One of the best things about our farm is that it already had a lot of fenced pastures. Most of the pastures were designed for goats and are fairly small but very secure. That’s great for our pastured pigs. The huge main pasture was used for horses and is fenced with 3 strands of high-tensile wire. At one time it was electrified, but there wasn’t much maintenance done in the 3 years before we bought the property so we couldn’t used the fence as electric even if we wanted to. It was perfect for horses.
We don’t have horses. We have cows. And a couple of donkeys who don’t give us many problems. Not so with a couple of our cows. Specifically, the 2 calves that we have don’t think that they need to stay inside the 3-strand fence. At first just the 3 month old steer calf was getting out but he taught our yearling heifer calf how to get out, too. They never go far, but they’re leaving cow patties on my lawn! At least they only get out on the side of the fence near the house. The trucks going down the road seem to have deterred them from going out along the front of the property.
We have reinforced the 3-strand fencing with 2 strands barbed wire between the high-tensile wire. You’d think that 5 strands of wire would be enough to keep the calves in. It didn’t work. The calves don’t care about the barbs — they have the thickest, most luxurious coats and they don’t seem to feel them. So we have to think of a way to keep them in.
One of the things that the previous owners left for us was some old poultry netting fences. They are designed to be electrified, but there are so many holes that they won’t work. But they have the appearance of being fairly solid to a cow. Cows don’t have good depth perception. I got the netting fences out of the barn and rolled them out next to the permanent fence. Even with 3 rolls of netting it wasn’t long enough. So it’s back to the drawing board for the parts of the fence that the netting doesn’t cover.
I had cut a long piece of heavy gauge wire to try the fence energizer and the poultry netting. It didn’t work (too many holes in the netting) but I figured that I could use it to seal off a small portion of the fence where the calves get through. Woven wire fencing is very effective, but quite expensive. So I used the wire to weave a bit of fence. The biggest issue was that I didn’t have enough wire to weave more than a few feet and it wasn’t very visible. I need something different.
And that leads us to this:
The pink wool fence.
That’s right — I wove a fence from pink wool bulky weight yarn. Actually it’s a wool/acrylic blend. So far it’s working! The calves looked at it and walked away. It appears to them to be too solid for them to get through. Success!
It also makes for a great conversation piece.
Update — since I started writing this, the calves went through the fence into the woods. This is a section that they have never messed with before so it must be because they believe they can’t get through the netting/woven wool fencing. Guess who gets to weave more pink wool fence…