A few weeks ago I saw the errors of my ways and decided I would no longer block Bertie from her beloved hay loft. I spent part of that weekend building a new pig-proof hay rack using an upright design. I worked on the wire spacing for a while, I wanted the big enough gaps so they could reach in to grab hay, but small enough to discourage climbing into it and keep them from getting caught in the wires. The coroplast bottom is angled so the last bits of hay will fall towards the bars. It was intended to be a prototype, but the rack has worked well enough for the last two weeks that I may just leave it as is.
At the same time, I adjusted Bertie's hay rack slightly. I narrowed the gap at the bottom and removed some of the supporting wires. This was so Bertie would be less likely to fall through and to ensure she wouldn't pinch her toes between the wires and the coroplast. I also moved the opening down a bit, to make it easier to jump in and out of (which she does with grace and alacrity).
The results? The new rack required a day or two of adjustment. At first it was a
Scary New Object and no one would go near it. But it was stuffed with
hay... and it smelled so good... how bad could it be? I am regularly filling it, so obviously it has met their approval.
And the old hay rack? Now that it is no longer off limits, Bertie isn't in it all the time (although you wouldn't guess that from these photos). Perhaps the adjustments to the loft were enough to put her off. Maybe it's because she can no longer monopolize the hay. I prefer to believe that the little stinker knows I gave up and that the challenge is gone. What's the fun of hanging out in the loft if it's permissible? I swear that Bertie sulked for the first few days after I put in the new hay rack, as if she had been cheated. Rob has started scolding her when he finds her in the hay rack, just so Bertie will feel like she's getting away with bad behavior.
Mission accomplished. Bertie has her nest and I can ensure they have a clean, constant supply of hay. Well, at least until Bertie decides to be brainy and bad and gets into more trouble.