Archive | August, 2014

Hog waterer mod

22 Aug

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I picked up one of these 100 gallon stock tanks recently after Wayne of Green Acres Farm recommended them.  I had a bit of trouble getting the float to work right in the hog trough, but once I got that straightened out it seems to work just fine.

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The only problem was that it’s just too darn low to the ground.  All the market-weight hogs have to kneel down and shuffle up to the drinker on their knees.  This leads to them wallowing out a big spot to stand right in front of the waterer.  In one case they nearly dug a big enough hole to have the entire tank tip over into it.

So it needs to be a bit higher, and it really could stand to be easier to move.

Enter a few used 6″x6″ posts and a couple of L-brackets.

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The L-brackets hold the 6×6 skids to the bottom of the stock tank, with a couple 4×4’s tying the skids together.
I added a pair of big eye-bolts to make it all easy to pull around with the ATV.

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The pigs seem to enjoy not having to grovel for their water anymore. It’s also much harder for them to tip over when it’s getting empty. Big skids = low center of gravity.

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Slurp!

Cowhide

22 Aug

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The time came this morning to take our cow Paint on a one-way trip to the butcher shop.  He was always a very pretty cow, though being a boy, he was unfit for keeping around in the herd.  Beef it was.

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But still, it would be a shame to let such a pretty cowhide go to waste wouldn’t it?  Add to that the fact that my wife has been wanting a new living-room rug and I saw the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  Cowhide rugs are a legit thing right?  I swear I’ve seen them in Ikea.

I made it back home with an empty livestock trailer and a very-fresh cowhide in the truck bed. After a lot of scraping and skinning and a little bit of trimming with one of our trusty Mora’s I got the hide all stretched out over 4 pallets to dry.

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Keep in mind that a pallet is 4′ by 4′ and you’ll quickly come to realize that a cowhide is quite large.  It’s very nearly 8′ by 8′ after I trimmed of the neck, head and a bit on each side.

The hide needs to be dried out and salted as quickly as possible (or so I’ve read) so I drug out a box-fan and went to pick up some salt.

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A lot of salt.

At this point it’s pretty much a cowhide-shaped pile of salt.

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Once it dries down the real fun begins.  The tanning recipe calls for bran-flakes AND battery acid.  What could possibly go wrong?

Tire Tank

14 Aug

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Just a year or so before we sold our farm in Missouri we installed a couple of neat livestock water tanks made out of old tires.  They worked really well, and ever since moving up here we’ve wanted to try another tire tank to see how it would work in our new colder climate.

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We procured a tire last year from a tire dealer in a neighboring town.  This particular tire is the biggest one they had at the time, a flotation tire off of a Kuhn Knight manure spreader.  The tire had been patched several times, but had ultimately suffered a puncture that wasn’t reparable. Tire places have to pay to dispose of old tires, so they’re usually more than happy to give them away to anyone crazy enough to want one. So we ended up with a tire that’ll hold 200+ gallons of water for free.

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There was already a backhoe here on the farm for a few days, ostensibly here to dig in a water line to my parents new house (just visible behind the trees at the top of the hill).  While they were already here we had them dig a little hole to put a rather large tire in.

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In the middle of the tire we left a 1″ PEX water line sticking up, as well as a 2″ PVC drain line.  The drain line has been buried so that it eventually empties 100′ or so out into the pasture.

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The PEX water line is controlled by this nifty “stop & waste” valve that is buried 6′ underground.  To turn the valve on and off you just use a (provided) 7′ long handle to reach down and turn it.  In Missouri we made our own underground valve out of PVC, but this bought valve is quite a bit nicer, it drains any extra water in the line after you close the valve which is a nice feature if you’re anticipating any very cold weather.

The wooden post next to the tire has a wire that has been fed from my parents house.  This will give us the option of installing a de-icer in the winter if we need to.

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With all the plumbing in place it’s on to making the whole thing hold water.  We poured a few bags of dry concrete-mix into the hole and filled the tire with a couple inches of water to set the concrete.  After a day or two of curing, it was time to install the float valve.

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After patching the one remaining hole in the tire, it was time to fill it all up and see if it works.  Luckily a water tank puts a lot less pressure on a tire than holding air and several thousand pounds of manure, our impromptu patch job seems to be doing the trick.

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In the next few days we’ll fine tune the float level and then, when we’re happy with the water level, we’ll cut the drain pipe off.  The drain pipe will end up being a 1/2″ or so above the water level, but still below the top of the tire.  That way, if the valve ever fails “open” the excess water will all flow out of the drain, instead of over-topping the tank itself.  The drain pipe isn’t glued into place, so in the event that we’d want to drain the tank we just close the stop & waste valve, and pull out the drain pipe.

Pig Pillow

12 Aug

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I went out to shut the doors to the chicken coop the other night when I spotted this.

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Margo and her piglets all piled up at the edge of a brush pile.  The smallest gilt (girl piglet) was completely draped over her mothers side, feet dangling off the ground all night.