Time does fly.
January 2018 saw the new fences complete and a lean to, new roof and doors on the Tobacco barn. We were so pleased.
The Barn just days after it was finished.
Cows behind beautiful fence.
Now after a year we are still pleased overall but have learned a lot about gate placement, livestock travel patterns and mud.
We made one major mistake with the gates. We hung them in the standard fenceline configuration. This means the hinges are in line with the fence wire. The gates hang well that way and are fine if the gates are opened to let livestock in and out then shut again.
However if your intending to leave the paddocks open to a lane for watering the animals....they need to be able to open fully and lay alongside the fence out of livestocks way and secured against wind.
This requires the hinges to be drilled through the posts opposite to the direction of the fence...the hinges then need to be cut flush as not to hurt livestock.
*Note the top hinge is upside down, this stops the gate from getting lifted off its hinges if stock rubs it. It doesn't impact the strength of the gate or how it swings.
This mistake has caused two gates to get damaged...one by wind getting it swinging and bending it, the other was "Mischief" damage. She had an itch!!!
Mischief itch damage!
One of the other problems is mud. The gate into paddock 4 was a problem right from the start. Our land slopes, the slope from paddock 4 to the working lane is the steepest of all the gateways. Sadly it was the only location to have a gate that stock could see and would be worked through. We have discovered it is also a drainage for paddock 4. This never showed up the previous two winters but this winter has been exceptionally wet and for the first time we also have livestock.
It is a mess and the sheep don't like it at all. Plus continuing to use the gate makes the situation worse. Fortunatly we have a second gate to paddock 4 from the hayfield. The sheep will follow Ralph anywhere when he has a bucket and we are using the upper gate. The main gate will get a load of heavy crush in it this summer, in fact there are several places we will be using gravel to help drainage.
Cows tend to cut corners, here is damage where they come to the barn.
This is the other side of the barn where we spread a lot of large crush. We thought it was too much but now we see it was just right. The traffic area stays dry.
The Orchard gate, there was a washout under this gate from corral drainage, we filled it with about 2 feet of crush. The water drains through the gravel and the gate remains dry and useful.
We are totally pleased with the barn rebuild. The Lean-to gave the cattle great shelter in rainy weather and has enough room to store equiptment under cover. The addition of lights makes it extremely useful.
The lights are mounted under the edge of the roof. They are set to shine out into the paddock.
There are two dust proof barn lights mounted on the inner wall and there are also plug ins. For calving and lambing this gives us extra space we can work in.
The fence Energizer is mounted in the rafters and is high and dry as well as out of reach of stock.
The sliding doors have made the barn so much less drafty on windy and rainy days. We have them set up to latch shut both from the inside, if we are working in the barn, and the outside if we are shutting things up for the night.
This is an inner latch. We use locking hooks that are quite affordable. This stops the wind or cows from working the hooks open.
We have eyelets on the 2x4 frame at various spots to allow the door to be locked partially open if needed.
The only flaw.....well there is 1 hole in the new roof. Old habits are hard to break. We had become used to shooting possum without much thought to bullet trajectory. I mean the old roof was seriously full of holes so we just shot where we saw the possum
Well Ralph shot a possum in the rafters and now.....if you stand just right....you can see the hole. Yes....in our brand new roof. He did kill the possum though. Now it just takes a bit more care to varmint hunt.
So after a year are we glad we invested in the old barn?
A resounding yes. The barn meets all our needs and still has room to fill.
After a year of the permanent fence being completed, do we consider it money well spent.
Yes we do, it does need some adjustment and some small changes but over all we are really happy with it. The portable netting seems to be a hot item but we think in our situation the permanent fence is more suitable. Our base design will allow the use of portable or temporary fencing if we need to use it. The permanent aspect means that if the stock gets out of their paddocks they won't get off the farm. (We hope, but anyone who has animals know how they find holes)
This spring and summer will see us learn more about our farm and managing grass. We love the thought of not bush hogging or mowing.
With year two of the rebuilt barn and new fences well on its way things are looking good.
God Bless all of you and keep safe.