Protecting Baby Goats From Predators
Protecting baby goats from predators is important this time of year as we are in full kidding season. It’s March 6th right now. And we’re getting ready to start having tons of kids on the ground. And we don’t have a really good barn to hold kids, especially the number of kids and kind of how our operation works. We have, you know, 15 does that are going to be kidding. We bring in kids from our breeders as well and we raise them all in this tractor barn.
Protecting Baby Goats From Predators – Tractor Barn
Now one side of the tractor barn I turned into a meeting space, yoga room and presentation space. We put on events for PTSD, addiction recovery, that sort of thing in that side. That’s kind of my giveback to the world side and this is the business side where we, you know, raise babies. This usually has tractors and stuff. We pull everything out of the tractor barn this time of year and we clean it out. This space and then we have our pens in here to hold babies. And the reason we need a fully contained area is because we have coyotes around the property now.
Our Livestock Guardian Dogs
Our livestock Guardian dogs patrol all the bottom part of the land, but they’re not up here right next to the highway. We haven’t figured out how to contain them in the communal area yet, so we need a closed in space that predators can’t get into. Plus, we can keep safe from the wind. We even have generalized heaters in there. If we have really cold nights, we have our heat lamps and our electricity and our refrigerator. All our milk operation and everything with that is in there.
Revamping Barn Bay Doors
But I wanted to show you how we got creative in the last two years. So, these are three big open bays in the tractor barn and for about 70 bucks with Tyvek, we created our solution. And so, we run Tyvek that we attach on the inside and run it down, and then we’ll actually put sandbags on this bottom part. Now we have a fully composed enclosed area and then we attach this door with its door jammed to one of the uprights and we have a way to enter. So, we’re still in the process of this. We’re putting in our heat lamps. We’ll run our heat lamps out of our electricity to the center and then we have stalls for all the babies in here. So, you can see we turned the tractor barn into a really cool and closed barn.
Protecting Baby Goats From Predators – Pen System
And we’re able throughout the year to actually drop the temperature and raise it in here so that we can get some ventilation in and as it warms up. But here’s the pen system that we have and these worked out really nicely. They’re more expensive than I wanted them to be. They were 80 to 90 bucks a panel and they make a nice little 7 by 7, you know, pen and then we have a big 14 by 7 pen. So, as we hold back our babies, they’ll have a larger place and then you can see we have more panels there, but each enclosure has a gate to enter. We’re going to figure out a better latching mechanism, so that becomes easy to come in and come out of. The other thing that we’re going to do is put a barrier on the bottom.
Creating A Barrier
A barrier to contain babies. You can make it so that they have something that they are held back by. The nice thing about these gates is that they’ll open in both directions. We’ll have them open out and then we’ll create like a plywood barrier. Because then what happens when I go to open the gate, I don’t have a whole bunch of babies spill out. They all get held up by the plywood barrier and then I only have to step over it to enter. And believe me, that’s way easier than trying to push babies out with your foot as you’re coming into the pen.
So that’s how we’re going to manage it. That’s how we’re going to run our lights and our electricity and water. I’ll show you guys when it’s done, but one of the things I wanted to do is to help to present you with the possible solution. Because to put garage doors on this to put the thresholds and everything else in today’s world, it’s about I think what I paid on that side. So, I paid $3000. It was like 2k, 2200 bucks for the big roll up door and then I built the frame and framed it in and did all that stuff and that was another thousand in material and labor and time and energy. So it’s expensive. It would cost us 6000 bucks to put in three roll up doors. Or it costs us about 100 bucks to put up Tyvek in the door.
Remember that you know my expertise is in goats and in being resourceful and having creative solutions to work on your land. And that’s why we found that the Life Steading movement doesn’t only acknowledge land ownership and self-sustenance, but also acknowledges that we need to be well-rounded human beings to be able to give back to the world. And we need to use our land as a way to give back to the world as well. So, it’s a kind of a holistic look at homesteading. And that’s why we call it life steading. So, look deeper into that. We have a really cool online course that we’ll be launching here shortly with all the different disciplines and expertise. And I’m really excited to share that with you.
Cheers ~ Marc Warnke