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Country Discussion Topics
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Mowing hay fields -- little critters
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Bkeepr    Posted 07-03-2004 at 05:32:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Try as hard as I might to keep from hitting baby bunnies or what-not while mowing hay, seems I occasionally run over a nest or a slow animal. Hate doing that.

Seems to happen most with the sicklebar mower, since it is pretty quiet, but I've done it once with the brush hog, too.

Is there any trick or way to avoid this?

longearmom    Posted 11-27-2005 at 16:45:51       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I am in search of a one horse/mule drawn mower, or a non motorized pull behind mower in working condition. I would possibly be interested in buying a single hitch plow in useable condition. I am in the north west Florida panhandle, but wouldn't mind a day long road trip. Can anyone out there help out a girl? I cannot afford to give an arm and a leg for it since the gas prices have already taken those, but can scrape up a few frog skins.

TomH    Posted 07-03-2004 at 19:33:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Keep dogs and children far away from any machinery you're operating. It's a shame to hit wild critters, but hitting something with a name is a lot worse (a Mennonite near here killed his ten year old son a few years ago, imagine how that would feel)

rhudson    Posted 07-03-2004 at 15:29:54       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Yeah, its a heart breaker, i wonder about starting in the middle of the field and working outward. the bunnies in my area usually will move. the deer don't. i can usually see the matted down grass where they have been sleeping. by gearing down, standing up and carefully looking i can sometimes spot the little fellows in time. its not a very efficient way of cutting hay. some dogs will do a good job of pointing for you. but mine are cocker spanials and just as soon run into the equipment as a deer. i've heard of the hanging chain thing before, i think it would work, but with my luck, i would worry about the cutter injesting a chain.

hay    Posted 07-03-2004 at 07:30:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
many years ago my grandfather mowed his fields with horse drawn sickle mower and continued to do so up until the early 1970's. he said the slow pace of the horse could give him a good look at what was in the field ahead of the cutter. bunnies and nesting birds and such critters. he would simply lift the cutter bar when approaching the site and lower after he passed by. nowadays everything is so fast paced and such big fast moving machinery that most folks do not even see the animals until it's too late. making a buck is more important than nature now.

Ron/PA    Posted 07-03-2004 at 09:09:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
I really think that's kind of an unfair statement.
"making a buck is more important than nature now."
Your grandfather did what he did out of necessity. I would question if you would be willing to use a horse drawn mower, behind a horse if you had to put up enough hay to last a year. I wonder if you could even find a horse drawn mower, if you really want one, I'll sell you one of ours, providing you promise to buy a horse and use it.
I won't speculate on your farming practices, but our efforts to support wildlife, cost us dearly. We could save alot, and reap a much bigger crop and profit if we would only assume the attitude you have labeled us with.
This is not an effort to start an argument, it's just that I get tired of being labeled everytime we fire up a tractor. My grandfather would have been tickled to operate our old worn out equipment, much less the new toys available today.

hay    Posted 07-03-2004 at 14:04:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
for someone who did not want to start an argument, you sure got off to a good start. i was relating about old time farmers and farm machinery. in no way did i intend to "step on anyone's toes" with MY opinion. and by the way, i am NOT labeling anyone. thanks for your comments anyway.

Ron/PA    Posted 07-03-2004 at 15:50:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hay, I really meant it when I said that I wasn't trying to start an argument. I seriously do get offended when I hear this kind of talk.
We plant at least 24 rows around the outside of our corn fields, and don't spray it. we do this for the deer, and the game birds that nest in the grasses between the rows of corn. Our hay fields are laid out so that we leave cover for the wild life every other section. We alternate this each year.
Our fence rows are managed so that we leave a 40 foot buffer on either side of the tree line to give pheasants a nesting place.
This was not a kick at you, nor your family, not even your farming practices. I was simply telling you that what you posted was not always true. WE, do not put the dollar ahead of all else, and we do look out for our natural resources. We have figured that if we did not adhere to these practices, we could probably purchas another piece of worn out equipment to farm with every few years.
Perhaps we are a bit more like your Grandfather than you think>
Sorry if I offended you, I sure didn't mean to.

Burrhead    Posted 07-03-2004 at 16:48:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
alright gentlemen I already gave your instructions in the dressing room.

We don't want no hitting below the belt, no biting, no spittin snuff in each others eyes, and no calling each other ratwinger or liberal, and you will break when I say break

When I say break you will step back and keep both hands off the keyboard, just remember to protect yersefs at all times.

In case of a knockdown or foul the standing party will go to the nearest neutral forum til I motion you back out to action.

Okay gentlemen lets have a good clean discussion and good luck. Either one of yall have a question??

If either one of ye need a quick count that's $20 extra payable in advance.

Question,, $$$$$20.00 pai    Posted 07-03-2004 at 17:08:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
Waddya mean, no hitting below the belt? Define belt!
Do you mean that hunk of rope I ties my trousers up wit, or that shot of shine that Grandpa takes each night for his rhumetism?
$20.00 Geeze that'd buy me a whole bunch of belts of either kind.

Burrhead    Posted 07-03-2004 at 17:52:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
I was talkin bout the Jethro belt but ifn you got any of the roomuhtiz medicine extree we can work something out whur I don't even see low blows hic

Bkeepr    Posted 07-03-2004 at 08:09:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes, when I brush hog, I do it in 1st gear (have an old 8N, 1st is pretty slow).

But my sicklebar mower cuts best and clogs least in 3d gear, so that's what I use. It isn't all that fast, but certainly faster than a horse. When I see critters, I usually stop and get off to shoo them away but I don't always see them.

Trying to figure some noise maker or something to help shoo them while I work.

Husker    Posted 07-03-2004 at 06:32:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
This is always a problem. I remember as a Kid our dog would run around in front of the mower when we were in the field and chase the rabbits and pheasants. Maybe this would work for you.

DigitalMat    Posted 07-03-2004 at 06:20:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
I think the main problem is that the instinct is to shelter in place and wait for danger to pass. When they hear the equipment, they just hunker down and wait for you to go away. Since you don't see them, and you are covering the whole field, I don't think there is any way to avoid it. Takes a lot of time, but you may spot one or two if you do a walkthrough first. Most farmers I know don't have a few extra hours to do that. I wonder if some type of homemade noise maker could make them not choose to nest there in the first place?

Les    Posted 07-03-2004 at 06:09:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
My father wouldn't mow until the bobolinks had finished their nesting. It's no problem now because we don't have bobolinks anymore. :(
One time he cut the toes off the hind feet of a cat that we had. He felt real bad about that and figured the old guy would probably go off and die but he showed up a few days later and eventually healed right up.

New-Gen    Posted 07-03-2004 at 05:45:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well if there's trick I sure don't know it, I have the same problem with the combine. Maybe it's just me but it seems worse this year.

Dale    Posted 07-03-2004 at 11:24:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've seen people who will put a bar across the front of the tractor in front of the haybine with chains hanging down into the hay to rattle and disturb things so they flush, but it doesn't work too well. It's instinct for most of these animals to freeze and try to hide. We've put two does, three fawns and countless turkeys through the discbine so far this year and we're still doing first cut, and you can hear a discbine a mile away. It's just instinct.

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