I'm pretty sure I'm now the Queen of Dumb Questions about Sheep. But, maybe someone else has the same question, and won't feel so dumb because they'll be able to read this thread, rather than having to ask the question themselves.
Anyway, I'd like eventually to get some little shetland sheep, for their fiber and maybe milk and some meat. And to mow my lawn and keep my bramble in check. But, I don't want to make a huge fence dividing my hill, and I'd like to do some sort of paddock-sift/rotational grazing.
People always seem to talk about doing rotational grazing with either 4+ permanently fenced-off areas, or with some sort of electric fencing. But, solar electric fencing doesn't work too well where I am, because of many months during the winter, the pasture only gets 2 hours of direct sunlight. And, I've heard that sheep don't always respect electric fencing. And, zapping my own animals doesn't seem too great.
I'm wondering if I could make-shift some mobile fencing with cattle panels for 3-4 small shetland sheep. I've never delt with cattle panels, so there's probably LOTS of reasons that this might not work out. Please tell me! I don't want to invest time and money in a system that won't work.
And, does anyone have any ideas of mobile-ish fencing that isn't electric?
My sheep paddocks are t posts and cattle panels. If you are going ,to breed, i would go with stock panels. They are 4x4 square vs the larger holes in cattle panel. Babies can't go through. Problem is they are twice the $$.
If you have land i guarantee one thing. You will use cattle or stock panels over and over again. They should last your lifetime. From arches to growing things(and keeping deer out). Green houses. Circles to protect trees. Fencing, lids etc.
Once you get to the price of stock panels, sheep/goat panels get more attractive. I showed them in one of your threads about wood homemade fence panels. They interconnect, dont need t posts necessarily, and come with 5ft gates built in.
Cattle panels last really well, don’t break easily, but are pretty expensive. They are a bit heavier/more unwieldy than they look, however, so I would try picking up and moving ones of various lengths before I used them for a mobile system. You can certainly move them, but if you’re doing it by yourself and are using long panels that have to be lined up, held level, and fastened to a post it can be a pain and not something I’d want to do all the time. Not sure exactly how you are thinking of anchoring/moving them—moving the posts and panels (unless you have super friable soil I can’t see that being viable)? Permanent posts and just unhook and move the panels into various configurations? Panels just kind of wired loosely together in a semi-flexible self-supporting polygon? I have cows, not sheep, so IDK about sheep-specific stuff, sorry.
You could charge the battery at the house and swap it out every time you do the rotational paddock shift. I think that most animals will choose to not shock themselves after a two or so day out of the 2-6yrs that they are there.
All that said, I think that 'stationary cattle panel' sounds like a great idea for the sacrificial winter 'paddock'. For me this paddock would have quite a bit of tree cover (wind/sun/rain) for shade/protection and mulch to help with compaction.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association