1. Dog-proof Rollerbar
Here's one I saw today, on Facebook. RSPCA Australia offered a solution for the problem of dogs that climb over fences... a simple rollerbar made of PVC, hung on a taut cable:
|From RSPCA Australia, via Facebook|
By the same token, if Rover is more of a digger, then railroad ties buried under the fence will put a stop to that, but that solution is a bit of a chore. In my dog's kennel, we stopped him from digging by placing some 12-inch pre-fab concrete paving pads just inside the fence perimeter. It took minutes to install and stopped the digging cold.
2. Kissing Gates
I saw a lot of these in the Midlands of England... Oxfordshire and the surrounding area.
|A superb example of a traditional kissing gate. |
Photo by Adrian Cable via Geograph.org.uk
|A traditional gate next to a |
akin to a kissing gate
via Country Estate Fence
A variation of this one has no actual gate... just a fixed bit of fence extending between the two posts. Again, a man or dog can simply walk around the end of the fence, but a cow's long body can't navigate the twisty passage. We used a variation of this in a wooden cattle chute on my stepfather's farm.
This is another thing you see a lot in the UK but almost never see in the Southeastern US. A stile is just a set of steep stairs that go over a low fence or wall. A human can negotiate it, but many animals can't. Often they look like very civilised stairs, but the sort I'm accustomed to looks a bit like this:
|A stile at Arnold's Farm on Banbury Rd in Warwickshire|
Photo by David Stowell via Geograph.org.uk
My stepfather attended a one-room schoolhouse in Georgia. It had a fence surrounding it, and entry was through a stile. The purpose of the fence at that time was to keep the animals out.
One of the reason you rarely see these things in the US any more is that America is so very big. Also, so very thinly populated.As a result, we have an automotive society, and we've developed a concept of private property that generally keeps us off other other people's land. Seriously, most of my neighbors in the UK had no real conception of the astonishing spread of the US landscape. On the other hand, villages in England are very compact by our standards, and actually quite close together. Public walking paths between villages and towns are not only common, they're protected by common law and statute. There is a presumption of access to the entire countryside, so long as no damage is done to crops or livestock. All of the images above from Geograph.org.uk are of barriers on public walking paths. For a comprehensive map of them, you might want to visit http://footpathmaps.com. You can see the extensive network of public footpaths near my former home by searching for Caversfield and selecting either location (they're side-by-side).
4. Cattle Grids
In the US these are called cattle guards. While they're ubiquitous in the West, you can go your whole life East of the Mississippi without seeing one. The first one I ever saw was on the walk up to Uffington White Horse from the car park.
|A classic cattle grid outside at the Rowley Farm in County Durham|
Photo by P. Glenwright via Geograph.org.uk
I've heard some folks complain that they must be cruel because a cow could break its ankle between the bars. In practice, the cows aren't that stupid. The device works because the cattle quite reasonably don't want to get their legs caught in the gaps. It's not like they get caught blindly walking across. Rather, they choose not to try. However, vehicles drive over the grids easily, and humans easily step across on the bars.
One interesting fun fact: you don't always need the bars. Apparently you can sometimes get by with just painting bars on the ground. OK, so maybe the cows are that stupid.
5. Squirrel Baffles
There's a never-ending arms race going on between birdfeeder enthusiasts and squirrels. That's right, just plain old grey squirrels. For some reason, people love to feed birds, but couldn't care less if the neighborhood squirrels starved to death. The "problem" consists of keeping the squirrels out of the bird feeders. People have tried an amazing variety of defenses against voracious squirrels, and the squirrels easily outwit a surprising number of these clever devices.
A working solution requires you to do a number of things: 1. put the bird feeder on a post that's at least 10 feet away from any tree or structure. 2. install a baffle of some sort on the post. Both are necessary, as squirrels are jumpers par excellance. This YouTube video illustrates what happens if you do one, but not the other.
The embed code has a jump to the proper timestamp, but if it doesn't work,
just go forward to the 5:45 mark to see the little guy win.
See the problem? Yeah, the nearby urns are "structures", and provided the squirrel with the advantage he needed. But given the restriction of "no nearby structures", the baffles actually do work. You could spend a lot for one, but a very good working solution is to simply make one out of a length of furnace pipe from your local hardware store. I was going to give instructions, but as is often the case, I've found some already posted that are almost ideal. Here's a link to Today's Homeowner.
|You can make one of these effective baffles cheap|
Instructions at Today's Homeowner
|Buy one or make it. It's just some|
scrap wood and a few long screws
My own solution is a lot easier, I think. I just put up a squirrel feeder. It's just a bit of board with a long drywall screw exposed vertically. You screw on an ear of corn, and put it in a spot that's easily accessible to the squirrels. With an easy meal at hand they're more inclined to leave the bird feeder alone. Sometimes it's just easier to understand what's motivating the animal.
Bonus: The One That Got Away
There's one animal that defies all barriers, though. When I was a kid we had a raccoon that would raid our trash cans. Keep in mind that this was in the 70s when the galvanized trash can was the standard.
- We put a brick on the top of the can, hoping to dissuade the raccoons. That only gave him better leverage to turn the can over.
- We tied the can to the fence to prevent it from being turned over. He pushed the brick off.
- We tied the top to the handles on the side. He untied the cord.
- We used a better knot. He gnawed through it.
- We set up booby traps, tying pull-string fireworks to the can hoping to scare him away. After the first night, he untied the fireworks.
- We got a latching trash can. He learned to unlatch it.
- We got a dog. The raccoon made a new friend. But he stopped raiding the trash. Why? I assume it's because the dog food was easier to get. I think, sometimes, it is just cheaper to pay the protection racket.
|It's a common problem|
Mosaic from Google Image Search