Sunday, September 21, 2008

The End of Summer and a fenceline hay feeder

The weather here in east central Minnesota has been fantastic lately. I love the glorious last days of summer where mosquitoes aren't an issue, the garden is producing like crazy, the lambs are almost grown and weaning is forgotten in the past. Fall breeding plans are on everyone's mind and the leaves are starting to turn colors. It's such a great time of year!

The apple tree is loaded with apples.

The flowers have filled in their pots...

Last year's poinsettia is looking fantastic...I hope I can get it to bloom again this year.
And look at Dougal's fleece! Yes, life is good this time of year...

BUT.....In the past few weeks, all of our vehicles decided to have issues. The old Pontiac 6000 was deemed too old to fix again so we junked it out. Our oldest son bought this car with financing from his grandpa. When he upgraded to a newer car, we bought it from him so his younger brother could learn to drive with it. When the youngest got a newer car, Stan decided to drive it to work instead of the truck in order to save on gas. Our driveway looked like a used car lot with all the vehicles! So one less is a welcome relief, but it was kind of sad seeing it hoisted up on that truck.

Soon there will be even fewer cars in the driveway. Our youngest will be moving to the cities as soon as he can find a job down there. He starts the Digital Video Editing program at Minnesota School of Business in Richfield at the end of the month. His friends are renting a house very close to the school, so there's a room waiting for him as soon as he finds work and can afford to pay rent. Until then, he will live here and commute two days a week. We're keeping our fingers crossed for him!

We set up this new feeding system inside the pole building yesterday. Yes, my plan was to keep the sheep out of the pole building this winter, but with the recent heavy rains, I broke down and let them back in again. It's so nice to feed them inside on rainy days.
It's just a half sheet of leftover metal siding from the pole building, cut to length of the hog panel fence (10 ft), with holes drilled in along the bottom for lacing to the hog panel and three holes along the top edge to hold it up at an angle. I may add a rain gutter as a trough along the bottom edge of the metal siding, but inside the fenceline. That would catch the little tidbits that fall through and also serve as a grain feeder around lambing time. The older ewes avoided the new contraption, but the ewe lambs went right up to it and started chowing down. We covered all the edges with Duct tape so they shouldn't be dangerous. We put two of these up inside the pole barn and we could certainly put some outside too if we have enough leftover siding.

My new Ile de France ram lamb is coming on Tuesday, I can hardly wait to see him! I plan to use him on the mature Shetland Mules and I might use him on a Shetland ewe (Mabeline - my best Mule lamb producer). His father jumped the fence at his farm and bred several Shetland ewes last spring. They delivered crossbred lambs this summer with no problems. So I may skip the Mule stage of the three tier system this year and compare the difference between a direct cross versus the three way cross (BFL/Shetland/Ile de France).

2 comments:

  1. I like your fence line feeder. A nice, simple design. I was planning to rebuild some of my hay feeders. I may keep this idea in mind.

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  2. Thanks Carol. I'm really enjoying using these feeders. It's so nice not having to walk in among the ewes holding their hay and worrying about bits falling in their fleeces. There is less wasted hay to clean up and we don't have much pushing and shoving at feeding time.

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