While I have been away helping my daughter with her family in September and first part of October, I have been thinking how to make my farm more efficient.
One item I have been thinking about is how to make it easier to feed the sheep this winter. The barn area needs better feeding hayracks, placement of hayracks. I would love to use in fence hayracks. The problem is our rainy season is in January and February. It would be nice to not walk through the mud in the pens to feed, but there would be no cover over the hay if I used in fence hayracks. The sheep do not like to eat wet hay.
A solution is to build a shelter next to the fence, with a hayrack on the fence side. The hay stays dry. I do not have walk through the mud and manure to feed.
Efficiency covers more than structures and buildings. One resource is the sheep themselves. I have commercial ewes as well as registered fullblood ewes. Being more efficient with my rams has been a thought on my mind. Rams can cover ten ewes per cycle efficiently. I currently have two rams I use for breeding and in February I will have thirty-six ewes.
In the past two years, I had the ewes divided into four breeding groups of 5 -6 ewes to be bred by one ram per group and time of breeding. The rams are in with ewes most of the year. But like the land, rams need a time to recoup, rest and gain condition to be ready for the next breeding period. In order to give my rams a time to rest, I need another ram.
I am planning on how to build the ram shed and pens. Looking at the information, layouts and how to easily feed and move the rams when needed. I am not just putting up fencing, a shed and say here is the “ram motel”. I am looking at how efficiently I can work with the layout and area to place the ram shed.
Efficiently using our resources helps to maintain and improve the farm. A couple of times a year, I look at how I can manage my sheep farm more efficiently. Looking at more than just the sheep, but at the buildings, fences and handling pens. I look at what others are doing, if those methods might help what I am doing. I read and gain new information and knowledge. I take the knowledge and apply it to how I manage the sheep farm.