About a month ago I went out to feed and wondered by Ringo, 2 year-old ram, was standing by himself and wouldn’t come in. That usually indicates a sick sheep.When I walked out there I saw that one electric fence wire was spiraled across the pen and Ringo wouldn’t cross it. I had been fixing the fence a couple times per week, tightening the wires, or replacing insulators, and once in awhile fixing a break. That evening I found this–Foley with wires wrapped all around his horns and his feet. It was worse than it looks in the photo. I had to cut the wraps of wire off of him. I knew that I had to do something better. The goal of this electric wire is to keep the sheep away from the field fence on the south side and the welded wire panels on the north side, both of which the rams can easily destroy. It works well for the ewes and it works for the rams to the extent that they don’t try to eat something on the other side or put their heads through the fence. But it is obvious that the charge is not felt through the horns. The rams actually spend time trying to scratch on the insulators and bash the tree that holds some of the fence. Then their horns catch on the wire and I think they like to fight with the wire just because it’s there. I thought that if I used 4 wires that would keep the rams away…or at least I hoped it would. I also thought that maybe they needed a diversion–something to distract them from the fence. (Dona suggested it and that reminded me that I used to have a big tree stump on a post and the rams would spend time scratching on it.)We sometimes wonder if we’re hoarders, but you’re only a hoarder if you don’t have use for all your stuff, right? I had just found a use for these wheels.
This is version one–tires held upright with a t-stake. I decided that it was probably boring so added a few things.That’s plywood with sharp corners for itchy heads and a couple of dangly chains for sound effects. It took a few days before the rams started to use their new toy but it served it’s purpose…for awhile. Yesterday they were back at the fence and had broken the wire as well as broken off all the insulators on their favorite tree (third photo from the top).
We’re planning to leave for about 10 days and I found myself thinking how I’d explain to my future daughter-in-law/farm sitter how you take the cane and chase the rams into the shed and make them stay in the shed while you find the ends of the broken wire…no, first loosen the wire at the tensioners, then find the broken ends…etc. We debated about what we could do to create a safe place for these rams and be ready to leave in a couple of days.
I finally decided that the simplest idea was to have our rams change places. Faulkner, the BFL, and his buddy would go to the old ram pen and the four Jacob rams would to to Faulkner’s pen, after some reinforcement (2 new welded wire panels). This is the four of them exploring their new digs. They have berry bushes and trees to bash right in the middle of the pen.
This is Faulker, Jerry, and the biggest lamb in the flock, who needed to be separated from the ewes. He is about 100 pounds and looked big next to all the other lambs, but next to Faulkner (about 250 lb), he looks Puny. Let’s hope that everyone is in their proper places in the morning.