January 2010

January started off with pretty good weather for the dead of winter in New Hampshire. It was actually
warm enough for most of the snow to melt out of the goat paddock. As such, I decided to start clearing it
off in anticipation of spring. I plan on planting this with a mix of forage plants suitable for the goats come
spring. Orchard grass, alfalfa, crown vetch, and a few other plants suitable for the area. I ended up
cutting down about a dozen or so small white pines and other saplings. Rather than finish cutting them
up, I left them on the ground for the goats to clean up first. They love pine needles....
A few days later (I guess I spoke too soon about the good weather as we got a snowstorm almost immediately),
the goats had these trees picked absolutely clean. Well, those pine needles saved me a couple bucks on alfalfa
anyway.
This same snowstorm also proved to be the end of the netting around the chicken run. Absolute disaster! Two years of
sun and snow finally proved to be too much for the netting and the entire thing collapsed in a heap under the snow.
The chickens spent the past few days lounging in and around the wreckage. Some of them can be seen standing on
one foot.. as they don't like snow on their feet. They stand one-legged for awhile, then switch to the other foot for a
spell.
Well, it is back to the drawing board on the netting for the chicken coop run. I can probably get away without
anything, as I haven't lost any chickens to hawks.. and they very rarely fly over the 5 foot fence. However, I figure
if I do run into any trouble with predators, I would like to have an area where I can keep them well contained. So, I
will be rebuilding the net "roof." My new plans are: As soon as the ground thaws... I am going to replace the
"pound-in" metal posts holding up the fence with 8 foot pressure treated 4X4 posts sunk into the ground three
feet. I will tie these together with 2X6 fence rails. This will make a solid base for the new netting. I am also going to
tie the center support to the fence rails with 2x6s. This will give the new netting a firm base. As for the netting
itself, well, I am definitely not going to go with the deer fencing again. Basically, this netting is very thin and has a
relatively small opening (3/4 inch). As such, wet heavy snow quickly clings, fills the holes, and tears through the
netting. The deer fencing works great in the summer... but it just can't stand up to any snow load. Anyway, I think
I am going to go with "purpose-built" poultry netting. I am leaning toward a 25 X 50 foot olefin netting with 2"
aperture. This should be much, much stronger than the deer fencing and is guaranteed for 5 years. This is going
to run my about 150 bucks, but seems to be worth it.
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