Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New and improved hayshed

Nathan and Lloyd completed their hayshed project. Previously the hayshed had no manger, just holes cut out of the side of the building so the cows just stick their heads inside and grab a mouthful.
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However, not only did this cut down on the amount of usable floor space for storing hay (the cows can reach in surprisingly far), but over time the dirt around the building was pushed down the hill exposing and undermining the foundation.
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The new plan calls for: pushing soil back up the hill to cover the foundation and creating a level surface, building a long manger along the outside of the building and extending the roof line of the little hay shed so when it rains, all the water does not pour into the manger.

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Once Lloyd scraped and leveled the soil, they built the manger. And as is always the case around here, creativity and ingenuity make the best of the materials we have on hand and they come up with a design that uses old guard rails and posts. Then the manger is half filled with field stone and topped with a clay like soil to bring the bottom up to a comfortable eating level for cows (and provide more support to the foundation now that I think about it. Those guys, they are pretty bright).

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Next they added boards above the guard rails to prevent cows from climbing into the manger (Dirty Seven's tan steer made a good habit of that while the manger was under construction) and then braces to support and extend the roof line. With the last piece of re-purposed tin in place, the project is complete and we can move on to the next task (fencing in new pig pastures).

This hayshed remodel will make a big difference in the coming seasons as it is one of the few places on property that we can feed out through the winter since it is spring fed and does not require pumping or hauling water. We currently have 13 yearlings over there and they barely occupy half of the feed bunk space.

It is hard to describe, but it feels good to be updating the buildings and making them more usable. It is a very tangible task; there was no manger, now there is and it is more useful for our purposes. Now we can store more hay and feed more cows if needed. Oh boy!

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