Monday, April 27, 2009

Two is Better Than One

One thing that I have found out about our Dexters is that when it comes to electric fence two wires seems to be better than one. A couple years ago when we were putting up the first fences to contain them out on pasture we just put up one wire low enough that both the calves and the cows would hit it ... the cows jumped over. Then we raised the wire about bit to keep the cows in ... and the calves walked under. Of course this was our main perimeter fence (there was a perimeter fence, but we didn't want them wandering that far) so we decided to go with two wires.

Last week I decided that I was going to let the five heifer calves out on some grass near their winter pen. I strung up one wire all the way around and gave them a nice sized area with plenty of grass. After about ten minutes they were walking though the fence ... and getting a little shocked. So, yesterday between rain showers I went outside and added a second wire to their fence and it seems to be working!

I do believe that once we have the perimeter fence up, and our wires have a little more juice going through them, we will be able to go back to a single strand to keep them in their area for the day. Then it won't matter so much if the calves wander away because they will have a pretty good reason to come back and we can set the height to keep the cows in.

As always I'm learning as I go by trial and error ... I seem to focus on the error.

**I would have posted a picture, but it has been raining practically non-stop for the past few days so I didn't make it out with the camera. Hopefully tomorrow.**


GreenRanchingMom said...

Welcome to cows in the spring. I think your post would apply to ours as well. So you can add Maine Anjou and Angus to the list. : )

Two strands are definately better than one, and three ground rods are better than one.

We use a three strand hot wire fence, in our calving areas. The center is a ground wire.

Leon said...

I'd never even consider less than 2 wires because you need at least two to do POS/NEG in case it gets very dry - not sure if it's a concern in your area - it sure is around here (Central FL) right now ;)

P.S. Thanks for interesting blog - I've been reading for a while, just never said anything before :)

Steven said...

We've never used more than one wire for interior fencing although I have used 2 wires for the hogs. I'm sure things would be different if we didn't have a good perimeter fence. It took 2 of our new future steers about a week to stop jumping or going under the single wire but now they stay in. I think there are a lot of variables in keeping the cows in a paddock. One is definitely keeping the cows happy with plenty of forage and another that we figured out was keeping their water tub out of the corner. When the new animals were drinking water, in a corner of the fence and they were approached by one of the boss cows, they would run right through the fence. When they were not cornered they would tend to stay in the paddock.

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