Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Puzzles of Agriculture

One thing I love about visiting other small time agriculturists is that I always come away with ideas to solve problems I am having. My most recent problem was water for the chickens. If you give them a small container the first thing they will do is walk through it, shit in it and then put all sorts of other stuff in it. Even if you have a chicken watering system which is an upside down bucket that empties into a tray they still muck it up. They will perch on top and crap into the water.

I visited a friend that keeps a small flock of hens in her yard Portland. Her set-up was immaculate, but the first thing I noticed was that her watering system was suspended above the ground with a chain at chicken level. Being it was off the ground, the chickens couldn’t walk through it and being it was suspended by a chain they couldn’t roost above it. It was a perfect solution.

I’ve inspired others with the way I do things as well. I have paddocks outside the horse stalls so our horses aren’t stuck in stalls all day when the weather is bad. They can come in and go out when ever they feel. The first year I used hog fuel in the paddock, but after a good dose of rain it turned to chunky mud. The next year I used sand and that turned to mud as well. After learning my lesson during the first two years, I dug trenches through the paddock area and laid drainage tile and drainage rock. I covered it with geo-cloth and then put stall mats on top of that. It never gets muddy in there any longer.

It’s an expensive solution, but a few horse owners have followed my example and they no longer have winter hoof problems.

I figure at this rate, in a few hundred years we will have all the problems of agriculture ironed out making it all much easier.


Blogger Donna said...

You know, I just said to Cliff yesterday when he was making a calf pen, "By the time you know how to really do a good job of fencing, it's time to die."

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, Donna and Guy: the first thing I thought of was......."In a few hundred years, we will all be rideing horses again, and they wont be in their stalls long enough to muck them up so bad"
Did I wake up pessamistic or what?

6:19 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Er...uh, interesting picture!

Anonymous - Now I'm wondering what that world would look like.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous g said...

i use a red and white colored waterer from the feed store. i've used it for the past 5 years or so and haven't had any probs.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous ColumbiaControlFreak said...

My waterers are up on a pieces of broken concrete high enough they can't step in it or poop in it. A couple pieces of stiff wire on top has prevented perching. Unfortunately none of this prevents the ducks from scooping up mud and putting it in the water.

I spent about an hour this morning with bamboo poles and a piece of heavy duty plastic sheeting making a temporary cover for part of the chicken run so they can be outside and not get drenched.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous dalia said...

i know nothing of farm animals. what on earth is winter hoof?

10:43 PM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

I think, Sir, that you are becoming the Benjamin Franklin of our time. A warehouse of ideas new and old and a place to learn how to deal with this new and exciting country of ours. Hello, and welcome to "Poor Guys Almanac". Hee hee hee! Even if I don't have the slightest clue what you are talking about, I still enjoy reading it. Isn't there some kind of tough grass or other groundcover that would survive the horses hooves, like crabgrass or zoysia or something? Hell, that zoysia is so tough I can't hardly mow it.

3:58 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, And doing it right will cost less in the long run, but it seems we try the least expensive solutions first and then have to re-do it several times before we get it right.

Loopy, they will always have stalls for their health and safety. The funny thing is people that think having a horse will cost them less than a car.

Lori, think road apples and lots of them.

g, mine still step in it and deposit things in it.

CCF, That cover would be very temporary here not that the wind has started up again.

Dalia, here in Oregon the winters are wet. When horses stand in wet conditions their hooves soak up too much moisture and they will rot and be unable to hold shoes. The old saying goes, "no hoof, no horse." This climate delivers all sorts of colorful names for maladies, Thrush, Scratches, Rain Rot to name a few. Most are fungal in nature.

Darev, Nothing organic is good and it's not good for the ground to have horses on wet pastures.

5:34 AM  

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