Farmcare UK with GWAF – Electric Fencing to replace hobbles
In June 2014 Farmcare UK was asked if it could assist in running a few training courses on the use of electric fencing for donkeys. sheep and goats. The courses where to be held on the Greek Island of Paros . The main organiser was GAWF ( Greek Animal Welfare Fund ) with there exceptionally dedicated team of volunteers.
During the summer months GWAF funds a team of Vets, Qualified Farriers ( not many of these in the Greek Islands ) and an Equestrian Dentist, they go to some of the greek islands to provide free care for the local donkey population. The purpose of the electric fencing courses was to encourage the use of electric fencing and to discourage the now illegal practise of hobbling.
Three locations around the island where being used for the talks, the down side of this was that the demonstration fence had to be erected and collapsed three times ! By the end of the day all the GWAF team where very familiar with the use of electric fencing.
The three talks were well attended and number of very interesting points were raised. The local farming community where familiar with electric fencing and in some cases had attempted to use it. Virtually all had found that it was ineffective over anything but a very very short distance ( classic earthing fault) . We had excepted this sort of problem and the design of the electric fence had been modified to get around the problems of the very dry conditions. This can be seen in the pictures below. Other issues included wild dogs killing young goats on the more remote hills and tourists climbing over fences and damaging them ( electric fence was seen as a big up side on this point).
You will see in th epictures that re bar was used for fencing posts with pigtail insulators to hold the various live and earth wires in place
Whilst on the island we installed a simple electric fence so a donkey could share grazing with an olive grove whilst not eating the crop. A mains powered energiser was used as a 240v supply was available in the field and it reduced the problems of 12v batteries being forgotten.
By the end of the project three new electric fences had been installed and addition equipment was being sent to a neighbouring island for a goat farmer. They have been a number of follow up queries passed on by the local GWAF representative . The most interesting being a question of how to train animals that have never encountered electric fencing before . Once trained goats will respect an electric fence but until that point is reached they can be a nightmare to keep in. ( the answer will be in a follow up post
Many Thanks to Mary and every one at GWAF for there help in putting this project together and for giving me the opportunity to experience a farming and goat keeping in Paros
GWAF ( Animal Action Aid ) report on this project