|Arrival of the feed bunks! Another muddy day!|
|So much rain meant Jon had to work in the rain a lot! Dedicated to get the job done!|
|Finished project! Happy Cows! Success!|
First we started to lay out the "floor plan". We then contacted the local county office to visit with our County Feedlot Inspector. Our inspector came to the farm for a visit in November to check the site, overview our plans and give the "go-ahead" to start. The primary concern for the county, with outdoor feeding, is manure run off. We designed the patio with curbs and bumpers which keep the manure from running away, even in a heavy rain storm. Next we contacted local contractors to bid the project and worked with our banker to secure financing. So...why did we add this patio?!?!?!
Easy! We have more heifers calving each month, and we have a very low cull rate (percent of cows removed from the herd via sale), therefore each month our herd grows with additional cows-the result of excellent animal care! Our growing herd had plenty of space in our bedded pack barn for laying down, resting and sleeping, but as we add cows the amount of feed bunk space got lower and lower. We managed around this by pushing up feed frequently each day, as well as feeding twice a day. The cows never ran out of feed, but the competition for feed increased. Research recommends 24 inches of space per cow...so we added the patio. The patio also allowed the cows to go outside to enjoy the sun and get a little exercise. They enjoy the sun shining in on the south side of our curtain barn, but this was an added bonus! Even on a rainy day, there's at least a couple standing out there! Check out the pictures of the progress that got us to our final goal! Ultimately, the new Patio allows us to continue the excellent care our cows get everyday!