Last week my neighbor Elden and I finished fencing in the south field. This is important because we now have 2 securely fenced areas in which we can graze our animals. That’s good because next year we will have to separate the bulls and bucks from the cows and does during the time from calving/kidding until rebreeding. Without this fence we would have been solely reliant on electric fencing to contain them. Our animals are well-trained to the electric fencing and do respect it, but I don’t like it as the sole containment for the animals because sometimes storms or high winds can knock it over and then your prized animals are loose in the woods somewhere…
This fence job went far more smoothly than when we fenced in the front field last year. We bought a hydraulic post pounder and used a skidsteer to set the posts in the ground. So much faster than digging all the holes and setting each post by hand (which means hauling in gravel, shoveling it into each hole, and then tamping the gravel down with the throw bars – exhausting), as well as heart-pounding, ear-splitting, and dangerous. But it only took us 3 days to get all of the posts into the ground, as opposed to 4 weeks last time.
This field formerly had a fence along the eastern side just below the old logging access road you can see in the Google Earth image. This fence row had grown up over the years and was covered in cedars, honeysuckles, brambles, poison ivy, and all manner of other nasties that would make clearing the fence row difficult. So in the month prior to starting the project, we ran our goats and pigs (separately, of course – no goat suppers for the pigs!) through the fence row. Those guys happily ate, trampled, and otherwise demolished the vast majority of the nasty stuff. By the time they were through with it, Elden and I only had to spend a morning with a couple of chainsaws to clear out the remnants. Aren’t livestock wonderful when you can use them to do your dirty work? And you’ve never seen happier pigs!
After setting all of the posts and braces we stretched 4″ x 4″ goat and sheep fencing and hammered and hammered and hammered and hammered staples to secure the fencing to the posts. I think this type of fence will do much better for us than the standard field fencing we used in the front field. It doesn’t matter for the cattle, but the young goats get the heads stuck in the field fence constantly and the 4″ x 4″ fence should keep them from being able to stick their heads through and getting caught.
All that’s left to do is stick the gates on for access and the field is ready for grazing! It’s first action will be the cattle and half of the goat herd. The other half of the goat herd will remain in the front field. This separation is to prevent inbreeding and so we can control which buck had access to which does.
Next project: corral panels and gutters for the new barn to provide a more secure and drier winter environment for the cattle and goats. Should be done by the first week of November!