And…. once again, we spent an entire day yesterday putting up electric fence! We’re spending so much time on this fence every time Jon is home that I’m really starting to wonder if this is the best way to do things! Our plan is to set everyone up so that they can be moved to fresh pasture every day. The problem with that is that they also have to have access to their shelter each day. Our original plan, (which we’ve been using), was to create lanes leading back to the shelter, and make temporary paddocks coming off the lanes.
This is incredibly easy when it comes to the cow. Or rather, it will be once we have all of her lanes set up. We set up one lane for her with temporary polywire (the lane gives her access to her shelter, without taking her through her paddocks) and then we set up permanent outside borders using steel wire. Whenever we want to move her, we just roll her temporary lane out to the next paddock (so that she can’t go back to the old paddock) and create cross fencing with strands of polywire that clip onto the permanent fence and the lanes:
It takes about 5 minutes to move Lucy to a fresh paddock each day, and although we do have to move the lanes and the permanent wire to a new spot every couple of weeks, we’re leaving everything up as we go, so once it’s set in place we won’t need to do anything new with it except to move the polywire daily.
When it comes to the goats, however, it’s another story! The goats require a combination of six-strand electric wire for both lanes, and electric netting to create the paddocks (because putting up six strands of electric for the cross fence would be a huge pain.) The problem is that every day we’re moving the six strands of electric wire that make up the lane and this is much more difficult to do than we’d originally planned! We’ve tried moving the strands one at a time, but that takes much too long. We tried putting them all on a big stick and twisting them out as we go down the fence, but they become a tangled mess. This time, we’re going to try using THREE strands of electric wire on the side we’ll be moving, and six strands on the side we’re not moving and pray the goats will respect the three strands (they shouldn’t have much reason to go through the fence, as it will only lead to pasture they’ve already grazed. We hope.) Here is a diagram of what we’re doing, in hopes it will be a little more clear (if you notice in this diagram, the shelter moves down the lane with them. It’s easier to move the shelter once every few months than it is to make the lane turn so that they can get to their shelter as they move down the field):
Despite all the trouble and time it takes, I love what we’re doing. I love the fact that the goats are moved to a new pasture every day. We recently had them checked for worms and their fecals came back clear, and I believe in the long run this will be much, much healthier both for them and the grass than any other pasture management system. Having said that, however, we really need to figure out a way to make this easier!!! I really believe there is a way, and I’m just missing it!
Does anyone have any ideas???