Recent rains have given us wet ground, high winds, falling branches, down trees and a heavy weed load. Saturated ground means that we can’t mow our fencelines without running the risk of creating ruts, or getting stuck. That means that most of our fences, which have at least one strand of electric or “hot-wire” around them, are struggling to do their job, which is to keep livestock in.
Mama cows tend to be very respectful of fences, particulary electric fence. Growing calves on the other hand, are harder contain. Oddly enough, curiosity – a positive response to novel stimuli – is a desirable, and measurable, attribute in beef cattle. These nosy calves will eat a wider variety of feeds, more willing accept environmental changes, (like moving between fields), and move about more calmly, helping to ensure their own safety, and that of their human handlers.
Unfortunately for us though, this also includes “exploratory behaviours”, what most people would call “getting out”. So for that past week, Elijah and I have been clearing branches, chain-sawing and weed-eating along the fencelines at one of our rental farms, trying to get the fence hot enough, to keep these little beauties on the right side of the fence. What we’ve done so far seems to be holding, but we won’t be able to get any kind of mower around the fencelines for a few more days, until it dries out.