Monday, May 28, 2012

Moving the animals and the hoop house

The one part of moving that I am not looking forward to is moving all the animals.  Thankfully all of our animal housing was made with an eye towards portability.  Our first chicken coop was built on top of a 4x4 plastic palate.  Two people can easily move it.  The hardest part will be getting it out around the lilac bush and small oak tree. 
When we bought our newer chicken coop we had recently acquired an old trailer missing its decking.  The coop fit perfectly on top.  All we need to do is winch the trailer onto our road legal trailer and drive away.  We might even move the coop with all the birds inside.

The goats themselves won't be as easy to move as the chickens, but their housing won't be much trouble.  Their first home was a calf hutch.  As they grew my husband made them a "run in" which gives the goats a covered area outside their hutch.  With all the rocks around they are quite content.  Too bad we can't move any of the rocks; I know the goats will really miss them.  Temporary fencing won't be too difficult either.  Right know our entire goat pen and most of the chicken run is made from 16 ft cattle panels cut into 8 ft sections.  Two trailer loads should move the goat housing and all the cattle panels.

We have also used cattle panels to make a temporary hay storage area and a greenhouse.  Surprisingly, our tarp covering the "hay hut" has lasted 3 years.  All we'll need to do when we move the hay hut is throw away the tarp, disconnect the boards along the bottom holding the shape and load it up on the trailer.

The greenhouse or "hoop house" was a fun project and one I am definitely not leaving behind.  Right now it is approx 8x9, but I would like to add one more cattle panel and make it 8x14.  Hopefully we will be able to reuse the plastic.  When we first built the hoop house I used regular plastic because I had a bunch left over from another project.  That lasted one year and then disintegrated in the sunlight.  Greenhouse plastic was really not any more expensive than regular plastic and has held up beautifully.  I could probably get another couple years out of it but we'll see how the plastic survives being taken off then put back on.  If I end up making the hoop house larger then I'll probably get another whole sheet again and use the older plastic for some smaller hoops for seasonal protection in the garden.

Cattle panels are useful for so many things.  I am glad we have purchased so many over the years.  Cattle panels are nearly indestructible by the goats, although a few are a little bowed from the goats rubbing along them.  Chickens and baby goats can easily get through the panels but we have put chicken wire along the bottoms of the panels in the chicken run and coated 2inch by 4inch 2ft tall wire on the bottom of the panels in the goat pen.  Moving the animals is something that will have to be done fairly quickly once we get started, and is the main thing that must happen before we can start staying at the new house.

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