Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I need your experience and advice!

Last week our next door neighbor offered me a bunch of stuff. As soon as we can find a time that works for both of us, I'll be taking the pickup over to gather everything.

I've already picked up some very, very thick plastic sheeting that I'll be using for my greenhouse project.

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It is in a tube shape, but once I cut that open it will be about 3 feet wide. I will have to overlap the strips, but there won't be any cost. I'd rather work a little harder than spend a lot of money.

We're getting an old plastic dinosaur sandbox. It will make the perfect wading pool for our ducks. A bit shallow, maybe, but safer than a bit too deep! I'll likely set it up just outside the duck pen, so that when we let them out they can go right in for a quick dip.

There are 4 bales of straw that have been out in the weather. It has been a pretty dry year - they make work OK for the henhouse floor. If not, we'll compost them for the garden. There is also a lot of scrap wood, and possibly even some lumber. If nothing else, the scraps can be used for heat, but we can always find a way to use lumber.

He is giving us several rolls of black plastic stuff. It's sort of like netting, but it's rolled out over an area when you seed it with new grass, to keep the birds from eating the seed and prevent the wind from blowing the seed off before it sprouts. We may use it like that, but I'm also thinking that it would make excellent shade cover for the greenhouse or animal enclosures.

Finally (though I may be forgetting some things and will correct that later), there is some fencing! Some of it is cyclone/chain link, and some is what everyone around here calls 'field fencing'. The chain link is 3 or 4 feet tall, the field fencing is probably 6 feet tall. There is also a gate to go with the chain link. No posts, but that's no problem. I have t-posts galore.

We have a 3 stall pole barn - two horse stalls and one more open stall that was probably used to keep hay. Right now we use the whole thing as a shed, but we are likely building a garage this summer, and I would be able to put some animals into one stall...but they need some outdoor space that will let them get fresh air without falling victim to predators.

So this is wehre I need you, dear homeastead readers! I would like to use the fence for an animal enclosure, but most of it is the shorter chain link fencing. I'm wondering if I could do something like this:

What if I install the chain link, and then do arches up over the top of it with PVC pipe, and then stretch the plastic netting ground cover stuff over that? I've done something similar for our ducks with cattle fencing covered with poultry netting, and then a trampoline mat over the top. It has worked fine and held up well. I generally go around the base of our animal enclosures with large logs, concrete blocks, or something equally heavy to discourage predators from going under. I'm wondering...if I did something like this, would it be possible to raise a pig or two? If not, I am sure I could make it work for turkeys. We have had turkeys before, so I am more comfortable with them. I have minimal experience and exposure to pigs or goats. What say you? I'm fairly certain that I would need more of a fortress to keep goats in, but I am not positive about that. (I'm also not positive about exactly what we would do with goats. Are there breeds that would give us both milk and fiber?)

Yes, I have a lot of questions. You input would be really, really helpful. Please let me know what you would do if you were blessed with similar materials, what animals you would choose - anything you would like to share!

Thanks so much,
-Laura at TenThingsFarm

This post is linked to Farm Friend Friday. Join the fun!

11 comments:

Prairie Farmstead Ponderings said...

Congratulations on receiving so many blessings from your neighbor! I know you will put them all to good use...one way or another. I am very happy for you!

I don't have any experience raising farm animals, so I can't give you any solid advice. My greatest concern would be creating something sturdy enough to keep the clever coyotes out ~ but, then, I'm not sure if coyotes are a problem in your area, or if it's mainly dogs.

I'm anxious to watch the progress of your greenhouse! Good for you!

Love and hugs, as always.

Carolyn Renee said...

We tried cyclone fence for the goats, thinking it would be the most heavy-duty of any fencing, but they just stepped in the holes & bent it out of shape. You'd definately still need an electric wire on the inside of the fence to keep the goats from stepping in the fence & possibly climbing the fence.

Whiffletree Farm said...

I have seen make-do animal shelters where they put palates along the side and back walls, nailed together, so the animals wouldn't push the flexible walls out. You can make them any size you want with any type of structural material from PVC to 2x4s.

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Good for you on all the freebies! That's great!

Pigs root and push and dig. Even if you used sturdy t-posts and welded wire cattle panels, you would need to run an electric wire about 15 inches off the ground around the whole inside ...to keep them OFF the fence.

Goats love a challenge so they push fences too ...also climb them, jump them and dig under them. Goats are clever ...and tireless in their efforts to prove it.

All that said, I think the enclosure you describe would be perfect for a turkeys.

Ten Things Farm said...

Well, so far y'all are really helping me talk myself into turkeys. For one, I 'get' poultry, more or less, and I really enjoy birds and their inherent goofiness. Two, my across the road neighbor's pigs once escaped whilst I was pet sitting and chased me with much glee! Three, goats...well...I just don't know if I'm made to be a goat farmer. Bourbon red turkeys, on the other hand....that sounds like a lot of fun!

But...what about sheep? I do like to crochet a bit, and they could mow the field....no?

Anonymous said...

Darlin' Daughter,

I don't believe I ever told you about our one experience with goats when I was a girl. Daddy came home one day, got the truck and came home with two rather large female goats he had bought from some guy while they were killing a quart of Old Crow. They were tan and looked a lot like deer. We put them in a chicken yard we weren't using with a 5 foot fence. There were black locust trees and other trees in the pen. It was about a quarter of an acre.

Well, they jumped up on the trees and bit into the bark about 6 feet above the ground and stripped it all off the trees and killed all of them (the trees). Then he put them into a field across the road with a higher fence. There was a hog shelter about 4 feet high there. They climbed on top of it, jumped the fence and proceeded to raise merry HE couble hockey sticks all over the farm.

I believe they ended up being barbecued for the August birthday bash for me and my two aunts.

I know nothing about turkeys, but I think they'd probably be less trouble.

Love, Mom

Buttons said...

Hello I know that pigs will root up everything, they even tore up our cement floor in our barn once after they made one hole. You need extra strong fence for pigs. Goats electric seems to be best they are very smart also. Unless you like running I would rethink those ideas you have. Good luck. There is lots of good advice on these blogs keep reading. B

the Goodwife said...

I found you through Farm Friend Friday.........you can milk Pygora goats as well as getting really nice fiber. I'm all about the hot wire fence for keeping anything in, we use it for our goats as well as our horse and our pigs.

Congrats on getting so much great stuff!

Teresa Hord said...

We have a saying on our ranch...
"If you can throw a bucket of water at a fence and it goes through it...so can a goat!"

We had quite the struggle when we first got our goats. See Exhibit A: http://www.quartzridgeranch.com/2009/07/goats-goats-everywhere.html

I would suggest 4ft climb fencing with hot wire on the top and bottom. They will test it on a regular basis.

Teresa said...

I love my goats! They are pretty good about staying where they belong, but they have a very large area to browse. There are goats that will provide both milk and fiber. Miniatures might be easier to keep in?

Verde Farm said...

Wow-I don’t know about the goaties but I would think it would work for a couple of piggies. They love those little igloo dog houses and you could put that in there for them--that may work. I am sure it would work for your turkeys though :)

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