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  1. So... the property I'm looking at currently is only partly fenced. The interior fencing isn't in great shape and won't keep dogs (mine included) out or lambs in, that's clear. The perimeter fencing is five-strand high-tensile wire. (It's currently being used for cattle). It's in so-so shape - the posts are in good shape (though I'm told it won't pay to try to recycle them), but some of the runs between posts are 30-40 feet, and in one or two spots, erosion along the stream has created what screams to me as "superhighway for predators", though the current owners have barricaded it some with tree trunks and big rocks. That might work for cattle, but sheep are not cattle. This part of Maryland (near the MD/PA line) has predators - coyotes for sure, possibly other predators, dogs most certainly. Predators are my big concern - I figure if I can keep them out, then I can keep the sheep in. I'm willing to entertain the notion of an LGD - but Baltimore County has zoning ordinances that cap dogs at 3 per household (my current count). I'm looking into how easy it is to get an exemption for a farm without having to get a kennel license, but don't yet know the answer. I'm thinking of putting in as much perimeter fencing as I can afford at a time. Premier Supply’s catalog recommends 32” high tensile woven wire with 2 strands of (nonelectrified) high tensile wire on top (to protect the woven wire from falling trees, I think) and one strand of barbed wire 1” above the ground to discourage digging by dogs and coyotes. They then add two energized offsets ~ 10” above the ground and ~30-45” above the ground on the grazed side. I showed this design last week to two of my mentors, and they both felt it was overkill. They didn't seem to think the two strands of high tensile on the top would be useful, and they'd go with higher woven wire. They weren't sure what to recommend about the barbed wire/hot wire. But then one (from Idaho) has LGDs, and the other (who doesn't have LGDs) hasn’t had a problem with coyotes in her part of MD. In searching similar posts on these Boards, I see where some people have expressed concern about barbed wire at the bottom. Might keep dogs out, but could hurt sheep. I’m mindful of how expensive perimeter fencing is (having gotten two quotes already for wildly divergent prices), and “overkill” could add up fast. One quote ($11.50 per foot!) specified posts at 8' centers, the other ($3.25 per foot) at 15' centers. Gates extra, of course. I *am* thinking of using 2 x 4” woven wire instead of 4 x 4” woven wire – the cost per roll of wire isn’t that much more, less risk of losing ear tags, and I figure it would retain its value better if I were to sell the property when I’m old(er) and decrepit to someone who wants to keep horses (very popular in this part of the state) – just run some electrified tape (for visibility) above the woven wire if I were to use higher woven wire and omit the high tensile. (I also know that fencing that isn’t suitable is a liability, to the tune of $2 per foot to have the present fencing dismantled and carted off). So here (finally) is my question: what would you all recommend in terms of perimeter fencing? And what would you recommend at the bottom or top (if anything) for predator control? The ungrazed sides of the pastures follow a stream (on one side, with a cornfield beyond that), a driveway (to be "our" driveway), and the neighbors' back yards (I don't think most of them keep livestock, so no concerns about their cattle or horses leaning on the fencing). There is a short run along one pasture with someone else's pasture beyond. I didn't see any livestock there while we were looking at the place, but obviously I'd need to keep the neighbors' use in mind in deciding how to fence that one portion. Also: are sheep smart enough that if you disconnect any hot wire at the bottom during times of low predatory pressure that they'll graze the fenceline for you (at least on one side)? I sure hate to spray herbicides, especially right along a stream. (Though weed whacking both sides of a mile of fencing could also get old). Thanks for all of you who take the time to provide your input!
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