Oh, my sweet Lord, we need a fence. Long-time readers will be familiar with our “the chickens crossed the road” issues (also here and here); the generosity and good humour of our direct neighbours has largely mitigated out concerns, but Gidget paid the price for her freedom. And, as hard as it was to lose Gidget that way, we have feared even more for the safety of drivers. What if someone swerved off the road to avoid hitting one of our girls? What if, next year, they hit a 25-pound tom?
We’ve been planning for a fence since we first brought Billie home, back in September of 2011. We were all set to get one up last summer, when an unforeseen and frivolous financial hardship hit our family, through no fault of our own. (Those of you who know us well will know what that was, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.)
Well, goats and turkeys are acomin’, chickeneers, and it is past time. This weekend, the fence finally goes up.
We had originally envisioned a Virginia zigzag fence, but it seems that goats would laugh at one, as they used it as a ladder. Further, it’s a relatively expensive option. We have altered our plan to suit our revised needs and knowledge, and are now putting up an electric fence, at a fraction of the cost. That looks a little like this:
We will be stringing the wires with the height of Nigerian Dwarf Goat kids in mind, as well chickens and turkeys. In our plan, however, there will be five wires, only two of which will be active: the top one, and the one second from the bottom, and those won’t be wire but tape, thisish:
The top wire should discourage turkey fly overs (their wings will be clipped on one side), goat fly overs, and be a good visual barrier for Billie. The lower electric tape should keep the chickens and goats in line.
I can not tell you how excited I am at the prospect of this fence going up. That Billie could be let free in our fields without supervision makes me positively giddy. She’s very good and doesn’t cross our roads, but it’s hard to explain property lines to a dog, and we are constantly calling her back from our northern neighbour’s (very alluring) property. I’m sure, when there was snow on the ground, that our poor neighbours thought they had wolves.
She is going to have a year of virtual freedom, as soon as she can be trusted with the goats and turkeys as completely as she is trusted with our hens. She really is the very best of dogs.
But, wait! There’s more! Three of our four losses at Heedley’s Hens might have been prevented by a good electric fence: Gidget would have stayed home; Buffy would likely have not been killed, as a predator will think twice about crossing an electric fence; Delilah would likely not have disappeared, for the same reason.
That’s right, gentle reader: not only will this fence keep our animals in, it should keep some predators out. This is no guarantee, but I’m hoping it will help. There is so much open farmland around here, we are hoping that predators will choose a path of lesser resistance, and burrowing animals aren’t much of a threat here, as we are so close to the shale.
Further, with that top line being hot, it should deter our deer population. This means fewer ticks (a huge problem here) and lessens the dangers of the transmission of Meningeal Deerworm infection to our goats.
So, you can see why I’m so excited. Construction begins Sunday, bright and early…