It is that time of year again, lambing season. If you are eagerly awaiting the arrival of new lambs, this also means you are probably busy setting up new paddocks for their arrival this spring.
Keep in mind your ewes will need a lot more food during this time, so choose your paddocks accordingly. Including areas of shelter in your paddocks is also a good idea to keep the new lambs out of the harsh elements. Reliable, portable fencing is often the key to a successful season. Here are a few tips for the construction of your new paddock fencing.
Electric netting is most common and deal for lambing season. It often comes with built-in posts for easy setup and mobility. The most common height for netting systems is 90cm (a bit higher in areas that predators are a problem) and usually include 7-10 horizontal electrified poly strands. Electric netting performs so well because it offers very little space for predators to get in, or lambs to get out. If you live in an area where foxes or other predators are a problem, a slightly taller fence may be a good idea.
On snowy and frosty days a good shepherd should free the nets of snow. Although it is made of water, snow is a poor conductor and actually works to insulate the electric shock passed to the sheep. Keeping your nets free of snow and ice is an important task and should be performed as needed. If you find broken sections of the sheep net you can repair it in no time with a t-connector or cross-connector from Litzclip®. It is a good idea to have a few in your pocket while you are freeing your nets of snow. This way you are able to make the repair immediately giving your sheep less chances to test the fence.
Sheep have much thicker fur (wool) than other livestock and require a much stronger jolt from the electric fence. 4,000 or more Volts with 3 to 5 Joules must be maintained on the line to adequately shock adult sheep. Voltage levels on the line can vary due to line length, vegetation, and the quality of wire used. It is often recommended to buy a charger that is more powerful than you think you need. This way you have the chance to grow your pasture and paddock sizes without needing to immediately buy a new charger. Another good argument for a stronger charger is that the conductive wires in sheep nets are made of stainless steel, for its strength, however it is a poorer conductor than copper.
230V primary chargers are obviously the most reliable choice, but 12V battery chargers or even solar chargers are great for temporary paddocks and make fence mobility much easier.
Electric net fences for sheep have no entrance. In order to access the paddock you would need to switch off the current and climb over, or lay the netting down. In either case the fence current will be interrupted. You can prevent this by installing a gate specially made for sheep netting. Such a gate can be installed at any point of the network – even at the end. The gate network is electrified and the power does not have to be switched off during opening, insuring your fence will keep electric continuity even while you are accessing the paddock.
One last lamb tip: It can often happen that mothers do not accept their lambs. In such a case, the lamb needs to be reared by bottle. Simply use 3.5% H-milk, which has been briefly heated in the microwave. This works very well and you don’t need to mix any milk powder!