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Mark Billadeau

Securing very old fencing on leased land

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We purchased 25 acres of a 150 acre farm. The MD purchased 97 acres of the old farm which is adjacent to our land. We are leasing some of the state lands for grazing. The old farm fence line is still in place and it runs along the boundaries of the portion of acreage we are leasing (<3000' of fence line). The fence is a mix of 3 & 4 strands of barbed wire and field fence (box wire). The posts are in good shape and are a mix of wood (pressure treated and locust) and metal T posts at about 8' spacing. We want to secure this for sheep with as little expense as possible since it is a lease. We are considering 1-2 hot wires off set on the inside of the old fence line.

 

Is this a good choice?

How many strands would your recommend?

What height would you recommend for each strand?

 

Mark

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Mark,

 

I graze a lot of fields with similar fence. I mow a strip inside the fence then set up 3 strands of hot-wire on step-in posts. Wires are at about 8", 16", 32". I use step-ins from Pel, but I don't think they're being imported anymore. In any case, they're metal posts with plastic insulators. If a perimeter fence is semi-decent field fence or a thick hedge, I'll do one strand at 16" for ewes or two strands at 8" and 16" for ewes with lambs. It's always three strands (or electronet) for weaned/market lambs. They're just plain rowdy! I keep my fences HOT and my sheep well-fed (no supplemental feeding, all grass-fed), so they're less likely to test the fences.

 

I really prefer setting up temporary fence on step-in posts over a permanent off-set, but I might graze a pasture just once a year, or many months apart. It's easier for me to pick up the fence completely and re-mow than it is to clean up under an off-set. If you're going to put in a permanent wire, I'd suggest using high-tensile wire on metal insulators (not the cheap, plastic Red Snapper-type ones). The wire doesn't need to be under high tension, but high-tensile wire is a lot sturdier than polywire.

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Ben,

Do you find the electric wire on step-in posts to be easier to deal with than electronet or is about the same. I was thinking you'd have less chance of tangling in plain three-strand wire than any sort of net. (Thinking about how I might do things in the future.)

 

J.

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Ben has no coyotes to worry about, and the fence he describes would do little or nothing to deter them. I love my Electronet. It is not cheap, but it is 100 percent portable. You just have to change your mindset from fencing the field to fencing the feed. Very effective at keeping sheep in and predators out.

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And then there's this place, where electronet, I've found, is pretty much impossible to set properly. Rocks. I had not thought of metal step in. I've seen them - gee, now I wonder why?

 

Motivation to roam is low so this is a grand idea, thanks Ben!!

 

Predator pressure is massive here. Wolvs are the only thing we lack. Dog, fox, coys, coydog, bear, big cat, but the dogs take care of it. There's only six sheep and maybe five acres they cover foraging. Presently none of it is fenced.

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Bill is right, I have no coyotes or guard dogs to fence out or in. I actually prefer net anyway because it's more secure, and I use it along roads, etc where there's no or very poor fence. I use the three strand to divide fenced pastures, to beef up so-so fences, and where escape is not such a big thing (ie, to divide a large, unfenced field that's not close to a road.) I also use three-strand because I often have horses cleaning up behind the sheep. Horses + net = very, very bad.

 

ETA: I also graze a lot of fields that have exactly one water source in an old pond, and hauling water is impractical- a number of fields are accessible only on foot. Moving a small, net paddock on those fields is not possible while still allowing the sheep access to water. In the winter, however, when there are puddles everywhere, I just make sure to fence a large puddle in with the sheep.

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We use electronet now (currently only 4 rolls); we will continue to use electronet (adding more rolls) for controlled grazing. We need a place to hold our projected flock of breeding ewes plus their lambs (up to 90 ewes) in one location and our rams in another and still allow our LGD access to both locations when we are are away for long weekends (3-5 days at a time).

 

Mark

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We ran 3 strands of HT wire with offset insulators on older fence; It is quite effective as long as the dogs stay in the same area. I did just have a neighbour's Husky get in and kill a lamb while the white dogs were fenced out of the sheep (electronet on our side...field fence with offsets on road side) so it is not a good solution for preditors, but will allow you to fasten electronet.

 

We own 49 rolls of electronet now...makes me rich...in fencing anyway

 

Cynthia

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We need a solution that will prevent our sheep from re-visiting our neighbor's yard and fits within our budget which is constrained due to needing a new roof on the house (currently 2 quotes at $25k).

 

 

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We need a solution that will prevent our sheep from re-visiting our neighbor's yard and fits within our budget which is constrained due to needing a new roof on the house (currently 2 quotes at $25k).

 

Mark, try the offset with HT wire, inexpensive solution, cross fence with temp or electronet. With 90 sheep you can' tjust have a 4X4 e'net fence and have them in there 3-5 days; If preditors are not an issue I'd give the temp 3 strand or offsets and HT wire a go. I can take pictures of ours if you like. Our permiter fence is 5 strand HT hot, but we have 5 white dogs , they keep the preditors out (unless you fence the white dogs out of an area and frustrate the crap out of them while a husky and a crazy husky owner chase your sheep)

 

cynthia

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Cynthia,

Thanks for your replies. I have a good idea how to put up the offset HT on the old fencing. Premier's catalog has been quite useful. We're getting no more than 2days of grazing with our 4 rolls of e'net for our current flock of 40 ewes and 55 lambs. In 2 years we've not had any coyotes on our farm or heard of any in the immediate area (I know they are around) or stray dogs on the farm.

Mark

 

 

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