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Sheep and goat problem

 
Matt Tebbit
Posts: 35
Location: Cusco, Peru
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I bought a small, very small (330 square meter) piece of land about 5 months ago and I'm having a little trouble with sheep and goats.

The locals bring flocks of 30-40 sheep + a few goats through the area every day and the area is so dry and overgrazed that these half starved animals will literally eat anything (I put down kitchen scraps for compost which kept disappearing until I covered them with rocks, and no it wasn't pigs). I want to start planting my land to help it recover but until I can figure out a good way to keep them off my land I won't do so, unfortunately the locals are too 'set in their ways' a polite way of saying ignorant to not consider grazing someone else's land.

As a temporary measure I'm thinking of building a basic stick fence, cut off some Eucalyptus branches and construct a crude barrier to keep them off. Is there anything further I can do which will deter them from my land whilst I'm not there and until I can construct something sturdier?

As mentioned the land is overgrazed, what should I do to help it recover. I read on a thread about compaction, how deep would this go so I can try and loosen the soil - the area in question isn't too big and I have time on my hands

Thanks for any advice

Matt.
 
Mountain Krauss
Posts: 130
Location: Northern California
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I think you're on the right track with building a fence. If your land has any slope to it, you could also dig a ditch/ trench/ swale/ moat. That should create some deterrence, and help you catch rainwater.

As for the fence, try to build it so that it will function as a trellis for climbing plants or as a support structure for a living fence in the future. Grow nitrogen-fixing trees or shrubs (which tend to be thorny-- bonus deterrence!), and you'll have a fence that deters errant herders, acts as a windbreak, provides nitrogen, and pulls up moisture and trace minerals up from the subsoil. Seems like a pretty good stack o' functions.

Good fences make good neighbors.
 
Matt Tebbit
Posts: 35
Location: Cusco, Peru
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Thanks Mountain - for the living fence I may try planting some tobacco. There's a variety that grows in the area which suggests it doesn't mind the poor conditions, also it's got such high nicotine content it's supposed to be toxic if eaten by animals. Hopefully the sheep will have the experience not to eat it as it already grows in the area.

In the long run I can take it out again as it won't serve much function other than providing a natural insecticide.

Regarding a ditch, there's already a significant depression at one end (about a meter lower) of the land but the sides aren't steep enough to deter the sheep. In the long run I'm going to build a stone wall to prevent entrance from that side, on my side it will be filled with soil/compost to level out the land and I can direct rainwater to it.
 
C. Hunter
Posts: 111
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Oh yikes, no, don't poison your neighbor's sheep!


Definitely put up a fence. I'd actually suggest getting a solar-powered electronet fence, as an area where everything's grazed down is going to be a very effective spot for it. Once you get things going, you'll want something more substantial, but that's a good start. They're not expensive, and you can later put it on the outside or on top of a more substantial fence to be a further deterrant.

Seriously, do not poison your neighbor's sheep. No, they aren't smart enough to know 'shouldn't eat that!', and it's not the sheep's fault that there is no fence.
 
Matt Tebbit
Posts: 35
Location: Cusco, Peru
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Really, even if it grows in other areas close by as in maybe a couple of km away at most? I wasn't planning on poisoning them, just thought that if I planted something like that they'd have the sense not to eat it and so it'd grow. My options for a living fence are a bit limited, I'll have to grow the plants to a sufficient size offsite for them to survive attacks by marauding sheep. A simple fence for now then, I want to knock something basic up in the next few days to keep them away - I can try something more permanent in the coming year.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1106
Location: northern northern california
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well you can start with a DEAD hedge with the plan of having it turn into a living hedge.....

that seems to be what you are already suggesting with the idea of piling eucalyptus branches, only i would try to scavenge up a lot more trimmings from where ever else too, thorny stuff especially, to add to the bulk of the initial dead hedge.

then plant climbers and hedge plants all around it and slowly they take over as the dead hedge degrades. and if the dead hedge is thorny and thick enough, it will protect the young plants that are getting established to take over the hedge eventually. a nursery of sorts, being protected by the dead hedge.

some suggestions for planting: rose, berries, trees that coppice, plums, wild grapes, hazelnut, climbers and thorny vines

you could also do this with a simple fence too, and then use that as a base for the emerging living fence. eventually a wooden fence would rot, and hopefully by that time the living hedge will have filled in enough. this is the method i have used more, but i like the idea of the dead hedge and i would try that out in a certain circumstance.
 
Susan Doyon
Posts: 146
Location: Massachusetts
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that number of critters will power through a poorly made fence and goats at least do not mind thorns they happily eat the leaves from rose and blackberry . I would concentrate on a small area with a really sturdy fence and as possible fence a larger area . Sturdy is important , and know any thing growing on or through the fence will be eaten . Goats are very hard on fences ,and hungry critters are desperate
 
Matt Tebbit
Posts: 35
Location: Cusco, Peru
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Hmmm the dead hedge looks sturdier than I was going to try and knock up - I'm limited by time, money and materials. On site (and around up for grabs) there are some sparse Eucalyptus trees. I was going to cut off/down some of the thicker branches to use as fence posts and then weave through the smaller branches to stop the animals getting through. The other resource on site is an abundance of rocks, at the moment I have marked out the border of my land with rocks up to about a foot high, it'd take a few days work but I could get that up to say 2-3 ft high to help support the Eucalyptus fence. The offsite resource I am thinking of using is tires, I could stand them up on their sides partially buried to keep them in place. Perhaps a combination of the 3 will work.

I'm hoping that even if the fence isn't sturdy enough to keep determined animals out, the simple fact that I have built the fence may give the shepherds a pause for thought and they'll drive their animals away if they try and break in.

I'll make a start on Tuesday, the next time I'm up on my land. Let's see what I can work out.
 
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