Directional Virtual Fencing (DVF™) and flerds

TitleDirectional Virtual Fencing (DVF™) and flerds
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsAnderson D.M., Nayak P., Nolen B., Fredrickson E.L., Estell R.E., Hale C.S., Havstad K
Conference Name58th Annual Meeting Society for Range Management
Date PublishedFebruary 5, 2005
Conference LocationFort Worth, Texas
ARIS Log Number167856
Keywordscattle, Directional Virtual Fencing, flerds, free-ranging animals, sheep
AbstractControlling free-ranging animals is among the most challenging jobs a producer faces when managing livestock. Combining a practical understanding of animal behavior with emerging technologies provides opportunities to autonomously control the temporal and spatial location of cattle and sheep on arid rangelands without conventional fencing. Flerd refers to a mixed species group of sheep (flock) and cattle (herd) in which sheep consistently remain within line-of-sight of cattle even when given the opportunity to remain only with peers. This atypical sheep behavior results from modifying sheep behavior, preferably at an early age, through a process called bonding. Using Directional Virtual Fencing (DVFTM), which delivers audio sound and/or electric shock cues to either the right or left side of a cow's head, it was possible to contain cattle behind an activated Virtual Boundary (VBTM) that defines the perimeter of a Virtual Paddock (VPTM) using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. Peer relationships among and between individual sheep affected flerd cohesiveness when combining bonded sheep with cows equipped with DVFTM devices. Preliminary results indicate three cows wearing DVFTM devices influenced the spatial location of 13 ewes and 1 wether.