Bonnie Johnson

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since Nov 23, 2012
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Recent posts by Bonnie Johnson

If you go to premier1 or Kencove they have have great info on how to properly ground a fence and how many ground rods to use. But if it is really dry your ground rods will need some help. A positive negative system works well with separate wires alternating with positive negative. Still if you don't have a good ground, it won't work well. I have had this problem when we lived in Arkansas during drought conditions and here in Ohio. Wet rainy Ohio. We live on a hill the county actually used some of this property to harvest gravel back in WWII. The ground drains really quickly had the fence wont have a good ground at certain times of the year if it doesn't rain for 4 to 5 days. There is a simple solution, we were lucky that we put our main ground rods close to a hydrant so we can run the water on them for a while and keep them moist.  I also put ground rods in at several places in low areas where we have hot wires  where the water table is about three feet deep.  The other thing you can do if you don't have your ground rods close to the hydrant or water source is to put a five gallon bucket with a small hole in it that is filled with water over the ground rods. The bucket will slowly leak out the water and keep the ground rods moist. I used that trick when I was moving the kencove positive negative electronet  for the goats. Ground rods weren't working well because we had a dry spell, but they worked just fine with the slow leaking five gallon bucket or 5 gallon leaking jerry can over that portable ground rod. Everyone has a bucket that leaks right. I have a bunch of them I use them to keep ground rods moist or i use them to put the water bottles for the rabbits in so the water leaks out after I fill them and i don't have to lug 5 gallons of water around. Buckets with holes in them are very useful. I keep them around for all sorts of stuff. Sometimes i even drill holes in buckets.
7 months ago
I use these fittings for putting the hoops on the metal base and for making corners.  

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-Gray-Metal-Steel-Fence-Panel-Clamp-Set/4651615

I put a sheet metal screw in those extra round holes you see in the panel clamp. It makes a goo solid corner and it also holds the hoops on the base very nicely and for a very low price at $1.38.  

When I put the top and side bracing horizontal bars on, I often use hose clamp or I will use metal brackets/braces that you can buy in the building supply area.
1 year ago
Hi Jared,

For the buildings that we made, we used the chain link fence top rail that is 1 and 3/8 inch that we got at Lowe's or Home Depot whichever one had it cheaper.  You are supposed to be able to bend the heavier walled conduit that you can pick up in the electrical department, but then you need connectors. The chain link comes with one end smaller so you don't need a connector. The small end slips in to the other end of the fence rail.  We have had the bigger 20 x 48 building up for 7 years and the 10 ft by 10 ft chicken coop has been up for over 3 years. The bigger hoop house went through two billboard tarps and now one winter with metal (8 months with metal ).  The hoops bend really easy, I can bend them myself. I have also made a green 10 ft by 10 ft green house with the metal hoops. Even with the hoops attached to a metal base, I could move the green house around by hand. So when I was building the chicken coop, I was able to move it around by hand by myself to get it set up on the wooden base that I sat it on.

Goodluck!

Bonnie
1 year ago
Hi Jared,

I will try to get pictures and post them. We have built two hoop house structures and put metal on them. We bought the hoop benders online. We have two hoop benders on that gives a 20 foot wide hoop and one that makes a 10 foot wide hoop. We first built a 48 foot by 20 foot wide hoop house that we covered with a billboard tarp. That worked okay but we had to replace the tarp after a storm with a new tarp. When we placed those hoops we actually put them in the ground with cement so we couldn't move them easily later. WE used metal fence rail for the hoops and for the three horizontal support rails that went the length of the hoop structure. Last summer we got a great deal on metal siding at our local auction. So we put metal siding the 20 by 48 hoop house. Since couldn't move the arches, it isn't as nice as it could have been as the arches aren't quite all the same height and we had to seal the overlap with some roofing tape but it still keeps the water and wind off much better than the tarps were doing.
We did not use wood at all. We used metal to metal screws that go through the sheet metal into the arches. The metal covered hoop structure did fine even wit h10 inches of snow on it. The hoops are four feet a part. If you were getting regular big snows you might want to go 2 foot apart on the hoops. We are in North Central Ohio.  We keep goats in this big hoop house during kidding season. We used to keep hay in it.

However, the first sheet metal structure we made is a 10 foot by 10 foot chicken coop. We used four hoops and sheet metal. We did not put any wood on the hoops to screw the sheet metal into exIcept on the ends of the arches where the door and window were put in.. We screwed the sheet metal directly into the metal fence rail hoops. It worked great and it makes a very nice strong structure. ONce we got the metal up it really stiffened the entire building up and it is very solid. We have been using this hoop house sheet metal chicken coop for several years now and I am very happy with it. I did set the base of the structure up on a 2"x8" board all the way around, but it is just sitting there. I did the normal building of the hoop house with a metal base that the hoops fasten into with the fence rail connectors that you buy at lowes or home depot. This hoop sheet metal chicken coop has never moved in the wind and has never had a problem shedding snow. It wouldn't even have any leaks if I hadn't reused the metal siding. Since it was reused the metal siding had holes in it from the screws and nails that had previously been in it. You can buy the metal to metal sheet metal screws at Lowes or Home Depot or Menards you just have to be careful and make sure you get the metal to metal ones and not the metal to wood ones. In the picture of the inside of the chicken coop I did use wood to put in roosts and wood to support the roosts.

I am going to build another hoop sheet metal building to make an additional goat house that also holds a round bale feeder this summer.  This will be a structure for the goats to be in in the winter when I can't use rotational grazing.  The tarps on hoop houses don't work well with goats unless you have the tarps above goat rubbing height.

You  don't have to use wood when putting metal on a metal hoop house.  The buildings work well and are pretty easy to put up.  

where the short ends of the metal overlap on the big 20x48 hoop house, we put a bead of silicone in between the metal and then we put the six inch wide butyl roofing tape over the seams. This stopped the leaks. On one side, I didn't put silicone between the metal and the we did still get some leaks. I am going to fix that this summer.

good luck and as I said I will try to get pictures.

Bonnie
1 year ago
I actually move the water trough with the goats when I move them and their goat-a-stoga. I also move their salt block and they feed troughs. I actually do put feed out for them even in the summer because it helps keep them coming when to me and thinking that the mini truck or the tractor is bringing good things. All the goats come running when they hear me pulling up to their pasture with the mini truck or tractor. I then get to look over the goats and check their condition. I look at them to see if they have injuries and if they need worming. It is easy to move them to another pasture. I also have a call for them so they will also come to that. They will follow me or the mini truck/tractor to the the next grazing area. They know they are supposed to be in that area when I move their goat-a-stoga in their pasture.  I leave hoses in place but move their waterer that has an automatic float valve on it.  This keeps me from having to buy  a bunch of water troughs and keeps me from having to fill water troughs all the time.  I shut the gate on the new goat pasture, open the gate on the old pasture so the horses and cattle can go in after the goats. I leave the horses gate open so they move down the lane way to their water trough with automatic float valve. The horses and cattle have their own salt block.  I am not sure where I will put the pigs in the rotation. But I am sure I will work something out.
2 years ago
I think that in several of the pastures you would have enough shade but in those longer and bigger pastures you probably would need more shade in the summer.  

I am going to say that you should probably make the pastures more equal in size and go with more pastures for a couple of reasons. One is that if the pastures are more equal in size then you can get a better idea of how quickly the animals are grazing down the pasture and when to move them. IF that pastures aren't the same size then it will be much harder to figure out when the pastures are grazed down enough. If one pasture is bigger than another then you won't be able to move the animals as soon
and this could expose them to more worm load. Then you would need to worm the animals and have to handle the animals which creates more stress on the animals and more stress on you.  You may not want to have both sheep and goats. Sheep and goats share parasites so it will be harder to rest a paddock long enough to break a parasite cycle even if you graze horses and and pigs directly after the sheep or the goats.  

I went to the effort to permanently fence 8 pastures for rotational grazing for our horses, cattle and goats. Have about 18 acres in rotational grazing. I used high tensile with six strands every other one hot and the negative wires grounded in each paddock. Some goat fence woven wire and some cattle panels. Had to use the cattle panels to be able to fence in my fence rows without cutting down all the trees and bushes that the goats love to eat. On the last pasture I just finished fencing, I used some chain link and plastic pallets and wood pallets. I got all the pallets for free. The pallets are about 300 feet of fence line on the permanent winter goat pasture area and that makes pasture number 8.  

I also have chickens and pigs. The chickens just go where ever they want that they aren't fenced out of. The pig are in one pasture/mud zone but I hope to get them on rotational grazing this spring. The goats are moved through the 8 paddocks and the horses and cattle follow the goats. The goats eat down the brush and weeds and then the horses and cattle come in and graze down the shorter grasses which is infected with goat worms.  I like to move the goats every 7 days but sometimes in the early summer they stay 10 days due to heavier growth of foliage. I actually have a moveable goat shelter. WE call it a the goatastoga. It looks a lot like a connestoga wagon from the pioneer days but has a floor in it made from wire mesh panels used to screen gravel. The poo and pee just flows through The top is a billboard white tarp over heavy grey plastic conduit hoops. It has steps for the goats to climb to get in .The running gear were for a hay wagon and I bought the running gear at an auction for 150 dollars. I move the goat-a-stoga with the goats.  We did rent a trencher when we first moved hear and ran some hydrants out pretty far from our well, but I still have to run hoses for the goats automatic waterer. The horses shelter the trees most of the time. I live in north central Ohio and we have the goats on rotation from about early may to November. This year we were lucky and I was able to leave them on rotation until Thanksgiving.


Having 8 pastures has cut down on how much I need to worm the goats. It has basically eliminated the need to worm our horses. We have four horses. I wormed the calves when they were young and haven't had to worm them since and they are about 5 months old now. We have three calves now. PUt the last steer in the freezer in January of 2016.  

We have an egg mobile but the chickens don't like it. So for now it is parked at the house for the winter. Maybe we will use it again next spring.  

We ran about 40 head of goats this past summer that was with the kids from the spring. This coming year we may be running close to 60 head and that will probably be maxing out our pastures for goats. WE have Kiko, Kiko crosses and dairy goats. The milk goats stay up by the house for ease of milking.

I used electro net for the goats for about two years. The horses were all kept in by electric tape. Moving the electro net got old so that is why I permanently fenced in all the pastures into rotational grazing paddocks. I truly love the permanent grazing areas I put in. Having 8 rotational paddocks allows me to give each paddock a much longer rest and really allows me to beat the worm cycle for the goats.   And yes, I have a laneway and it is necessary for moving the animals around and it allows the horses to get to their water trough and salt without trapping them in a specific pasture.  


good luck!

bonnie
2 years ago
A bird that perched on top of the electro net would not be shocked unless the fence drooped enough that the bird also came in contact with the negative twine.  This is highly possible as the electro net fencing isn't really able to be pulled
tight in my experience. I don't know how a chicken could perch on the electro net successfully.  Electro net has its uses. But keep in mind that you have to keep the grass and weeds off of it so that it will shock really well and you have to invest
in a good fence charger and you have to have a really good ground. IF the  earth is dry, you won't be able to get a good ground unless you wet that area.  When using my electro net for my goats, I had a 5 gallon water jug that had a small hole in it
and when it was dry out, I would fill the jug and let it dribble on the ground rod so that the fence would have a good ground and produce a good shock.  I cant remember if Premier sells the positive and negative electro net but they do sell some of the
perma net which is stronger and has tougher poles. Kencove.com sells the positive negative electro net and it is usually a little better price than premier.  

good luck no matter which type of fence you buy.

2 years ago
Raccoons will wipe out a flock.  We left for a weekend. The raccoons found a way in the coop area with fenced in yard and killed 120 chickens, ducks and turkeys in one weekend.  There are plenty of raccoons. Yep they are cute. They will wipe out
chickens and kill more then they can eat. I have caught them in the act in a moveable chicken coop. Two coons had three birds dead. The only reason I found them was that they were trying to stuff one of the dead birds through a hole they had dug under the moveable coop and they couldn't get out past the dead bird.  AT that time, I did not have a gun so I had no choice but to open the coop so the raccoons could run away.  I have solved that problem.....  I trap them and then I kill them.  Yep. I shoot them with a BB gun.  I have larger guns too, but the BB gun is quiet and does the job just fine. None of this transporting and releasing and giving someone else your problem.  At the place we moved to about 7 years ago the people were feeding the darn raccoons.  This did not work well with my chickens. They were reaching through the wire grabbing chicks and eating their legs off or their beaks off while the chick was still alive. I had this happen to some ducks and turkey poults too.  

So I put out traps. I use both leg hold and live traps.  It is a little harder to shoot them when they are in a leg hold trap, but it can be done.  IF they are in my live trap, I can simply shove the barrel of the BB gun in the trap and get them right on top of the head.
Make sure you have a good higher powered BB gun.  If you use a live trap, then you need to stake it down. I have had coons learn to turn the trap over so the live trap would set off and then they could rattle the trap around and get the bait. I used cheap cans of tuna from Walmart.  

When we were having the worst of the coon problem here in OHio, We got three then someone hit one on the road and over the next week six more coons were hit in the same spot. That took care of the problem. Yes, I am rural.

I also think having a good dog is a must. I have a good varmint dog, a Parsons Terrier or a long legged Jack Russel named George. George has killed a mature coon on his own. I was amazed as I had read to many stories about how coons would rip a dog to shreds, even a big dog. George took this coon out and it was about a fifteen pound coon over 32 inches from head to tail.  George also kills ground hogs, rats, mice and moles. He is training a new dog that we adopted from the pound, but
this new dog will never be as good as George.  

I use a lot of moveable chicken tractors. I have had to double fence the wire portions to keep the raccoons from reaching through and killing chicks and chickens. I keep traps on the chicken tractors so if i have a raccoon infestation, I set the traps and
take them out. Usually we get a little peace for a while after we take some of them out.  but really I can't fence 26 acres to keep all the raccoons out of our property. AS lone as they leave the chickens/poultry  alone and leave most of my sweet corn alone, then they can roam the rest of the property.  

And yes, you can have rats and mice and have raccoons.  I mean reall,y if raccoons kept away rats there wouldn't be any rats in the city or on most farms.  I am sure that a raccoon would eat a rat if they could get one but if raccoons could really get rid of rats and mice every farmer would be keeps a pet raccoon or ten to keep the farm free from rats and mice.  There is no logic in that argument.   My varmint dog George is better than a cat for getting rid of rats and mice.
2 years ago
Most people who use electric fence to keep chickens out of a garden or in the place you want the chickens to be instead of the garden or perching on your deck use the electro net fencing. The holes in the electro net are small enough that a mature chicken can't fit through them without getting a good shock and the holes are small enough that the chicken wouldn't probably fit through the holes anyhow.  I have watched my chickens get shocked on electrified tape but it is a hit and miss thing and they don't try to perch on the tape. I have electrified tape around my pigs and I used to use it around my goats for rotational grazing.  The tape works great for pigs and only works for large sedate dairy goats not for normal I can jump over or through anything goats.  The electro net sometimes can be purchased so that it has on row of positive and one row of negative(grounded) twine alternating through it. Then it works better as the chicken or goat doesn't have to ground it self to the actual ground. Chickens are well insulated by their feathers so the only times I have seen them shocked by electrified tape is when it is really wet out and they are kind of soggy on their feathers and then they have to hit the tape just right. Most often they get shocked if they hit their comb on the tape.  The electro net I used for my goats had holes/spacing in it that was large enough to allow chickens to fit through. If you get poultry electro net, then it will have the small holes and be tall enough to keep most birds from flying over it.
Most as in birds that have less of a tendency to fly over 4 feet high. Forget the banties or those near feral chickens. I had a Black Sumatra that nested in my garden and she flew over the four foot tall wire fence to go eat and drink once a day and then she would fly back into my garden.  

So as to breed question, some breed will be much more likely to fly over your fence.  I re fenced my garden this year to stop chickens from getting in there most especially when the tomatoes are ripe. I went with 6 foot tall welded wire and it is working quite
nicely. Even my feral type crossbred chickens, yes off of that Black Sumatra hen don't fly into my garden now.  The wild bunch roosts outside and fends for themselves. Had one of them hatch 16 chicks on their own out in the weeds, but at least she
didn't raise them in my garden and feed them on my tomatoes. LOL  My black Australorps don't seem to want to fly into a garden and neither do my Light Brahams. I probably could have kept them out with a 3 foot tall fence. So yes, it depends on the breed and you may need to clip wings for a while so they think that they can't fly into your garden.  Good luck!
2 years ago