Electric Fence Innovations Revolutionize Livestock Grazing and Protection
The best defense might be a great electric fence. With the newest electric fence innovations, electricity may provide the gentle jolt that keeps 'em down on the farm.
Common uses for electrifiable netting for sheep include subdividing pastures to maximize grass growth, as a boundary fence on rented land, or as an interim fence until a proper, permanent fence can be built.
PHOTO: PREMIER FENCING
New electric fence innovations protect homestead livestock.
Japhy, a pup from the city, didn’t know what a chicken was when he first moved to the farm, but he thought our Silver Laced Wyandottes looked interesting, so he ran right over to play with them. He never got close to the birds.
The instant his big, black, wet nose touched the electrified netting that surrounds the laying hens’ pen, Japhy let out a yelp. He jumped, spun clear around in mid-air and took off running in the other direction, yowling in protest and fright. Relax, dog lovers. Mr. Japhy wasn’t injured. Yes, a quick electric shock hurts. Getting hit with a few thousand volts, for even 1/3,000th of a second, does cause some pain. But that’s the whole idea: The shock inflicts no physical damage, but it does leave a lasting impression.
Japhy learned his lesson and he hasn’t gone anywhere near the chickens again.
In recent years, electric fence innovations have revolutionized some forms of livestock grazing and protection, and garden crop protection, too.
Now, effective and relatively inexpensive temporary electric fencing is available to protect everything from small animals such as barnyard chickens or pastured poultry to larger animals such as riding horses.
Although some electric fences are considered permanent, much like a traditionally built fence, other styles are intended for semi-permanent or temporary applications, giving users more flexibility and economy in meeting their fencing needs. Modern temporary styles of electric fencing include the familiar rope lines, some tapelike styles and various sizes of mesh netting; all can be set up or taken down in a matter of minutes.
Pennsylvania farmer Brian Moyer pastures 1,400 broilers annually, using 42-inch-high electric netting with 3 1/2-inch-square openings and plastic posts. Moyer says he especially likes the heavy plastic step-in posts, which he just pushes into the ground with his foot (or in dry times, hammers in with a rubber mallet.)
The portability of temporary electric fencing means it can be moved about according to pre-planned grazing patterns. The practice allows more intensive use of pasturelands than is possible with permanent fencing of larger areas. Aaron Silverman raises about 15,000 broilers a year in a small valley in Oregon.
“Our fields are bordered by riparian zones — a river or a creek where there are nesting marsh hawks and red-tailed hawks, bobcat runs and coyote trails.
“When we started with traditional pastured poultry zones, we confined the birds to the portable enclosures at all times and moved the enclosures once, maybe twice a day. We noticed that whenever we were close to a riparian zone, we would lose birds to raccoons, opossums and skunks, which were able to sneak under the fencing,” Silverman says.
Page: 1 | 2
| Next >>