Sunday, July 19, 2015

Silly Sheep

The sheep gave us a little mystery last week. I moved them to a new paddock on Tuesday afternoon and had 8,000 volts when I tested the fencing. Tuesday evening, while feeding the goats, Clara and Leda decided to jump their fence since they were sure they belonged in their old paddock next to the goats. It took nearly 45 minutes to get them back into the new paddock with the rest of their flock. While in the barn Alan decided to check the voltage of the electric fence and found nothing. By now it was getting dark so we did a quick survey of all the fence lines but found nothing big. The voltage loss had to have been the result of something big since I had 8,000 volts 6 hours earlier in the day. Alan traced the fault to one line and disconnected it so at least the rest of the fencing had electricity.

The sheep were also acting weird. They did not want to go to the lower end of their new paddock, preferring to stay up closer to their old paddock. They didn't even come down for some grain. I also noticed the ice sled was near the wooded area, about 50 feet from where it was earlier in the day. I had it leaning up against the chicken run since we had been using it to give the ducks a spot to go swimming.

The next day I went out while Alan was at work and scythed all the fence lines but didn't see anything major affecting the fencing. All the insulators appeared to be fine, but the switch to disconnect the offending run of fencing broke off in my hand. Just as Alan was getting home I had connected the line with clip and figured that should do it. Of course it didn't but Alan found the problem. One of the insulators was spun around 180 degrees and the fence wire was resting up against the metal T-post. Once he spun the insulator around and reattached the wire we were back up to 8,000 volts.

So this is what we believe happened Tuesday afternoon. One of the sheep, while exploring their new digs, found the ice sled and became tangled up in the cord. The entangled sheep took off in a panic, pulling the ice sled behind them. The ice sled flung around and hit the insulator, spinning the insulator around and causing the electric wire to contact the metal post and discharge its charge into the ground, pulling down the whole system. The wire is a little bent right at the insulator like it was hit. The spooked sheep then ran as far away from the commotion as they could, back up to the area next to their last paddock and closest to the goats.

By the next day the sheep had calmed down and were back into their usual grazing routine. But they still looked a little sheepish. And I moved the ice sled out of their paddock.

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