My Hay Barrels

April 7, 2019

I have been using hay barrelS for quite a few years now and every so often someone will ask me about them, like today. Which was ironic because I made a new one today and took photos while doing so. Rather than linking to my old post about making them, here is a fresh new one.

But first, some info on my hay barrels.

It keeps the hay up off the ground (no hay pee piles here) and dry. Win and win.

It fits about a bale, depending on the size of the bale and the net and how low the net is attached to the barrel.

This is an easy project that does not need to be exact. I do not measure anything and just ball park and eyeball my way along.

Some of the steps can be done in different orders. So don’t over think it. Just do it.

Ingredients:

1 barrel – I usually manage to get barrels for free randomly. But even paid for they are cheap. Check Craig’s list and the recycling center near you.

1 large hay net – I prefer a slow feed type of hay net. Small nets will not work properly because the hay will not fall into them efficiently. I also use ones that have been busted up a bit and I no longer use in my trailer. I zip tie up any minor holes.

20+ zip ties – I prefer smaller ones for the barrel/net part and thicker ones for the lid. But I have used different sizes in different sizes.

Rope – a couple yards depending on how far it needs to hang.

A snap of whatever type.

A saw

A drill

Instructions:

The first step is to cut the bottom off the barrel. Throw away the end.

Next is to mark the lid. See the photo two below for the basic design.

I have found it is way easier to drill the holes into this section before cutting it out. You will need to drill 4-6 holes along the lid side and matching holes along the barrel part.

Now cut out the lid.

Drill 16+/- holes around the barrel. You will want these about a foot from the bottom of the barrel. It does not need to be exact.

You will then drill a matching set of holes about 1-2 inches above or below the other set of holes.

The final drilling is to attach the rope. I have done this a few different ways. I’ve put in screw eyes to hook the rope to. But the easier design, which is also my preferred design is to drill one large hole on one side about 1/2 foot from the top. And then two holes on the opposite side about a half foot from the top.

Next I like to attach the net. This is done with zip ties at the bottom of the barrel. Attach one end. It helps to make it even to then attach the opposite side of the hay net opening to the opposite side of the barrel bottom. Then the two other sides. So four corners. Then fill in the others as evenly as possible. Again this is not rocket science, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it done.

Next attach the lid. This is done with zip ties and essentially is putting the lid part of the barrel back into its original place.

Continue by attaching the long rope to the single large hole towards the top. I pop it through and tie a knot on the inside.

On the opposite side of the barrel at the top you will attach one end of a rope the same way as above. Then, making the rope short, attach the other end the same way so you have a small loop on the outside.

Snip off the ends of the zip ties.

Drag the barrel to its destined hanging location and throw the long rope over the branch, pole, beam, rail, etc that it will be hanging from. Hoist the barrel up so that the net is a foot or so off the ground. Attach the snap to the loop and then tie the long rope to the snap, fixing it so the barrel hangs easily at the height you want it.

*You want to try and have the net off the ground when full. But also low enough that you can load hay in the lid. For me this is a close science.

*I suggest leaving a good yard or two or even three of the long rope after the snap. Although the barrel doesn’t need to come down often, on the rare occasion it does I have found I am a bit vertically challenged with getting the rope back over the branch (beam, pole, rail, etc). Just trust me.

*I recommend cleaning the barrel well, and selecting food grade barrels if possible. I also recommend hosing the barrel out after cutting it so you remove any plastic particles and dust before putting hay into it.

*When I am filling my barrels I usually push the lip up and through the hanging ropes and that holds it open for me.

Here is a photo of one of my older hay barrels already holding hay

Thank you to my awesome husband Rich for helping me.

Friday Night Lights

December 29, 2018

It’s Friday night, what do you do? Trailer your pony to an indoor for some dry lighted ride time. That’s what you do!

I took Possum to the welcoming Sunset Willow Stables. This was my first time here and I am so happy to have found it. Anne, the person in charge, is super kind and friendly and made me feel right at home.

I was in the indoor and riding in no time. It was larger than I expected and just what I needed.

I did trot sets with mounting block work in between and added in a few sprints for good measure. We worked on boring stuff like moving off the leg and nice round circles. We also worked on hard “whoas” and tight turns.

I am so glad I made this connection. I wish it were a bit closer so I could get there frequently. But I’ll see what I can manage and enjoy that!

Cleaning up Possum

December 23, 2018

Today I found a little time to clean Possum up.

I started by clipping him. He didn’t seem to know what clippers are all about and was shaking when I turned them on. But after a few clips on his chest he relaxed and pretty soon I had the front half of him done. I started with his chest and then moved that into my usual modified Irish hunt clip. He was still hanging tough when I got him clipped that far so I went ahead and did the rest of his body, leaving his legs and face.

Not my best clip job but he should be much more comfortable when we ride and a lot easier to keep clean in all this mud.

He was so good I was able to fly through the task and I ended up having a little daylight left so I moved onto his mane. He was pretty sensitive about this but I shortened it up and evened it out some. He has a very short spot in the middle, about half way up his neck, and I wasn’t going that short with the rest of it.

I finished off my brushing out his tail and banging the end to help keep it out of the mud. Ta-dah, a whole new pony. And just in time for our holiday trip.

The Dry Lot Flooding

May 23, 2018

The Dry Lot Flooding just keeps getting worse. I checked on it yesterday and it is a legit pond.

These photos were Tuesday night (while it was raining)

It just keeps amazing me.

It was actually not raining today so I got to ride. And of course I rode around the pond and I noticed it’s deeper. It’s over the fence in quiet a few places and actually lapping at the top of the hay shelter (pier) in spots.

I also find it note worthy, look at the ground in the photo above. It’s mostly dry. Not only do we not have mud, the field is actually dry where it’s not completely flooded. Crazy.

This is from the back gate to the field. The hay shelter is to the left. The spring feeding it is ahead to the right.

This is from where the spring is, the hay shelter is straight ahead. This is one of the higher spots in the field. Where Daisy is standing.

Last night the landlord was telling me the middle is probably 7 or 8 feet deep.

So I rode Poe for a while and then I decided to take him for a swim. So I untacked him, put on my Crocks, and in we went.

He is such a brave pony. He did not hesitate at all. He marched on in and right on down. His head did go under, I am not sure if he stepped deeper than he expected, and that threw him off a little. He swam a few strokes and then came out. But we turned around and he marched right back in.

He was so proud of himself. I decided to grab Simon and take him in. Simon really wanted to stand around and splash and “soak”. He swam for a second and seemed to scare himself a bit, and unseated me a little. I was laughing so hard it took me a minute to drag myself straight again.

Poe is certainly braver. Simon would have preferred to have a buddy along.

Let There Be CHICKENS!

May 18, 2018

This post is not about horses, it’s about chickens!

When we moved to our current house four or five years ago we gave our chickens away and I have missed them ever since. We knew we would eventually get chickens again but we needed to get ourselves and our primary animals set up and established first, work out the kink.

By the end of last summer I felt the ponies were well established with all the field rotations and such worked out. And I felt ready for chickens again.

We live in a more rural area, with a lot more predators. Predators that come up to our porch and walk around our house. So we needed to make sure we had our chicken set up figured out before we had any birds so we could protect them.

So I spent the fall and winter researching and comparing coop options; build our own, buy a prefab, Craigslist used, options, options?

I wanted a secure coop. One I could lock the chickens in securely. I wanted it to have a small secure run also attached. I wanted it to be easy to clean. I needed an easy coop, convenient, manageable. I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money and I wanted to see how well the chickens would do with all these predators anyway.

In the end I decided on a Tractor Supply prefab coop. It was on sale for $200 from $250. It is a secure coop with an attached secure run. There are three nesting boxes with a nice little door that opens easily in the back for simple egg removable. The floor is a tray that slides out for super easy cleaning. Two nesting rails inside and one outside, it has ventilation, and several doors to the outside.

To finalize the security we just needed to add some more wire across the bottom which was inexpensive and simple to do.

We could not build a similar coop for that cost.

I ordered the coop and when it arrived Rich and I put it together. It was pretty easy and took about an hour. The instructions were easy to follow and al the parts were included. We did add some extra screws but otherwise followed the directions exactly.

We placed the coop right next to the house in our back porch area. We figured this would help with the predators. We also want the chickens to help with pest control around the house. Chickens love to eat ticks and slugs and little bothersome bugs. They also kill mice and other unwanted household pests.

Then we picked up one laying hen and six pullets in a variety of colors. My goal was for every chicken to look different. Accomplished! The laying hen has yet to lay an egg and the pullets are still too young. But we are hoping to be rolling in the eggs by the end of the summer and even more so next spring.

Rich and I have both been spending time “chicken watching”. It’s a good piece of mind. I love to watch them do their chicken yoga, stretching their wings and legs, taking dust bathes, pecking around, chasing bugs, and just being chickens. If you have not spent any time chicken watching and letting your mind unwind, you should give it a try.

Every morning I open their door and they spend the day going in and out eating bugs and bits of grass. They are rather timid still but are getting more ambitious. Lupin, our cat, loves to hang out with them. So does our cattle dog Ash. And Rich and I both enjoy chicken watching.

It’s so good to have chickens again!

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