Monday, January 6, 2014

Plenty of Space

I now feel settled into the routines of winter.  School vacation allows for more than completion of each days routine, it allows for reflection.  This year the chore routine is different as our barn is still under repair.  The understory is full of cribbing as the steel lolly columns are replaced with hewn posts.  The craftsmanship of the repair is incredible but one of my favorite features is the functional frost free faucets.

Typically the pigs come back to the barn and barnyard for winter.  Even though the pigs always had access to the outside I discovered the large pen 20'x30' was large enough they did not go outside to go to the bathroom and I had to clean the pen each week.  This winter the gilts are in an area at the base of the pasture in the backyard.  Having the pigs in the backyard is not ideal but was the best option as the paddock has piles of stone from the repairs and I did not want to walk through the snow up the hill into the pasture to feed and water (they will also till and fertilize for a new garden space.)  The five gilts share two moveable huts Mike made from reclaimed fence posts and tin removed from the lower level ceiling.  As with all things made by Mike, I describe what I would like and he improves upon it. 

Our new three month old boar, Corc, and his meat pig brother are in a hog paneled enclosure on the north side of the barn.  We completely cheated when sheltering them and simply set into the large enclosure the large wooden crate we transported them home from New York in.  They have been here since the weekend prior to Thanksgiving and have grown in little chunks.  They burrow into the hay for warmth, leaving the box to eat, drink and poop.  We will electric fence train them in the spring.

The winter routine is different this year with no poop scooping and water that does not freeze in the barn.  Even without the ample space of our barn the animals keep warm and toasty.

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