Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The pigs have decided: National turkey free day

When it's laying season I pen the turkeys into these calf domes.

Each calf dome is 5' tall, about 7' in diameter. We use them as portable shelters for pasture farrowing, covers for sacks of feed, confining laying turkeys and (gasp) even their intended purpose of bottle feeding calves.

put a 30 gallon garbage can with some hay in it as a nesting box (turkey hens are big animals, and a 30 gallon can is about the right size), and string this recycled construction fence across the entrance. You don't need much of a barrier to keep turkeys in. The orange fencing is mostly a visual barrier.

The orange fencing is also known as pig dental floss. They love it. So yesterday three of the smallest pigs I've got slipped out of their electric fence, and over to the turkey domes, and proceeded to let every single turkey loose. They pulled the orange fencing off the front and out came the turkeys.

This was such a success in the eyes of the pigs that they decided a roadtrip was in order. So these same small pig terrorists chewed the power cord off the electric fence, and then proceeded to lead the entire herd out of the pasture and onto the road. And then down the road. And then over the bridge. All in all, about a mile down the road.

So when I got to the farm, I was stopped at my gate by a neighbor who'd seen the pigs down the road, and the dogs and I herded them back over to the property, only to discover when I got there that all 70 turkeys were out. So I spent 4 hours chasing and netting turkeys, fixing the fence, netting more turkeys, herding pigs back in, and so on.

Moral of this story: Good fences, particularly perimeter fencing, is worth its weight in gold. Guess what my next project will be.


Dave said...

Check this out, it could possible have a huge impact on small producers and farmers markets.
Specifically sections, 401,9, 2A,3,14, and section 202, 206.
I need to read it a little more to fully understand the impacts.

Bruce King said...

yech. Nothing like a few more regulations to make life better, eh?

Anonymous said...

My dog used to 'liberate' my chickens. It took a few days/weeks to figure out how the chickens were getting out of their chicken tractors. Then over coffee one morning, I saw my dog head over to the garden, pick the lock, and lever the door open and move on to the next tractor.

I didn't realize she'd started the CLO (Chicken Liberation Organization) right there on the farm and under my nose.