Ask, ask, and ask again…. I asked so many questions and graciously received an enormous amount of good advice. Everyone’s experiences contribute to the successes of “mini farms.” The local tractor supply and feed stores are always a good start (especially with feed and medicine), but I went a step further and visited people who raise animals for a living. They were all very willing to answer my silly questions as long as I walked and talked and of course…. that was just fine for me 🙂
From a small barn, coop or 3 sided shed… you have to think of weather, water, shelter, drainage, food, and protection from predators (fencing which requires electricity). For me, the electrical parts are always most complicated for one to do without professional help. The fencing which comes under shelter was another important part of the process. Who knew goats could be so clever, and chickens can dig to china?! Automatic censored lights that come on at night and or trail cams are not expensive for the most part and are well worth the peace of mind. So once having all my questions answered (animals are occupying the garage makes for a quick turn around – LOL), make your decisions on what will work best for your circumstances.
What I felt was very helpful were the online forums to see others opinions on the topics at hand. Also, before buying any material you have to do a little research for where you can pick material at a good price. When ever we could, we kept money local to help our community (i.e., rough cut wood vs. home depot lumber). Of course, recycle when can and Craig’s list is good for certain things (feeding bins, waters, feeding scoops, old fencing, milking stands). Of course you will build the perfect set up and 6 months in you will want to change or add something to make your “mini farm” life so much easier. Could have, Should have, Would have – hahaha
Like I have stated in other writings, I never thought this would be me! Living in the country is easy, but having live stock that count on you day in and day out…. is another entire story. I love the greetings every morning, it brings so much joy…. With that being said, it brings me to another important point…. having a back up to help you with your animals!!! Everyone wants a vacation, a long weekend, and someone is always getting married. Then it hits you! “The animals.” For us, our neighbors are wonderful, but we can’t always depend on them entirely because of their schedules so I have a service that comes to me. I find most charge by how much they need to do in the visit or a flat rate each visit. Have the back up in place and you can pack your bags with the comfort of knowing your livestock will be safe 😉
Update: My boys came through the castration with no complications (thank goodness). All ready I have noticed the one goat has lost the “goat stench” that is supposed attract the females during breading time. He stunk so bad, even after washing up his stench lingered. But now all is well and we enjoy our time together 🙂 I’m looking to add another small goat in the spring. I have the room, but most of all I think it would be good for the boys to have another to occupy them and change the guard over the bale of hay they seem to fuss over. Doing my research now 😉 We will see!!!
In just a few short weeks we will be preparing for what will go into the ground for the 2017 harvest this summer and fall…our list of organic seeds has reached it’s max. We use container gardening here because we live on a bed of shale rock and it’s impossible to have gardens in the ground. My next blog will be on Container Gardening.
Enjoy your animals and enjoy the process of putting it all together! It’s worth the time and effort I assure you…
Looking forward to the spring 🙂