2015 21/09

If you give a woman chickens, she’ll want goats

After a much needed but not anticipated summer break from blogging, I’m hoping to jump back in this fall and share with you all some fun things happening around here. Of course the biggest news to share is our newest additions. The goats!

You know that saying that Chickens are the gateway to other farm animals? It’s true.

To give you a little backstory, Tim & I had talked about getting goats a handful of times. We thought they would be fun {seriously, have you seen all the videos on the interwebs?} and just an all around good addition to our homestead. But, in reality {ready: in my mind}, we were thinking of adding them next summer. It was the logical timing — it would give us some time this next year to get things ready, figure out housing and pasture for them, and we’d have all summer with no school schedule that would allow us to learn about the goats. And that’s where the plan took a turn. Out of my mind and my reality and into the present.

Tim started feeling like we should move up our timeline. My response, let’s just take it slow and see what happens. Then he went on duty with one of the full time officers one night. They started chatting about life and this other officer shared with Tim that they had a small hobby farm and were heavily involved in 4-H. I’m pretty sure Tim hung on every word he said from that point on.

Turned out that his family raised dairy goats. And that was the point where my timeline of next summer went out the window.

A visit to the fair to see their goats in action and a visit to their farm later, we were in. And, despite the crazy circus that is our family, this family actually liked us and wanted to help us get started with goats.

So the work began!

After evaluating different options on our property of where to house and pasture the goats, we settled on one of our separate horse pastures that already had a lean-to on it. And, after some creative planning, sweat, and hard work, the lean-to was transformed into a little goat barn complete with fold-down milking stand and storage space.

IMG_6080

 

What we did ::

  • Added an interior layer of plywood on the three exterior walls and ceiling to help seal-up drafts.
start
  • Added a new header beam and footer along the front to hang our sliding barn door.
  • Built and hung the front sliding barn door and installed latches.
door
  • Cut out and created a side entry door.
sidedoor
  • Cut out and installed two windows for lighting and ventilation. We reused two old windows from the property. Just added a fresh coat of paint.
back
  • Divided the interior to create a feeding & bedding area for the goats and a storage space for us.
interior

 

storagebefore
  • Added feeding areas for the goats.
  • Laid brick as the flooring of the storage space and installed shelving & hooks.
storage
  • Tim’s pride & joy…the fold down milking stand! Maximizing our space, he built a milking stand that folds down from the side wall and created a built-in stanchion.
milkingstand1

 

milkingstand2
  • Then, because the stanchion had the milking goat’s grain accessible to the other goats during milking time, we created another separation in the pen area to help keep the little goats away from the stanchion. This space will also double as our kidding area, when time comes, and a future kid pen.
kiddingpen
  • Lastly I added a fresh coat of paint on the barn and some updated barn art.
entrance

Of course we also added some cattle panels to the two exterior gates on the pasture and a string of wire along the bottom of the fence to prevent escapee goats!

Not too shabby for just about a weeks worth of work 😉

Be sure to check back soon when I introduce you to the actual goats!

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