Barbed Wire Safety, Stop Chicken Pecking, Preparing for Emergencies and More Country Lore

In this edition of Country Lore, learn about barbed wire safety, preparing for emergencies and how to stop chickens from pecking at each other.

| March/April 1985

barbed wire

Two readers find a less painful way to handle barbed wire.


Barbed Wire Safety

"Stringing a barbed wire fence is hard work," writes Jackie Ivey, a MOTHER-reader from Bebe, Texas (a state that can boast more than a few miles of "bob wahr"). But the only part of the job that really bothered Jackie and David (the other half of the Ivey fencing team) was unrolling the spools of prickly wire. Consequently, they put on their thinking caps and came up with a way to unspool the material without having to handle it.

According to Jackie, "The fastest and easiest way we've found to unroll barbed wire is with the aid of a homebuilt 'fence reel.' Such a reel can be made from the handle of just about any type of discarded lawn mower. Simply cut a piece of metal pipe a little longer than the width between the forks of the handle, then slip the pipe through the forks, with the spool of wire riding on the pipe in between. To keep the pipe in place, you can either thread the ends for nuts, or drill small holes for cotter pins.

"With this rig, the spool of wire serves as a wheel (albeit a somewhat wobbly one), allowing you either to push or pull your fence reel along the ground between posts."

Stop Chicken Pecking

Garnett, Kan., reader Ralph Adams writes that he noticed previous Country Lore hints in MOTHER EARTH NEWS for keeping chickens from pecking at each other and was reminded of a similar situation he encountered while employed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

"The state was raising pheasants in close quarters, and the birds took up the harmful habit of pecking at each others' eyes. After experimenting with different techniques, the pecking problem was finally corrected by placing marbles in the pheasants' feed. The reflection of the glass balls caught their attention, and from then on the beautiful birds pecked at the marbles instead of at their roommates' eyes. I can't see any reason why this trick wouldn't work equally well with chickens."

Preparing for Emergencies

Clinton Cottrell, a paramedic based in Pittsburgh, Pa., has a life-or-death message for those of us who live in outlying areas:

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