Sunday, May 24, 2015

Automatic sprouting hog feeder, it works!

With the success last summer of sprouted grain for the hogs, I decided to try to remove some labor this year from the sprouting  routine.  And the good news.. it seems to WORK!

We have a pasture feeder from Osborne Industries. This thing is amazing! It is designed so that the grain in the feed trough never touches the grain in the bin. In fact, eve if the feed tray fills to overflowing with water, the grain inside stays perfectly dry! IT does this by having a mechanism at the bottom of the bin that rotates when the pigs eat, and drops grain into the feed trough. No actual gravity feed.

So, the idea is.. leets just leave this thing full of water! that way, the grain sprouts on the way to the pigs but stays dry in the inside storage.  To accomplish this, I added a drip line to the lower part to drip constantly into the feed trough.  After some careful adjusting we are reaching a point where the grain stays wet and some actually sprouts while waiting to be eaten. Yet we only handle dry grain once a week.  Awesome!

No worries about corrosion, as the bottom is fiberglass. Water should nt come in contact with any metal parts that matter.

The proof as they say is in the pudding... or the poop in this case. After a couple weeks of this feeder in operation, a careful poop check (dont you love farming!)  shows near complete digestion of the grain. Without sprouting, it would only be about 50% digestion or less of dry grain.  More digestion of grain equals more bacon!

I'll post some pictures of the contraption when I get a chance, but it is seriously easy, just a single piece of drip line connected to a hose with a pressure reducer.  Everything is tied overhead the pigs and brought in over tposts to keep curious pigs from eating hte hoses.


2 Acres ready, but the tiller gave its all

With the tiny moisture we received from the rains last week, the ground was just soft enough to power the tiller through to prepare the "pig garden".  And power through we did! at the end of sunday night, we converted a total of 2 acres of hard dry pasture into plantable garden area!

Unfortunately the tiller, a very impressive land pride RTR series... didnt make it. On the final pass over the whole area, it threw a main bearing.  But.. thats ok, even if we cant get it fixed in time to flatten the top a bit more, we can plant as expected on friday.

This tiller is nothing short of amazing. Take a look at the before and after pictures!  with only a 30 horse tractor it plowed through to fine enough to plant soil in only a few passes.  It was quite the wild ride flattening those pig root spots and bedding spots. This area is where they spent their winter... so it was pretty torn up.

The area totals 2 acres... and currently houses the cabbage and beet sprouts (which are doing nicely!).  This coming weekend we plan on adding squash of a few varieties, zucchini, pumpkin, and okra. Hopefully enough food for the pig herd to make it through the fall and winter with minimal grain.

Here is the before picture... this spot is actually pretty tame, it gets worse in the back!

This is the completed 2 acre area looking over the original cabbage patch.

This shot shows how far back it goes. Imagine this filled with squash plants!

We ended up putting a hard panel up to keep the pigs back, with new babies born there is too much risk of them running the electric and wiping out the sprouts in one night. You can see the beet sprouts in the middle here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Welcome home

Farm life...

Gone for a week on business,  14 hr drive home with 5 kids,  a baby,  and a dog while pulling a trailer behind "the buggy" '....  Tired...  Ready to head straight to bed...

And molly,  one of the milking goats,  is found in the dark stuck in the fence.


Bolt cutters... 

Time for bed

Farm life....

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Can you see him?

Deep in the darkness of this pig shelter lies a fun sight!  There is a sleeping pig laying on the right side,  snout to door.  All the way in the back right corner is a rooster standing happily on the sleeping pig,  crowing.

Wish I would have captured the audio!

The beets are up!

The tiny beets Sprouts poked through today!

Can you see them?