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The Fence Post

Denmark is Building a Fence

February 28, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

A New Invader: African Swine Fever

Close-up of Hand Feeding on Tree Trunk

Denmark has recently completed a 43 mile-long fence in hopes to block the spread of African Swine Fever by wild boar traveling from Germany into Denmark. Though not reportedly in Germany, the disease (commonly known as ASF) is present in neighboring Poland and that is reason enough to for Denmark to protect its lucrative pork exports by building a five foot high fence to keep feral pigs at bay. 

Swine Only

ASF is a contagious and deadly virus affecting domestic & feral pigs. This is primarily for farmers to worry about, not the general human population. This is a virus that is a threat to pigs only, yet internationally.

  • It is not considered a public health threat.
  • It is not able to be passed from a pig or from pork products to a human--only hog to hog.
  • It is not a food safety concern.
  • It is not a concern to livestock or other non-swine pets. 

An International Concern

America and Canada can breathe a sigh for now. It is not found in these two countries--yet. Countries where it is found: Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Mongolia, Vietnam and some countries in Europe including Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Czech Republic is free of the virus; however, it is found in nearby Slovakia. Other countries, such as Spain and France have had it in the past but have currently eradicated it.

black wild boar on grass field  

How much of a threat?

Among pigs, deadly. In virulent strains, pigs may get a high fever, then suffer appetite loss and appear lethargic. They may huddle together, shiver, cough, breathing abnormally. They can appear unsteady on their legs and after a few days fall into a coma and die. Scientists have predicted that it may affect a quarter of the world's population of pigs.   

And the prognosis for a cure? 

Presently, there is no vaccine available to combat the virus. There has been a concerted effort to fight the spread in a multi-tiered effort among veterinarians, researchers, university agricultural programs as well as from very motivated pork producers. 

Containment

The U.S., the pork industry supports over 500,000 jobs and represents a 20 billion dollar a year industry. For Canada, the pork industry provides 100,000 jobs and a 4 billion dollar industry. There are are stringent agreements with the U.S. and Canada to relay information, to zone and contain an outbreak should it occur. Restraining this virus is a priority; feral hogs are a problem in 39 states and in four Canadian provinces.  

Denmark's fence has come under criticism by some skeptical of its effectiveness and some are worried about blocking migratory routes of animals and birds, such as golden jackals, cranes, deer, foxes, otters, and wolves. Roads and railroad crossings have been left open offering a means by which the boars can pass.  

Black Pig at Fence

 

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Topics: wire mesh, galvanized after

Alligator Easily Scales Fence

September 5, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Chain-link Fail

When thinking about alligators in the U.S. one imagines first and foremost Florida, then perhaps Georgia and Louisiana. However, their presence goes much further than that--add Alabama, Mississippi, South and North Carolina, the eastern part of Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, and the bottom tip of Arkansas. 

Here is a stunner. There is a plethora of safety guidelines available online for avoiding these threats to life and limb.

 

The estimated number of alligators in just Florida is 1.25 million. By the late 80s, the American alligator was considered endangered. It has quickly recovered its population since being protected. As humans encroach upon the habitat of alligators, the incidences of interacting with these significant reptiles have increased dramatically. 

In any case, the alligator safety basics are:

  • Do not attempt to deal with alligator yourself
  • Call your local animal control or 911
  • Do not approach an alligator
  • Do not feed an alligator
  • Avoid sudden movements                                                                                                                                                                        
    gray alligator at daytime
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Topics: wire mesh, fencing materials, woven wire, welded wire

Wire Mesh Art by Cédric Le Borgne

August 29, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Art that is accessible and enhances the cityscape

Cédric Le Borgne is an innovative artist from Toulouse, France and this display shows how he has taken ordinary chicken wire and made something extraordinary out of it. Here is a short video of one of his exhibitions by night:

 

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Topics: hardware cloth, wire mesh

Safer Mesh for Chickens

April 24, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Chicken in profile

The Night of the Fisher Cat
Our first set of chickens were thrashed by what looked like the work of a head-hunting fisher cat, an odd type here in suburban New England. Our chickens, tragically named after Jane Austen characters, came to disastrous ends--four of them were left headless and scattered indiscriminately, while the other four had vanished. One imagines the fisher cat family sitting snugly at table.  

A Sleepy Possum

Ordinary chicken wire has its uses; but here, it was not the best choice. Soon our newly acquired replacement chickens were visited by a very respectable possum who bunked in the cozy chicken cubicles, less tempted by eggs but rather by the shelter and soft strawy beds. Imagine scanning past the cubicles, checking for eggs and finding a possum snoozing next door to a seemingly unconcerned chicken. Chicken wire boasts flexibility, yes, but is highly susceptible to rust, is hardly rodent or small animal-proof, while strong animals can shred it. As is often said, chicken wire is more for keeping chickens in than for keeping predators out. However, It can work well in areas devoid of predators or on the top of a pen in warmer climates to keep airborne hunters at bay.

chickens in coop

Strong choice--1/2 inch, 19 gauge wire

More pricey than chicken wire--though if you add in the resulting security of your flock--it's less expensive. 1/2 inch welded wire is the safe, strong option. While being more difficult to cut than chicken wire, it keeps out a wide variety of predators and should be used on all openings, such as vents and windows, of the coop. Sized right to keep smaller predators from reaching in, 1/2 inch, 19 gauge wire mesh is certainly the stronger choice. It can be bent by hand and at the same time it holds its shape well. Bury it 8-12 inches with a curve outward from the coop at the bottom. Vinyl coated hardware cloth is a great way to avoid rust.

Keeps out larger animals, such as:

  • dogs
  • coyotes 
  • foxes 

And smaller ones:

  • possums
  • snakes
  • mice and rats
  • weasels
  • fisher cats

The Hardware Cloth Solution

1/2" x 1/2" mesh, 19 gauge galvanized after weld (abbreviated generally by GAW) wire mesh and fence is commonly known as hardware cloth. Molten zinc is applied after the 19 gauge wire is welded into a 1/2" x 1/2" mesh. Here the workhorse zinc covers the entire wire cloth mesh, completely sealing it for protection against corrosion and rust--particularly crucial are the vulnerable welded areas which benefit greatly from this zinc bath. This guarantees that 19 gauge 1/2" x 1/2" mesh will be assured of a long life and being of lighter weight and strength it ends up costing less than the thicker 16 gauge 1/2 x 1/2 mesh. It's great for enclosing small animals or keeping out rodents, gophers, and other nuisance animals. This also can be used for economical flooring for game birds while 16 gauge is also recommended. Keep in mind that availability may be an issue and that this is a material that requires special ordering. Louis Page can help with all those particulars.  

As you can see cutting this mesh takes some strength and some helpful tools... 

 

or here's a video with a good option... 

 

Aviary Netting   

Ominously, predators don't just come from the ground and sides, but also from above. In thinking about a covering for your chicken run, consider thinking about aviary netting. Louis Page stocks a great netting that is extremely tough and can cope with snow load if you live in a cold climate.

Aviary Netting

 

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Topics: wire mesh, welded wire mesh, galvanized after, GAW, 1/2" mesh

Philadelphia Zoo Revolution

November 5, 2018 | by Joe Morrell

Philadelphia Zoo Introduces "Zoo 360"tiger

Circling Through and Around

Zoo 360 is a campus-wide network of exploration trails--for animals. Featuring elevated trails surrounded with see-through hexagonal wire mesh that allow animals to roam above, across, and around the park. Animals are able to explore, circle through and around visitors, who can see them through tunnels of galvanized mesh, creating more interest and exercise for the animals and revolutionizing the experience for visitors. This allows animals to be observed in action and doing more of what they would do in the wild.  Rather than existing in stationary exhibits--animals can wander, be more active and are less bored, which: 

  • enhances their quality of life
  • lets them travel longer distances
  • allows them to explore a variety of environments
  • links habitats, where appropriate

Some examples:

  • Treetop Trail--smaller primates can visibly walk or swing through tops of trees.                                                                                                                                                monkey 
  • Gorilla Treeway--higher places to observe and explore with an extensive area to move about.                                                                                                                gorilla 
  • Big Cat Crossing--tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, pumas, and others are able to prowl about and get some exercise.                                                          leopard 
  • Meerkat Maze--an underground world where Meerkats can do what they do--running, digging, popping their heads out of their burrows and observing the scene above.                                                                                                                                                                             meerkat  

Here is a video that will give you a look at the latest developments at the Philadelphia Zoo.

And these smart folks at the zoo know that stainless steel mesh resists rust, corrosion, and stands up to harsh chemicals. They also use rust resistant vinyl coated mesh which resists destructive elements such as acid rain and guards against abrasion while the black coating works as an invisibility cloak, creating an non-distracted view--much better than green and not as prone to glare as the galvanized grey. And the happy answer here is less maintenance because the galvanization is reinforced with highly bonded PVC which extends the life of the fence indefinitely. 

The enhanced animals' experience enriches our experience.

Inside those walls of mesh--an animal's environment is improved through the provision of:

  • trees with various levels for perching
  • vines
  • a variety of ground, soil and rock modifications
  • nesting and den possibilities
  • programs of positive reinforcement that stimulate cognitive abilities
  • familiar and unfamiliar scents
  • recordings of sounds that would be heard in the wild
  • food that is hidden, buried or scattered so that an effort must be made to attain it as in the wild
  • toys that would be of particular interest to a given species
  • programs where you can sponsor a specific animal and also make contributions for toys etc.                           

Progress is being made and the Philadelphia Zoo is evidence of that. We here at Louis Page applaud all this innovation and fine work!

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Topics: wire mesh, cages, zoo, Wire Mesh for Zoos, vinyl coated, hex mesh

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