Saturday 2 September 2017

A newly fenced paddock.

After three months of hard graft, interrupted by shows, births, hay-making etc., we have created a new paddock for the breeding herd, surrounded by Tornado badger-proof close-wire mesh, trenched into the ground.
First I had to remove all of the old fence, a mix of stock fence and barbed wire, and all of the old posts, over several evenings and weekends.
I then dug the trench, 18" deep, using my neighbour's antique wheeled digger (JCB type). Then we drove extra-long posts (7 feet) using his tractor-mounted post tapper.
Gateways have two lengths of 9" x 3" on edge buried between the gate posts, which are 8 feet long.
Because of the closely-spaced wires and the height of the mesh to allow for burying, each roll is massively heavy, and impossible to lift - it has to be rolled across the paddock! Once rolled into position, we rolled it out, cut it to length (generally up to 30m between strainers in this case), plus a bit for tensioning -  then we folded the apron, and could pull it into the trench.
Next we stapled it to the straining-post at one end, and loosely stapled it in the vertical position, before  fixng a length of timber to the other end, where we fixed a winch and haulage ratchet strap top and bottom, wrapped around the digger arm, and tensioned it up, whereupon we could staple it to all of the posts, and finally staple to the straining post next to the digger arm. The final job for the fence is to open out the apron in the bottom of the trench and backfill the soil - this has been done by hand (!!) as the digger (being old) would be too clumsy and likely to damage the fence.
Joy and I have done this, one 3m bay each evening, and we still have fifteen to go, but last weekend took a big step forward, when my sons, and sons-in-law came for my birthday party, and I enlisted them for a morning to backfill a whole 30m side of the paddock.

The gates were then hung and meshed, and hinged panels made, and fitted to suit the sloping profile of the field.
With our other paddocks, we had made them badger-proof, either by doubling-up standard stock fence, and/or adding 2" x 2" mesh to stock fence - all methods are effective, but this was an opportunity to start afresh. Now we have gained a paddock only previously used for our neighbours sheep, and hay-making, and which gives us more scope for paddock-resting and rotation.

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