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Help with lamb containment

 
Posts: 227
Location: Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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So, I picked up a couple lambs today.  Put them in the electric net fence.  Took one about 20 minutes to get tangled and then escape.  Other one got tangled, so I turned it off while I freed that one.  Before I could do much else both were loose.  2+ hours and 2 sets of neighbors later and we caught them.  I quickly put up some field fencing using the detached garage as 1 wall.  They seem to be contained in that, for now.  Hopefully that spot will buy me a day or two to get something better figured out.

Clearly, with these lambs, the electric net fencing won't work.  At least not right now.  Maybe later when I can train them to it.

I need suggestions for feasible containment.  The people I got them from used those 16' long, 50" wide welded panels.  I have 2 not otherwise being used, and some t-posts I can scavenge. If I got 4 more I could make a 16x32 enclosure that should be reasonably easy to move every couple of days.  Or I could get some tethering equipment and stake them out such that they would be able to get near each other and a water source without tangling.  Or something else that you all recommend.

Ideally I would like to find something I can buy tomorrow locally and set up after work.  Perfection certainly not required, and I'm not above some redneck engineering.
 
master pollinator
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I have never had much luck with Electro-Net fencing. My sheep, older ewes or lambs, never got used to the stuff and would run right through it. During a heavy rain one day, I lost two lambs to entanglement-electrocution and gave the stuff away after that.

The only luck I ever had with sheep fencing is 48 inch Page Wire, and even then it has to be knotted because the welded wire breaks from the sheep hooves. The stuff is expensive, but with sheep, it really is the only option. But a farmer has to realize a sheep fence does double-duty; it keeps sheep in, and predators out, and in the long run, you put the stuff up, and it is up for 30 years. In the long run, Page Wire is the cheapest fencing there is.

As for lambs, I never worry about them much. They get out of my bar gates, but then they always go right back in to suckle on their mother's so its not like it is a big deal.
 
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Hi Andrew,

Animals need to be trained to electric fences and electric netting, for the fencing to work. Its mostly the psychological aspect of the barrier that keeps them in, which requires training. If the lambs weren’t raised in electric fencing, you will have to train them. To do this, you can put up your regular fencing as a physical barrier, then on the inside, as closly to the fence line as possible, put up your electrical netting. Set aside the time to watch them interacting with the fence, so in case of entanglement , you can respond to free them. It won't take to many times of them interacting with the fence, before they learn not to touch it. Sometimes you can encourage this interaction with the fence, by putting something by the fence that will get them curious. Once they are trained to the electric fence you wont have issues. If you buy lambs from someone who already uses electric netting, it will avoid this issue, and it also helps if the lambs are from the same herd, to be previously bonded as herd mates.

Hope that helps!
 
Andrew Mayflower
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R. Steele wrote:Hi Andrew,

Animals need to be trained to electric fences and electric netting, for the fencing to work. Its mostly the psychological aspect of the barrier that keeps them in, which requires training. If the lambs weren’t raised in electric fencing, you will have to train them. To do this, you can put up your regular fencing as a physical barrier, then on the inside, as closly to the fence line as possible, put up your electrical netting. Set aside the time to watch them interacting with the fence, so in case of entanglement , you can respond to free them. It won't take to many times of them interacting with the fence, before they learn not to touch it. Sometimes you can encourage this interaction with the fence, by putting something by the fence that will get them curious. Once they are trained to the electric fence you wont have issues. If you buy lambs from someone who already uses electric netting, it will avoid this issue, and it also helps if the lambs are from the same herd, to be previously bonded as herd mates.

Hope that helps!



I might try that with the electric netting.

The 2 lambs are twins, and if I decide to go ahead and get another next weekend it's from the same owners, so same flock as the twins.

Another thought was to tether them inside the electric nets.  That would give the predator protection from the electric nets but not allow them to run through it.  With careful planning they could be able to be close to each other, get to water, have plenty to graze, etc.  I don't totally love that idea, but it could work.

However, I think in the immediate term I'll pick up 2 more of those 16' long 50" wide welded panels.  With the 2 I already have that will give me a 16x16 area I can put them in and move daily (or twice a day, or however often is necessary).  A few t-posts will keep the lambs from being able to knock it over.  Then in a week when my wife is back from a trip to her mom's we'll probably pick up a 330' roll of field fencing and more t-posts.  That will let us set up a larger area so the lambs can move around more.  And that would probably be big enough to leave them in there for a couple weeks at least.  It's a lot harder to move than the electric nets, but with those 16' panels we can contain them while the fence is being moved.  And then later we can re-use that 330' roll as part of our previously planned perimeter fence for the property.  We could also set up the electric nets inside that as well as the total perimeter of them is 328' without the gate (8').  

If I can pull it off, it would be nice to get the majority of the perimeter fence up while the lambs are in the area described above.  Then take down that one roll to complete the fence.  Hopefully by then they're trained to the electric nets, but even if they escape from them, the perimeter fence would prevent them going to the neighbor's yard (or the next neighbor, and the next, etc).
 
Andrew Mayflower
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Location: Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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So far, so good with the livestock panels containing the sheep.  Moving them every 1-2 days is plenty.  We'll be getting a bunch more soon (or a roll of field fencing) which will let me give them not just a larger area but one that also allows them to get access to the forest and blackberries.
 
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