After setting up a small 40'x40' paddock as my first of many in my rotational grazing setup, I brought my first two sheep home. They are 5 month old Katahdin/St Croix mix ewe lambs. Cute little buggers, for sure.
Using polywire, I set up the wires as measured from the ground at 6"/12"/20"/30"/40" - exactly as I've read online just about everywhere. On the perimeter fencing I have this done with hi-tensile wires, but for the paddocks it's done with polywire...
Anyways, I put them in there and within 30 seconds they walked right through my 6 joules powered polywire fence, right above the 12" and below the 20". They touched them both and got shocked, but kept on going. I eventually brought them back and trapped them inside a small shelter made of bent cattle panel. It was getting dark, and I didn't want to take any chances of them getting out tonight.
The breeder I got them from had them outside with electric fence, so they should have been trained to it. Although I wonder if they really were, since they are young lambs in a herd, so perhaps they just followed mama around and never got to know the power of 6J running zapping through their bodies..
I guess my question is: what should I try next?I wasn't impressed with the way the polywire just bent out of the way for them to go through, but hi-tensile wire isn't realistic for putting up and taking down to move each day. I see people doing what I did on youtube, and it seems to work much better (as usual). The only options I see are (1) wait and see if they try to escape again, now that they have gotten to know the fence a little better and they also aren't so panicky about being in a new place. Or (2) use the meshed poultry electric fence, which is expensive for the larger paddocks I plan to use in the future.
I would try again, had a ram lamb go through the 4 wire poly fence and he did not do it a 2nd time. Hopefully they learned their lesson. Sounds like you have a good perimeter fence so if they get out again it won't be a disaster.
Poly mesh/net is expensive and a pain to move, but is good for training and making a holding pen like you needed yesterday. Maybe one or two pieces would be a good investment. Or 8-12 cattle panels and t posts. I was given poly mesh and still hate it, but it does have its place.
I would do the training just like for pigs. Put a solid fence (cattle panel or netting) right behind the poly wire, so they can't get out and just learn that the fender hurts and there is nothing on the other side worth the pain.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
@Kelly - Grounding isn't a problem. I'm in a pretty wet climate, and the ground was soaked from an earlier rain. I measure 6kV right now, and when I accidentally touched the wire two days ago I can assure you that it hurt like hell.
@R Scott - I agree. I'm gonna go ahead and order a 100ft electric net for future needs, but I'm going to continue trying to make the polywire work for normal use.
@Kris - I took your advice and tried again this morning, and they seem to be respecting the fence. I think they were just spooked after getting out of the truck yesterday in a new place, and probably just panicked and ran right through the fence without seeing it. Not they are very clearly grazing around the perimeter while carefully not touching the fence again. This is actually exactly what happened when I brought pigs home for the first time too, and 4 months later they've never messed with the fence again after that first day.
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
Dean Moriarty wrote:@Kelly - Grounding isn't a problem. I'm in a pretty wet climate, and the ground was soaked from an earlier rain. I measure 6kV right now, and when I accidentally touched the wire two days ago I can assure you that it hurt like hell.
are they getting shocked and being scared forward (through) your fencing maybe?
or are they not getting a pop when they touch it?
i have a 2 wire (poly wire) setup for my laneway (12in & 24in) and i also use a 6J charger.
a few tested the wire in the beginning and they learned fast - and i am in a dry climate (my reason for upgrading from a 2J charger)
hope you can get it figured out.
http://www.cloud9farms.com/ - Southern Colorado - Zone 5 (-19*f) - 5300ft elevation - 12in rainfall plus irrigation rights
Dairy cows, "hair" sheep, Kune Kune pigs, chickens, guineas and turkeys
Just wanted to provide a quick update for anyone that reads this down the road...
Just like Kris schulenburg said, I tried again and the fence hasn't been an issue at all. Seems like the sheep were just spooked when they first got to the farm, and perhaps didn't even notice the poly (or just didn't care). Now they 100% respect the fence and never try to escape. I move them every few days and they immediately work the perimeter without trying to go anywhere else.