Time to Redefine our Lives in Oregon

Posts tagged ‘Goats and Rain’

Managing the Wet

In an attempt to answer a couple of questions in the comments from Wednesday’s post, we need to shift to melting snow, and rain.  Managing animals in the many months of rain that falls in Oregon is a challenge sometimes.  The thing I have found that is really important is to keep up on the muck control, because if you let it go, it can and will get out of control, and spread quickly.  Eddy Winko, another blogger friend, had mentioned that they use straw to control the mud…that is what we do, as well.  Straw in the winter is a homesteader’s saving grace against the mucky mud, and walking over a layer of straw is so much better than walking with boots covered in sticky mud.  It is worth the investment, both time and dollar.

Okay, Penni, now pretend that the wind is blowing really hard!!

Okay, Penni, now pretend that the wind is blowing really hard!!

I also use large, plastic tree pots for collecting the muck when the weather hinders us from driving it down the hill to our manure pile…..which we are totally NOT managing properly.  I have a lot to learn about turning poop, straw, and hay into a product that will feed our soil.  Anyway, since we have only a few outdoor animals, and an abundance of tree pots, this collection system works for us during the wetter seasons of Oregon.  It contains the ick, unless a chicken decides to scratch around in it….which they do.  And really….goat poop is pretty easily managed….pellets vs. patties….pellets win.  Chicken poop…that’s a totally different animal altogether…LOL.

Frozen poop pots

Frozen poop pots

I feel that having barns or housing structures large enough for the animals to get in out of the rain, dry off their feet or hooves, and be able to manage themselves comfortably is really important.  They have to be able to get out of the water, and a structure large enough to house the number of animals, plus a food and water source is really imperative on our homestead.  We have not had any foot rot (knock on wood) in our herd partly due to them having the ability to go in and out of their barn at will to warm up and dry off.

January 2017

The chickens spend time in their house and the goat barn….whichever fits their fancy.  Except at night when they are secured indoors, they free range and manage themselves in the wet weather.  In the snow, they tend to stay indoors…but it seems that the rain doesn’t bother them, and they manage themselves quite nicely.

The flock no longer have access to the front porch...LOL!

The flock no longer have access to the front porch…LOL!

Mold and mildew are definitely issues that you have to stay on top of.  It’s one of those things that you can try to prevent, but when you see it you have to jump on it or it will grow quickly.  You see a lot of houses around here that have moss growing on top of the roof…not a good thing as moss holds a lot of moisture.  Insulation, and ventilation is really the key here.  We at least partially insulate anything we build, and we have added insulation to the existing out buildings, except the big barn which is a partially open structure.

January 2017

Allowing air to flow is huge in the prevention of mold.  If there are areas that we notice trap moisture, we fix it, and if we see any signs of mold or mildew, we clean it up.  The product that all this humidity abundantly grow around the property are mushrooms….lots of different types of mushrooms…some very dangerous, especially for the dogs.  So far, the dogs don’t seem too interested in them, nor do the chickens and goats.

Maybe these are what the ants used for lamps in It's a Bug's Life.

Maybe these are what the ants used for lamps in the movie, It’s a Bug’s Life.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

Beautiful rotting log ensemble.

Candy Caps??

Candy Caps??

Mushrooms 2013

So here is the nice thing about Oregon’s environment which brings the wet falls, winters, and springs…..because our temperatures don’t normally get below the teens, and we are normally not covered in snow….we usually have a lot of green on the ground.

The green of January

The green of January

The grasses don’t die off in the winter which helps to control the mud (except when old Mr. Gopher decides to build mound after mound after mound turning the ground inside out – ugghh.)  That being said, the places where the goats like to spend most of their time does get muddy and mucky.  We use straw to firm those areas up when they get too bad.  Our neighbor has horses, which is totally much harder on a pasture during the wet months….there is not a lot you can do except to rotate pastures, and provide a large enough covered space wherein the animals can dry off their feet from time to time throughout the day.

January 2017

Living primarily on hilly property is helpful because the water runs away from us, and since our soil is quite rocky beneath us, as soon as it stops raining for a few hours, it starts to dry out.  We dry out very quickly up here, except in the “valley” areas of the property….those areas hold a lot of water throughout most of the year, because all the water runs that way.  But there is enough moisture throughout the year that the only time the landscape turns brown is from late July into the first week or two of September.  And using a dehumidifier in our home is totally unnecessary because the wood stove dries everything out really efficiently…maybe too efficiently…LOL.  Sometimes we have to add a boiling pot on the wood stove, or open a window somewhere to add moisture back into the house.

January 2017

As far as mold in the hay….basically, we have to store it in a covered environment, enclosed by four walls, a roof, and vents for ventilation.  We tried housing it once in a three sided structure, but lost a bit of it due to mold issues.  Our goats eat the straw we put down as bedding, so that has to stay dry as well, but it seems that we can keep that in a three sided lean-to and it is fine.

April 2016

The hardest issue, I find, is keeping humidity out of the hen  house.  Surprisingly to me, chickens put off a lot of moisture….especially through their poop.  I battle the tendency for ammonia build up during the winter in the hen house.  Through trial and error what has worked for me is to keep just a very small amount of pine shavings on the floor…enough for them to kick around in and dry off their feet.  I have their roosting boards over a dropping tray, and I go in there every day and scrape their boards and the dropping tray.  By daily removing their poop, I take away most of the potential for wet air.  It is the most efficient way I have found to keep the mold and ammonia build up from happening with them.  I don’t use straw with my birds….the one time I did, I had a mite infestation.  Never again!!

Those boards and drop trays are clean...the residual "splat" marks are what is left from the day's cleaning.

Those boards and drop trays are clean…the residual “splat” marks are what is left from the day’s cleaning.

So really, the wet environment of Oregon is not a big problem….just a little inconvenient sometimes.  The resulting green that surrounds us, with the exception of late July and August, is really worth the amount of rain and fog that we live with.  What does concern me is the fact that this current snow will be sticking around for a few more days….

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…..then the temps rise with a series of big rain storms on the horizon….if a big melt happens at the same time, we may see some flooding going on in town and beyond.  It has happened before….according to our neighbors, in 1992, a portion of the long driveway that boarders our pond was taken out because the pond flooded over it’s banks.  There was three feet of snow on the ground in that event….we have about half that.

December 2015

It could happen again.

Thank you for visiting today.  I hope I shed some light on how we manage the wet, Oregon environment.  It has been, and continues to be a hit-and-miss….learn-by-doing lesson plan.  Thank you for helping me with your comments along the way.  It’s truly appreciated!!  And by the way….it is Day 14….we’ve had snow on the ground for two full weeks now….I’ve died and gone to Colorado!!!

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Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

Rainy Days and Mondays

I would like to be a Weather Reporter in the Pacific Northwest this winter of 2016.  I know there is more to it than it seems….but, really, unless you are predicting a day of sunshine, you are practically guaranteed to be right.  Rain, rain, and more rain every day.  I am totally NOT complaining.

 

IMG_1815

An unexpected break in the rain

I like the rain.  I like how it sounds, I like how it feels, and I like the freshness that it brings.  Right now, we have had about 7 days of pretty constant rain with maybe a few short breaks on a couple of those days.  Otherwise, rain is the order of the day, as it has been for about a month.  As I look at the extended forecast….the next 15 days show rain….everyday….at 60+ percent which, up here means one thing….it gonna keep right on raining!!

IMG_1674

The goats are mostly hanging out, inside their house and do not venture out unless it is a very light mist….or less.  This makes for the need of a deeper kind of cleaning everyday.  Their bedding is deep in straw, and hay that they have decided wasn’t good enough to eat <sigh>.  We need to remove the wet, urine soaked straw mixed with poop…which makes like a poopy mud.  I do not like nor intend for my little herd to spend their days and nights housed in dirty digs.  So I rake out the wet straw in the places they seem to like to pee, down deep into the layers, until I hit mostly dry material.

IMG_2019

Sprinkling a product called, Zeolite, over the now damp…not wet….exposed areas helps to control the formation of ammonia.  This powdery product really does help.  By throwing down a new, thick layer of straw, our year old whethers have a dry place to bed down for the night….tomorrow afternoon, I will clean it all up again…and at least for the next 15 days….it will be the same routine.  When they stay inside all day there is more to do.  But, it makes me feel good to give them a clean, dry place to hang their hats at the end of the day.  This routine will ease up a bit once we build the small, but larger barn, hopefully next month.

IMG_2009

Sometimes, I wish they were chickens!!  Hahaha

Thank you for visiting on this rainy Monday.  I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful week ahead.

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami   http://haveadanehilldanes.com

#doesitrainalotinoregon  #dogoatslikerain  #spanishmeatgoats #zeolite #doeszeiolitecontrolammonia

 

Goats and Rain

November 2015

The rains have returned.

November 2015

It is suddenly that time of year in which the ever-present dampness of the Pacific Northwest permeates every outdoor surface.  Everything just looks like it has gotten a good soaking.  It takes….mmmmmm….maybe a day to get used to then it’s, “Oh yeah, I remember how to do this” and you fall right back into the fervent control of …..wet and muddy things.

November 2015

So, although the dampness of later fall is quite familiar, there is a big question lingering….well, actually there are three questions lingering…..

November 2015

Larry, Curly, and Mo …… (Montana, Clark and Lott are their real names…they just act like the Three Stooges sometimes…hahaha.)  We have not gone through a rainy season with hoofed livestock before this year.  One thing I can tell you is goats do NOT like being rained on.  As soon as they detect drops falling, no matter how lightly, they head for their shelter.  Their motto… “Don’t be the last guy in” cause the 1st or 2nd guy might be standing in the doorway blocking the way in.  When that happens it’s quite the pathetic scene.  Picture a sad looking goat standing outside the doorway….naying a sad, “Naaaaaaaaaa”…..

November 2015

……while sprinkles of water accumulate across his fluffy winter coat… all the while looking at you like, “Can’t you do something here?”  In the meantime, nice-and-dry brother goat stands smack dab in the doorway….looking out at you….staring at you while chewing, chewing, chewing, and in you’re mind you know he’s saying something profound like, “What?”

November 2015

So, yes, the lazy days of summer have truly passed.  The late fall lesson that I have to learn is definitely how to manage goats during the rainy seasons of Oregon.  They are spending more time in their enclosure…..I like the guys to have a clean dry covering of straw for the night since we close them in at dusk, and there is a certain timing to that especially when it is raining.  The challenge….getting the goats out of their house while cleaning/adding dry straw, clean water, and grain for the night…..while it’s raining on top of these fluffy boys that do NOT like to be out in the rain.  Sometimes it is chaotic, and comical.  Never a dull moment!!

November 2015

The air is crisp, cold, and fresh….the dry yellows have disappeared, giving way to green once again.  I love this time of year…..

November 2015

…..these beauties seem to, as well.

Thank you for visiting the farm on this cool, rainy, November day!  I hope your day is completely awesome!!

Your friend from Oregon,

Tami

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