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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  10:10:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So, how do you all figure out where to create a fenced pasture? I know it sounds like a stupid question, but seriously, it is difficult to decide where to put a fence and how to lay all the pastures out ... how to connect each one. Do you take an aerial map of your property and just draw lines? I want our farm to look well put together when its all said and done and not just "hodge-podge" in where we place something. We will need to redo most of the fencing currently on our property as the barns are completed and this time it needs to be permanent. I want enough pastures that we can practice rotational grazing with cows, goats, and chickens/ducks.


Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens

maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  11:00:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can't be of help because mine is hodge-podge (for better or for worse). I've put it together as I've gone along. However, if the truth be known, I like it so far and have no regrets. Actually, I don't think I would be capable of mapping out a master plan. I'm a layer kind of fence builder apparently. It's probably not all that efficient, but when it comes to animals, it's hard for me to know what I want until I need it.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

10929 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  12:38:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our fencing has been put up as we've gone along. Some new put in, some replaced, some fixed. Our new fences have gone up out of necessity as we've grown, done different things. This next year we will be pulling up fences to make larger pasture for the cows. It will give us much more pasture for the cows, and still able to divide off if we need to separate them. If we need more we can always reach out further.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Sydney2015

1155 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  4:09:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We need new fences. I'm with Janet, we just repair, remove, fix, and move fences as we go. Our fence is the hodge-lodge kind, we really need to organize better. There are some pastures that are right up next to a slough, so we don't even need a fence there, the animals don't go in the water.

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I live on a small farm of seventy acres called Green Forest Farm, with 10 horses, a donkey, 5 beef cows, 2 beef heifers, 3 Hereford heifers, around 60 chickens, 8 dogs, my amazing cow, AppleButter, and her little Jersey calf HoneyButter!
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  5:02:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ah, fencing... a topic i think about all day long. seriously, we think and talk about fencing almost as much as we think/talk about our cows.

we do a little bit of both - master planning and do as we go. part of the frustration with a farm is even those that are long-term planners don't truly know where are farm "will go"... as we can do less of one activity and add another one in over the years. so i have had to "let it go" a bit in that i know what we think is a great plan now may not look so great looking back 3 or 30 years from now just because of how we change either what we do, or how we do it.

so beyond that, we are operating on one major principle and building off that. first and foremost, ALL boundaries of our property will be in permanent fixed fencing. this is called our "backbone". and it means that any other fence within our property can fail, but as long as our "backbone" is solid and as close to perfect as possible our animals will be safe. our goal is for this backbone to eventually be all 5' field fence, so it can keep out dogs and wild pigs, etc. only tight field fence can do that, and we have issues with roaming animals so need that. but our backbone is a mix now, as currently we can only afford to fix the barbed wire that already exists but anything new is going up as field fence.

so we did start with an aerial view and started drawing it out with colored pens on the print out. within that backbone, we figured out three large pastures that we needed. so we are putting these up about one a year, some are bordered by our "backbone" on some sides but need new fencing on other sides. for new sides, we are also using the field fence as we have found the combined cost of installation/materials to be very close to barbed wire.

within those pastures, we are breaking down into "paddocks" with temporary electrical fence (by myself i can put it out or pull it up - easy peasy). we can get about 6-10 paddocks out of a pasture depending on which one, and so we will start rotational grazing when we get enough animals to justify it ;> for now we are just using the paddocks to separate animals for weaning, etc. for us the cost of putting in any other permanent fencing wasn't worth it for paddocks. we get soooo much rain, we do have weed/mowing issues and want to be able to to pull up the paddocks as we want/need if we don't have enough animals to eat everything down. also, using electrical in this manner gave us a very instant and affordable option for paddocks. we have even just used them on the fly if a tree came down during a storm, if we need to isolate a part of the pasture for work, etc. so even with just two cows it is already paying off.

planning it this way also let us plan for water. we are putting one bar-bar-a waterer in each pasture as well as a frost free hydrant. the plan is that each pasture when broken into paddocks still has access to that one waterer - so technically there is almost one paddock that is always open that contains the waterer within that pasture in addition to the active grazing paddock. this made the waterers more cost effective, and the addition of a frost free hydrant at the same time gave us options is something happened to the waterer or if for some reason we needed to close some livestock into a paddock and add another manual water trough for a bit.

essentially charlene the biggest obstacle for us is cost. fencing is the single largest cost on our farm, and we literally need about $40k to do it all. so we are just doing a bit each year, we have this year and next year mapped out already and so save up money and every 2-3 months have our neighbor attend to another section.

what has helped me is walking the property and walking out how i plan to take care of the livestock. i am trying as hard as i can to predict where we will put up structures or build things over the years, but the reality is that this is a guessing came and today's "great idea" may seem just silly a few years down the line before we build that new barn. so i really try not to spend money if there is a chance it will have to be ripped out, but the reality is that we really don't know that...

one final point, and this may be silly or not applicable for many, but i am building our farm with plans for when we are old. as we dont' have living children, i don't know if our land will be put into a land trust to keep it active farming or if we will have nieces/nephews to pass it onto... i am doing everything towards the idea that i have one piece of the property on the back forty that has a little cabin with everything i need to live when i am 80. think 900 sq ft, can overlook our lake and the pastures, and i will live like tasha tudor. the reality is that woman almost always outlive the men, and when i am 80 if i can have one milk cow and 6 chickens with a small cottage and a wood stove that is all i need. so the entire plan has taken this into account with the hopes that i can find someone to take over the farm and run it actively as such, while i have a life estate in one little area that no one can ever throw me off.

best of luck!

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jan 08 2016 :  05:45:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for all the ideas! This helps so much! We also want a backbone/ perimeter fence like Cindy talks about. It also is freeing to know that to redo fencing in spite of our plans is okay. I'll write more later as I am without a computer today as my bookkeeper needed it. I'll snag one of my kids' later on today.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jan 08 2016 :  6:42:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So I am most definitely a mixture of everything. Sometimes though when you are starting from scratch, it can be daunting. I'd rather that some older hodge-podge fencing were already in place! But I think we will work towards the perimeter fencing, and we will do it as we can afford it just like Cindy. Well, actually like everyone does!

I also really like your future plans, Cindy. A little cottage, cow, few chickens, and wood stove sound like a little piece of heaven. We are thinking along the same lines, only the house is plenty big to set a few rooms up for myself and hubby. I think our culture has lost its way by not continuing multigenerational homesteads. Sometimes too much a push for independence instead of interdependence and working together. I think MaryJane and her family are doing a wonderful thing. Each family member being a let o bring their expertise and interests to the family business and still working together.

So I'm going to get an aerial view of our property and start designing pastures and paddocks. Then, I'm not going to feel terrible whe. It needs to be changed. Even after the fence gets installed! I think some planning will be good to try to get the pastures to connect...the more flexibility and options the better! Just like my barn.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jan 16 2016 :  6:52:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
and here is part of what we are replacing this week, our ongoing goal for the next 5 years is fencing installation/replacement - but we do it in increments of about 400-500 feet at a time. cost is the factor here, as with labor and materials that's all we can afford at a time. our farm hadn't had any fence work in probably 40 years - that is something significant that people purchasing property should consider in the price.

we are replacing the fencing in the first photo, it is patched together and half of it is down or the posts are rotted. this is actually a property line of ours, so we need to get the "backbone fencing" in place here so we can keep our livestock safe on our property. it also means we have to clear a 5' swath on either side of the fence - a lot of work.

we are ripping out the fencing in the second photo, it is also in real bad shape - and we want the barnyard area to have access to the stockpond in the background. all the property in this photo is ours. one of the trees in the second photo is much bigger than it looks, it is a pear tree and from what we can tell it is about 100 years old. it never had fruit until this year, as it was completely covered up with other trees until last year... we had cleared this area out last winter and left these trees not knowing one was a pear, and this summer we had pears dropping on the ground - huge surprise. we are hoping that with thinning out the extra suckers this year it has more production going forward.




Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Jan 16 2016 6:57:18 PM
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NellieBelle

10929 Posts


Posted - Jan 17 2016 :  03:33:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
An added bonus to the backbone fencing. Pears!

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jan 17 2016 :  2:14:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What an unexpected delight to find in the midst of a big project!

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jan 31 2016 :  5:39:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
so we got our fence work and woods clearing completed this week. i didn't get a lot of photos of the new fencing, but i did get a few photos to show the difference it made... from our house we now have a view of our lake. one of the most lovely features of our property is our lake, and it was hidden back in the pastures and we had NO view from the house/garden/summer kitchen. no more, we gotta view people!

BEFORE


AFTER


A better view of the lake:


of course now we have about five burn piles and needs a few calm days to deal with that... but progress feels soooo good!

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Jan 31 2016 5:40:38 PM
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Sydney2015

1155 Posts


Posted - Jan 31 2016 :  5:42:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow! Cindy, that looks so much better. We don't have a view like that from our house, we do get to look at horses.

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I live on a small farm of seventy acres called Green Forest Farm, with 10 horses, a donkey, 5 beef cows, 2 beef heifers, 3 Hereford heifers, around 60 chickens, 8 dogs, my amazing cow, AppleButter, and her little Jersey calf HoneyButter!
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jan 31 2016 :  5:50:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
sydney i bet looking at the horses is beautiful! we actually couldn't see anything from the house when we got it, so now we can see some pasture and the lake... and the garden and the barn. slowly but surely we'll be able to see cows from the house too ;>

kora sounds like a puppy - all energy! the key to puppies is to take them outside to run around and exhaust them about four times a day!

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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Sydney2015

1155 Posts


Posted - Jan 31 2016 :  7:35:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree! We've never had a dog with so much energy, she is always ready to go!

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I live on a small farm of seventy acres called Green Forest Farm, with 10 horses, a donkey, 5 beef cows, 2 beef heifers, 3 Hereford heifers, around 60 chickens, 8 dogs, my amazing cow, AppleButter, and her little Jersey calf HoneyButter!
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jan 31 2016 :  9:55:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Simply beautiful, Cindy! You and your hubby are creating such a special place and rediscovering all the beauty that was there, just covered up! Thanks for the photos ... enjoy your home.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6764 Posts


Posted - Feb 01 2016 :  04:59:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy, I can't believe you have a lake with fish in it. Now, that's livin'.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Feb 01 2016 :  09:02:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cindy, do you have to restock your pond? If so, how often and where do you get the fish? I'm thinking that is taking self-sufficiency to a new level! And, relaxing ...

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Feb 01 2016 :  5:32:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
charlene, we have restocked once in three years. we aren't very scientific about it, we just want to have enough fish biting whenever we are out and about. a healthy pond/lake maintains itself. ours is spring fed, so it is replenished slowly all the time, and we have all of our pasture and land rain run off running down to either the fishing pond or the two stock ponds on the property. we don't have a large concentration of livestock so we don't have issues with excess nitrates or anything.

we just watch to ensure we have lots of wildlife coming to the water at night (hogs, coyotes, deer, etc), that birds are plentiful, that snakes and smaller critters are around, and dragonflies and fireflies are aplenty. we figure with all that we have a super healthy watering hole.

the feed stores here have trucks that come buy once a month or so and they have all these tanks of fish in the trucks. they come by at least six months a year, and you can literally buy thousands of fish at one time just by showing up. depending on your area, you stock what will combat any other fish from taking over - you need a nice ecosystem. so lover boy determines that and knows about it. but we just bought a thousand little minnows.

charlene it is very much about self-sufficiency for us. we don't "do it all" ourselves right now, and recognize that we'll probably never have enough time/energy to "do it all" - but we want to have what we need to be self-sufficient as much as possible. and we want to take care of the land to have something left for the world, the next generation.... or perhaps the land is taking care of us, like it did yesterday afternoon ;>

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")

Edited by - txbikergirl on Feb 01 2016 5:34:03 PM
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Feb 02 2016 :  08:45:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How great that you and your hubby have discovered the balance of everything and don't need to continually restock! And I would think that fireflies around your pond would be a beautiful sight! We don't have fireflies in our neck of the woods...

I think that the land is most definitely a blessing. It is a gift and can be used to care for us. Love what you said ...

There is a security in being as self-sufficient as possible ... love looking outside and seeing what can be used to feed my family without traveling anywhere else. A very satisfying and contented feeling for which I am deeply grateful.


Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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