The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. (This is especially true for Bernard, who when he sees me opening a gate, is the first one to come galloping for inspection.)


Over the course of the last few weeks, we’ve been working with the herd on the ins and outs of electric fences. I’ve heard of this working well for horses, but had serious concerns about it working with donkeys, who absolutely have minds of their own.

You can tell a horse what to do, but you have to negotiate with a donkey.    ~Elizabeth Svendsen

We started by running an electric rope in our permanently fenced pasture, then moved it to an area protected by the woods outside of that pasture, and finally last week moved it to our largest pasture area, which is open. They have a good line of sight here, so if they wanted to bolt, this is where they’d do it.

It all starts with this spool of rope:


Which we pull out to the distance needed:


And string it along these posts which we push into the ground:


This allows the herd an even larger (and new!) grazing area. The area that they’re standing in here is the pasture area defined by the electric fence; the area to the right of the wood post fence line is their permanent pasture:


This is where the electric current comes in (clipped into the electric wire that runs along the top of our permanent fence):


I have to admit it wasn’t pleasant watching them learn that touching the white rope wasn’t a good thing. I know it hurts; I’ve touched it.

But now that they know it and respect it, they’re happy. Doesn’t Patrick look happy?


I think Bernard (in the background behind Buck) looks pretty content too: