Tag Archives: netting

Sheep are Corralled Once again!

This article had been written back in the winter, but could be said for today and many other days as well. Today i found a dead ewe and a dead lamb wrapped up in the electrified netting.  Why can’t they stay out of it!  Sheep were out, but corralled AGAIN.  This is just a regular problem.  Half of the sheep are scheduled for sale at Kirksville Livestock Market on August 3rd.  The rest will go when lambs are old enough to wean.

Those little woolly buggers!  They busted out for freedom, but freedom for sheep generally means something will go wrong and some of them will die.  Sheep must be kept in close and protected ALL the time.  Since I cannot be there as a full time shepherd,  I rely on guard dogs and electric sheep netting.  Together, those work about 95% of the time.

Alas, they did bust out at a bad time – the ground was extremely frozen and there was no way to replace the fence, so they ran amok on 320 acres.  During their freedom, one orphaned lamb was nabbed by a coyote and a young bred ewe had fallen into a muddy ditch and couldn’t get out – both died of course.

However, today I managed to reset ten nets to give them about 10 acres plus 8 big bales of hay – this should hold them for quite some time.  The ground along the ditch bank and out of the sun was still frozen, so I had to use the hammer on about 75 posts to drive them in!  Nevertheless, the sheep are now safe once again, so it was all worth the effort.

Busy Week

Sunday – Hot, super hot, so first thing I took down, rolled up, and reset three sheep netting through a bit of timber so that the sheep could have shade!  They could die in this heat without.  Took up the polytape and posts that had divided the cow’s paddock in half so they had fresh break of grass.  Set it up in the next paddock, but boy that was work.  Grass was as tall as my shoulders and thick underneath with red clover, birdsfoot trefoil, and lespedeza.  Sweatin’ good.  Took it easy in the afternoon and drank a lot of water.

Monday – very early departure for Overland Park, KS for Allen’s Aunt June’s brother’s memorial service.  Visited with family and friend for the rest of the day.  Exhausting and stressful day for June.  Her brother was a just a few days shy of 97;  June, too, is 96 with a birthday in early fall.  She is the last of her family.

Tuesday – Morning chores, then RIck and I went to Chillicothe for appointments with Joyce for back, neck, shoulder treatments.  Back home for a late lunch followed by gathering up the tools necessary to begin work setting for sorting off the feeder lambs.  Couldn’t quite finish the job since we needed more tools.  It’s amazing how many holes there are in a corral when thinking about small animals.  They aren’t even an issue with cattle.  Very hot, so we cut out early – about 3pm.  Later in the evening, I went back up and took out mineral to cattle but found a 150 lb calf stuck in the muddy ditch.  I roped it and pulled it out with the four wheeler.  He seems like he’ll be okay, but he’s not getting up yet.  Will check him tomorrow and take milk for him to eat if he hasn’t gotten up to nurse.  Found a long dead lamb in the electric netting – won’t go into details, but got an idea of what it might be like to have worked the Katrina disaster.  The smell burns the eyes and throat.  Unfortunately, i did not have any rubber gloves with me, but mostly it had deteriorated enough that most fell through the fencing.  Man, it was gross – the maggots had done their work well.  Could hardly stand riding in the pickup home with myself even with the windows open!

Wednesday – up early again for a trip to Kansas City for a presentation as a female farmer to the Farm Service Agency Payment personnel.  I enjoyed meeting everyone and was well received.  But turned around and was home by 1pm.  Quick trip – took just a hair over two hours each way.  Now i have a few hours to clean house before taking out this evening to check on the down calf and muster the sheep into the corral just before dark (after it cools down).  First thing in the morning, we’ll sort and load the feeder lambs for weaning and turn the rest back out.  If it’s not raining. (Calf died 😦

Thursday –  Dallas, RIck, and I met at 6:30 at the farm for sorting and loading the older lambs from about 150 ewes and 100 spring born lambs.  We finished off the chore in short order despite the heat and humidity – we were thankful that it remained cloudy for the duration.  We hauled the lambs to the Lamme farm and unloaded them into the already prepared paddock to contain freshly weaned lambs weighing 30-50 lbs.  Then back to our house to gather up the 10 orphaned lambs.  Incredibly, they just followed me straight into the trailer!  We were speechless and and shaking our heads in wonder.  That was just too easy.  After preparing lunch, I headed back to my farm and rolled up seven sheep nettings and installed four of them back around the pond lot.  The sheep will be turned in there tomorrow.  I was so hot, I just couldn’t quite finish since i knew i still had a reel of polywire and posts to pick up to give the cows a fresh break, take out mineral, and just in general check on them.  Water is so important right now, it’s important to check its availability often.

Friday – Excess heat advisory once again today – with heat index at 109 for most of the day.  I checked my lambs first thing and rolled up the three 164 foot electric sheep nettings.  Then moved the lambs to the paddock to the south.  They are chomping through the forage quickly!  This paddock had some questionable areas for their escape, so I set up one of the nettings alongside those areas.  THe other two, I set up in the areas to which they will go in the next few days.  I have eight calves that didn’t sell a couple of weeks ago because of lameness, eye problems, and one had been stung by bees!  So, I’ve been shifting them to fresh breaks of grazing each day.  They are scheduled to go to Milan Auction on monday.  Then went to my farm up north after lunch and rolled up the two remaining nets that were through the timber.  Takes longer because of brush, etc.  Installed that last one needed around the pond lot, then electrified the whole thing and opened the pond lot gate.  A couple ewes and their lambs ventured in but most stayed in the shade – they’ll find it this evening.  Allen is finishing up bushhogging my fence rows.  Really appreciate him doing that – it is a dangerous job.  Helped Rick hook on to the hay baler which was in the barn – WHEW!  Just in a few minutes, I think i sweated off a couple of lbs – too bad they won’t stay off!

Saturday – SHABBAT SHALOM!

Chooks Eating Grass – Replication 2 – 3 days

Next 3 day replication started morning of 5 Jun 2015 with Dallas moving poultry netting to fresh pasture before letting the chooks out of their tiny eggmobile.  Day 1 egg collection – 7 eggs.  Day 2 egg collections:  7 eggs. Day 3 egg collections: 7 eggs.  We’ve continued with one pound of the wheat screenings cleanout, but that is really not enough for them since they are eating it all and still seem like they want more.  However, for the next replication, we will continue with one pound and increase it after the grazing trial.

More and better quality in this paddock with up to 65% red clover and a good deal of plantains, although both are more mature than what chickens usually desire, they'll still hammer it pretty good.
More and better quality in this paddock with up to 65% red clover and a good deal of plantains, although both are more mature than what chickens usually desire, they’ll still hammer it pretty good.
Lovely thick forage in same sized paddock of .39 of an acre.  Estimating 300 lbs of forage per inch with 6 inches available for 1800 lbs times .39 for 702 lbs in the paddock.
Lovely thick forage in same sized paddock of .039 of an acre. Estimating 300 lbs of forage per inch with 8 inches available for 2400 lbs/acre times .039 for 93.6 lbs in the paddock.

We  have discovered that this size paddock with this much forage results in far too much trampling of quality forage and not enough eating.  Now that we are getting an idea of how much chooks eat in a day, we can determine how many chooks can be managed in smaller, more easily handled housing.  A full length 164 foot poultry netting fence is too much work for only 14 hens eating .75 lb of grass per day.  In other words, to be more cost effective, the 41′ by 41′ enclosure allowed with a poultry netting should allow about 41 hens, of course depending on forage quantity and quality.  This would include realising that the taller forages would be unavailable for chooks to eat.

We realise that, by the book, chooks typically eat only 4 ounces of feed per day.  However, i think that is a purely grain diet which would be more dense than grass, legumes, and forbes.  Probably, most of what is being utilised, however, is actually scratching and trampling.  Nevertheless, this needs to be considered to keep a healthy sward.

Sunday Preparation

Tuesday morning is the day for mustering the cattle, so I’m down to the wire to get prepared.  This morning, I’ve hauled up and unrolled four more bales of hay for the cows to chew on while they wait overnight for the muster into the corral.  I walked up through the sheep and found a baby lamb bound up in the electric woven wire fence – dead of course and shorting out my fence.  Plus, there was a dead ewe right at the edge of the pond!  Who knows what the matter was with that – she was not stuck in the mud – just dead.  So both of those animals were pulled away from those areas.

I’m grinding numbers into the Ritchie ear tags for the older and bigger replacement heifer calves while the younger and smaller ones will have smaller Z-tag calf tags.  These will number 400-499.  All replacement heifer numbers start with 400 because the calves were born in 2014.  These tags will hopefully stay in their ears for their lifetimes, this way I know how old they are.

When my corral was expanded, one of the gates was not finished with a hook, so I did that this morning.  Didn’t take long and sometimes it’s those little things that really make a job go more smoothly.tannachton farm misc 008

Once a few electrifiable tapes and netting were in place, the cows and calves are moved forward towards the corral.  Tomorrow, I’ll move them in even closer.

Well, what actually happened was that my Gator jammed between gears and I was stuck!  Thankfully, Allen had time to come up and rescue me.  He rocked the Gator while I tried changing the gears – it finally gave and I was able drop it into neutral so it would start.  It even moved into forward although stiffly.  While I was waiting on Allen, I walked over the hill and opened the gate and called the cows – they’ll just have to find their way at their leisure and I’ll make sure they are moved forward tomorrow.

Once, the small generator is tracked down, fuel changed, and it is running good, then I’ll be back to making ear tags.  Should be ready for Tuesday morning.

But, this afternoon, we’ll be enjoying surprise birthday parties for my uncle and cousin!

Cheers!

tauna