We are getting ready to catch the calf with the eye issues a third time today. This has prompted us to start looking at cattle handling equipment. We have decided to build our own chutes from railroad ties and cattle panels and two more pens on the far side of the barn. We think we can get all materials for under $2000. This is a next year spring project. We still need to take measurements and draft out a design.
I loaned our trailer and tractor out for two weeks and now I need to pickup hay. So we purchased a ball assembly to go onto our fifth hitch rail. We will now be able to borrow a gooseneck trailer. I spent yesterday getting my parents trailer to a point were it is usable. It's not very big, but it will work. I need to look at a set of forks for the tractor so I can pick up the hay all by myself. Another convenience, necessary item, as it is sometimes difficult to line up help for a day or two only. I will have to get a price quote on that from RDO. They have been great and easy to work with on equipment and add ons.
Our sheep deal fell through. The guy called back once and said he was still interested just needed to make transport arrangements. I called on Monday and left a message. I have had three more calls this week. The new rule is a deposit is now required to hold any sheep. I am going to update my craigslist posting to reflect this additional reality check. It is an amazing tool, but I have sorted the sheep multiple times and people just don't show up. I did my second minivan load! A tarp was thrown sown on the floor in the back of a minivan and sheep were loaded in! It makes me chuckle every time they drive away.
Our hay is baled and ready to be picked up. It did very well and we bought an extra 1.7 tons so we should have almost 13-14 ton this winter. Plenty to get us through any type of winter. Next year, with the additional acreage we will probably have to sell a few tons of hay.
It really does seem like we are gaining ground and making progress. The ultimate goal is to get it set up so one person can easily and safely handle every animal type. There is enough subdivided pastures to run two cow herds and two sheep herds. Pastures are weed low and growing edible grasses. I think we can be there in five to seven years. It will have taken some time but it is doable.