New piglet feeder

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Footsteps Farm Journal, Page 9

March 25th, 2007

Spring has come at Footsteps Farm.

We've been really busy ordering supplies and building pig and fowl pens... While not all of these things are part of our grant money from the CT Dept of Ag, it all goes together to improve our operation.

Decran Ag Supply came today and spread 24 tons of lime on about 14 acres. The bigger truck did a great job but the little truck had some problems and spread 4 tons too thick in the Ox Pasture and he didn’t get another 4 ton spread very well in the House Pasture.


The Decran Ag Supply company's big truck spread 8 tons of lime in the 4-Acre Lot, where the work party cleared so much back in February.

Spreader   Spreading lime in the North 5-Acre Lot.
Small spreader   The Decran Ag Supply company's small truck in the House Pasture.
Lime in the Ox Pasture   Not a very good job in the Ox Pasture: the small truck had some difficulty with the equipment, getting the conveyor and the spreader to work correctly together. It spread 4 tons over 3/4 acres rather than over 2 acres.
4- and 5-Acre Lots   A great job spreading lime in the 5-Acre Lot (up close) and the 4-Acre Lot (in the distance).

The cost was $35.00 per ton spread. Next week they will come back and put fertilizer in just the 4-Acre Lot. They will wet the fertilizer and then mix in the 150 pound special pasture seed I had shipped in from Welter Seed in Iowa.

  Olive on the road
Ox Pasture

As you can see from the before and after pictures above we have started to make some changes.  We got 2 new Port-a-huts from The Barn Store in Salisbury, NH, and have set them in the Ox Pasture.  We also moved two port-a-huts we had, which are visible in the distance. Another hut is off camera to the left and I will get a shot of that as it has all the bells and whistles: piglet roller, farrowing bar, and sow fence (see below).

This picture also shows where the road will go through. It will go from top to bottom of the picture right where Olive is standing, to the left of the tree (which you can see is gone in the picture below).

Our first 150 chicks arrived on March 13th, actually 100 were supposed to arrive the week before but there was some issue at the hatchery. We have lost 4 to date (March 25th).

Fifty Bourbon Red Turkeys came on the 21st, all healthy and active.

Ox Pasture  

Everybody has been really busy here on the farm. Jeff has removed the stone wall where the road will go through (part of the CT AG grant). The road will go right in front of the tractor (left of the tree trunk) into the field beyond.

You can see here also the farrowing hut I mentioned above.

We have all been working to get the new brooders done and finally finished yesterday. Here are some pictures.

Chicken Tractor   All our lumber for the brooders is rough cut pine. The box is about 75” x 60”, depending on the size of the skylight I use (see below).
Brooder consturctcion  

The pine boards are 1' x 12' x 12'.

Several years ago, I got a bunch of used skylights from a developer who was removing them. I've used them for cold frames and greenhouses, and now they are great for the brooders so light gets in and we can easily see what is going on inside while the chicks are growing.

Brooders   You can see here how the used skylights work well.
Kevin painting the brooders  

Kevin got the new brooders painted.

New chicks are expected in two days so we are certainly ready.

By the way, did you see the great news on my blog about Kevin getting into the Ledyard Agri-science high school program?

Craig and a new pig feeder   We have also purchased two REAL pig feeders from Marting Manufacturing in Iowa. These are really neat and hopefully will decrease our "time to market” for the piglets. If we can gain just one month it will have been worth it. These were expensive and cost over $400.00 just to ship here. The piglet feeder was just over $500.00 and the Sow feeder just over $400.00.


Piglet at new feeder   Pigs are very smart animals. I trained the piglets to eat from the galvanized “trap doors” by filling them with bagels so that the bagels actually stick out the slot. They learned to lift the lids to eat. This feeder has 6 doors.
Fence supplies  

We have also purchased all of the fence stuff we need to fulfill the CT Ag grant. These are all the fencing supplies minus the 4 x 4 Posts. This will fence in another 2 acre pasture in the Ox Pasture which when divided in half by the road will give us two new paddocks.

Today I plan (after a Granddaughter visit) to fix the fence (a lot is broken and laying down after a miss-calculation with the hog trailer last week).

Repaired fence  

I fixed the fence. This corner was the worst but we had fence down all over the place.

Feed box  

I also fixed my old feed box. This is what I go to Manchester with, we get our grain from Central Connecticut Cooperative. I had broken the hinges.

Cattle panels   The cattle panels shown here wait to be used for five new Chicken Tractors, as does a supply of new wood. For instructions on how to make the Chicken Tractors, please see my blog from March 11 and March 28.
Round bale feeder   This round bale feeder works real well with Highlanders. Last Thursday we got 10 round bales of hay delivered by George Robinson. It’s good hay this year and the cows really enjoy it.
Farrowing hut  

One more thing that needs to get fixed today. This is the farrowing hut with all the bells and whistles which we hope will increase our piglet birth rate. I bought bolts to bolt this all together so maybe just maybe our sows won’t wreck it again.

We moved Perry the boar this past Friday. He is now in a paddock by himself waiting some female visitors. All of our sows are separated. Two that have had piglets are in one pasture, and three that have not yet farrowed are in another.

Now before I can watch the NASCAR race I have to fix two leaks in the basement—never a dull moment.

Until next time, cheers and thanks for visiting,



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