Duck Fence – For Goats
As many of you know, we have this pond and we put some ducks and geese there last fall. Now goats and donkeys like to eat cattails. Originally, we didn’t think too much of this, but once we had water fowl, we saw that some pond plants would be beneficial. They provide hiding places, shade, and food. Geese are vegetarian, unless they can get human, and will eat grass and some water plants, plus grain. The ducks eat these things plus snails and small fish and perhaps small frogs.
So, we have done two things to try to bring the wild plant life back to our pond. First we built this fence around it to keep out the donkeys and goats. Secondly, we have been bringing in cattails, water iris, floating hearts, and a few other things. Now, the transplanted water plants have not down well unless we first plant them in plastic pots with rocks and soil. If we simply put a root bundle in, the ducks have a great time tearing the plants up as they search for snails among the roots. But now that we have learned how to thwart the ducks (who is smarter than a duck anyway?), the water iris are doing well.
The fence was and still is quite a bit of work. We had plenty of chainlink fence lying around from various projects. The first obstacle was sinking the posts. It is wet down there. Part of the year, water just seeps up from the ground. The pond is near the river and there are springs through out the area. So, M3 researched what other people do when sinking wood posts into wet, muddy areas. He wanted wood, for a more natural look; metal would eventually rust anyway, right?
As you can see, we found these plastic sheaths for the part of the wood post that goes in the ground. So, digging the holes wasn’t too bad….except for pulling out the pumpkin size rocks from time to time. Often the holes would fill with water right away. The plan was to empty the hole of water, place the sheathed post in, dump in some cement mix, wedge in some of those large rocks, more cement,more rocks and soil, etc. Of course all this has to happen really fast because water will be seeping in as we work. Now, some water is great – to mix with the cement – but too much and we simply would have a post ready to be pushed over, like by a goat or donkey.
So, for the first few, we bailed the water out with a large yogurt container (nearly everything at the farm gets a second life). Things went well, if you don’t mind getting went cement in your hair, on your face, and perhaps someone ended up with a little in their plumber’s smile…..but that wasn’t accidental ;). But then we had some posts that were closer to the pond and the water could not be quickly bailed out. So, we got one of our little irrigation pumps and used the power converter in order to use the truck battery to power it. I have to say, it was a bit awkward, but we got them all in.
Then came the latillas to connect the posts and hang the chainlink from. That was fairly easy, and M3 did most of that on his own over a few weekends. We also put up a solar powered motion detector light to help scare off the predators at night. So many things like to eat ducks – racoons, bears, cougars, coyotes, etc.
With the chainlink in place, we thought we were pretty good. But the goats simply knelt and pushed their noses under it, lifting the edge with their horns and getting in the fenced area. Jerks. They also like to rub against fencing to scritch bugbites and help remove left over winter hair. So, M3 researched ways to nail down chainlink in soil, wet soil. He found these very serious spikes that had a twist to the them, making them difficult to pull out. So, we took a mallet and literally nailed the chainlink down. It has worked reasonably well.
We left a people gate so that we can choose to let the donkeys and goats in during the day, if the grass or cattails ever get crazy wild. Until we nailed down the chainlink, we were letting the goats in daily just so they wouldn’t mess up the fencing too much. The geese also like to walk out through the people gate, though they have the option to swim out to a little isthmus and walk from there. Oh, and only a few of those posts are wobbly. We’ll probably brace them. The fence isn’t perfect and there is still much to do, but we have a good start on it.