Fences and Animal Shelters
Have you heard that old saying "Good Fences make Good Neighbors."? It is not just true in the city. Fences that are well built keep your animals in and the neighbors children out (or your children in and the neighbors animals out). That, in deed, will keep very good relationships between neighbors. That and respecting your neighbors fences. You stay on your side and they stay on their side and everyone feeds their own animals. ie., ask before giving treats or other items to anyone's animals.
The type fencing that you put up will depend on the area you are in, what you are trying to keep in and out, and how much money and time you have to spend. Always, always buy the best fencing you can afford at the time. Spending the money on fencing pays off in the long run by keeping your animals and property safe and only having to put it up once (cheap fencing has a way of falling and sagging and being easy for animals to push).
Before placing all of your fencing, end to end, decide where you will want your gates. Place a Rail Road Tie on each side of your gate placement and stop your fence before the gate opening. By hanging your gates on good soild posts your gates will be more secure, last longer and you will have ample space for hanging your hinges on the Rail Road Tie rather then some smaller type post. The Rail Road Tie gate posts will also stop large animals from pushing on that "magical area that opens" (gate area) where beings can go in and out of the fencing.
First of all, you will need the proper tools and materials. You will need to measure and make sure you have bought or will buy enough fencing to reach from Point A to Point B.
Before fencing sit down and figure out how much fencing wire you will need, how many Rail Road Ties, how many metal fence posts, how many wooden fence posts, what tools you will need, how much land you will fence and how much extra fencing you might need for the hills and gullies.
The best way to make a straight fence line is to find your property corner, using either corner makers that may or may not have been placed before you bought the place, or use a GPS. When you find the corner, place a Rail Road Tie into a hole in the ground (just to the inside of your property line) at least 3' deep, depending on soil conditions. Now go to the other end of the property line and place another Rail Road Tie in a hole the same depth. Now run a string of wire (you may need to splice wire together to make it from one end of large property pieces) from one Rail Road Tie to the other Rail Road Tie and pound your fence posts in between the Rail Road Ties in the straight line the now hanging wire provides.
The closer together that your fence posts are placed along this line, the stronger your fencing will be. Many time, depending on the type of soil you have, placing a metal fence post then a wooden fence post, every other post different, will give your fencing more stability. Remember, you can, as you can afford, come back and add fence posts through the years you live at this property.....and sometimes with animals and or some types of soil, it will be required.
If you are going to cross fence, either when you start fencing or down the road, remember to place a Rail Road Tie in your fence line where the cross fencing will come off that line.
If you are hanging fencing such as chain link and or welded wire, take the hanging wire down, that you used for your fence line plumb, before putting your fencing up. Remember that Chain Link and or Welded Wire will sag like mad if not stretched and stretched tight while hanging it. There are tools for doing this and if you are hanging this type of wire, you will need them.
more to come.....
Gates are a very important part of your fencing. Not only do gates need to be constructed well, they need to be hung correctly. This is the part of the fence that gets the most wear and tear. It is also the area that the animals know that somehow, magically, it opens and you and they can get through it.
It goes without saying if you can buy rather then build your gates all the better. Buy the biggest heaviest gate you can afford and hang it properly. Do not climb on your gates or allow other to. Climbing on gates will not only ruin your hinges it shows your animals that a being can also go over the fencing, animals are a whole lot smarter then most people give them credit for.
Your gates will need to clasp tightly and so that an animal will not be able to undo the lock....and horses, donkeys, llamas and goats have a knack for watching how it works and doing it when you are not looking. You might also want to be able to lock your gates when you are away from your farm/ranch. Many times just a long chain and padlock will be your best and easiest bet.
While on gates, a bit of living out trivia and or manners. If you go to visit someone and their gate is locked, do not climb it, or go through the fence, or try to work the lock. Honk your horn and or holler, HELLLLLLOOOOOO!! If you have a cell phone you could give them a call. If there is not answer, do not climb the gate unless you really believe there is an emergency. It could be they are gone, sleeping, working on something that requires their full attention or helping an animal give birth. They are busy.
more to come..........
FENCING CREEKS AND OTHER WATER AREAS
Deron was sure that having a creek on our property would be a good idea....he has since changed his mind. Every Spring this part of our fencing, we fence the creek in three areas, must be refenced. Ususlly the near by grazing cows come into our property before the creek is dry enough for Deron to refence.
working on this
PHOTOS AND DESCRIPTION COMING SOON
Somehow, we in the USA, have become stupid and rude. Somehow the general public thinks the world revolves around them and that the earth is all theirs for the taking. So you might need to hang signs because this overflows to our court systems too.
You may want to put "NO TRESPASSING" signs and or "NO HUNTING" signs, (yes, the stupid own guns and many can not tell the difference between a deer and a loud colored black and white horse). It is a shame we can not, like Jeff says, hand out the "STUPID" signs "Here's your sign". Because it really would be helpful. Another sign you might want to hang is one that says, "GUARD ANIMALS ON DUTY", that covers dogs, donkeys, llamas and the like. The truth is at our house, it also covers me. I used to have a little sign that said "IGNORE THE DOG, OWNER HAS GUN" (wish I could find that now).
No matter how hard you try, no matter how good your fence, no matter how well behaved your animals are about your fence, it is going to happen, at least one, sometime will get out.
Don't panic. Go find them and bring them home. Tie the animal down if you need to and go look for the area the animal escaped.
If you see your neighbors animals out of their fencing, call your neighbor or take the animal home to them....but always let the neighbor know that the animal got out of the person will not know he even has a fencing problem. Keep in mind, your neighbor did not intentionally set his animal free on your property. Loose animals happen.
Many times a person has to really think about one animal that tends to get out of the fencing all the time. Not only is is a nuisance, and annoying your neighbors, it can and often does teach your other animals how and where to get out of your fencing. You might need to tie it down, build a tighter cage/pen for this animal or even sell it or give it away to stop the problems arising from it.
more to come.....
Many people think of animals shelters as the type they have at Grant's Farm in St. Louis, MO....built with huge decorative stones, tara cotta roofing, huge buildings with chandeliers and huge Clydesdale stalls, with trophies and ribbons and event photos all over the walls and horse saddles and wagons that cost more each then most of us will spend for a home with 100 acres of land. And of course we would all love to have that.
Your areas climate will have much to do with the type of shelters you build. What type and how many animals will be using the shelters will determine how large of a building it is. How much money and time you have to spend will determine the type of siding and roof you will put on your shelter.
Anything from a horse's leantu to a dog's house need to be built according to the weather, the worse weather, you will have in the area you live. Your windchill and blowing wind will determine if you need to insulate your barns or not, but most areas and most animals need a place to be out of the wet and wind with no drafts. The truth is most areas a well built leantu is all most animals, given the choice between leantu and barn, will use.
DO NOT PUT EXPOSED GLASS WINDOWS IN A BARN. If you do put windows in your barn, make them either wood, that open and close, or have heavy bars on the in and outside of the windows. OR! Make sure non of your larger animals can get to the area with glass windows.
Most grazers, horses, cattle, llamas, goats, sheep, ect. really only need a well built leantu. Leantus can give the animals protection not only from the rain, snow and wind, but also a shady place to get out of the sun and away from the bugs. Leantus will also give the grazers a place to scratch....yes, barn, leantu, woodshed, all look and become a great place for a horse, cow, and other animals to scratch.
Leantus can be built in a number of ways. Build yours strong enough and big enough for the amount of animals that will be using it. Sometimes, with a large herd of animals, it is best to have two, three or more leantus built so that some animals are not left out, chased out, or pushed out of the protection a leantu can provide.
more still to come....
RABBIT CAGES AND OR HUTCHES
Rabbit cages should not have wood as part of their living structure. Rabbit urine soaks wood and rabbits chew wood. Some male rabbits even spray urine. Urine will soak into the wood and stink along with rotting of the wood. Wood rots faster when rabbits are on or in it and it is unsanitary for the rabbits.
You could however add wood around your cages just far enough away that the rabbits will not chew the wood. If your rabbits are not kept in a barn, cover the tops of the cages with a spreader piece then place wood over the top. We have plywood "flaps" on the front and back of our rabbit cages that is hinged so that they can be opened in nice weather and closed in the blowing cold winters. We bungy those "flaps" down so that they do not continue to swing and hit the spacers on the cages, not only causing damage, but scaring the rabbits.
If you have rabbits in your barn you can place their cages in several ways. You can hang your cages from chains (not one of my favorite ways as I have seen whole rows swinging due to the movement of one large rabbit in a cage in the middle), you can wire your cages to metal fence posts at the hieight you would like for them to be, you can place them on open metal shelves, or I am sure have them in there several other ways. One thing you do not want is rabbits on the ground.
Rabbits on the ground are not only sitting in their own mess, they are susceptible to vermin, cats, dogs, fox, other predators as well as children. Each of these can and often does cause great danger if not death to your rabbits. Your rabbits need to be at least 3' off the ground in cages with open wire for their excrement to fall through to be safe and healthy.
more to come......
There are so very many different designs and sizes and ideas for cute, functional chicken coupes on the Internet you could spend the day deciding just which one you would like to have. Some even move on wheels and are made to move about the garden or yard. Many are so cute you would think humans live in them. Some have flower gardens outside the front doors. Spend a little time doing a chicken couple Internet search many have the plans right there with the photos and how tos.
I do have a dear friend in N WI that has raised chickens for maaaaaany years. She has her chickens in large covered pens with 55 gallon plastic barrels cut for houses for her chickens and it has worked well for her. She not only has a high egg laying rate, and her chickens lay eggs all year (N WI), but also raises out chicks and ducklings as well as geese successfully each year with little to no loss of babies.
As long as your animals are protected from both the elements and their predators, they should do well. The housing may seem small, but with it bedded well, cleaned often and non drafty, the animals will be snug as a bug in a rug.
Pigeons. It seems you either love them or hate them. As wild birds they can really be a problem for some farmers, ranchers and feed mills as well as cities. In the cities they are blamed for many things, some of those things, the pigeons did not even do.
But if you are going to own them as livestock or pets, they have to have a pen and shelter. Like Chicken Coops, Pigeon Lofts can be built so many ways. Some I have seen have been put together with a pick up truck topper over a small pen, to elaborate buildings with beautiful wood worked pigeon holes and pens.
Some people call pigeons "rats with wings", and the reason for that is that pigeons can survive harsh elements and nonelaborate diets. But this is not the way to keep them. If you are going to own pigeons, give them a good clean pen, a nice bed and the correct diet that they need to thrive, not just survive.
more to come......
PONDS FOR WATERING YOUR LIVESTOCK
Many people think that if they have a pond that their horses, cattle, goats, sheep, llamas, donkeys, and other livestock can just go and get their drinks from it and all is well, no watering the animals for them. NOT!!
First of most ponds freeze in the winter and livestock must have water and they must have water daily. An animal will walk out on thin or thick ice trying to get a drink and yes fall through. I have often wondered how many poor animals have died this way through the years, what an awful death.
In some soils animals, yes even the really large ones, can get caught in the mud in the ponds. They get stuck there and wear out quickly trying to fight the footing. Death usually wins.
If you own a pond on your place you will want it fenced. You will want it fenced so that you decide when the animal can use it for water and when it is too dangerous for them to drink out of.
Many times the water might be too alkaline or to acidic for animals to drink. Your pond water will need to be tested (kits are inexpensive and easy to use) at least once per month; more often if there has been a lot of rain.
Water from the pond can be filtered for the animals. You would not of course filter the whole pond, but the amount you pump out of the pond and fill a troft for your animals.
Always keep your animal safety and health in mind.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!
Not long ago, on a Yahoo elist I am on, someone that just moved to the country for the first time asked about calf houses for goat shelter. Calf houses are great for goats, make no mistake, but calf houses are very expensive. Calf houses are like a huge "dog igloo" dog house made for dairy calves.
So this guy, new to the area and just moved in, goes to his Dairy Farmer neighbor and borrows a calf house. This guy buys his goats and then tells the elist I am on that he sure hopes that this guy does not ask for the calf house back cause he "is gonna need it for ten to fifteen years." I COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS!!
So I sent a nice note back to this guy and, as politely as I could muster, told him that as the new guy in town he better start building his goat's a shelter. I told him that those calf houses are very expensive and that Dairy Farmer's don't just have them sitting around for neighbors, especially new neighbors, to have. Yes, I even told him it is not a good way to introduce yourself to the area......I am sure he still has that calf house and that he plans to keep it...I am just hoping that the Farmer either came for it or bills him for it. WHAT ARE PEOPLE THINKING??? (refer back to the SIGN section and stupid people).
My point is that when you move out to the country A) Don't become your neighbors problem. B) If you can't afford the fencing or the tools or the whatever, you can not yet afford the animal. C) Remember this: No one else in the world loves you like your mama, and no one else wants to support you either.
and D) No one loves your children, and or animals, or thinks they are as cute, as you do....so keep them well mannered and off other people's property.