This year, I have a few naughty lambs.
Border Leicester #125, who is a really pretty ewe lamb, and her sidekick Border Leicester #151 persistently wiggle their way out of our electric fencing. Sometimes, Border Leicester #122 joins in.
For a while, it really was my fault. We only had a 1 joule charger on a large amount of fence, and the charge simply wasn’t hot enough. Worse, we were using some old, slightly droopy netting that was easy for lambs to slip beneath. I could watch them slide their little Roman noses under the wires and then shuffle under, awkwardly. Sometimes, a lamb would inadvertently pull the fence out of the ground while shimmying, releasing the rest of the flock. Having your sheep at-large will ruin your reputation in the neighborhood pretty quickly. We needed to take action.
Then the arms race began. We bought a hotter charger with twice as much power. Still, 125 and 151 would sneak out. We stopped using the older fence and even bought $600 worth of new fence. Still, 125 and 151 were out-of-bounds somehow.
So at weaning, I went nuclear. We are fortunate to have a neighbor’s hard-fenced horse-pasture available. We tightened up that fence and then deposited the weaned lambs in there. After a hard day of lamb separation, we were keen to prevent the lambs from escaping and running off to find their mothers. Every possible escape-route was blocked and bolstered.
Yet still, this morning, the lambs are loose. They knocked down some of the fencing in the process of escaping – fortunately, the main group of lambs was well-behaved and did not try to escape.
So our new policy is that those lambs are just “out”. They are out, at risk of being eaten by coyotes, but they are not putting the main flock at risk. They’ll also be on the first trailer out of here. I am so, so frustrated at being outsmarted by two five-month-old lambs! Unbelievable.
Some images of our at-large delegation: