We took advantage of the long, though very cold, weekend to get a passel of projects done. The biggest job was digging out the goat’s stable – like many goat folks, we let it build up relatively thick during the winter, allowing the hay to compost and produce warmth. The disadvantage is that when the cleanup happens, it’s a lot of work. If we could redesign the barn, we’d make it so we could push the tractor’s bucket right into the stalls!
I actually got a reprieve from that big job, and instead was busy with some construction projects and maintenance around the farm. Yesterday I did some light jobs – fixing the chicken coop doors, rearranging the feed room to make room for the brooders, modifying the new duck house. Today, I did a couple more projects while the rest of the family worked their butts off on the goat stall. To keep the goats busy, we gave them the rest of our Christmas Tree – we’ve been handing them sprigs every day, but they made pretty short work of the tree today.
Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! How tasty are your branches…
The first project today was to build the kidding stalls, as our two older goats, Gracie and Jessie, are due in March. Our plan is to open up the wall between their stall and the adjacent one (formerly the duck stall) and let the momma’s use the extra space. That wall is easy to remove – it’s dimensional lumber that slides in/out of brackets.
Instead of buying plywood and 2x4s (have you seen lumber prices recently?) to make a wall sturdy enough for goats, I salvaged some heavy-duty plastic pallets and put them to work. The resulting stalls are about 5′ x 5′, taking up about half of the 10′x10′ stall and giving us room to make 3rd or even 4th kidding stalls in the future.
Voila! Kidding stalls! I cut a couple rectangular holes in the pallets to let the girls see each other.
I wanted to make walls that would be sturdy, but still could be removed relatively easily, and came up with the idea of hinged walls that folded against the side of the stable.
Jasper watches the walls unfold.
All that’s left is to make the doors themselves, for which I plan to use some scrap lumber, or maybe wooden pallets. We’ll also make some lamb warming huts with some surplus 55-gallon poly drums I’ve salvaged.
The next project was simple – a tray to catch the hay from the feeder. Goats are notorious hay wasters – once hay hits the floor, they’re not interested anymore, and it becomes bedding. My hope is that this tray will reduce that a little bit.
Stand by for the next Flying T contest – guess the birthdate, #, and genders of each doe’s offspring!
The girls don’t care, as long as the hay tastes the same