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Living With An Electric Fence



Electric Fences

One of the first investments after moving to the farm was an electric fence. We had small children, so I was a little concerned about the "safety" of having one. (city girl). I was assured we had nothing to worry about. It gives you quite a poke, but no one is going to be seriously injured or die from touching it.


That fence has been one of the best investments we have made. Over the years it has kept the sheep where they belong (99 percent of the time), and has kept them safe from predators.


It has also bought with it some curse words, crying, and laughs.

Kids and the electric fence...


Having six girls that have grown up on the farm, most of them have had run ins with the fence. Some intentional, some not. One that I vividly remember is daughter #2 playing in the field, it was a typical Michigan spring, wet and muddy. She was walking along the fence, when she stepped into some knee deep mud.  Her foot came out of her boot and she lost her balance. While falling, she grabbed a hold of the fence on her way down. (ouch)  Even though she was being shocked, she kept her grip on the fence, not wanting to fall in the mud. Mike ran out there as fast as he could, while I was yelling at her to just let go of the fence. Wasn't going to happen, so there she stood crying,  until her dad  rescued her. It was in no way funny then, she was crying, we were consoling. It didn't become something to laugh about, until years later


Dogs and the electric fence...


All of our dogs have had run ins with the fence, it is only a matter of time. It usually happens once and they are cured. Our Border Collies have all responded the same way, they run to the house, and it takes hours before they will go outside again. They are convinced there is some evil lurking outside, just waiting to get them. Sometimes when they are needed in the field, I have to assure them the fence is off, and it is okay for them to jump through. They usually pace and whine before making the leap.

Nosy neighbors and the electric fence...


I don't know how many times we have been told that electric fences will not work on keeping our sheep in.  Electric fences have come a long way, and so have chargers and we have not had too many problems with keeping the sheep where they belong.


We had one nosy neighbor come down for a visit and during the conversation, he told my husband that electric fences were no good, they would barely keep back a tame cow. In other words, we wasted our money having one put up. The neighbor continued to say that when he was younger, they would get blades of grass, and touch the fence to check it. They would get a little tingle, if it was working. Mike didn't say anything. The neighbor decided to demonstrate and picked a long blade of grass.  Mike still didn't say anything (but was thinking, what is this guy doing?)  The neighbor ended the demonstration by yelling a few choice curse words. Mike, who had a run in or two with the fence himself, simply stated  "the fence is pretty hot". They have come a long way in the last 50 years!


The Shepherdess and the Electric Fence


Even the cautious shepherdess gets it sooner or later.

We had a beagle who kept getting into the pasture and bothering the sheep. He just wasn't getting hit by the fence. I didn't need a beagle out there getting himself into trouble, so I decided to "train" him to the fence. I picked him up and took him over to the fence, I thought " this is going to hurt me more than it is you", and boy did it.  Being the city girl, (and one who did  not pay attention in Science class) I didn't realize puppy  wouldn't  feel a thing, just me!  Boy, was that a surprise!  I looked around to see if there were any witnesses.  Thankfully, not!   I did tell Mike about it later (country boy, and did pay attention in Science class) . I think he was biting his lip, trying not to laugh. Eventually, puppy did get trained to the fence, without any help from me. The electric fence does it's job and we are happy to have it, but sometimes it does get the better of us.


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