Friday, April 22, 2011

Flourescent fencing follies

Our fencing efforts haven't been working. Well, let me amend that: they've worked for everyone but our steer, Nebuchadnezzar (whom I was starting to call The Little Turd).

We had reinforced the field fence line at the bottom of the woods until (we thought) nothing could get through.

We had reinforced the barbed wire fence line along the road until (we thought) nothing could get through.

But that wily steer DID get through. Again and again. In addition to being a pain in the rear -- twice a day the faithful cry of "The steer is out!" came from someone -- but he was becoming troublesome to the neighbors. We value our relations with the neighbors and didn't want problems because we couldn't keep the Little Turd where he was supposed to be.

So once again Don and I walked the fence lines, looking for telltale signs of hoofprints in the mud, bent wires, and tufts of hair on the fences.

We added more wires to the T-posts.

Along many of the fence bottoms, we put heavy branches or small logs, and wired the bottom of the fence all along the length of the logs.

We also braced some of the fence bottoms with heavy rocks.

And still he got through. Aarrrggghhh! How was it possible? We'd been over that fence line with a fine-tooth comb! Where was he escaping?

So I tried following him. Book in hand, I spent several hours trailing behind him as he casually grazed his way around the woods with the rest of the herd. Naturally when I dashed up to the house for a brief lunch break, he was already outside the fence by the time I got back.

"Who, me?"

Okay fine. We decided we had to work smarter, not harder. We bought some fluorescent orange chalk powder...

...and mixed it with Vaseline.

The resulting gloop was pretty visible, hee hee hee.

"Hey wait a minute, what are you doing?"

After smearing him liberally with the colorful Vaseline...

...Don also dusted him thoroughly with loose chalk. (Notice the interest from Jet and Gimli.)

"What happened to YOU?" "I don't want to talk about it."

The result was an extremely visible steer.

We figured if he was jumping over the fence, the loose chalk would poof off him and show the location. If he was slipping through or under the fence, the Vaseline would smear on the wire.

Several hours later he was outside the fence once more. We herded him back to the house and then walked the fence lines. Aha! Success! He was slipping through a section of fence that was so brushy we didn't think we had to reinforce it. Wrong!

Busted! Telltale orange branches and a tuft of orange fur caught on the barbed wire.

So Don reinforced the bloody heck out of that section of fence -- and as of this posting, he hasn't escaped yet.

Little turd...


  1. Going to tell you about what I heard to as a Scottish Hobble. Not sure if this is the correct name or not but will do for now. We had a good milk goat that would not stay home. It would start balling 10' away from the electrical wire and another 10' on the other side. I was ready to butcher her when I tried the SH. You take a Y fork branch with the legs about the same height as the shoulder. You want the bottom half of the Y longer and heavier than the top half. Take soft rope and fasten the yoke under the neck of the animial with the rope going over the top of the neck around the upright a couple of times and back over the top to the other side and secure it. You want it loose but able to slide over the top of the head. The animal can still grace but not likely to get through fences.

  2. Smart!

    Speaking about working smarter not harder, our garden is getting completely decimated by mice or other rodents. (That's what we guess, anyway. Hubby Dear was planting potatoes and a mouse popped out at him.) They have dug up all of our attempts to plant peas, radishes, you name it. They are starting in on the potatoes now. Sigh. Any ideas on how to get rid of them?

  3. I think I'd be putting a steer in the freezer or on the pantry self or crock next week along with a heifer.
    Brine cured corned beef is good :-)

  4. You guys are good! I seldom out fox a steer. I just get frustrated and have to go in for a cup of coffee.

  5. I have to say, whether I'm bored at work at 3am or stuck outside my bank waiting for it to open...there's always an interesting post to keep me busy. Thanks again for posting so regularly.

  6. Love your words "work smarter,not harder"! Could be in your book:)(maybe it already is!)
    My father-in law used to use the phrase 'field experience' all the time-and you guys truly put it into practice. Love this story-you (maybe the girls?) ought to write a children's book about your animals and their adventures-how about "Nebuchadnezzar and the Orange Coat"!
    By the way, sorry to read about Pearly.
    Happy Easter!
    Mary (Ft Laud)

  7. That is a great story. You all are so clever.

    He has risen!

  8. Regarding the mice in the garden....

    Are you sure it is mice and not voles (moles)?

    We have had some success in repelling field mice in beds that have been planted already with the incorporation of lots of ground cayenne pepper dusted around our root veggies soil and watered it in.

    If you are just laying in a bed, line the area or row with a fine mesh screening roll wire first, then roll in the soil into the hollow over the wire, and then plant the root veggie sets. Cover the top with poultry wire. When the plants begin to protrude, breaking through the soil, open up a tiny space in the top wire, just big enough for the plant to successfully unfurl it's primary pair of leaves. This method, performed with the cayenne placed on top, has taken care of most of our problem. You still will need to make sure they are not gnawing off the tender tops of your onion and root sets with a deterrent load of BB's from your garden
    pump gun. They'll go looking for an easier place to forage.


  9. Well, ya'll named him... just sayin'. ;-)

    Good job with the bovine detective work. Maybe you could mix up a whole lot of that orange goo and sell it! Jennifer

  10. I'm gonna get some of that stuff for my grandson, a Houdini in the making.

  11. Very clever!

    In regards to your post about trampy clothes for young girls, my daughter and I were shocked to see this Tide laundry detergent commercial for the first time last night. I think it tells a side of the story that maybe doesn't get a enough emphasis--that the fathers often are making something of an effort to control what their daughters wear, but that it's the mothers, sadly, who are choosing to disregard the fathers' wishes and make the (wrong) call on their own.


  12. Very smart detective work!

    I can't resist the urge to say you are now smarter than a little turd :)

  13. The first time I heard that term, "work smarter not harder" came out of the mouth of a guy(fairly recently) who was a welfare clown who occationally took a job followed by long periods of bumming. Burning people all along the way. In America if you have a kid or two you are locked into the free money if you choose.

  14. I feel for you. We raise goats and have had many a time like that.

  15. I would agree with Granny Miller and killed two birds with one stone, literally. Although it would probably be more beef than your freezer could handle and I wouldn't have looked forward to canning or salting down that much meat. I'm very glad though that it wasn't Polly that cut her hamstring, that would have been very hard to pay for a pure bred heifer and then have to turn around and put her in the freezer. Nebuchadnezzer looks just about the right size to slaughter now, but since it's spring it probably won't hurt much to carry him over to fall, unless he starts competing for the cows. At least he'll keep you up to snuff on the fencing.


  16. I thought I was being quite industrious by decorating eggs I pop in over here and find out the dye Easter Steers in Idaho! Very creative. I have been outdone again.

  17. I think some of your critters are smarter than most liberals! Oh course, we all know, everyone in your family is certainly smarter than any liberal. Way to go on tracking him. Hopefully, you'll have solved that problem once and for all.

  18. I like Don's plan. this is an example of creative problem solving that is absolutly necessary when dealing with troublesome animals.

  19. Something to be said for turd burgers maybe? Smart critter him!