Homestead tips from a real farmer, and best advice for tools and equipment to A L W A Y S have on hand at the barn.
9 Things I Always Have at the Barn
Never Get Caught Without These Things At The Barn
In my experience, things go wrong at the barn under some very specific conditions:
1 – You just ran up there to grab something and you’re wearing pjs and / or flip flops;
2 – You were on your way out and just noticed something out of place out of your peripheral vision;
3 – You have two minutes to spare before visitors arrive to look at a chicken / goat / rabbit;
4 – It’s raining / snowing / storming / there’s a tornado forecast
5 – A combination of any or all of the above
Therefore, there is a selection of things I always like to keep at the barn, just in case. I find that having these items quickly on hand can foil the escape attempts of most creatures, and fix whatever it was that they tore down.
I truly saw the value of the items on this list recently, as my mature bucks – angora and nigerian dwarf – all came into rut as the females began to cycle. While rut has previously always been a relatively civilized experience, this year the bucks really knocked it out of the ball park. The five bucks I had on property went wild, fighting each other with an aggression I had never previously seen and, no matter how many fences or walls I put between them, they simply flattened them and left them in their wake.
Buy yourself a small tote or Rubbermaid tub to keep all this in, or even one of the nylon bucket covers that you can get from Home Depot or Lowes and slip over a 5-gallon bucket. Having it all together in an easy-to-grab place will save time, effort – and frayed nerves!
9 Things To ALWAYS HAVE On Hand At The Homestead:
1. Zip ties
I keep zipties in three sizes. I like the 8”, 14” and 24”. I used to use baling twine (the string they put around bales of hay and straw) for anything and everything, but since the green string became more popular than the orange, I’ve found zip ties to be more useful. The green string frays way too easily and snaps at the least convenient moments, I’ve found. Use zip ties for temporary fence fixes, for pulling wire taut if it is sagging, for keeping a cage latched if the lock breaks (or if another animal has figured out how to open the lock!), for pulling tarps tight when used as windbreaks, the list is endless.
Scissors for trimming wings on a bird determined to fly out of a pen and get eaten by your LGD or a stray dog or coyote. Also invaluable in the situation where a bird may have gotten a stray piece of string wrapped around a foot (I find that the strings from feed bags are especially elusive, even though I am fanatical about picking them up and putting them in the trash). And, in the absence of battery operated clippers (the batteries never hold a charge to my satisfaction), you can carry them out to the pasture if a goat has gotten itself wrapped up in stickers, thorns or brush and needs releasing.
3. Fencing pliers
The one-stop-shop tool for hammering, pulling, cutting and prying. It’s everything you need!
4. First aid kit
via poppy creek farm
This is my first aid kit, here. It has everything that I keep on hand, and everything is what I would class as an essential. It covers the main disasters that can occur, including some random ones that have caught me out and I’ve learned from experience. In all but a few circumstances, it’ll get the job done, or cover your back until you can call a vet.
— Homesteading (@HomesteadingUSA) May 9, 2015
5. Knife / Leatherman
I keep a knife on hand at all times, and my husband carries a Leatherman all the time. You just never know when you’ll need a sharp blade, pair of pliers or a screwdriver in the barn.
6. Baling String
If you can get your hands on the coveted orange stuff, hoard it. It’s actually better for stringing tarps when used as roofs or rain shelters than zip ties, because it allows for some blowing.
7. Slip lead
This is for arresting a runaway goat! I always find that the one I want to catch is the one without a collar on… Also useful for leading horned goats who believe that leading by the horns is rude; one of mine will run right through the backs of my legs, head down, if I try to lead him by the horns.
8. Halter and Lead Rope
This is essential for anyone who owns horses. I do not turn out in halters, except for a particularly skittish youngster who hates to be caught (always use a leather or breakaway halter if turning out in one). If a fence is down, horses will often grab the opportunity to go looking for the greener grass, so keep one halter and lead rope on hand for each horse in the pasture.
9. Bucket and small amount of feed
It's good to keep one in the barn. In case of a breakout, rattling a bucket with feed works wonders in corralling the runaways.
That’s all, fellow homesteaders! Did you enjoy our list of 9 Things I Always Have at the Barn? Let us know in the comments section below what you thought of our list of 9 Things I Always Have at the Barn. Do you have an object in your barn that's a staple on your homestead? Share it with us and we’ll give it a shot!!
Katy Light has a 44 acre homestead in North Georgia, where she raises goats, rabbits, sheep and chickens. She is passionate about self-sufficiency, natural ways to live, and fiber. Find her blog at www.poppycreekfarm.com. She can be reached at [email protected].
Want to have a laugh with some funny barn fails? Then check out this video from FailArmy: