Archive for October, 2011

October 24, 2011

Winterizing

There are pros and cons to an open front barn. I think I’ve solved the con- in this case, even though it faces south, cold air, snow and rain still blow in during the worst storms and the wind just makes it miserable. Cold is one thing, cold wind is another.

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 On the left hand side the gate to the barn is holding the tarp open enough for the girls to get inside. This gate will be closed more during bad weather and with grommets along the bottom of the tarp, it will help hold the tarp more securely with clips so it doesn’t flap about so much. The right side gate is completely closed as we have some round bales in there I don’t always want the girls to have free will at. But this gate can/will also be slightly opened during bad weather to allow them to come and go but still be sheltered.

These tarps wont solve the cold problem entirely but short of a fully heated barn, which isn’t going to happen nor is it good for the animals anyway, this is the best it’s probably going to get.

A friend of mine makes cattle panel hoop houses from these types of tarps. Believe it or not, they are actually used billboards. The funny thing, in my case, is that ironically the one we used for the front of the barn is an old Comfort Inn advertisement! It’s somewhat funny being on the inside seeing a huge Comfort Inn Logo and whatever catchy phrase they were using at the time to make you want to stay at their place. I should have gotten a photo of that!

I feel badly for the bucks though as they’ll probably end up with a State Farm billboard and one of them has a not to attractive gentleman’s photo on it. Fortunately, I don’t think they’ll care =).

These billboards were purchased from a company in Minnesota. If you’re interested, please message or email me and I’ll give you their name. They ask that you put the advertisement portion of the billboard to the inside or facing down (whichever is the case).

PhotobucketThese billboards come in several different thicknesses but generally they are about 13-17 mil’s thick on average I believe, and literally a fraction of the cost of similar at any farm store and will outlast any blue or grey tarp! Of course, they come in different sizes too.

You will have to install your own grommets, as we did, if you need grommets but that’s a pretty simple and inexpensive task really.Though I do recommend you do it in the sun if it’s a cool day and forget about getting it unfolded if it’s cold! They need to heat up to be pliable, a simple chore when it’s warm out and there’s sun. An impossible task if it’s not which is why we wanted to get them up not rather than later.

Eventually I’ll get enough clips to clip them to our installed eye bolts but for now, zip ties will due. We ran out of grommets too to put them down along the side which will keep them from flapping too much in the wind. I’d also like to make them  roll up for nice weather and to air out the barn/allow sunlight in but we ran out of time to get that all hooked up.

They’ll probably come down in the summer time to prolong their life and there’s no need for them during warm weather anyway. This is a task I can accomplish on my own as they are not so heavy that I cannot drag them to the grass to fold them up. The friend who uses them on her hoop houses is going on a 3rd winter with them and I believe they are out all year long.

I probably could have cut off all the parts on the one side that have measurements on it but to be completely honest with you, as I did some of this alone, I wasn’t in the mood to making it look pretty. It’s functional, and it’s a barn and while I am not opposed to making things look nice,  in the middle of a snow storm, I don’t care what it looks like if it works!

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This billboard was cut in half as we had used it to cover hay on a trailer during a bad storm and it was just too big to be efficient. Little did I know that if I had cut it in 3rds I could have gotten 3 tarps out of it instead of 2 and a 3rd that is seamed together but not matter, this can go up on the lean to and the grommets holding the 2 pieces together won’t make much of a difference. They’ll be peep holes, lol.


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October 3, 2011

Copper Bolusing

As mentioned before, I’ve always had a “problem” with copper deficiency. I think most do, and a lot don’t even realize it. A friend said to me, when I mentioned a doe of hers may be copper deficient, that no, she does not have a fish tail, she cannot possibly need copper. Well, given the fact she is a black goat and she was rusting along her stomach and back flanks, a good copper bolus dose of copper oxide rods saw her coat an health back! She was to the point of loosing hair. I think I made a believer out of her that just because the doe does not have a fish tail does not mean she is not copper deficient.

That said, I just happened to be going a little reading this morning on copper bolusing. This next site has nothing to do with goats per say, but does have some very good information on copper oxide rods themselves. I have tried the Irene Ramsey’s method of copper sulfate diluted in water and Pat Colby’s free choice copper sulfate method which most will not even go for. I really have much preferred the bolusing because A. I am accountable for how much they receive (and know how much they get) B. In the end, it takes much less time than other methods and C. nothing is wasted (much of the sulfate, when left out free choice, despite being under cover became old, water drenched, hard and un-edible, according to the  goats =)

http://pharmplex.com.au/Technical/copper_deficiency_cattle_sheep.htm

There are so many sites in regard to copper deficiency and goats. I think I may have even posted some. I don’t list them here, but I did want to offer up some valuable information as to why bolusing may be better based on factual findings (and is better in my personal opinion) than any other type of copper supplementation in goats.

I have not had so much as of a problem bolusing them either as far as the actual act goes (nor any other problems for that matter). I use a thin bolusing stick I picked up from Jeffers Livestock, put it to the back of their throat, press the plunger and keep their mouths closed until I know they’ve swallowed it. I find it to be one of the easier chores for sure.

I don’t normally measure in grams. Although if you were to, it’s 1 gram per 22 lbs. of goat for Copasure. However there is an easier way of measuring Copasure by using a syringe, which I would hope everyone with goat owns. Please read the following forum as someone has so graciously figured out measurements using a more common “household” item over a gram scale.

http://thegoatspot.net/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12539&start=0

So, all in all I have been happier with the results of the copper rods vs. any other type of copper supplementation. Now, if I could just remember to get the bucks BEFORE they go into rut, I’ll be doing good =).