Monday, February 20, 2012

February's Golden Sun

Finally remembered to take a camera up to the barn.  It was below freezing but I figured I could get a few photos before the camera shut down.

Today some notes on a few little things that have worked out well in our barn.

First of all, I love how much sun comes in.  The goat side is on the west and the light streams into their stalls and their run in area.
Here's the stall.  Notice the black rubber bumpy itching panels.  They still haven't really gotten the hang of them.  Notice Vera watching in the doorway keeping an eye on the does.  Do you think she's counting to make sure everyone is in?

Here's the other end of the same stall.

Here's the doe stall for when I separate the milkers from their kids overnight.  They can still see each other and often sleep near each other on opposite sides of the wire panel.

There's a goat and dog sized door into the run-in area.  Here's Stella peeking out.  She's due April 4 but it's her fist pregnancy and she's not big yet.  I hope she only has 1 or 2.

The run-in area is nice and large.  The does have half of it and the ewes have the other half.  I put a platform in the goat side and my brother built a dog house.

I chose the size of the doghouse to be big enough for both to fit in but small enough that they could build up some heat in there.  The opening faces the exit in case they need to leave and do livestock guardian duties quickly. The siting of the doghouse also provides a windbreak against west winds, something the goats appreciate.  They like to lounge on top of it in the afternoon sun when it's not windy.

Then there are those goat housekeeping problems....

So after a couple of years of grabbing a handful of waste hay to sweep off the goat "berries" I decided that maybe what I really needed was a windshield brush since it would do double duty; sweep off berries and the scraper could be used when they'd been stepped on and smooshed onto the surface!  It hangs nearby on a bit of framing.

Another idea I had was the piece of scrap 2X6 that I lay along the top of one of the hay mangers on the center aisle side of the stall.  It allowed me to balance feed bowls, flakes of hay and buckets of water up there so I didn't have to be holding stuff when sidling through the gates.  While that worked well the board did get in the way of filling the manger it was on so I had to move it and sometimes it would fall off into the aisle.  I decided it should be hinged so that it could be flipped up when the manger needed filling and down when I needed to balance stuff on it.  Feed pans and water bucket on it waiting to be taken away when I leave the stall.
Here it is flipped up for manger filling.

You  may notice that the goats are pretty pudgy.  (They only get 1/4 cup of grain so they are not being overfed, honest!)  Between all their fur and their full rumens they rather look like ottomans with heads and tails.  Because of this I've been considering myself to be royalty; Queen of the Ottoman Empire!

Here is the ewe stall.  They are expecting dinner.....

Chores are done and Vera is on watch duty.  Fergey is probably patrolling the perimeter already.


  1. Hi Chai Chai! Yup, you can move in. I think everyone wants to move in. : > I'm moving up there too so it's going to be crowded! I sent you an email earlier....hope you got it.
    Off to bed now......I checked out your lovely blog. Your ewes are beautiful. I want to hear how you ram horns are now that I'm inspecting my guys.

  2. ok I want to know how you are keeping the walls of the barn so clean, that's cleaner than my back porch, walls are white except up to the height of the dogs where it is kinda brown splotchy, lol.

    1. To Tombstone Livestock.....give it time! ; > Mine have only been in there since September. Notice in the ewe stall that dirty streak along the wall? especially in one corner? I guess that's the impact of lanolin. The goats seem to mostly rub against the feeders so there's some grime there but not a lot of wall space. I didn't do it on purpose but come to think of it, there's very little wall for the goats to rub against. There are mangers and mineral feeders in the way almost everywhere. Hmmm. They do use the "peek gaps" as hoof rests when they need to stand on their hind legs, peer over and tell me they are dying of malnourishment right before feed time so those have plenty of hoof marks on them. In the run-in area they don't seem to rub against the walls much I guess. I do like how light the wood is and now I wonder if I should slap a coat of water-based urethane on it so the wood doesn't darken as it ages. (other than goat smears)