Now that you have farm and are actively getting it up and running to your standards, it’s time to ask yourself, “Are we ready for animals?” You might think that this simple little question is insulting to your efforts, but there is a basis for asking it.
This simple little concept came home to haunt the farm on Christmas Day. In Texas, we just don’t get snow on Christmas Day, but this year we did. The problem is, it was preceded by 4 inches of rain, and therein lays the problem.
Those 4 inches of rain stacked up on the trap covering the turkeys and chickens and long with the snow afterwards, caused a cave-in of the ceiling structure over the turkeys. Thankfully there were no casualties, but nonetheless it brought home that ever important question, “Are you ready for animals?” Many times we think our answer to this question is yes, and many times it is, but it is then that we find out we weren’t as ready as thought.
Such was the case with the poultry building here at the farm and even though the structure looked sound, it wasn’t. When you build any structure for housing an animal, it must be sound in its construction. After all, your animals are (or can be) an avenue of revenue, so they must be protected at all cost.
When building your laying house or holding pen, make every effort to insure that items like posts are securely cemented in the ground and root supports are securely in place. In our case, we did not make sure that the roof joists were of adequate placement to hold the weight of water, let alone the added weight of ice. To the benefit of our turkeys, the inadequacy was caught in time before any mortal damage could be done.
This lesson, along with many others will be waiting around the corner for the new and the experienced farmer. People seem to forget that domesticated animals are dependent on the human race being there for them.
Remember that they cannot get feed out of the bag and they definitely cannot turn on the water hose to insure they have water. Most importantly that cannot build a shelter for themselves. In other words, you are the “man” and they know it, so should you.
From shelters to feeding and watering systems, your animals depend on you, so make sure that you are ready. It is only when we learn from these incidents that we know we are ready to support the addition of animals to our farm.
As with any subject that we pursue as intelligent individuals, basic animal care is one that is searchable and extremely easy to carry out. Commonsense and a commitment to hard work will make you a trustworthy master of the barnyard.