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How to keep cows out without fence ?

 
Posts: 94
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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Hello friends,

We've got 40 acres in AZ high desert with great soil, great location. But we've got a cow problem. We didn't know laws favored our 4 legged friends over human rights so they are destroying our land. There's no point in building ponds or planting anything as they will destroy it. We can't afford to build a fence around it as that would cost as much as the land did. Does anyone know of any good solutions that could keep cows away ? Any deterrents ?

Thank you all for your time.
 
pollinator
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"We didn't know laws favored our 4 legged friends over human rights "
Could you explain this . Its your land, why not capture the cows and bill to owners to get them back ?
Or buy a bull and charge them stud fees
Or build something dangerous to Cows like a cross between a haha and a swale .

David
 
Enrique Garcia
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Location: Las Vegas, NV
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If we could buy a stud we could pay for the fence . law here states it is the responsibility of land owners to keep someone else's cows off your land. The owner of cows has no responsibility whatsoever. Which is crazy I know but most people in the USA are crazy. A friend hit a cow with his car & wanted the cow owner to pay for his car but he ended up having to pay for the cow.

I know there are things you can plant but we don't want to poison the cows or kill them. But is there something that is a deterrent much like radishes deter squash bugs etc ?
 
David Livingston
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McDonalds ?

Seriously I ave never heard of such a plant that could repulse Cows

David
 
pollinator
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Since you can't afford to build a full fence at once, could you start building a stretch of fence, and add to it every time you can afford it? Eventually you'll be fenced in, which is better than doing nothing.
 
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Trained dog??


e-fence (they are pretty cheap) so the dog never chases them further than your property line.


Conversation with the cow owner??? What is their response? Even if it's not their legal responsibility, maybe they have morals...


hth,

troy
 
pollinator
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A quarter mile of barbed wire can be bought for about $60. A single strand around the property might help deter the cows from entering and wouldn't break the bank.
 
Enrique Garcia
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Thanks everybody !! You are all greatly appreciated !! I also asked Geoff Lawton. He said Solar electric fencing is cheapest .. which it looks like it is ... we got some work to do
 
pollinator
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So AZ is a fence out state. Solar electric is cheapest initially, but barbed or high tensile wire will last much longer.

There may be laws saying you have to give accesses to water. Look into it and plan accordingly.
 
David Livingston
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"there may be laws saying you have to give accesses to water"
even nuttier So you have no right to the water that falls on your roof plus you cannot prevent cows coming on to your land to take your water ?

Just a thought Cows are creatures of habit Why not concentrate your fencing where it matters dependant on the topology of your land . They cannot climb cliffs well for instance . Hence the use of haha's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ha-ha
David
 
David Livingston
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Actually there is one idea I missed , you could keep cows too . Your Bull would chase the others away

David
 
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I take it cattle rustling is out of the question
 
R Scott
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David Livingston wrote:"there may be laws saying you have to give accesses to water"
even nuttier So you have no right to the water that falls on your roof plus you cannot prevent cows coming on to your land to take your water ?

Just a thought Cows are creatures of habit Why not concentrate your fencing where it matters dependant on the topology of your land . They cannot climb cliffs well for instance . Hence the use of haha's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ha-ha
David



Open range cattle ranchers were the big money lobby (and most of the state legislators) in the early years of statehood.
 
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Enrique Garcia wrote:law here states it is the responsibility of land owners to keep someone else's cows off your land. The owner of cows has no responsibility whatsoever. Which is crazy I know but most people in the USA are crazy. A friend hit a cow with his car & wanted the cow owner to pay for his car but he ended up having to pay for the cow



Now those are some CRAZY laws!
Here in Australia it is the owners responsibility to manage the animals (pets & livestock) so if it gets out and causes any damage the owner is responsible for any and all costs associated with the escaped animal.
 
Enrique Garcia
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Yes, Mat Smith .. I agree Oz is a much better place to be .. in fact I have been to there ... in 2009 .. to the Gold Coast in fact . .. I loved it there & even looked into relocating .. it's an amazing country ...
 
Mat Smith
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Glad you like the place too. My wife and I went to Vegas only a few months ago on our honeymoon

Our meat laws are crazy though - it's something like if you kill the animal on your land it has to stay on your land and cannot leave the property (unless processed by a certified butcher/processing plant).
Even Joel Salatin was stuck for a solution when we posed the situation to him at one of his masterclasses
 
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The ha ha fence is the greatest thing I learnt today. Thanks for pointing it out @David
 
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Barbed wire is best followed by electric.

Use the trees on your property as fence posts. You can attach the wire directly to the trees and as the trees grow they swallow the wire. Use a stripe liner to mark a path around your property trying to keep trees at less than 10’ spacing. As property owners we tend to want to keep every inch to ourselves but how bad would it be if the cows only had access to the outside rim of your property. As long as they aren’t destroying the areas you actively use. Don’t worry about the fence line the county knows where you property ends and begins.

Railroad ties and phone poles can be acquired free or purchased from companies doing repairs to the railway or county offices. Depending on the size of you town the contact will vary. Great for stacked fencing. Square head nails can still be purchased from farrier supply stores. Use in gardens is not advised because both are treated with fire retardant.

You can also cut trees on your property and use them for posts my neighbor did this and he used scrapes of sheet metal to put on top of the posts to keep the wood from rotting from rain.

The haha fence is good if you have access to excavation equipment, digging a short distance behind trees allows the root system to be used as a retaining wall.

I’m wondering what folliage you have on your property?

In the old days in they would build fencing from the trees and plants growing around the property line. It’s time consuming but you basically braid the saplings and brush together. Mind the poison ivy!

Also willow hedging would work. If you have willows on your property the branches will root when cut from the tree. You plant the branches and weave them together loosely. The advantage of both being they will continue to grow taller and stronger.

Wattle fencing if you have a surplus of of branches

You may consider transplanting saplings to near your property line. It will take time for them to grow but create a barrier and wind break.

Fast growing trees like royal empress or paulownia seeds if permitted in your area are cheap and grow fast. But they spread.  

Bamboo is also a good choice but get the clumping not string species. The string species are hard to control and grow like grass runs.  Some species can grow more than 2 feet in a day.

Thanks for reading I know it’s a lot but cows are driving me nutty:) Been doing entirely too much research. We have barbed wire and cattle guard but the cows keep jumping over the cattle guard to get to our rabbit feeders and garden. Thinking electric at this point but the fence needs to be taller so bamboo is of serious consideration.

Good luck everyone!
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States that have a lot of BLM land are "fence out" states. Wyoming is also a fence out state and I suspect New Mexico is as well. Like others have said, your cheapest and most effective fence would be an electric fence. Here in the Texas panhandle cattle are kept on temporary pasture with a single strand of hot wire mounted on 3/8 rebar 4ft long pounded into the ground about a foot so the wire is about 30" high. They make plastic insulators that mount on the rebar to hang the wire. The rebar posts are set every 30ft. At corners, braced 6ft t-posts are installed. The fence does not have to be strong, just effective as it is a psychological barrier not a physical barrier. You can buy an economical 12v fence energizer run by a car battery. If you want to spend the money, you can hook up a solar panel to keep the battery charged or just swap out the battery every so many weeks with a freshly charged one. Once a cow touches a hot wire, they won't do it again. You will be amazed how effective a single strand will be at keeping the cows off your place.
 
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I have a place in the arizona high desert. Law of the west and a lot of BLM land around me.
I use three strands of barbed wire with fence stays.
As my budget allows i fence off a couple acres at a time.
I place my posts 25 feet apart. Eventually i will fence off all 40 acres and then I'll reposition those posts to 12.5 feet apart.

I tried electric fencing but whe soil around the grounding post was too dry.

So far the three strands work fine.
The more i see cows the more i become a rabid environmentalist. I'm often at the fenceline comparing the protected grasses and shrubs to the stuff outside the fenceline.

Five years of drought has not helped.

Don't buy the cheapest wire. I have a 1000 foot tangled mess of barbed wire that every time i look at it i feel I'd rather buy a new coil.

Eventually i will also plant buffalo gourd all along the edge of my property just to see something the cows won't eat.
Simple pleasures.

Are you familiar with the story of a man who saved the king's life and when he was offered a reward he said:" all i want is a chessboard of grain. Two on the first spot square it for the second , square that for the thire etc"
The treasury told the king that they didn't have enough grain for that reward.

That's how it is with fence stays, very important but that 75 cents a piece add up quickly.
 
gardener
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Cows can be kept back pretty easy if there is not a cow on your side of the fence. If there is, all deals are off.

A single hotwire should work. Greg Judy has a lot of you tubes about using electric wire for cows. You might take a look.
 
pollinator
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kevin stewart wrote:

I tried electric fencing but whe soil around the grounding post was too dry.



You can help a lot with the ground problem by running a ground wire around the perimeter too.  If you are using steel posts then ever post becomes its own ground wire.  Be aware that because of inductive pickup even with the wires a couple of feet apart you reduce the length of fence a given charger will power.  The high frequency ones for use with tape are not as sensitive to it as the high voltage high current ones with names like weed burner or weed demon.  It still won't solve the problem in extremely dry soils but in most cases it works.  It also doesn't help in ice or snow conditions when the pure ice or snow is insulating the cow from the ground.  But if you can get the cows in habit of avoiding the fence during wet weather they will rarely bother it in weather when it doesn't work as long as you don't let it lose power.  Be aware some animals learn to tell if the fence is hot by smell.(pigs are especially good at this trick)  I have guessed it was trace ozone produced by the high voltage.
 
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I had the same issue, but with my neighbour's sheep. Problem was solved pretty cheap, fast and easy (even if temporary, already 2 years in place but planning to make a more permanent one in the spring). Every 4-5 meters I put a wooden pole and between them low-weight fence (here it is called Rabitz, https://www.google.com/search?q=rabitz ). Costed around 40 usd / 100 meters and just few hours of work. I know it is temporary, but if you want it fast done "yesterday" it is a solution.
 
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Pallets are free, putting them in an “X” or “T” pattern makes a sturdy fence and only screws needed to hold them together. When they Rot, un screw them and replace the bad one.
 
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I have some pits three feet deep I grow below the frost line, with a cover. If one of these free range cattle step on one the will break their leg. Not my fault....
 
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My first thought was a cattle dog. lol
 
pollinator
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I have to step in here as someone who raised a few cattle in my time. I’ve read all of your thoughts on this issue and I’m a bit surprised at the level of malevolence I sense toward cattle owners.  And frankly the level of ignorance about this subject.

Free range areas are everywhere. Your State or your County can establish range areas..and according  to your State or County laws;  Range areas can be changed.  They are not necessarily permanent...forever. Some range areas are Federal like BLM or US Forest Service range.  It’s always best to know the laws regarding your responsibility as a land owner in these areas or as a livestock owner.

Range areas are not “ free”.  Cattle men own lands in free range areas and pay their taxes or they pay to lease free range areas.  Free range just means the cattle are free to roam. In an established area. Not that Cattlemen get a free ride.

It may not be convenient to have to fence someone’s livestock out; but chances are the range area was established practice prior to your purchasing the property you are on.  Kind of like “ buyer beware.” Our property has been here since 1879.  We are in a herd district ( fence in) but next door is a range area.  ( fence out) we’ve been here a long time.  But we accepted that we had to fence our livestock.

As far as being pleased an animal would break a leg in an established ditch?  Really?  Greg Lesher I would not want you as a neighbor.

And Mat Smith....what is a “ meat law” something like..........

And someone mentioned how bad the ground looked where the cows were versus “ their side of the fence.”  Well, that does happen.  But not with good stockmen.  Good stockmen value the land they live and work on.  They improve it because their livelihood depends on it.  They don’t ruin land.  If they do they are out of business.  Yes there are bad stockmen just like there are crummy farmers and poor cooks.  But a good stockman will have a place that is beautiful to the eye and the environment. His fat cows bring a fat price so it’s to his advantage to keep his land healthy.

And Enrique Garcia...I don’t think most people in the US are crazy.  

And David Livingston...if you “ capture” a cow in a range area and deprive the owner of that cow you are stealing.

Not all of us are vegetarians.  There is a forum on this site for “ critters.”  Some of us eat  beef and chicken, pork and wild game. I think most of us that eat meat respect those creatures and our neighbors that raise them   I do.  Occasionally my cows got out.  I was prompt to go get them.  To apologize.  And to provide steaks to the neighbors.  And guess what?  The neighbors ate those steaks.

So before we all get a big laugh at breaking a cow’s leg perhaps it’s time to think what our responsibility is in this picture.  Do we need to change the laws? Maybe.

Could we go talk to our neighbor the cow owner about our problem like a gentleman?  Probably.

Should we as people who may have just moved into a rural setting find out what the laws actually are?  Most definately. That is our responsibility as a citizen.

I am just surprised that on this site..where people want to homestead and live a rural lifestyle there is such ignorance.

I’ve called you out like gentleman by name. My name is Janet Reed.  I am a rancher and a horsewoman.





 
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This is a older thread, I am hopeful that Enrique has come to a peaceable solution to his cattle problem.

I think one critical lesson here is to know what you are getting into legally and culturally prior to moving to an area. I am constantly baffled by those who move to a rural area and immediately begin to complain or attempt to change it.

I live in a fence in state, but nobody apparently told the deer. I think just about anywhere you will need some sort of fence to protect your garden and valuable plants.

Know your local fence laws. Legally border fences in my state must be paid for by both property owners. I do not exercise such laws (not worth the ill will) but they exist.

Some misguided rural residents will extract revenge should something bad happen to them. I had a neighbor destroy a temporary structure i owned on my property because someone had been riding 4 wheelers on his property. Note I don't even own a 4wheeler, his problem was to the west not the south. I would highly suggest not to do anything to aggravate any neighbors for any reason. Fences are cheaper than legal action or replacing damaged/destroyed/stolen equipment.

 
Janet Reed
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John Young wrote:This is a older thread, I am hopeful that Enrique has come to a peaceable solution to his cattle problem.

I think one critical lesson here is to know what you are getting into legally and culturally prior to moving to an area. I am constantly baffled by those who move to a rural area and immediately begin to complain or attempt to change it.




Well said
 
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Janet and John,

Very well spoken.  It's refreshing to see voices of reason still here.

Bryan
 
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Before affording fencing or even electrical hot wire, a post with a tethered rope works well.

Take a 8FT round fend post.  Sink that post 4FT in the ground.  Take a 3/8-inch drill bit and pilot a hole in the top center of that post.  Next, get an eyelet bolt 4IN or longer and drive that in.  Now, the tethered rope with clip snaps on easily.

















 
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It's not the fact of people definitely wanting to see an animal hurt.  I bought 2.2 acres of land in Arizona.  Will move there in 2024.  I am aware of the laws.  My ex and two daughters live there now and I just think it's bad that cows are allowed to even go up on her porch and there is nothing she can do about it.  Just because she can't afford a fence.  The cows and bulls have gone up on her porch.  If the cows break through the porch, not only does she have to fix her own porch but she would have to pay any vet bills for the cow being hurt.  

There has to be a fine line between what the cattle owner is responsible for and what the land owner is responsible.  The cow has no business being on her porch, but she has to allow it.  I like cows and would never hurt one.  But I still feel that free roam should apply to land only.  If the cow should enter a porch, patio or any personal item...... The rancher should be liable
 
Janet Reed
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You were aware of the laws and you purchased land in a range area.  

Your bad.
 
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I’m in So AZ. My property is “Closed Range” (ie ranchers are required to fence in their livestock)
But I am adjacent to USFS land that is leased to a local, powerful, rich rancher (he has a private helicopter that he flies to round up cattle). He is known to not be very friendly.
He has multiple cows, calves, and bulls that regularly roam through and near my property, as well as the neighbors property.
He is failing to keep his cattle contained on the open range USFS land that he leases. There is a fence, but it has multiple openings.
I have contacted the Sheriff. They have contacted him but the problem persists. They say they can’t do anything about it, but one deputy didn’t know what Closed Range meant.
I am considering a 22 rifle w snake shot. A few stinging well placed butt shots.
I’ve used a slingshot but it is cumbersome.
PS my dad was a respected dairy farmer so I understand cattle.
 
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