Friday, April 15, 2016

Musings, The Electric Fence

Don't do it...Don't Touch the Fence

Electric Fences

One of the first investments after moving to the farm was an electric fence. We had small children, so I was a little concerned about the "safety" of having one. (city girl). I was assured we had nothing to worry about. It gives you quite a poke, but no one is going to be seriously injured or die from touching it.

That fence has been one of the best investments we have made. Over the years it has kept the sheep where they belong (99 percent of the time). It has also kept them safe from predators.

It has also bought with it some curse words, crying, and laughs.

Kids and the electric fence...

Having six girls that have grown up on the farm, most of them have had run ins with the fence. Some intentional, some not. One that I vividly remember is daughter #2 playing in the field, it was Springtime and muddy. She was walking along the fence, when she stepped into some knee deep mud (knee deep for her) Her foot came out of her boot and she lost her balance, so she grabbed onto the fence. (ouch) But there was no way she was going to fall in the mud (and poop) or put her foot down into the mud (and poop). So she kept her grip on the fence. Mike ran out there as fast as he could, to get her, while all of the time, I was yelling to her to let go of the fence. Wasn't going to happen, so there she stood until her dad  rescued her. It was in no way funny then, she was crying, we were consoling. It didn't become something to laugh about, until years later.

They have since told us stories (of course you don't find out about it until later) about cousins coming for visits, and them holding hands and touching the fence. The poor person on the end, thinking he was going to get just a" little" bit of the shock.  I am sure none of us would have done such a thing.

Dogs and the electric fence...

All of our dogs have run ins with the fence, it is only a matter of time. It usually happens once and they are cured. Our Border Collies have all responded the same way, they run to the house, and it takes hours before they will go outside again. They are convinced there is some evil lurking outside, just waiting to get them. Sometimes when they are needed in the field, I have to assure them the fence is off, and it is okay for them to jump through. They usually pace and whine before making the leap.

Nosy neighbors and the electric fence...

I don't know how many times we were told that electric fence was not going to work on keeping our sheep in. That they do not have enough poke, with all of that wool. Electric fences have come along way, and so have chargers.

We had one nosy neighbor come down for a visit, during a conversation, he told my husband that electric fences were no good. They would barely keep back a tame cow. In other words, we wasted our money having one put up. Mike didn't say anything. The neighbor continued to say that when he was younger, they would get blades of grass, and touch the fence to check it. They would get a little tingle, if it was working. Mike still didn't say anything. The neighbor decided to demonstrate and picked a long blade of grass.  Mike still didn't say anything (but was thinking, what is this guy doing?)  The neighbor ended the demonstration by yelling a few choice curse words. Mike, who had a run in or two with the fence himself, simply stated  "the fence is pretty hot".

The Shepherdess and the Electric Fence

Even the cautious shepherdess gets it sooner or later.
I guess, I will end my post with my own embarrassing story. We had a beagle who kept getting into the pasture, he just wasn't getting hit by the fence. I didn't need a beagle out there getting himself into trouble chasing sheep.  So, I decided to "train" him to the fence. I picked him up and took him over to the fence, I thought " this is going to hurt me more than it is you", and boy did it.  Being the city girl, (and one who did  not pay attention in Science class) I didn't realize Dash wouldn't  feel a thing, just the one holding him. After, I got the surprise of a lifetime, I looked around wondering if anyone had seen that? Thankfully, no one had. I am sure if Dash had realized what had happened, he would have felt I got my just rewards. I did tell Mike about it later (country boy, and did pay attention in Science class) . I still think he was biting his lip, trying not to laugh. Eventually, Dash did get trained to the fence, all on his own.

So, the electric fence has been more than just a barrier keeping the sheep in, it has been responsible for some curse words, crying, and some eventual laughs.

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  1. I suppose an electric fence is something you have to get use to along with friends and family.

  2. Haha! Not funny at the time I am sure, but pretty funny looking back on.

    1. You learn to laugh about it, eventually.
      :) Life on a farm

  3. You can hold me in with an electric fence! A friend of mines father was quite bald, he was showing me their herd sire and we crawled under a low spot in the fence...I came through unscathed but Mr.Potter stood up too soon and hit the fence with his poor head....I actually heard the snap as he got shocked! I think the cows were secretly laughing as they watched.

    1. oh my goodness, poor guy!!
      It does hurt....I stay clear.

  4. Ha, loved the stories, even though I could feel the pain, lol. Been there several times myself.
    There is no way we could have raised dairy goats without electric fencing. Our youngest had them as her 4-H project then up until she got married so we had a good strong current on the fence at all times.

    1. We have had a few dairy goats challenge the fence, usually our Toggenburg's.
      Thankfully, it works for most :)

  5. We use one for our horses. Works well until an ice storm comes!

    1. Yes, winter weather can cause problems for electric fences.

  6. I wanted to use an electric fence around my chicken coop to deter the coyotes and very large raccoons, as well as skunks, opossums, and feral cats. I live on acreage with some very heavily wooded area's. I want to keep my chickens safe, but do not want to hurt any of rabbits that are also on the property. I have wire cloth around the coop but raccoons will push their way thru anything they want. I am thinking if I keep it (electric wire) about a foot from the ground the rabbits would be safe? Any one have any idea's as to what I should do

    1. If you put the fence that high off the ground, rabbits may be able to get through, but so will other critters you are trying to keep out.
      We have an electric fence around our pastures, but that doesn't deter rabbits from living in our yard :)

  7. My favorite is the nosy neighbor! Bahaha!! I ALMOST feel sorry for him... but only almost. Bahaha. :-D

  8. I never knew Olivia did that! 😂😂😂


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