Sunday, November 13, 2011

Planning for the future


The new year is inching closer and closer and as it does with colder weather settling in my thoughts wander into farm plans for 2012.

2011 was a big year on the farm, several exciting projects were started or completed. The new rabbit barn was built, and while the format works really well overall, as it gets winterized during these next few weeks we'll be making some changes, the cages are going to be removed from the mounting racks, raised about 6 inches higher and hung to eliminate the need for an extra wire protection under the cages to keep nosey dogs from going after bunny feet and prevent any more waste from being trapped between the floor wire and the extra wire protection along with getting rid of the wood mounting which traps urine and other yuck. All in all though eliminating stacking trays and using a pressurized auto watering system when its above freezing has saved me so much time on rabbit upkeep it is just incredible. I absolutely love my rabbit barn and I think with these last few tweaks this November it will be just about as perfect as I can get it.

Along with the new bunny barn the old bunny barn was converted into a functional dog kennel which is a lifesaver with a multi bully breed home. The kennel is fully airconditioned and heated, each dog has plenty of indoor and outdoor space to play in and most importantly the kennels keep them separated and safe when I'm not around to supervise them.

The goat paddock was split this year to make a buck/doe section, a new doe barn was built and the wooded portions of each side of their paddocks was expanded, all of which makes for happy goats. A new hay/storage barn was also built for the goats which makes feeding much less of a chore with the hay stored so much closer to the goats.

Despite all of these great expansions there is still much to do on the farm and I'm making a list at the moment of the most essential projects I'd like to get completed. First on my list is a large land clearing project. As much as I'd like to do all the clearing on the property as naturally as possible, with what I want to do with the land I'm going to have to do machine work to clear about 10 acres or so in early 2012. The newly cleared land will serve many purposes; hay field, more pasture space for the goats and the pot belly pigs, future orchard/vegetable garden plots, new dog yards including an agility field - ideally I'd like to have a pretty nicely sized yard for each dog with a dog house for them to stay out in on nice days as opposed to the kennels which are still spacious for confinement purposes.

The land clearing will undoubtly cost alot of money, but thankfully some of the lumber will be sold to help defray a portion of the cost. This project will also be in stages as after the land is cut the soil will need to be worked before anything can be grown on it.

Along with this massive clearing project I'm planning there are a few smaller projects such as a new kidding barn and pen in the doe paddock for the goats. I have a bunch more ideas but of course with the expense of the clearing project most of the other ones will be put on the back burner til its completed.

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