Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fencing again, chicken killer update

It seems like I talk a lot about fencing.  I do actually, that is because I am constantly fencing!!  Fixing old fencing is a skate in the park compared to building it from scratch.  I removed the bottom three strands from the ram pasture (had smooth wire and sheep just used the entire fence as a gate), I drug them around to the front orchard fence and installed them above the sheep wire I put in last week.  I was tightening the wire with a come-a-long (i wanted it really tight) and I pulled over my end post on the far end.  I had buttressed it incorrectly and allowed the railroad tie to move about 3 inches at the top.  Now, I have to cut the bottom sheep wire loose, apply a new tightening wire going the opposite direction and stretch the bottom sheep wire again to get the little wobble out.  I have been installing used gates in all my new fence sections.  I keep scrounging all over the farm and finding ancient sheep gates.  They look like the bottoms of spring mattresses only longer.  So, my mother-in-law saw the one I was going to install up front between our houses.  So tomorrow we are going to go shopping for a new vehicle gate and people gate to install on that visible section of the fence.  It lets me use that gate for another section of the farm.  As soon as I can get this fencing done, I am moving to the barn.  The sheep need a place to hang out in the winter.  We had an amateur photographer come spend a day and night taking pictures of the farm and buildings over the weekend.  Once we get a copy of the pictures we will post a few to show everyone.

Well, I checked the live trap this morning to see if my chicken killer was caught.  I had a kitten and her mother in the trap.  I shook them up a little and dumped them on the ground, so hopefully they won't be back.  I opened both doors (exterior door to run, the killer would have to climb over the electric fence, then open the chicken door to coop that was latched shut) so my chickens could free range .  I had 29 chickens before the foul play and only have 23 now.  A 21% loss.  No more 24 eggs/day...  Sarah collected 18 eggs today.  Tonight when I was locking the chickens up I spotted something in the trap.  I ran over to confront my killer and it was a chicken.  Stupid hen had gotten stuck in the pen trying to steal cat food.  Chickens love cat food.  So I let her out and shooed her into the coop for lockdown and baited the trap again.  Hopefully, I will catch my villain soon.  I didn't have time to weed eat a kill zone around the coop today.  I need to get the ram pasture fence completed so the sheep will have a new grazing area.  So back at it again tomorrow!  I found some new muscles in my back I didn't know existed, just below my shoulder blades.  Nothing like digging those fence posts by hand.

We keep trying to get a picture of the baby lambs playing king of the hill.  Our ram lays down on the ground and the babies stand on top of him and then push each other off of him to be king of the hill.  I looked out the living room window and they were both standing on top of him.  Our first lamb used to do this also.  We are amazed at how tolerant he is of the lambs.  We will keep trying to get a picture of this in action.