I am really quite thankful that we have welded-wire fence on the east and the south boundaries of our property. The trash from nearby streets is at least kept off of the property because of this fence barrier. However, the west and half of the northern fence lines are barbed wire, which I’m not too fond of. Crossing to the pecan orchard side, or hiking on to the river, entails either crawling under the sharp, barbed wire, or trying to hike a leg over the top wire of the fence. For my efforts, I have a number of rips in the crotch of my jeans and more than a few hole-riddled t-shirts to prove my own ineptness at going over, or under, the fence. If the difficulty of the barbed wire were not enough, part of the north side of the property fence line is a combination of welded-wire fence, wood privacy fence and cyclone fence. Most of this fencing belongs to our neighbor, Steve.
Other fencing on the ten-acre ranch, is the usual, necessary chicken-wire to protect the chickens from predators. Also, we built the deer pen of solid welded-wire dog kennel panels for the same reason – to keep Daisy deer safe from predators while we were raising her. And, after we turned Daisy loose to become the wild deer she was meant to be, it became evident that, if we wanted to harvest any vegetables for ourselves, it would be necessary to put fencing around our garden and FD’s mother’s garden. Early in Daisy’s life as a free-roaming deer, we had not given much thought to one sweet, deer becoming many, hungry deer.
But it has bothered me a lot over the years we have lived here, that many tragedies result from fencing. Last year, FD found parts of a rabbit lodged in the chain-link fence between us and our neighbor Steve. It appeared the rabbit was trying to escape a predator but could not get its midsection through the fence. And, each summer I find numerous turtles stuck in the woven wire fences. Most are lucky to be rescued when I drive the buggy along the fences to pick up trash and check for any trouble with the fencing. Just last week, because I had missed patrolling the property lines for a couple of days, I found a land turtle who had gotten stuck going forward in the fencing, but the wire section was not wide enough for his shell, and he perished in the sun. There are places along the fence line where critters can get under, but of course they do not know that. And oddly, the turtle could have easily backed out – he was not lodged in the fencing. But I’m sure his only thought was getting through the fence.
Many times, when Daisy deer comes to visit, she is sporting long gashes down her back from ducking under barbed wire fencing. The wounds heal quickly, but I hate that this happens. On my hikes to the river, I see animal hair on the bottom line of barbed wire fencing where animals cross from one field to the next. While I have never seen it happen, I have seen photographs of birds and small mammals caught or tangled in fencing. I have also seen photographs of deer attempting to leap over fencing, but catching their hind legs between the top two strands of wire, and dying from not being able to free themselves.
I guess what I dislike most about fences, is the problems they cause my Daisy deer. For the past three years, Daisy has had her babies across the chain-link fence in our neighbor Steve’s back yard. And, each year, we observe first hand, that Daisy does not seem to understand the concept of fences. She leaps over without a problem, but seems to think her little fawns should just follow. When they do not immediately join her, she grunts for and waits and grunts again, and soon the panic begins. The fawns cry out, running back and forth along the fence line, distraught at not being able to follow their mother. Daisy continues to grunt and looks at them as if she does not understand the problem. Finally she will leap back over to join them. Eventually, the little family ends up taking a very long way around Steve’s property, venturing quite a bit north to the pecan orchard and then taking a long hike back to our place. Two years ago, Steve gave us permission to open the fence near the pecan orchard, just below our slope to allow Daisy and her fawns easier access to our property. But it still seemed to be difficult for the little ones to figure out where the opening was, since it was located in the wooded area of the canyon, far below Steve’s immediate backyard and our front yard.
This year, shortly after Daisy gave birth last month, Steve mentioned that he thought we should open the fence up top, between our two properties – his backyard and our front yard. FD thought it could easily be done in a fashion that would not destroy the fence, and yet offer Daisy and her fawns easy access between the two yards without having to venture into the woods or the canyon, where it was more likely that predators might lurk. FD got busy that very next day and opened the fence.
The fawns are two weeks old now, and Daisy has utilized the new opening in the fence several times. Daisy has been very secretive this year about where she hides her little ones. Always sure to hide them separately, I never know whether she has her babies over here or in Steve’s backyard, unless I spend a lot of time observing her. And, not surprisingly, I have noticed the foxes, one turtle, and an armadillo using the opening as well. It did not take long for the neighborhood critters to realize the magic door. And I must admit, even a large mammal like myself enjoys the ease of passing under the new, secret opening! I am happy not to have the worry about hooking my pants on those chain-link barbs anymore!
© 2015 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…