Sunday, January 02, 2011

January 2, 2011

Dear Diary,

Today was not so bad outside. The sun was shining for the most part and although there was a little more wind than I would say is ideal the temperature was nicely hovering around the freezing mark. I am glad to report that today ... finally ... just in time I'm sure ... I moved the pigs outside to their new hut and winter area. Plus, I filled up that new house on skids with lots and lots of fluffy straw so they could burrow in for a nice winter sleep. Now ... if I could just get a good water solution figured out ...

Yep, that's what I did this afternoon. The grower pigs are moved outside and the shed lean-to is ready to be cleaned out ... hopefully with the skid loader from work. As I said not everything is done. I still need to get a better water system figured out and I want to make a platform for the bulk feeder, but it is a start ... a much needed start! Hopefully this week I can bring home a couple 4x6's and build my platform to put the feeder on. Having the feeder on skids means that I will be able to drag it around easily and the area right around the feeder won't get bombed out. I'm not exactly sure if I need it or if it will work, but I want to give it a try.

One thing I did notice tonight as I surveyed the farm while draining the hose is just how portable my farm is. I have four permanent structures on the farm :: the house, the perimeter fence, the shed, and my loading corral. I will say though that my loading corral could easily be dismantled with the tractor and loader so I'm not sure if I would count that one. I like the ability to move and change things as the farm grows or changes. Of course there will always be a need for larger structures (like the shed), but the ability to move things around sure is nice.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how to make a movable brooding house. I'm thinking of doing something along the lines of my hog shed on skids except that I would put in a plywood floor in the brooder. Does anyone have any thoughts on the brooder? Should I think about insulating the floor and possibly the the whole thing? Lots to think about these days ...


Rich said...

There is a good plan for a brooder house on skids at:

I built something similar based on these plans for my mother to house some bantam chickens. Her's has some small doors cut for the chickens in the side for access to some outside runs, but is basically the same.

It was a pretty efficient structure to build, with a 8'x8' floor and 6' tall walls meant I could use full sheets of plywood and 8' and 12' 2x4's.

CJ said...

You are right on with keeping things mobile, Joel Salatin would be proud.

If it were me, I wouldn't put a solid floor in. You are just making more work for yourself and you will have to replace the floor in short order - unless you use pressure treated, but that just creates a whole new set of problems. All my barns have dirt floors and most I can drive the tractor right into. If you want a floor, I would use wire mesh / hardware cloth with a single solid path down the middle for you to walk on. I get wood chips from a local tree service for free that I put down. That provides the carbon for my composting.

Last week I sent a link to several videos of a presentation given by Joel Salatin. Here it is again, I believe it's #6 where he talks about the chickens.

Rich said...

CJ said, "...I wouldn't put a solid floor in. You are just making more work for yourself and you will have to replace the floor in short order..."

A floor is usually needed in a brooder to keep it warm enough for chicks. Layers or something like pigeons might be more suited to a mesh floor than chicks.

If the brooder house is built on skids it should have enough ventilation under the house to prevent the floor from rotting out too quick. The one I built has 3/4' plywood, is about 12 years old, and is still solid. Although the skids and floor joists in the one I built are pressure treated, the plywood and walls are untreated.

Chicks need something firm like wood chips to prevent leg problems. With a solid floor you can throw down a layer of wood chips, add more as needed, then shovel the bedding out of the door, sweep the plywood clean, and then disinfect it if needed.

Insulating the floor or walls will just give mice something to build their nests with. I doubt if you will have chicks in the house in the coldest part of winter, therefore a heat lamp should keep it warm enough without insulation in the walls.

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