Protective Fences

I admit I felt much better after we completed the installation of mesh tarps all around the inside of the welded-wire fencing of the deer pen. This not only provides a more visual barrier, it also provided a protective blanket of sorts that would hopefully keep Emma and Ronnie from harming themselves if they hit the fence. And, so far, it had even proven to help keep them calm. Emma and Ronnie deer were still at high alert if a cat, fox or squirrel showed up in the distance, but they did not go running in a panic like they used to. I imagined the mesh provided enough of a visual barrier to create a safer environment where the deer felt more hidden and protected. To provide even more cover, I also kept plenty of elm tree limbs cut and spread around for nibbling, green brier vine for munching, and plenty of grass and weeds we left to grow naturally.  With our latest efforts, Emma and Ronnie had a very nice setup – much better than what orphaned Daisy deer and injured yearling, Holly started out with. FD and I learned a lot from Daisy and Holly, and now Emma and Ronnie were furthering our education in rehabilitating deer.

View of the deer pen from the front porch.
View of the deer pen from the front porch.
This is the area that borders the chicken pen (left). Fresh water and a lot of good shade occupy this area of the pen.
This is the area that borders the chicken pen (left). Fresh water and a lot of good shade occupy this area of the pen.
The run between the two barns is a favorite bedding down spot for Emma and Ronnie, especially at night.
The run between the two barns is a favorite bedding down spot for Emma and Ronnie, especially at night.
We run a sprinkler every week to help growth of weeds and grass and to keep the urine washed down a bit! Ronnie loves the sprinkler on these hot days.
We run a sprinkler every week to help growth of weeds and grass and to keep the urine washed down a bit! Ronnie loves the sprinkler on these hot days.
Emma and Ronnie feel safe with the mesh canvas in place. It also provides some excellent shade in these unusually warm autumn temperatures.
Emma and Ronnie feel safe with the mesh tarps in place. It also provides some excellent shade in these unusually warm autumn temperatures.

But, with a couple of recent sightings, there was still the possibility of a coyote digging under the fence and that worried me. I was especially panicked after spotting a coyote in our yard just outside of the kitchen window, not long after we had installed the mesh canvas. After my night of “Keeping Watch Under The Stars“, I hoped the additional materials I needed to lay a bent apron fence would arrive soon.

I worked all day the next day, measuring and cutting lengths from a roll of galvanized half-inch welded wire hardware cloth to fashion bent-apron fencing around the exterior of the existing deer pen fence. The roll of hardware cloth was four feet wide and one hundred feet long. Cutting down the center would give me two foot-wide sections to work with for each fence panel. I would bend six inches up to attach to the existing fence, and secure the remaining eighteen inches flat to the ground with landscaping staples. If we continued having warm weather, grass and weeds would quickly thread through the mesh, creating a secure hold to the ground. I spent the entire day cutting 2 x 5 and 2 x 10 feet sections, working my way around the entire deer pen. It was a warm 86 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-afternoon, and I had already managed to rip the knees in my jeans on the sharp fence edges. My fingers ached and my body was fatigued, but I was determined to finish as many fence panels as possible before dark. And, when I took a short break to walk to the street and fetch our mail, I wondered if maybe there really was something to making a wish on a shooting star. While watching the Orionid meteor shower the night before, I had wished for safety for Emma and Ronnie. In my heart, I knew I would not stop worrying until the fence project was complete. Sure enough, there in the mailbox were the landscape staples I needed to complete the project! I had not expected them to arrive for a couple of days yet!

Measuring, cutting and bending in the heat!
Measuring, cutting and bending in the heat!
Bent apron fencing installed on the west side of the pen.
Bent-apron fencing installed on the west side of the pen.
Landscaping staples helped keep the hardware cloth anchored in place.
Landscaping staples help keep the hardware cloth anchored in place until the grass and weeds can take hold.

When FD came home from work that day, he helped me lay out each section and secure them to the welded-wire fence panels of the deer pen. I am sure the last thing he wanted to do was head out into the heat and crawl around on his knees after a day at work. But crawl around he did, securing the bent sections to the existing fence with zip ties while I hammered landscape staples into the ground. By the time we finished, it was nearly dark, but I slept soundly that night for a change. Of course I was worn plumb out, but mostly the worry about the fence did not plague me any longer.

Three days later the grass and weeds are already beginning to fill in!
Three days later the grass and weeds are already beginning to fill in!
The main gate probably will not fill in with grass as it is a heavily-trafficked area. If the staples won't hold we may have to staple down an outdoor mat.
The main gate probably will not fill in with grass as it is a heavily trafficked area. If the staples won’t hold we may have to staple down an outdoor mat.
The resident deer pen turtle has moved in and out of the deer pen all summer... but the new fence apron had him trapped in! I put him in my mother-in-law's iris beds where he can find a nice spot to hunker down for the winter!
The resident deer pen turtle has moved in and out of the deer pen all summer… but the new fence apron had him trapped in! So I put him in my mother-in-law’s iris beds where he can find a nice spot to hunker down for the winter!

In the days that followed, weeds began poking through the hardware cloth. I had been complaining about the heat we continued to endure over the last weeks as, normally, we would be enjoying 60 degree temperatures and an end to the mowing by now. Instead, I found myself thankful that grass and weeds continued to grow. The extended bit of summer weather had provided Emma and Ronnie with lush edibles in their pen, and soft, green grass to bed down in. I remember thinking when I mowed last that, surely, this would be the final mowing of the summer. But now, I hope for a little rain, and a little more sun to let help the grass grow into the hardware cloth and secure it firmly to the ground. That may mean I will have to mow just one more time… but it may also allow me another pleasant night to spend under the stars watching the last of the Orionid meteor shower or the Taurid fireballs, while I make another wish upon the stars! I wonder what good things that wish will bring…

Emma and Ronnie_7563

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


34 thoughts on “Protective Fences

  1. I like apron you came up with…if it looks the gate needs reinforcing I’d suggest zip tying some barbed wire to the bottom rail…though it looks like you covered that concern already. Great article

    Like

      1. How you feel about electric fencing? A single wire at the top would stop every critter but birds…a charger ain’t much and available at every ranch supply store

        Like

  2. Lori, I know you must have been “beat” by the time you and FD finished that project. It looks quite secure so if a predator gets in, it will a very smart and determined one. Could you put an electric fence around it that the deer could not touch but that would shock any would be deer killer? Just a thought. Your method is probably the very best. Also what about some sort of alarm system that would alert ya’ll? I suppose that is not practical.

    Anyhow, love those deer pics. They are both so cute. They look calm and relaxed in the pics. It’s a shame they were hurt and traumatized but they seem to be doing very well now.

    Like

    1. Emma and Ronnie are doing very well. I feel they are more calm with that mesh fencing. I researched both an alert system and electric fencing, but felt electric fence would not provide exactly what we needed and would be irritating for us to disconnect to pass through getting to the deer pen. And, certain alert systems could possibly scare the deer or if it was just a motion sensor to alert us at the house it could go off continually with all of the wildlife that passes through the area. We have a motion sensor at the driveway near our house to alert us of visitors, but it goes off all of the time if a squirrel or bird passes by… and sometimes the wind sets it off! The apron fence seemed the most practical solution. I feel good about the decision.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That is a handsome and secure looking deer pen you two have created. What a lot of work. I’m glad you can sleep well now, knowing Ronnie and Emma are safe. Well done! xx

    Like

    1. Ha ha! That is me… the tools and wire looked blah so I thought if maybe there was a shadow (I’m terrible with selfies) it might add something to the photo. I feel much better about Emma and Ronnie’s safety.

      Like

    1. You have that right, Tom. I cannot do much about any of the predators once the kids are free. I imagine Emma will be much like Daisy and stick around the river area. No telling about Ronnie. Bucks tend to cover a large area so he may venture far and wide. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. But FD and I both feel it’s best to get them to eight months before freeing them. The chaos of the rut will be much less and maybe they can find a local herd to hang with. We have seen Daisy lose most of her babies from one month all the way up to six months (which is what Emma and Ronnie are now). Giving them just a couple of months more will give them a better chance, I hope.

      Like

  4. Looks like no coyote will be getting to Ronnie and Emma any time soon! I’ve been wanting to tell you, my dad is a farmer and also has a hunting business called coveyriseoutfitters, anyway he had a bow hunter who was getting ready to call it a night when all of a sudden he was surrounded by coyotes who wouldn’t let him get down from the tree stand. Usually coyotes are terrified of humans and to hear they surrounded this hunter kind of makes me nervous about going hunting next week. I’m glad Ronnie and Emma are safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is an interesting story. I think you are right about coyotes fearing humans for the most part, but when they hunt in a pack, they are a force to be feared. I understand it is a “family” that often runs in packs… a male and female pair and their offspring. If I was that hunter I think I would have been tempted to do some yelling and screaming… and maybe urinating to make sure they realized they were in human territory! Ha ha! And maybe that wouldn’t have worked either.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes indeed, Mandeep! I have also put some of that horrible brier vine around the outside (after Emma and Ronnie have eaten the leaves) to deter predators from being tempted to come up to the fence. No one likes getting snagged up in that thorny vine!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes we are, Margaret. I am still not sure we will be able to manage it though as the neighbor’s three large dogs are still an issue. But for now, we can still utilize the pen for a safe place for Daisy’s babies, or Emma and Ronnie to seek refuge in too.

      Like

  5. Deer resort deluxe! I bet you were plumb tired, but could actually rest with that mesh apron down. Really clever! (I sure the turtle appreciated the relocation plan.
    We’ve been way above normal temps all week, but a front with rain moving in. Molly is fine with the end of daylight savings, but RC Cat refuses to readjust and was yowling up a storm as she considered her breakfast late.
    Enjoy the stars! (and a bit of rest)

    Like

    1. Just like RC Cat to refuse to cooperate with the time adjustment. I wonder how long that will go on? Emma and Ronnie deer felt the same this morning – pacing the fence as if they were starving. I saw the big male coyote again this morning, just to the west of the orchard laying in the pasture watching the cattle. I worry about a couple of expectant heifers. I have a bad feeling the coyote is just waiting for calf for a meal. 😦
      We have a continual “relocation plan” going here at all times. Snakes, turtles… if they wind up in the wrong place we find a new area out of harms way.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.