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The Fence Post

A Cage for Your Rabbit

March 27, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

Cage Ideas to Keep Your Bunny Healthy3 bunnies in welded wire cage

Creating a Space with Wire Mesh

Your bunny's health depends on sturdy galvanized wire mesh. The right gauge and openings are critical for airflow, hygiene, and the safety of bunny's paws and more. To begin, the cage should be at least 4 times the size of your bunny. Two feet by three feet for a bunny that weighs up to eight pounds; for larger bunnies, cages should be two and a half feet by three feet at least.  The height of the cage should be ample enough so that your pet can stand up on its hind legs and stretch out. 

Recommended for sides and top of cage: 14 gauge, 2" x 1" galvanized wire mesh

An Unappealing Truth

A big drawback for your pet's health is the flooring materials. Waste and urine contamination of flooring materials, particularly a pen using straw, is a poisonous combination for your bunny. Prolonged interaction with pellets and urine can bring difficulties such as parasites and the resulting ammonia and contact with puddling urine is toxic. 

Flooring: A Good Option

It seems that a mix of flooring is the best option, though studies show that bunnies seem to prefer clean and dry wire, spending most of their time on the wire mesh part of the cage. Therefore, a section of the cage's floor should be plexiglas (or another surface that can't be chewed) and the other half wire mesh so waste pellets can drop through. Do not be misled to think that these docile creatures are easy to keep and can simply stay in their cages. Your rabbit needs out-of-cage time or its muscles will atrophy. The best times to target outside or house play is when bunny is most naturally active--in the early morning and at dusk.  

Bunnies that stay in their cages too long suffer from:
  • their feet becoming inflamed
  • thinning of bones which means they are broken more easily
  • a weakened heart, and as a result, poor muscle tone
  • difficulties with urination and difficulty defecating
  • troubling behaviors--chewing the cage, lethargy, chewing its own fur, becoming aggressive

Recommended for flooring: 14 gauge (or 16 gauge for smaller breeds), 1/2" x 1" galvanized wire mesh

A Very Practical Concern

It is very important to consider the wider needs of your pet rabbit. In a natural habitat, much of a bunny's day is spent in retreat in a burrow underground. Hence, for a domesticated rabbit, security is a priority and quite rightly, this is something that is up to you to provide consistently. During out-of-cage time, if you let your bunny roam in an enclosed space outside, make sure that there is protection from predators as just the approach of a strange animal can overwhelm a bunny that has no means of escape, with the ensuing panic possibly causing a heart attack. 

Rabbits on grass with wire cage surround 

 

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Topics: welded wire mesh, galvanized after, rabbit wire

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

Fence Stretching Basics - Video

January 21, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

We sure do appreciate any help we can get when stretching a fence. Here, precautions are taken when working on a grade.

 

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Topics: welded wire fence, Fencing Tips

Snow Fences

January 6, 2020 | by Joe Morrell

Snowy road to farmhouse with trees

Drifting snow is a safety hazard for passing cars or airplanes taking off and landing.

Blowing Snow:

  • Blinds drivers and reduces visibility
  • Causes accidents through lack of vehicle control
  • Complicates road maintenance

Snow Drifts:

  • reduce distance visibility, especially at intersections and around curving roadway
  • enable build-up of ice on roadways
  • bury signage and reduce effectiveness of guard rails and safety barriers

Melting snow and its seepage runs under the pavement, causing cracking and heaving of roadways.

When installed correctly, wooden snow fencing can create a desired barrier for accumulating snow, saving you time and money with snow removal and property damage. Wooden snow fencing is the traditional choice for preventing snow from drifting onto roads, highways, and airport runways. Thereby build-up of snow, slush and ice are reduced, as well as runoff which impairs drainage. Our top quality, made in America, snow fence is constructed from vertical running aspen and spruce wood lath woven together with 13-gauge galvanized wire. Installing these fences along roads and runways increase the efficiency of snow removal and allows for a safer, uninterrupted travel. The sturdy construction of this natural snow fence makes it an aesthetic, durable, and economical alternative to plastic snow fence. Traditional wooden snow fencing has many alternative uses.

Our wooden snow fence is: 

  • made with No.1 Aspen or Spruce pickets (3/8” x 1 ½” x 48”.)
  • woven with 5 double-strands of 13 gauge galvanized wire.
  • painted with red iron oxide stain.
  • sold in 50-foot rolls.

Snow fences save lives and drastically reduce maintenance costs.

How Does Snow Fencing Work?

The way snow fencing works is a fairly simple concept. A properly constructed fence will cause snow to drift down wind of it. When the wind blows over the fence, it causes an eddy or swirl to form behind the fence. This in turn causes a rolling wind current that flows downward and to the back side of the fence. As a result of this air current, a drift of snow forms in front of the fence on the windward side. A well designed fence can retain the snow to a place of your desiring as well as preventing snow from drifting to unwanted areas.

snow fence in deep snow drift

Important Planning is Required

Determining wind direction and resulting effects on vegetation, drift development and features, observation of wind-affected trees, abraded wooden poles or fencing, and sourcing local meteorological data should all be considered in the placement of a snow fence.

Uses for Snow Fencing

  • Airport Runways
  • Compost Piles / Compost Storage
  • Construction Site Boundary
  • Crowd Control
  • Cribbing
  • Dog and Pet Safety
  • Garden Center and Nursery Benching, Operations
  • Golf Course Maintenance
  • Livestock Control and Shading
  • Packaging and Crating
  • Road Maintenance
  • Sand Dune Maintenance

Posts

  • Steel T-posts: made of hot rolled rail steel and formed into a “T”
  • Dimensions: 1 7/16” X 1 5/16” x 1/8” x 6’ (six feet) long
  • Weight of post section without anchor is 1.25 pounds per foot.
  • Area of anchor plates 23 square inches.
  • The post comes in painted green, or galvanized.

Snow Fence

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Topics: snow fence, steel fence posts

The Frost Line and Your Fence Post

December 24, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Considering Frost Heaves

Frost heaves are caused by water that is drawn up through deep unfrozen soil to the varying depths of frozen soil beneath ground level. A horizontal ice lens grows particularly in clay type soil and collects below the frozen soil and creates what is known as an ice lens that then expands as it freezes and slowly pushes soil and whatever rocks and debris upwards.

graphic drawing about frost heaves science

                                                                                                                               Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

The stability of your fence is dependent on what lurks below. 

Certain types of soils are not a concern. Gravel and sandy soil are not susceptible to the exchange of moisture that create frost heaves. Very thick clay soil is also immune. Also, where frost only penetrates the soil an inch or two there is no need to be concerned about frost heaves, such as on the west coast and the southern most parts of the U.S. 

However, where freezing goes deeply into soil, your fence posts (and the footings of your deck) are subject to this upward pressure. The concrete in the fence post's base is an excellent conductor of heat and attracts moisture which can form an ice lens around the concrete base, rendering it susceptible to movement. A pressure treated wooden post is not a good conductor of heat, particularly when wrapped with plastic or coated with tar; this helps prevent the up and down movement of the post. 

Some General Guidelines

Most likely, setting a post a couple of feet up to 5 feet are required to offset this issue. Your local town building inspector probably has guidelines for the best depths for fence posts in your particular area. If you dig a hole that's wider at the top in a V shape, you'll have a problem. The smaller bottom of the hole will provide little resistance for the upward pressure of the moisture and what follows it. A hole dug in the shape of a bell (wider at the bottom) is better, filled with concrete, gravel or gravel with masonry sand for good compaction, and then tamped down every six inches. Bring the concrete or fill within a few inches of ground level and fill the rest of the way up with tamped-down dirt. Concrete footers are the best bet for offsetting the pressure that works on the fence above the frost line. Some experts recommend an insulating pad of styrofoam about 2 inches thick beneath the footer. A chat with a trusted local building contractor may be helpful as circumstances vary so much according to soil types and the depths of freeze in your area. 

Frost heaves can also push up plants and expose roots to damaging wind and cold, not to mention poorly prepared roads and sidewalks.

Here's a thorough going-over of the process with a variety of scenarios:  

 

Do you have expertise in your area on the subject of frost heaves? Please share your insights or recommendations below.

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Topics: concrete fence posts, wood post & rail fence, how to, posts, Fencing Tips

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