George had a three-day weekend off from his corporate job due to President’s Day yesterday, and we made very productive use of the time. I don’t think I talk often enough about how hard this man works. He really has two full-time jobs, when you factor in everything he does around the farm, and I cannot express enough how much I appreciate all of his efforts. His passion for the farm is equal to my own, and he has to drive 125 miles a day back and forth to his office job. He’s amazing.
As I’ve mentioned before, we have recognized that the hay feeder we’ve been using for our goats is simply too small for seven goats to get their fill effectively. They’ve had to sort of fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to accommodate everyone, and let’s not forget we’re talking about five pregnant ladies in the mix. Not good. So we finally had the opportunity to provide them with an upgrade, with the added bonuses being that the new feeder helped stabilize the half-wall in their pen, and is much easier to load. Win-win for us all!
You can see the progress of building in the photos below.
All told, we spent about five hours or so completing the project. The hay loads into the feeder from the other side of the wall, conveniently right in front of where we store our hay! We are also able to load more hay into the feeder, which makes the goats happy – they weren’t clean out of food this morning like they have been with the old feeder, and this makes us all happy.
We are considering an addition to the backside of the feeder: a hinged door system so that the hay-loading area isn’t exposed and open. The barn kitty (who thinks he is a goat) Malcolm has figured out that it’s a great place from which to antagonize his “herdmates” by thwaping them on the snoot through the feeding slats. The little fuzzball got fixed last week, but he’s as mischievous, adventurous, and affectionate as ever. We had to keep the goats in the kidding pen while we worked, else we wouldn’t have gotten anything done. But Mal made sure to visit them. He wants desperately to make it up into the rafters. It’s just a matter of time.
The goats were desperate to figure out how he got up there, and why they couldn’t join him. There was quite a bit of conversation amongst them about this problem. Mal, of course, offered no hints. He just smirked at them from on high. Smug little cat!
This morning, I added some more bedding into the chicken coop, and mixed some of it up, but the flock was already doing a great job of scratching it all into the old bedding, so I left them to it. I’ll check on them again in a bit, and see if they need any help. With deep litter bedding, you want to mix in the old with the new, because more carbon helps to absorb nitrogen, and it actually starts to compost at the lower layers. We need to get some straw to put down for the goats, working on the same principle. The great thing about goat berries is that they are low nitrogen, and so they can be applied directly to garden beds without burning anything. It is good to let it sanitize in the sunshine for awhile, though, to avoid parasite loads getting onto what’s growing in your garden.
Speaking of gardens…is winter over yet? Bah!
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