We had the misfortune of placing one temporary fence on the north side of the bale grazing pasture in the perfect area for both snow drifts and ice accumulation. The fence in question is picketed on 36″ plastic stakes, with polywire strung at the top clip. The field adjacent to the fence is usually wet due to a series of seeps. So we’ve got a situation where each snowfall drifts along the fence line. The seep water flows over and through the drift, freeing it into a hard ice block. The ice is now high enough that the top strand of the fence is dragging in the snow. The base is strong ice with a thing mush layer covered by a few inches of crusted snow.
One cow found a place where the fence was entirely buried, so she was able to walk right out of the pasture. We found her standing at the next fence looking over at the boar and sows and wondering why any animal would choose to be a pig. We don’t know if she came to any conclusions. That’s one of the disappointments with cows: even though their rumination gives the impression that they are pondering the deep verities, their subsequent behaviour indicates that they gain little insight from their contemplative lives. For all we can surmise, their only thought as they they are burping and chewing cud is “Mmmm, this tastes good the second time too.”
All the other perimeter fences are still present enough of a barrier to curb any wanderlust. This particular walkabout cow is an easy-going animal, so it didn’t take much work to walk her back to where she belonged. We kicked the fence free from the encrustation, so now it lies a couple of inches above the snow. So far the fence, so good. The cattle don’t like crossing the fence, even if it is only at ground level.