Your farm/ranch feature must-haves!

Finnie

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This is a great thread! So much information. I didn’t think I would have anything to contribute, but I do.

Reading @farmerjan ’s post, I kept thinking about Temple Grandin’s book that talks a lot about how the animals perceive the chutes and other equipment where they are being worked. How things look through the eyes of the animal, and how that can make working with them harder or easier. Paying attention to those things while you are designing and building your facilities would be a lot better than wondering later on why your animals balk at certain things.

So I highly recommend reading this book. At the very least it was a good read and interesting. But I think the insight you would gain would be very helpful in setting up a new farm.

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whinneysfarm

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Finnie, thank you for the great book recommendation! I love the idea of building the farm with the animal's point of view in mind. Cooperative animals are certainly a guaranteed way to make life a little easier!
 

Thefarmofdreams

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I'd read up on some basic permaculture stuff. A lot of their philosophy is about making your work easier- ie rotating pasture in a certain order so you don't have to do poop management, garden placement to make it easier to maintain, etc.
If you're somewhere that it freezes, and you can get an old bank barn in decent shape... they're worth their weight in gold. Keeping your animals in the warm basement through the winter is amazing.
 

Baymule

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Such great advice from all, thank you everyone!

Building on farmerjan's last thought, desensitizing the animals to the chutes and trailers is invaluable for both animal and farmer. I live in a wildfire area so evacuations are a constant threat, and running the animals through routine roundups and loading in a calm setting will greatly help their chances of survival in an emergency. Likewise, having a nice setup with chutes and trailers easily accessible at all times will make this task much easier.

If you have an animal that goes nuts at loading time, spend the time, work with that animal until it can calmly load up. There are those that just go to pieces, fight, and worst of all, stir up all the others. Those are complete wackos-do not keep them.

In your situation, a fire, an emergency, literally life or death, you can’t have one or three crazies infecting all the others in an already tense situation. Identify those wackos and get rid of them. It may be the most perfect specimen ever born, but take my word for it, they are not worth it.
 

whinneysfarm

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If you have an animal that goes nuts at loading time, spend the time, work with that animal until it can calmly load up. There are those that just go to pieces, fight, and worst of all, stir up all the others. Those are complete wackos-do not keep them.

In your situation, a fire, an emergency, literally life or death, you can’t have one or three crazies infecting all the others in an already tense situation. Identify those wackos and get rid of them. It may be the most perfect specimen ever born, but take my word for it, they are not worth it.
I could not agree with you more right now! I'm currently dealing with some pain-in-the-butt animals and knowing how many good animals there are out there, the stress is not worth it. My biggest farm learning curve so far is realizing what type of animals I need to have to make my farm work, not just any will do.
 

canesisters

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I have spent the 2 months prior to each of my beef steer's Big Day training them to come into a dark stall to get a grain treat out of a bucket and to come into a small, narrow area of corral panels and the barn wall to get their dinner. On the day the trailer arrives I have him back up to the end of the 'chute' and the steer walks calmly into the area, looks the 'stall' over and steps up into the trailer for his treat.
The guy driving them to the processors has seen it 2x and has said both times that he's never seen anything like it in 30 years of raising cattle. ;)
 

Baymule

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I have spent the 2 months prior to each of my beef steer's Big Day training them to come into a dark stall to get a grain treat out of a bucket and to come into a small, narrow area of corral panels and the barn wall to get their dinner. On the day the trailer arrives I have him back up to the end of the 'chute' and the steer walks calmly into the area, looks the 'stall' over and steps up into the trailer for his treat.
The guy driving them to the processors has seen it 2x and has said both times that he's never seen anything like it in 30 years of raising cattle. ;)
Brilliant!
 

whinneysfarm

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canesisters, I love that - challenge the norm that most people know and don't realize it can be done differently. I've talked to some people about different training methods, and too many say "forcing them has always worked in the past, why change it". Another great point, just because the animal is temporary doesn't mean it can't benefit from training too.

I suppose an important farm must-have is good bribery food - some animals might have no problem living on only pasture or hay, but try waving a handful of grass in a pasture animal's face to get them to go somewhere!
 

Baymule

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@whinneysfarm i bribed feeder pigs into the trailer with boiled eggs. When it came time to load ‘em up for a looooong vacation in that pig resort, Hanging Weight, I was prepared! I didn’t feed them the day before, so they would be hungry. We backed the trailer up, opened the gate and i squished and dropped a boiled egg at the open end of the trailer.

WHAT? WHAT IS THAT FABULOUS SMELL??

They fought each other to be first to eat it. I backed up, squish and drop, then piled the rest in the front of the trailer. Out the side door, pigs rushed in. We shut the trailer end gate. Done!
 

whinneysfarm

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Baymule, I like the different type of bribery food! It doesn't have to be commercial grain, anything they find irresistible will do (bonus points for smelly!). Even better not feeding them a day in advance, I image that would make any animal happy to do whatever you say!
 
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