Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fence Me In ...

For the past few weeks I have been receiving phone calls from my dad every day or two telling me about my cow that was out! It seems that the old (really old!) woven wire fence on the North side of the pasture wasn't going to cut it anymore because even our little cow could JUMP over the fence and get out. Yesterday we went down to the farm to put up our electric fence in hopes of curtailing "Cowdini" and to open up some more pasture for them. Along with the electric fence (we used the new solar fencer you can read about below), I also added a few more cattle panels around a couple trees in the old fence line to give some more shade for the cattle (when I say cattle I really me the heifer and the bull calf). It was almost a perfect day to be out and working ... well perfect for August in Iowa I guess!

Earlier in the day we attended a local estate auction. They had a little over two hay racks of house hold junk ... errr ... treasures and then some old equipment. Since it was such a nice day we didn't mind standing around and watching everyone bid on the junk ... err ... treasures while we were waiting for the equipment to sell. There wasn't much for equipment, but a couple of things caught our eye. We ended up getting a like new 100 gallon water tank, a five bottom MM plow (really that's for the uncle), a flare box wagon (will be good for going to get carbon material), a head gate, and a homemade wagon gear with a pile of junk and tin on top. Everything was going pretty well until they got to the tin. I was interested in the tin for building more chicken pens and for building a moveable shade pen. They started the bidding on the tin and didn't get a bidder (we wait until it hits 50¢ before bidding), when all of the sudden they decided to throw the wagon gear in also. Well, it wasn't all bad, because we got the whole shootin' match for $8.00. Now, I can mess around with that wagon gear and see if I can make a water cart, feed cart, or maybe just a utility wagon for hauling things around the farm.

It was a great day to be out at the farm and it was nice to get a few things done. I'll be posting pictures in the next few days of how the cattle are coming along. I think they are starting to look better.


Linda said...

Stumbled upon your blog. I've just started raising lowline angus and found many similarities in your blog to the daily dairy (well almost daily) that I keep on myspace. I was wondering if you have come up with a good way to build a movable shade structure for your cattle. I've been searching about the internet for some plans and haven't run across any.

Steven said...

I'm thinking about the exact same thing right now for my Dexters. We're pasturing on flat tree-less ground that only last year had wheat and soybeans. So far it's not much of an issue but soon enough the southeast Missouri humidity is going to require some shade. Without a tractor I think that the best thing for us is going to be to mount a tarp or metal roofing material about 6 foot high on a wagon frame that is small enough to pull by hand with one or two guys. My first ideas all included something like a sled but it would be too hard to pull by hand.
Oh and for tarp I'll probably use an old sign face from a billboard. They are free and heavy duty.

Rich said...

There are some plans for building a combination mineral feeder/salt feeder/cattle rub at:

I think that you could easily scale up this idea to build an easily portable shade structure, just build the wheel/sled and shade portion bigger, etc., and pull it with a pickup or ATV.

I would think that placing the tarp at a higher level (8' or 9') would allow your shade to "travel" over a larger area during the day as the angle of the sun varies. Since the shaded area varies more during the day, there would be less area disrupted because the cattle would be spread out over a larger area.

The main problem would be making the structure light enough to move easily, but heavy enough that it doesn't blow over. Maybe something more like a shade cloth would be less likely to catch the wind?

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