Fresh Snow Pigs

Butcher Shop in Blanket of Fresh Snow

We got a bit of snow last week. Not as much as predicted but some almost every day. Tuesday’s was probably the last big storm of the winter but one never knows. One year in May we got piled on with a foot of snow. Not unusual in April for there to be some snows.

Spitz and Ladies

Spitz and his ladies still walk the path out to the north field pond. They have water closer in but they seem to go for frequent strolls out into the field. They keep the path beaten down and stick to that. Off to the side their short legs don’t fare well in the deeper snows.

Sugar Mountain Frosted

A black sow on a white snow field looks pretty much like a hole in the picture. She is just a silhouette unlike her ‘white’ cousins. The white sows are from our main line herd and the black sow is one of Blackie’s descendants crossed with our main line boars and back.

We got some extra hay delivered on Saturday and the farmer who trucked it said things were much warmer down the mountain. We generally keep snow a month later than in the valley so I expect it will be a while before we’ll be seeing the ground. It’s been snowing a bit pretty much every day, even on blue sky days.

Outdoors: 34°F/26°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/63°F

Daily Spark: We need to stop subsidizing stupidity and greed.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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7 Responses to Fresh Snow Pigs

  1. Nicola says:

    I love the blinding snow and blue sky. Makes chores go a bit easier :)

  2. Melissa says:

    Lovely pic of the girls headed out for a walk to the pond.

    Despite the number of snow storms, the warm days are melting it all quickly. Especially witht he longer days. The last two mornings have started above freezing, 33 and 36 this morning, which feels balmy. THe leaves are uncovered and we are raking them up for bedding in the chicken and turkey coops which they really like. I am trying to rethink keeping everyone cooped up and how to free range more.

    I have a question for you. I want to put up a fencline to keep out the coyote ( and fox) , using electic wire twisted with poly. My DH started a fenceline using brush, to both reduce burning and deter coyote. Do I place the electric outside of the brush, or inside? I was planning to use elctro netting to contain chickens, sheep, and someday pigs in smaller areas to rotaional graze. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • I’m not so sure about building a fence to keep out foxes and coyotes. To discourage them, yes, that is easy, but to actually keep them out is much harder. This is where a fence plus livestock dogs shines. To build a strong anti-predator fence you must think like the predators. What will be their modes of entry? How high can they jump? How do they approach a fence? How appetitive is the contents of the fenced area?

      A tall physical fence with hot wires along the bottom outside, nose height outside and at the top works well. Those outside and top wires are for predators. Inside wires and top are for stock. But it really takes dogs too to guarantee that any transgressors will meet a timely end and watchers will learn to stay away from fear of being eaten them. Elecro-netting and even stronger fences are merely a deterrent, not a barrier.

      All of this depends on how strong your local predator pressures are, what types of predators you have and how good their other food supply is holding up. They go for the easy food. Don’t have your farm act as the easy buffet. Deterrents go in escalating levels from an outer perimeter inward.

      • Melissa says:

        Thank you. You hit the points I was looking for– height of hot wires.

        We live in relative peace with the local coyote. They cross thru regularly on the deer trails. On rare occassion I get to see one up close, within 100 feet. I had a coyote grab a hen that was not heading to lock up each night, so I figure he did me a favor of culling her. He made off with her, my son racing full force, yelling and swinging a baseball bat, again I was fortunate that the coyote only wanted a fast get away from the horrible beast chasing him. As a mother I was terrified for my son. I put up another line of mesh fence, 3 feet high, and only a fox has made it in, and this time DH rushed him and the poor thing actually climbed up and over in desperation. We make stopping here for a meal miserable!! Generally, the coyotes just pass on thru and keep going as getting anything, chicken or lamb, is too hard, but not impossible.

        I have the good and bad of a massive reserve next door. We get to enjoy the wildlife that visit time to time, and they have an enormous tract of land including fields, forest, river and wetlands to find food.

        I let my dogs out in the front yard but even the coyotes trot along their fence taunting them, knowing the fence will keep them at bay. So the alternative is take a dog out with me and let him do his business to establish ” I”m here”. And I have a mare that makes short work of any dog that gets in her paddocks– Hawks grab chickens now and then; two that I am certain of. Roosters help keep watch and minimize the impact.

        All deterents, nothing predator proof as you said. I’ll continue to teach the coyotes to stay out. One thing I read long ago in The Shepard magazine was to not eliminate the coyotes if they were not a problem as their presence keeps out others that might be more inclined to have dinner at our expense. Hence we try for just deterents.

        I’m sure I will have more fencing questions in the future, until then thank you, and keep those beautiful pictures coming!!

        • That is a very good point, to make peace with the local predators. Killing them off just opens up the territory for others. Those who live around here have met our dogs, know the boundaries and leave our livestock alone. An old farmer years ago told me that he only kills coyotes who actually mess with his sheep because he figures the others have learned the ways. I refer to our dogs as the diplomats, they negotiate the treaties with the local wildlife. Those who won’t follow the rules get eaten and the rest are okay. I do specifically teach or dogs not to bark at the moose – we enjoy seeing them pass through.

          • Melissa says:

            I would love to know how you have taught them that! I have rotties, and they are alarmists. Many new houses have gone in in recent years, so to the dogs new voices and barking and similar noises are cause for alert-alert-alert barking. Fortunately I can read their bark and know if the concern is far or near. THey also used to bark at the airplanes high in the sky flying out of Boston. Took me months to figure out what the pups were barking at! lol They got over that one eventually.

            Nothing like dogs and good fencing to keep critters where they belong. Looking at the high snow, I wondered if they elelctric fencing works when covered by snow? Does snow have the same effect as high grass shorting out the connections?

          • Yes, snow can short fences. If you setup the lower lines so they can be disconnected then come winter you can focus the energizer into the more useful higher lines of the fence.

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