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Sheep and electronet


Sue R
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I have to make a decision real soon about whether or not to add sheep (and an LGD) to the mix here on the farm. Our plan, if approved, would upgrade our perimeter fencing from 2-3 strand high-tensile electric wire to 3 (and eventually 5) strands, but will also involved putting in sturdier fence posts and also gates. If not approved, we would most likely still be approved for the use of electronet, which is the fencing of choice for this subsidized project.

 

I am just not as comfortable with the idea of electronet without an upgraded perimeter fence. I'd be fine using electronet to divide paddocks and spot graze. I've also heard that electronet is not sufficient when working/training dogs, so that is another reason for wanting an upgraded perimeter fence. I would be looking to "rent a ram" rather than keeping one year-round so I'm hoping not to have to have a ram paddock. Also, these would be Katahdin sheep so I understand that electric fence is more effective with containing them.

 

Would the folks here who are familiar with the use of electronet like to comment? I have to make a decision very soon about whether or not to commit to this project as it will be a financial, time, and effort commitment.

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Sue

 

Wrt the high tensile, plan on going straight to 5 strand. My brother and I did his pasture last spring for his steers, and we used 5 strands. Even at that, with uneven ground you should put a 6th hot wire at the bottom. And, remember, if woolies, they will not always get a good charge.

 

As to no perimeter fence, I am with you. You should have one. The sheep I saw ripped stem to stern was in e-net. E-net has to be checked daily, and you need to keep the grass from grounding out the charge. I had e-net for a small while, and sold it. It was premier brand. And, no, you don't want to use it to work dogs. I remember attempting that, and just being so nervous that there would be a wreck. E-net doesn't take kindly to animals getting hung up in it, not to mention what the animals think!

 

We are getting estimates right now for my brother's place for sheep fencing- which will be field fence, fixed knot. Will not be cheap, but imo, after so much thought, it will be the best. You can add more as you can afford it. We had the sheep in the high tensile, but I never felt comfortable because there were high spaces at the bottom, due to uneven ground, and we've got Coyotes and Bobcats, and the odd Bear.

 

 

 

I have to make a decision real soon about whether or not to add sheep (and an LGD) to the mix here on the farm. Our plan, if approved, would upgrade our perimeter fencing from 2-3 strand high-tensile electric wire to 3 (and eventually 5) strands, but will also involved putting in sturdier fence posts and also gates. If not approved, we would most likely still be approved for the use of electronet, which is the fencing of choice for this subsidized project.

 

I am just not as comfortable with the idea of electronet without an upgraded perimeter fence. I'd be fine using electronet to divide paddocks and spot graze. I've also heard that electronet is not sufficient when working/training dogs, so that is another reason for wanting an upgraded perimeter fence. I would be looking to "rent a ram" rather than keeping one year-round so I'm hoping not to have to have a ram paddock. Also, these would be Katahdin sheep so I understand that electric fence is more effective with containing them.

 

Would the folks here who are familiar with the use of electronet like to comment? I have to make a decision very soon about whether or not to commit to this project as it will be a financial, time, and effort commitment.

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Hi Sue,

I use electronet (4 lengths) exclusively to graze my sheep for most of the summer (my pasture with woven wire is used during the winter, early spring and late fall). Indeed, I couldn't do what I do if I needed to have perimeter fencing completely around the couple hundred acres I graze. I have 80 ewes and various numbers and ages of lambs. About once a year, they get out, generally through some error on my part such as: I've forgotten to turn on the charger, have stuck the bottom of the pole through the fence, etc. I have never (to my knowledge) lost a lamb to coyote (yes, we have them here and we have seen two deer killed by coyote this month).

 

The key is keeping the fence HOT and not pressuring them too hard. I use a high quality charger and keep a back-up battery charged and ready to go. When I put down the fence, I either cut the perimeter with a weed-eater (with a blade) or stomp down the grass well with our tractor/four-wheeler. I also use the self grounding fence (Premier) supplied by Wellscroft and keep my fences well maintained, replacing old/worn out sections. It's important to move the sheep before you completely run out of grass.

 

I DO work my dogs within the fence with the power turned off. I wouldn't recommend doing this if a dog is totally out of control or the sheep are not fence broke, but with reasonably well controlled work the sheep do not push through the fence.

 

Kim

 

BTW, my sheep (particularly lambs) blow through high tensile fence (I think I've got 5 wires). Often, I end up "backing up" my high tensile fence with the woven wire fence.

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I love my electronet. We use it to graze the sheep on our ditch along side of the county road. With that being said, I don't graze them out there unless we are home. Not so much because of the sheep, but because I worry that someone will come along and do something stupid. :rolleyes:

 

We do work our dogs with electronet. Like Kim, the fence is off and you do want sheep that are fence broke and I wouldn't do it with a wild beginner dog.

 

Kathy

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Wow, what good ideas and encouragement (mostly :rolleyes: ).

 

I do have almost one full roll of new woven wire that I would use to make a "secure" paddock by the shelter (we are looking at one of those "garages" with walls, and maybe a raised floor to limit bedding use and make the manure available for the garden). That would give us a night-time safe area and a winter area for those times when the electronet would not be functional (like in all this snow we've had).

 

I have to make a decision if I want to be in the program. I have some really nice ewe lambs offered to me and an older LGD with lots of experience who needs a new home. The fencing has been a big sticking point.

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I also do a lot of grazing in nothing but electronet. I have one pasture that is divided with high-tensile (5 hot strands, the bottom is a ground, the whole fence is 3 ft tall) and I HATE IT. The sheep blow through it if there's too much feed pressure, or if they're too wooly, etc. That fence is seriously hot, too. The only breakouts I've had in the net are because I did something dumb, or because I've decided that the sheep really can eat that pasture down just a little more. The real key is to not pressure them too much. I have a plug-in energizer, and a battery one on an RV battery. They both work well, and I make sure to keep the battery checked often.

 

We do not have coyotes here (seriously, I live on an island).

 

I also work sheep in net, but with a few caveats: Not in very small spaces or odd shaped corners (I graze a lot of odd-shaped pastures), not with the "crazy" sheep I had (all sold now) and most definitely NOT with an inexperienced dog.

 

I also graze some large parcels in 3 strands of poly-wire on step in posts. My friend thinks the wire is more secure than net, but I'm the other way around. If I have sheep that are fence testers, I'll put the 3-strand inside the net for awhile. That usually stops them.

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or because I've decided that the sheep really can eat that pasture down just a little more.

 

And WHY do we do that year after year (or at least me)? :rolleyes: Invariably, if I do tell myself that (often thinking "will they break out?"), they break out and you hear that very specific "break out" baahing in the middle of the night or get the dreaded phone call. I gotta train myself better, forget the dogs.

 

Kim

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Sue e net is great, but it is a tool and needs to be used correctly. We use e net for our primary fence from May until December or January. We lamb our older ewes in it( as we pasture lamb in May) and we have never had an animal killed while in e net. We don't mow grass for the fence, but do drive a path for it with atv or truck. We will mow with a big weed eater when grazing a full stand of mature alfalfa..it is much more dense than grass. Using a good charger is KEY, the fence needs to be hot especially when teaching sheep about staying in.

 

We could not run our ranch without e net as most of our late fall and early winter graze is on others farmers stubble fields and there are no fences. As we have gotten bigger we also use some 4 wire strand hot wire with the net, but i prefer the net especially when the sheep are off of our property, or say grazing grain stubble right next to $$$$$ organic strawberries. I do know many huge operations ( 1-2 thousand ewes WITH lamb) who run their whole place with 4-5 strand hot wire that they move as needed with reels.

 

When i go by fields i am always looking at what food is there for sheep and how i can graze it. A dear friend of ours ( may he rest in peace) told me that meant i was "becoming like all good sheep guys..cheap and looking for free food" :rolleyes: We often graze down to nothing so our sheep are not always on lush food, and the e net has to keep them in.

 

One note don't keep any sheep, no matter how nice, who figures out ways to escape while no other sheep does. She will always be trouble and so will her lambs.

 

Nice ewe lambs and a good old LGD ...GO FOR IT!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Lana

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Right now I use netting when on the eighty acres. I use a pretty high charger. ( GOATS)

I have had loose dogs go right through the netting if you have a lower charger or too much fence!

 

But with Jesus that does not happen, as any stray dogs think twice and usually someone stays with the sheep. (Knitting clothing!)

 

We have a few coyotes on the island where I live, but so far no problems. Of course Eagles and ravens are always looking! :rolleyes:

 

You do need to be careful with little lambs. I have the netting the graduates in size.

 

I work my dogs in it to gather the sheep to trail home. I just turn it off.

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Most of the time when I graze in electronet it's in a field with a woven wire perimeter fence...but the piece along the driveway isn't fenced and I do graze the sheep in electronet only there. I do make sure that the battery is a fresh one and that the fence is reasonably clear of grass. It's two or three times a summer down there and it's only for a few days each time.

 

I do use dogs for some things inside of the electronet, not training per se, but gathering the group or catching a ewe or lamb. Older, experienced dog and it's always worked fine. There's usually 8-12 rolls of electronet and 200+ sheep. Later in the summer, I do have those times where I think they graze for another day and in the early morning you can hear when someone has sacrificed themselves to get the net down and they get out. :rolleyes: Border Collies like that, I don't.

 

I've never been a fan of the high tensile for sheep, although there is a lady in our grazing group who I want to say has 5 or 7 strands, it's pretty well charged and it works for her.

 

Laura

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I forgot to say that the field where the sheep are grazed has the gate open almost all summer. So if they do get out, they can really get out. The gate opens to a spot on the driveway which is about halfway up. I'm too lazy to open and close the gate every time I go out to the field.

 

Laura

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