Thursday, March 31, 2016

Planning the homestead layout

It won't happen today. It won't happen tomorrow. In fact, the plans in my head will probably take at least a couple of years to complete, if then. But, I've been messing around with pencil and paper, then in Paint, to try to draw out a workable paddock system for the animals.

I'm sure this Grand Plan will go through several iterations before it's nailed down, but we did set out some little yellow surveyor's flags the other day for the first goat paddock and a place for the pigs. The things I have drawn up in Paint are in no way to scale. It's just ideas I'm tossing around. And, the pig enclosure is showing up much larger than the first one will actually be, but I'm hoping eventually it will grow so that they can also be in paddocks and be rotated to fresh grounds as needed.

If I can get some kind of moveable chicken coop done, then the chickens can follow after the goats and clean up the pastures. I'm basing my plans on Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms method, where grazing is moved around before fields are too badly damaged. Livestock is healthier and happier that way and we'd save a lot of feed, especially in the seasons of the year when things are growing. Winter, I think, will mean less moving around unless the fescue I've seen growing does well then.

Anyway, here's a picture of a rough outline of how we'll set things up. Notice paddock "1" is the first we laid out with the flags. Also notice, there are tons of gates coming into play so I may have to rethink some of this. I hope that most of the paddocks will be electric fencing, except for the pigs. They will likely have cattle panels and I may just wind up moving their panels as needed instead of building so many permanent fences for them. Also, this is not the whole 3 acres I've drawn out. It's more like the back half or 2/3 or so.

There will also be garden spots and plenty of things planted for our use and, hopefully, I can also plant things the animals can eat during the winter to cut feed costs. I've got it set up so that we have a couple of gates we can drive through if needed. Plus, of course, I want flowers and ornamental shrubs planted as well. We'll probably put our solar for the well on top of the well house and solar for the cabin behind or on the south side of there. South, for us, is to the left of this picture.

If you can think of anything at all that you'd do differently, feel free to say so!

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