Friday, February 17, 2012

Fence Frustration Finally Finished

How's that for alliteration!!

As you know, we've had quite a bit of irritation regarding our solar electric fence. It worked but not like we thought it should. If you can grab a hold of the line and barely feel a slight shock, then something isn't right.

We tried everything we could think of, like letting it charge in the sun for several days, adding grounding rods, and constantly checking the entire line to make sure no branches were touching it or it was sagging, or whatever!

This was at the early part of our fence fixing fiasco. Dakota is wondering what and why Hubby is there.
More fixing.
Saggy lines.
Tightened up lines. This is the corner at the top of the horse/bull pens.
Looking down the line towards the house from the above corner.
We finally went back to the Big R store in Redmond to look for an electric fence checker. We ended up talking to the guy that sold us the unit. He introduced himself as Skip and was in fact wearing a work shirt with a "Skip" name tag. Skip let us borrow his checker. Turns out the unit we had was not operating at full capacity. In other words NO WONDER IT WASN'T WORKING RIGHT!!

So back we went to Redmond with the defective fence charger. Inside the store we asked for Skip. They paged Joe to respond, and Skip showed up. ??? Anyway, we swapped out the charger, went back home and hooked it up. It seemed to be working. The only way we had to check it was to either grab a hold of the line (no one wanted to do that) or put a screwdriver from the fence T-post to the wire and look for a spark.

It did make a spark, much bigger than with the other charger. Now how to make sure it would hold the bull. I was really hesitant to let him out of the little pen because I didn't want him to just charge underneath the line again like it was nothing.

The brochure the charger came with suggested that the animals needed to be "trained" to respect the fence. It recommended offering food on the opposite side and when the animal tried to reach through the fence to get the food it would get zapped and thereby learn.

I wasn't sure that was going to work so I did it a little differently. Don't hate me. Don't call PETA on me. I took a handful of hay and held it on the opposite side from the bull just inches away from the hot wire. If you've ever fed a cow you know they will reach out with their tongue. So, yes, Dakota reached out with his tongue, basically wrapping it around the hot wire. And yes, he did get a zap!

Then after a few minutes I went to the other fence and did the same thing. He ended up doing the same thing and got zapped again. I'm sorry to say, but it made me happy. Dakota went and sulked in his shed. I waited a few minutes and then put a small pile of hay on the ground.

I went outside the fence and puttered around so I could keep an eye on him and see what happened next. After several minutes Dakota came back and slowly wandered towards the hay pile. Eventually he started pushing under the wire to reach the hay. Now I was disheartened again because I could clearly see his forehead was touching the hot wire but he was still reaching for the hay.

Just about the same time his tongue reached the hay pile the hot wire must have pushed through his forehead hair and touched his skin because he suddenly jumped back. I took that as a good sign.

I knew I was going to have to do this sooner or later so I went ahead and opened one side of his little pen, giving him access to the entire pen, which is more or less 1/2 acre.
That was two days ago. I am so happy to report he apparently has not tried to crawl under the fence again. He is still in his own pen, on his own side.
I do believe he's finally learned to respect the fence.


Kathy said...

Yea! that you finally got the fence fixed.
And glad that Dakota is respecting the fence......guess he was jsut being a little bull headed in the beginning!! LOL

Anonymous said...

Ok, PETA will look into it not sure if you will get a letter in the mail!!
Glad it worked and look at all that room he has now!!
Are you crossing these things off your list now!!
Looks like you are getting the same Winter we are, we have hit 70 a couple days! Global warming!!

Anonymous said...

So glad he has room to roam now.
I like the rocks, too.