous again. It was a very wet August last year and the mosquitoes were so so bad last year, not the same this year. Last year at this time Jeremiah was spending evenings and early mornings sitting still camouflaged behind a tree trying to call in the fox that had been eating our chickens. One morning it came in close enough to get a shot off but was just dark enough that he couldn’t for sure tell what it was and the chance was gone forever. They are hard ones to call in and catch, so they say. We have not seen that fox, knock on wood, nor have we lost any chickens this year!

Say hello to Tom and Tom! I just love these guys, so very talkative and they follow under foot like puppies. Just the past few weeks they’ve become very intent on trying to impress the hen who doesn’t seem to notice one way or the other. I find something interestingly beautiful about them. Normally their snoods (the piece of skin hanging off of their nose) is shrunk up above their beak and their necks and heads are a pale pink but when it’s time to impress, their snood grows and hang over their beak and their heads and necks turn bright red and blue.

 

A while back I was assured by a hunter we had over that we’d have a hard time keeping our turkeys from mingling, if not taking off with, the wild ones which are in great abundance here. In fact, we have 2 resident hens who hatched out 15+ poults between them and we often see them all in the back yard. They like to hang out in the pig’s pasture too in the tall grass. Two years in a row our turkeys haven’t seemed to pay any mind to the wild ones and visa versa so who knows. These guys have done well growth-wise and have been 100% free range since leaving the safety of the roving coop back when we butchered the broiler birds t 8 weeks old. They cost us next to nothing and really are so fun to have around! They spend most of the day hanging out with the pigs in the shade trees, most evenings they bed down in the middle of the barn yard in the grass. I am thinking maybe we ought to keep a tom and the hen over winter and see if she won’t set a nest in the spring. The poults aren’t too expensive to buy at all but it would be fun to have brand new baby turkey poults hatched out here.

Like I said, the fox hasn’t been around this year, thank goodness. There’s still time of course but so far so good. Two more hens, at lest, have hatched out more chicks since the last time I wrote. At about 4-5 weeks they leave the hen to live life on their own and we’ve lost some to hawks. I consider putting them in the large roving coop we use for the broilers but in the end, the survival of the luckiest plays out. The one Australorp whose nest I never did find has managed to keep all of her babies alive by sticking to the treed areas in the pigs’ pasture. Most of her babies are Australorps and hopefully got her good safety sense!

We’re down to 2 dry yearling left for sale who will be bred fairly soon here. All of the spring does have sold or are pending. I considered keeping one junior buck a a new herd sire but I can’t justify it keeping his sister, sire, dam, grand-dam etc. He’s leaving for his new home today in Northern Ks. We’ll have a few more older bred does for sale closer to the end of the year once they are dried off. Milk customers are keeping them here for now and with the up coming 2 year olds who will freshen next year and our new baby on the way, we have to keep our #’s down.

Our older sow is close to farrowing within the next week. I need to get her moved over to the farrowing pen to get settled in. She and our gilt will won’t be bred again until December giving the gilt a few more months to grow out to a good breeding age and our sow 3.5-4 months to recoup from this last litter. Normally I give her  a 2-2.5 month break between breedings which seems to be plenty for her but winter piglets proved to a lot more work than warmer weather piglets! It’s just a whole lot easier to raise piglets without the threat of cold weather.

Up until this summer the fencer we have for our high tensile electric has worked fine but the goats have taken a liking to going between the wires over into our neighbors front yard. Come to find out we’ve been running the wrong fencer and up until I put the rotational grazing poly wire fencing up for the goats in the woods it worked fine. However, now the drain of that poly wire has limited the distance of the “solid state” fencer we were running (thinking it was a low-impedance fencer this whole time) and was making the shock much less effective the farther away from the fencer the charge was so the goats were taking advantage of that. It was the “grassis always greener” way of thinking.  We chased that issue around for quite a while until we figured it out. Last Sunday we ran 3 more lines,  switched out the invisible fence for the dogs to the top line instead of the 2nd, made 2 of the lines “ground” wires and the rest are HOT HOT HOT! Hooked up the new fencer and boy does she pop!

What’s so nice about this fence is the lines are so quick to run. The three lines, after a trip to town for more insulators, took us as about an hour and a half. I run the wires down the line while Jeremiah insulates the wires with sleeves around the corner posts, crimps the wires and tightens the in-line strainer. Easy peasy and when we don’t overload the fencer with crappy poly-wire, it works great but when we load the new fencer with the poly wire, it’s not an issue!

Heading up for the last 6 round bales of hay today. It’s supposed to be another very hot one so I am very thankful we’re not bucking bales into the barn. It’s a little bit scary to see an empty barn this time of year! I am used to seeing it and 2 of the lean to’s bursting with small bales but they are all in rounds and we’re sticking with the pellets and with the pellets and hog feed in barrels, it takes up about as much room as 6 bales sitting in the ground and is such a space saver! I am not sure what I’ll do with the empty part of the barn but it sure is nice space to have available! =)

Man alive we had an issue with one of the does and tape worms this year! The end of June, she dropped weight like a ton of bricks, had constant diarrhea, eyelids went white and I really thought we’d loose her. None of the regular tape wormers I use (Valbazen usually) were working, I made up a special herbal wormer that helped a little, she rallied for a while but went right back after we got back from Ca. and literally, the diarrhea went on for over a month! I don’t know how on earth this doe is still alive! After finally doing a little more research I figured it had to be sort of a super tape, for lack of a better term, and tried Equimax horse wormer and WOW, WHAT AN IMMEDIATE DIFFERENCE IT MADE! That, along with Red Cell for the iron, B12 for her appetite and the other good nutrients and yogurt for the probios, she was perking right up, eating 100% better, diarrhea subsided within a couple of days and now she’s nearly back up to weight again and it didn’t take a 2 doses 10 days apart! I wormed the entire herd with that to be safe which I hate doing but as a precaution, I’d prefer it that way! Equimax also has Ivermectin and while it is a little pricier than some wormers, with it having both it’s my new go-to after freshening and for our kids as preventative!

At any rate, time to get going, lotsa work to get done today, first of which is coffee and getting that tree that fell cleaned up and cut up for fire wood. That will soon be upon us very soon and with as long as winter was last year, I’d like to have quite a bit more cut up than we’ve had in previous years. Better to be safe than out cutting wood when it’s freezing. =)

 

 

 

 

 

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August 21, 2013

[Pig] Fencing for Pasture

“A fence should be horse high, hog tight and bull strong.”

This is what we use to enclose our pigs…

piglets 006

…that’s our boar and that is a single strand of electric wire. It’s braided wire.

It’s a good idea to put in some kind of temporary non-electrified gate for them to go through so if you need to move them you can. They do not like to cross over places where they know electric wire was until they know it will not  be there. Not that moving them has proven to be all that easy for us, it’s a fiasco so we try to just shift them within a pasture by expanding, letting them get used to it and then moving the “old” fence over.

The posts are fiberglass posts that we bought in a bundle of 25 from our local farm store for about $26. The insulators are screw on type (which is the only type that work with these types of posts). I think they are priced at about $5 for 25 of them. The braided wire is about $17 for 1600 feet or so.The prices quoted may be different from the prices via the links. We have two local farm stores that carry several different brands and the brand we used may not have been the brand in the link, I am using the links just to give you an idea of what we used.

We considered fiberglass or plastic posts from most farm stores that already have built in insulators but it was more economical for us to buy the posts and screw on insulators, not to mention the fiberglass posts we got come with a metal sheath (tool) to place over the top of the post to protect the post when you may need to use a hammer to install them. We’ve had so much rain it was easy just to push them into the ground. The pre-insulated posts generally have a plastic piece on top and they are “step-in”. If the ground is rock hard, hitting the tops of the pre-insulated posts will cause the plastic part on top to break rendering the top insulator useless.  In very soft soil or muddy soil, I do not feel there is enough post on the bottom below the plastic step-in piece to anchor it well in the ground and the insulators on the pre-insulated ones are fixed in position.  Given all that, I really just much prefer the fiberglass posts we bought and I can put on as many insulators as needed in the locations I need to put them…which can be very low to the ground if needed for new piglets.

The posts vary in distance between. When we first put up the double strand, they were pretty close. We expanded the first pasture and made the distance between posts much farther and the single strand is farther yet, in some spots, 20 feet or so. Keeping the wire off the ground is key so in hilly terrain you’ll need more posts.

A source of electricity is a must-  solar, battery or plug in fencer – to keep the wires hot, they’ll scoff at a wire that isn’t hot. For those that are already running electric like us, we simply wrap the braided wire around the high tensile and get our juice from there.

It’s important to keep the “fence line” free of weeds, limbs, grass, etc. as interference from these things will ground out your wire. That is the single downfall I have found to our whole electrified system, but really, good maintenance of fence lines is imperative to longevity of your fences no matter what kind they are! I mow a wide path where the fence will be put up which makes mowing or weed eating generally unnecessary before I move it again.

This year with the rain we’ve had, we’ve mowed and weeded eated a little more than usual. Generally about once every month I’ll run along the line with the mower around the whole property, both sides if necessary and we hire one of Jeremiah’s students to go along the fence line with a weed eater once in the spring and 1-2 times in the summer.

pig fencing

Do the pigs tear up the pasture? Sure, a little. They leave the weeds they do not like, they trim the grass & they root but like anything else, rotational grazing works off the basis that you have to rotate them.

December 29, 2011

High Tensile for Goats – Revisited

High Tensile 1

This time last year I was researching the best fencing options for goats. We’ve used several in the past to include welded wire and woven wire, but the cost and work (read: stretching and seaming*) involved to put woven wire (as we will never again use welded wire for goats) around 15 acres with hills and heavily wooded areas would be astronomical. Upkeep was a big concern too.

I had read that high tensile wire, even if electrified, will not keep a goat in. I read from others that it will… providing you have a minimum of 8 wires (not gonna happen!). After a whole lotta research, a whole lotta reviews, we decided we were going to put it anyway with 4-5 strands, despite naysayers.

High tensile should not be confused with other electric wire fencing. High tensile is a lot thicker than the average electric fence wire and needs to be installed with an in-line strainer  within each line. The system also require special insulators (pin lock) and is a complete fencing system rather than a partial fencing/deterrent/back up system as most other electric wire fencing. Granted, we have seen some keep in herds of cattle with  temporary single line electric wires, but these are usually only for rotational grazing on fields that aren’t a herd’s normal grazing parcel and often times the cattle are trailer-ed to these parcels.

I am here to say that after a 8 months of ‘normal’ (for us) use, given the right conditions (which I’ll explain later), high tensile wire in 4-5 strands works fabulous, is easy on the pocket book (and actually SAVED/SAVES money), will last longer and keep the goats in to boot! In total, replacing several wooden  corner posts, reusing many of the t-posts from the old fence and buying used ones, the Wedge-Loc components, wire and insulators, to fence the entire property was about $2000. Anything else would have been at least double that, without taking into consideration the work stretching it which is my LEAST favorite part. Stretching woven wire vs. high tensile, well, there is no comparison!

http://herdmarmalade.blogspot.com/2011/03/for-love-of-high-tensile.html

Now, we’re set off a main road but on a main road nonetheless. The goats are quite a ways back off the main road and we have neighbors on both sides with nothing else out there besides property.  If the goats had access close to the main road, I would consider something else (cattle panels perhaps?) along that stretch mainly because, while I would doubt they’d go through it under most circumstances, I’d be afraid that if conditions were right ( predator attack) they’d do whatever was necessary to get away, including going through the fence to the road. But as it is, they are quite a ways from the road. I know and have seen people run their goats along roads with just a few strands of wire, but for us, if it were a question of them being along the road, we’d use a different type.

The goats have the run on much of our acreage. We needed to be mindful of fencing that would work well with other animals too (namely horses). The prior fencing (non-electrified) twisted non-barbed 4 strand wire was falling down, posts were rotting etc. which is the main reason we wanted to replace it. We could have simply -probably- strung a few electric wires on our side with insulators and called it a day, but being as how the whole fence was 30+ year old, it was time to come out.

I would not use this type of fencing for pens or smaller (i.e. less than 1/2 an acre) enclosures where the ‘pressure’ would be high. I would go cattle panels all the way there. We’ve been extremely happy with the panes performance in high pressure enclosures.Expensive yes, but east of use and durability can’t be beat!

Putting in woven wire would have required so many wooden posts that it would have blown the fence budget. Not to mention, if a goat got the urge, they will stand on that stuff and with the woods we have, and ice storms, if a tree were to fall on it, we’d be seaming and stretching* another piece back in. Not my idea of a good time. This high tensile is supposed to be very bouncy. It actually is very bouncy (read: limbs on line*).

Most said said that the part that takes the longest is the stringing of any type of fence. Not this fencing! The part that took the longest was the removal of the old fencing and posts! The stringing, once the end/corner posts are sunk, goes quick! It can be a one person job but Jeremiah and I got into a good rhythm and were both pretty much working all of the time in sync. Some jobs, you know, require help only some of the time so one person may be sitting there getting bored.  After the first line goes up (which acts as your guide wire pretty much), between your two set posts, we’d just go along and sink t-posts in. After that he’d start stringing another line, I’d start in putting up insulators and it’s history from there.

I do recommend tightening your first wire with your inline strainer before putting in any more wires (or your line posts) or running a guide wire as with any other type of fence but shy not save time and sip that step and just use the first wire? As for wooden posts, we only used theme every 30-60 feet or so (depended on the terrain, ours is hilly with some straight aways). Our t-posts required closer setting and we determined that spacing based on where the wire as coming too high off the ground (valleys) or hitting the ground (hills). If you have nothing but flat property, they say you can get away with farther spaced line posts, and it’s actually recommended as this fence was designed for long stretches which helps with bounce back, though batten spacers are recommended to keep your lines evenly spaced . You try long spances between any posts with any other type of fencing, and the outcome will not be good.

I am happier with the wooden corner posts than I am with the t-post  we used with the Wedge Loc system to create our “Z” braces at (1) start and (1) corner. In the future we may loosen up the fence at the in-line strainers and replace them with wooden but they are holding up just fine under the strain…they just bowed naturally in the middle. We didn’t use two to create one ‘post’ like some recommended for strength, I seriously doubt it would have made much of a difference though may not have bowed with a second. It’d more for looks that we’d like to replace with wooden than anything.

The Wedge-Loc system  made putting in braces go so quickly and we did use them for corners, places where we put in cross fencing and where the fences started both on the wooden posts and t posts! So far, they’ve held up fine. Time will tell how well they weather though they are made from alunimum so there’s no reason they should corrode, etc.  (As for stability,  strength, and speed, they are fabulous and can’t be beat.!)

High tensile beginning brace
We started out using a t-post for a corner post and while it has held up just as well as a wooden one in terms of the pull on it, it did bow a little in the center (which has not affected anything) but is not as aesthetically pleasing as a wooden post. You could weld 2 t posts together for the corners but it will not work with the Wedge-Loc system. You’ll need to weld your braces on too, which isn’t a big deal, if you weld, which hubby does, but this works just fine.
High tensile cross fence corner
This is actually a cross fence section, not a corner but  we prefer starting a fence with a wooden post as opposed to a t-post

As for how it’s holding the goats in? Just fine, BUT, as with any electric fence, YOU MUST TRAIN THEM TO IT! We started out in an acre section (mostly because that’s what was up). As I explained in an earlier post, I stood on one side with grain and pretty much let them walk in to it. It only took the adults once to learn that they wanted nothing to do with the fence. For that 1 acre section, we did put in 5 strands with the first being a mere 6″ off the ground. At the time we had small kids, and will have them again and we want them to know what the fence is and that it’s not something you really want to mess with. Occasionally they’d get too close but unless the fence is off, they stick to the ‘right’ side of the fence.

In addition to training them to it, you need a fencer big enough to do the job you are wanting it to do. Too small a fencer will get you nothing but a weak to non-working fence somewhere in the line. Making sure that your lines aren’t arcing and your system is property grounded is important too. Gallagher has some info we found useful.

For the majority of the property, we went with 4 strands set at 8″, 10″, 12″ and 12″. For the acre parcel they were set ay 6″, 8″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ apart- 5 strands. For the bucks pasture (in which we only did 5 strand as a cross fence which will separate them from the does as the rest of it is property line), they are set at 8″, 10″ 10″, 12″ and 12″ apart. We have yet to test the bucks in pasture in rut with cycling females as of yet because by the time the breeding season started, with so little rain, there wasn’t enough forage to bother with putting them out to pasture on. So, time will tell if the electric fence will be any match for that. I am thinking, however, we’ll go ahead and cross fence a few more sections so that the does cannot be right up against the fence to tested them and thus the fence will not need to be tested to the max nor will there be any chance for the situation to be inhumane if the bucks or does continually test the fence trying to get to one another.

To date we’ve had several large limbs* fall onto the fence and we’ve just lifted them off and the fence bounces right back. We do go around with the weed eater occasionally though we could solve this by taking the lowest line(s) off the ‘juice” eliminating grounding. However, right now we have them on for predators or nuisances…but then that’s where King, the LGD, comes in. He doesn’t like intruders.

The fence keeps the dog in and even though he’s not out there all the time (he spends his days near the house in the back yard and some nights as well). I am pretty sure deer are not coming onto the property at all any more either. I think this is partially to do with the electric, though they can easily clear the lines in a single bound. More than likely though, it’s because of the dog. I don’t mind deer except for the fact they can carry deadly (to goats) parasites. So, best if they just keep off.

Anyway, we’re extremely satisfied with the high-tensile fencing to say the least!

I’ve included some sites that we found useful when researching and installing. Happy fencing!



http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/442/442-132/442-132.html


http://www.dareproducts.com/pdf_s/DARE_htfs.pdf

http://www.maxflex.com/HTsmooth_wire.htm

http://www.zarebasystems.com/store/electric-fence-high-tensile

http://www.premier1supplies.com/list.php?mode=list&cat_id=51