Your dream of owning a sustainable farm has finally come true. But recently, it seems as if your dream is slowly turning into a nightmare. Your chickens have been disappearing in bloody trails of feathers and something else seems to be gobbling up all of your fruits and vegetables. You do have some fences, but they don't seem to be keeping your produce or poultry safe. So what should you do?
Types of Fences
Yes, fences can be expensive to install, but they could be the only thing standing between your sustainable farm and Mother Nature's many hungry creatures. So if you haven't already invested in fencing or have put up enclosures that don't seem to be working, it's time to invest in the appropriate protective barriers for your farm. And on a sustainable farm, fencing is not going to be a one-type-fits-all scenario.
You're not the only one eyeing those delicious fruits and vegetables growing in your garden. Rabbits and deer are just some of the hungry critters that can ruin your garden. To keep deer at bay, you should install either:
- A fence that is eight feet tall. Deer are very good jumpers and can jump fences shorter than eight feet. There is an exception, however. Deer cannot jump a high and wide fence. So if you want to build a shorter fence, ask your fencing contractor to build it so that it slants outwards. According to the University of Vermont, this type of fence should be at least six feet tall and be built at a 45-degree angle.
- A solid wooden privacy fence. As prey animals, deer depend on being able to see their predators and are reluctant to enter an area that they can't check out carefully first. A solid fence prevents deer from seeing into your garden, so they will be reluctant to enter it as they have no idea what may be waiting for them on the other side.
Rabbits may not be able to jump as high as a deer, but they are very good at squeezing through the tiniest of holes and digging under your fences to get to your produce. To keep them out of your sustainable farm, you will need to:
- Ask your fencing contractor to bury the bottom of your garden fences at least four inches into the ground so that hungry bunnies can't dig under them.
Protecting Your Chickens
Everyone loves chicken, right? Especially predators. So it's important that you have an area where your chickens can stay out of the grips of hungry wildlife. One mistake many new sustainable farmers make when building chicken fencing is to forget about attacks from above. It's not just foxes and renegade dogs that enjoy a good chicken dinner. Hawks, eagles and owls will also gladly pick off a chicken if given the opportunity. That is why you should:
- Ask your fencing contractor to build your chickens a safe enclosed area where they can sleep at night. This is important even if you are raising free range birds since most predators prefer to strike under the cover of darkness. To protect your birds from overhead attacks, you should cover the top of your fenced enclosure with poultry wire or netting.
- Never shoot a raptor. All raptors, including owls, hawks and eagles are protected by state and federal regulations, so it is illegal to kill them.
Without the right type of fencing, you may find it difficult to live off the produce, chicken and eggs being raised on your farm. So to truly make your farm sustainable, call a fence installation contractor to determine the type of barriers that will do the best job of protecting your produce and poultry from Mother Nature's army of hungry creatures.