Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Movable sheep pen, sheep and goats

In a previous post I told about the movable sheep pen and that I'd take some pictures.
It isn't the greatest design. A whole season of use has given it quite a beating.

Here's some pictures of it.

In the top picture you can see the truck on the opposite side. The pen can move in either direction and I had just gotten done moving it so the truck is still in position. The ewes are all on this side.

We have part of it covered with a tarp to give the sheep some protection from the sun and also from inclement weather like rain and snow. In this picture you can see that the tarp is quite tattered. It got that way in the same wind storm on the 30th which had turned over the chicken pens. I actually never finished the pen. I have several 16' sheets of steel roofing that I was going to mount on top rather than have a tarp. Tarps do not hold up in the winds that we get, so I was going to have a more permanent top.

I mount the water buckets right on the cattle panel. This isn't a very good picture, but it shows one of the pulling ends. The 2 x 4's are doubled and the cattle panel is sandwiched in between. In a later picture I'll show how the chain is attached.

Here are how two of the 16' panels are attached end to end. I use quick-links at every joint. Five or six at each joint. The 2 x 4's are attached to the bottoms of the cattle panels with U-blots. The side boards are just single ones, not doubled like the pulling ends.

This picture shows three 16' panels end to end, although it is hard to tell. The closest panel in the picture shows the beginning of the rams pen.

The rams pen is 16' x 16'. It is divided in half. At first I only had a cattle panel as a divider but, the two rams, Dakota and his son Titan banged heads so much that they were destroying the panels. So I attached plywood. This has helped for quite some time but, even the plywood is taking a beating as shown in pictures below.

Here's how I attach the chains at either end. The chain is attached to a 6" eye bolt.

Here the truck has some tension on the chain. My truck has tow hooks on the front which is kind of nice because I can watch to make sure I'm not running anyone over.
Earlier in the year when I was using my Jeep Cherokee to pull the pen, I did run over Dakota. He was snooping around at the females and wasn't paying attention. His foot got caught then his whole leg got drug under. I looked just in time to see him thrashing about trying to get un-stuck. I thought for sure I hurt him badly. But, I was able to quickly lift the cage and free him. He got himself up and briefly limped, then promptly went about munching on fresh grass none the worse for wear. I did pray for him so I don't know if God healed him of any injury or if he wasn't hurt at all. Hard to know.

This is Dakota. He's a quick learner. After he got run over he now pays complete attention when the pen begins to move. He hops to it, prancing about and moves in the direction of the pull not wanting to get caught again.
Below are pictures of the destructive power of our rams.

This picture is the plywood that separates Dakota from the ewes. He did this shortly after I put it up. I was amazed that he could pound a hole in it like this.

Then later Dakota and his son began pounding the divider between them from either side and made this huge hole. If I don't patch it up soon they will get themselves together before long.
This movable sheep pen is still a work in progress. It's fairly light weight and moves pretty easy. On the down side it isn't very sturdy and breaks down easily. I move it twice a day. If it wasn't for the rams and if it was only on flat ground without rocks and saplings then it might hold up better.
I know next year I'm going to have to come up with something that is stronger.

The two above pictures are of three of this years lambs. They're rams and will be going to the butcher soon to become lamb meat.

And these two pictures are of the goats we inherited from the town. This one standing on the fence had a beautiful beard about 10 inches long when we first got them. He got a bunch of burrs in it and I had to cut it off. Still haven't found homes for them.

Until Next Time


Blogger Ryan said...

Thanks for the pictures. These were the fence panels I was looking at, but unfortunately, I talked to the local farm supply and if I wanted them I would have to order more than 50 unless I could wait until spring. Needing only 6 this was not going to be an option.
I ended up buying 4' high 12.5ga no-climb horse fencing which I turned into my own panels by building a frame around them with 2x4's. The panels ended up much heavier then what they would have been with the cattle panels, but I think they will be very sturdy and should last for a long time.
Looks good and hopefully you can come up with something sturdier for next year.

7:38 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Hi Ryan,
You're welcome. Sounds like you have a good idea there with making it as sturdy as possible.

I was just checking out your blog. It's fun to read about you folks starting out on a new adventure.

Good luck to you!

10:03 AM  
Anonymous My Edible Yard said...

Great blog. It's my husband's and my dream to be able to homestead one day - we've got the land already. Just have to be able to get out of the city. I'll busy myself growing veggies till then.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Doug Sharp said...

I just happened on your blogsite. My brother and I have used movable pens for two years now for pigs. We make them 8' by 16' using 3 16' pig panels bought at Tractor Supply. We make 2x4 frames around them, and roof over about 1/3 with metal roofing with tarp on the sides for wind break. This year we rigged up "outriggers" with wheels using 2x4's and old lawn mower wheels since we move them by hand. I am intrigued by your idea of using quick links to connect panels. We might steal that idea to reduce weight.

9:30 PM  

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