As we have slowly fixed up the barn, our goals have been for it to be a useful storage place and a shelter for livestock.
Since Hill Creek Farm is primarily a produce farm, the livestock needs to be fenced so that they don’t eat the produce (and plants!) we’re growing to sell.
Over the fall, Chris of Sandy Hill Construction, LLC, who has done most of our outbuilding work had some time, so we had him finish the third bay for goats.
Readers of this blog will remember that we have 8 chickens — which can be destructive enough to produce if they free-range, but nothing is as hungry of fresh, green growth as a few goats (never have just one goat — they are herd animals that need at least one buddy). So, if we are going to get goats and have them share the barnyard with poultry, we needed a good fence.
Chris did some research and came up with a fence that should keep in chickens, turkeys and goats (the livestock we’d like to house in the barn). There’s no point in doing a fence multiple times, so in November, Chris and his father, Tom, came out and put together this fence:
Note that there is no latch on the gate. It’s held together by chains that wrap around the gate so that escape artist goats (and all goats are escape artists!) can’t undo the latch and help themselves to the herb garden beside the house!
Here’s how the fence looks from the front:
Experienced goat keepers will note that we’re not completely ready for goats yet. The oak posts have to dry and get cut even, then a single wire electric fence line will be strung along the top of the fence and stone wall to keep the goats from climbing out and heading for the herb garden, front field, neighbor’s bushes, etc. Chris will come back and do all that in the Spring, plus we’ll be taking out the random stones in the barnyard and grading it so that heavy rains don’t turn the area into a mud pit.
If you’d like Sandy Hill Construction to fix up your farm outbuildings or build a multi-purpose fence for livestock, you can contact them at sandyhill_llc AT comcast.net
However, the fence is sufficient to take down the green fencing outside the second bay where we keep the chickens. Since we have more space, we could get a rooster so that the most productive of our 8 hens can experience motherhood.
After Pilgrim, our lead chicken, put up a personal ad on various Facebook groups, we found another small farmer here in East Coventry Township who had 5 roosters to choose from. My cousin Ed and I decided we wanted one of the white-spattered Ameraucana roosters, so all four of us ran after those two roosters until we caught one. This is what he looks like:
Continuing the tradition of naming livestock after characters from the Babylon-5 TV series, I named him Londo, since the Centauri have multiple wives.
Londo was purchased in August as a chick from the Pughtown Agway, so at only 4 months, technically, he’s a cockerel, rather than a rooster. He’s thinking about crowing, but hasn’t done it yet. He and Original Leghorn are becoming friends, but, Pilgrim, a Barred Rock, after a week and a half, is still suspicious of him. This is Pilgrim:
Hopefully, these crazy kids will one day (soon!) fall in love, or at least lust and we’ll have some cute little baby chicks in the Spring.
Meanwhile, Londo has decided to spend his nights on the tallest roost in the coop. Here he is, keeping an eye on the flock in the morning:
Chicken politics keeps us all amused, but hopefully, we’ll have our own chicks in 2016 that will lay a variety of colored eggs. Stay tuned for more chicken photos!