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Crooked Gap Farm
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I've already asked a question about my dexters, but I thought I could introduce them also. The need to be cleaned up a bit as they pretty much just came off of a dry lot, but in time ... in time. You can check them out over at my BLOG

Also, we are going to be rotating them through some different paddocks separated by electric fence. Right now we are using battery powered fencers on our farm for the horses, but we saw some solar units on sale at our farm store and I was wondering about those. Does anyone have any experience using a solar fencer? How would it stack up against a battery powered fencer? We are talking about small paddocks on a 2 acre pasture right now (hey, we only have two dexters and they are little!). Any help would be great!
 

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I have 20 years of experience with Dexters and more than that with electric fencing. Save yourself a lot of trouble and expense: forget about buying battery and solar fence chargers.

Go buy the best and strongest 110 volt unit you can afford, way less trouble. They cost very little to operate, and much easier to maintain, there's no changing/charging/replacing batteries.

The only exception is if you are trying to heat up a fence an unreasonable distance from a plug in.
 

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Cleaning cows? What's that? They'll go lay in their own manure more if you do that. Mine absolutely HATES being sprayed with water.

Not to worry too much about that subject, unless you're milking, too, then you'll want her brushed clean so whatever she has on her fur doesn't go into the milkbucket. I hose off her lower legs and hooves, too, before I bring her into her stanchion.
 

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Hi ebook! You have a nice blog there! Congrats on the new Dexters! We looked at Victoria too..she is VERY nice! We took Dorian, Chrisy and Ebony. Dan is a pleasure to deal with..isn't he?

We use electric fence here..for the goats and for the cattle..but we "plug it in"! We have tried solar..but they just seem to go haywire for some reason. And if you have a run of cloudy days..its NOT charging..lol. (Found that out for ourselves!)

You were talking about "hay bellies". It will go away. Some exercise, grass and ya won't know its the same calf in a couple of months. So ENJOY!! You Dexter owner you! :dance: :dance:
 

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Sher,

I used a good solar charger for 3 years. It did the job qute well, sitting right in the middle of my pasture. Twice lightning knocked out the workings. It cost about $45 to replace the inner board. Once one of the little 12V batteries went out and I replaced it with a big marine battery that I sat on the ground in a plastic box.

Last year I put a solar system in my barn so I could have lights and run small tools. It worked so well that I hooked up a 110 volt charger this year. The 110 volt charger drew enough current that it would run the batteries low every two weeks. I'd have to turn it off for a day to let the batteries recharge. Besides, the sound of the fan running in the 110 volt inverter was annoying.

A couple of months ago I replaced the 110 volt unit with a Parmac 12V, 3 Joule fence charger. It does a very good job, too. The drain on my batteries is considerably less than the 110 volt unit. No problems any more.

I bought a 45W, $200 solar battery charger from Harbor Freight. I got two 12V marine batteries from Agri-Supply for $156. A 1200W inverter from Pep Boys gave me 110v power for $99 more. Add about $50 for wiring and outlets.

The solar panels look cool up on the shiny tin roof of the barn. Lots of visitors are intrigued by it.

I operate two 12V, 10W lights in the chicken house. They came with the solar kit. A 12V, 5W light in the barn gives me plenty of light to get around by. Two 12V, 65W flood lamps on the barn light up the barnyard. I run the lights for less than an hour each evening while operating the fence charger 24/7. Occasionally I forget and leave the chicken house lights on. The batteries stay fully charged and the solar charge controller frequently cuts out to keep from overcharging. I figure I could add more lights, but don't need them.

My barn is about 1/3 mile from electricity. Too far to even consider running 110V out there.

Genebo
Paradise Farm
 

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Why use hotwires for your Dexters??? I have several of them and never needed an electric fence for them.

The pigs, however, are a whole different story :D
 

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Genebo..glad you like them!

Dutchie...This old homestead had "walk though" fences on it when we bought it. Takes alot of money to put new up. Our farming neighbors have corn planted flush to the fences..so to be a good neighbor..and a responsible livestock owner..we put an electric fence up to keep everyone from succumbing to the temptations of corn.

The Dexters don't push our fences..I've never seen one get lit up yet..the goats however, seem to have to touch it .. then they are satisfied to stay in the pasture.
 

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Crooked Gap Farm
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Discussion Starter #8
Sher, You got some nice looking ones from Dan!!! If you wouldn't have beat us two it one of those may have been my first choice, but we are very excited about our small start with Dexters. And, you are very correct ... Dan is GREAT to deal with. Unfortunetly for my pocketbook, I think I will be dealing with him again ;)

Dutchie, The reason for the hot wires is that we will be doing rotational grazing ... working towards managed intensive grazing so these will be temporary paddock dividers so that we have unlimited size options for our paddocks depending on the grass and the season.

Genebo and 65284, Thanks for the thoughts on fencers and solar fencers in general. Right now the reason I was looking at it was for the possibilty of a low maintance system for my dad and because we will be working with pretty short runs of fence. I will keep checking and welcome anyone elses thoughts!
 

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The solar fence chargers are exactly the same as the battery fence chargers. The solar fence chargers charge a battery which then charges the fence. They can store excess electricity during sunny days for use on cloudy days and at night. We have both 110 volt chargers and solar chargers. We use the solar charger for quick setups in places that would be inconvenient to run to the 110v charger. We often use the portable solar charger for strip grazing, giving our Dexters perhaps a 5 foot strip of new pasture per day, allowing them to have fresh forage each day and preventing them from walking (and pooping) on their future meals.
 

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Crooked Gap Farm
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Discussion Starter #10
genebo and Oregonguys ... do you have any brands or models that you especially like, or any other tips?

Thanks for the great info.
 

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I like the Dare Eclipse DS200 solar energizer. You can get replacement parts and it works well.

http://www.dareproducts.com/product-energizer-eclipse.asp

Their 110V energizers are good, too.

I switched brands, getting a Parmak Magnum 12 UO battery powered model to work with my barn's solar system. It's rated as being more powerful than other battery models.

http://www.parmak.com/Fencers/battery-operated-fencers.htm

Whichever brand you get, look for a low impedence model. Some call them "brush cutters" or something similar. They'll handle more weeds across the line without losing power.

Genebo
Paradise Farm
Church Road, VA
 
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