Barn Mangers – Rev 3

Over the past few years I’ve designed a number of different barn mangers for the sheep. The first was a slot feeder where the hay leans forward and the animals pull it down to eat it. I found this method resulted in a lot of vegetable matter in their wool around the neck area and large amounts wasted as they always reached up for new feed rather than eating what was in front of them.

 

The next feeder had a backward lean to the hay so that the sheep had to pull it up and into a trough to access it. They were much more efficient with the feed with very little vegetable matter in their wool. The only trouble was the dominant girls would butt the others down the length of the trough and not allow them easy access. They were bullies.

 

So after considering my options I decided to use an “V” style system in front of the manger made out of 2 x 4’s that would limit the sheep’s ability to butt the one to either side. This worked great. Happy sheep, better sleep

 

It was finally time to build the new mangers in our permanent barn and using the previous 3 designs I came up with this.

 

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After selecting your front two points you can then use Pythagoras to determine your other two corners and build a square structure. I highly recommend this approach, even if your not planning on drilling holes for a permanent structure.

 

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With the holes drilled you can plumb your posts using some base material without the need for a whole bunch of cross bracing. It is only a manger after all.

 

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Squared up the next part of the manger is the trough for the feed to sit in while the girls munch away. We notched ours around the posts to help prevent any additional feed get between the boards and land on the floor.

 

Down the long edge of the trough will be a 2×6 on edge. This will act as a “ridge beam” to provide support to the trough board and a flat space so that any small pieces can be easily consumed rather than falling into a “V”

 

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Here we’ve finished siding and have placed our angled supports from the “ridge beam” to the back post. This bit of cross bracing really solidifies the structure.

 

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The horizontal slats are in, this is what the hay will lean against and force the sheep to pull the hay forward/up instead of down.

 

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Some horizontal 2×4’s and some vertical 1×2’s will create the hold back in the manger.

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Here we have the finished product. With any luck this will be the last revision for the barn feeders.

 

One thing I did learn about this design is you don’t need post anchors to secure the base. These could be built with just posts and moved easily from one spot to the next. There is plenty of bracing and strength/weight of the structure to hold it in place.

 

p.s

For those of you who can’t go without an animal picture.

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Icelandic Ram

We’ve been thinking for some time that we would like to introduce a new Icelandic ram into our flock that would bring excellent genetics and help our girls produce large sized lambs with vigor and growing abilities. Wool is also an important feature for us since we have it processed and are in the midst of setting up our online store.

 

While researching the available Canadian breeders this spring I reached out to speak with Justin at Le Biscornu about their breeding program. He helpfully explained to me that they use an online tool called GenOvis. This program helps to select for a series of traits ranked by the breeder that is most important to them. Some of the traits included are; Carcass size, loin depth, a growth index, maternal skills and wool quality. A program I would be very interested in using myself this next year, once the barn is done.
 
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Le Biscornu Rams – The Morrit Horned Ram is the sire of our new lamb.

 

Next we had to decide on the specific coloring traits, horned or polled and fibre type we wanted in our new Icelandic ram. Ultimately we decided to go with a horned ram with a black solid coat. This will allow us to introduce additional coloring into our flock, produce some excellent sized lambs and create a new distinct genetic line for our farm.

 

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Our new ram coming from Le Biscornu

 

He’ll be arriving on October 10th after his long trip from Quebec where we’ll greet him in grand fashion at the Calgary airport before making our way home to Wynndel.

 

 

 

Shearing 2015

This week proved to be a fun and exceptional one with all of our farm help.

 

I’ll post some additional photos of the fleeces on our next blog update as we skirt it. For now, here is the shearing day.

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Lining the girls up to be put in their pen.

 

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Daisy making a break for it.

 

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Isis calmly carrying on.

 

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Who to choose?

 

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Tippy is first. Here we begin by “crotching” the girls to remove any organic matter.

 

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Keeping them on their back/bum is extremely helpful in the shearing process.

 

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Half way.

 

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Our girls get their feet trimmed once every 3 months. It’s amazing how quickly they grow.

 

DSC_0110Wren, so calm. A great ewe.

 

DSC_0100Finishing up Wren.

Accent

My first concept for the front of the barn was a a prow style peak which would jut beyond the twin bay doors. Our master carpenter pointed out that the reward for the amount of work to complete the prow just wasn’t worth the time.

 

Considering our options and lumber available a king post style truss was chosen as the feature for the front of the barn.

 

The design and construction of the king post was lead by Bent Hammers very own Corey-Gill O’Wells. With the experience and leadership of a craftsman it went smoothly, just like the rest of the barn.

 

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 Click on image to see a short stop-photography video.

Working together; Jeff, Cory, Aaron & Kaydon complete the featured truss at the front of the barn.

Footprint

 We thought long and hard about the size of the barn but you don’t really realize just how big something is until the frame work starts to go up. I’m sure there won’t be a spare inch not in use when we’re done though.

 

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Over the past couple days we completed the loft and rafter beams, a couple great milestones. Next week we begin working on the beams for the trusses and laying rafters.

 

 At some point I’ll have to strap on my camera and scale our monument like these two did in Vancouver.