Buttercup inspected the panels and approved the beginning of our nursery prep session. As you might know, we are approaching spring and that means baby lambs and baby goats. Hopefully, we will have about 5 or 6 lambs and a few goat babies… it’s so hard to tell, many times both goats and sheep will have twins! We have 5 ewes and 3 does, so I guess we could have as little as one or as many as 16!!! Probably not likely, since several of the girls are yearlings and first timers. They often will just have a single birth the first season. We have a lovely old building that we call the sheep barn. It’s a bit dirty and rough, but we would like to eventually really fix it up nicely. Until then, we’re making do… and we have some wonderful found and gifted bits and pieces to make the magic happen this year.
Duke kitty likes to get up in the hay loft! We would like to as well, eventually, but we don’t have a ladder and it’s not too sturdy up there. That will be Renovation:Later! Plus we really rarely have enough hay to put up there anyway. No matter, it’s there and someday we will be able to bulk purchase hay! Until then, it’s Duke’s kitty throne room. SInce the area is a nice 20 foot by 20 foot area, we decided that with the lovely old livestock wood panels, we could make it into three sections. One small lambing jug or nursery stall about 14 foot by 6 foot… and then a nice big maternity waiting area that would be 14 foot by 14 foot and then a sort of thin alleyway that would be 6 foot wide by 20 foot long. Essentially, three nice holding areas. The maternity waiting area would hold girls that we thought were going to be soon, so they could be easily wrastled into the lambing jug if they went into labor. And if we missed their labor, they would at least be in a slightly protected area to have their lambs without the whole flock pestering about.
Jess is showing off the lambing jug in the far back of the picture, and has the gate open to the maternity waiting room. She is standing in the alleyway.
First things first, we measured the panels out and they fit perfectly! It was like they were made for this plan of ours! Super! We had four of them… three were about 4 foot tall and one is like 5 and a half or something close. Not sure why, but hey, it’s fine with us. We dug down a bit to the concrete floor on the barn. That way when we actually muck out this barn, the panels will be sitting on the concrete. And the straw litter that is composting down not only adds warmth to the barn, it also sort of holds the panels in place. A sort of win win situation. We used the heavy hay feeder as a way to anchor the panels as well as screwing one panel firmly into an old work bench at the front side of the barn. The girls like to sit under it as a sort of hidey hole and it’s very handy to have a ready table to hold supplies and such.
The other side we wired into the wall and the side panel makes it pretty strong. It’s not going to hold in buffalo, but for our little dainty Shetlands and goats, it’s perfect. We might do a little more adjusting with a bit of lumber in the near future if we think it needs it. I do want to get in there and paint the panels, but that might wait a bit. Or who knows, if I’m sitting and waiting for an ewe in labor, it might be a great time to do a little painting!
It didn’t take too long and again, it was fantastic to have all the things on hand. This project was actually all with donated materials! When our wonderful neighbors downsized from their home to a smaller place a few miles down the road, they had some lovely things that needed farmy homes and we were sure ready to give them a home! They also had this big roll of a sort of plastic/foam liner… like car liner maybe? Not sure exactly, but it’s about a 1/8 inch thick and five feet tall. One side is crazy leopard skin print! But the other side is just old white. I took that and put it on two of the exposed walls that were dirty and just all sort of old and nasty. Ran that white liner all the way on the back wall, and around, creating a nice clean look in there! What is really nice is that the white walls bounce back a bit of the natural light and helps to lighten up the rather dark area without an ounce of energy. I need to do a bit more in there and then I’ll add a picture of the finished project. We added in three bales of fresh straw and added a few water pails and such to make it all real nice. We also brought a chair out for those waiting moment. And just to visit the ladies.
And as you can see by Miss Iris and her wide load, we really don’t have a long time to wait!!!