Thursday, December 17, 2015

Portable Patio Squares - Latest invention

We have struggled for years with... MUD.  Lots of it.  Here in southern oregon, when it rains, it wont stop. We quickly go from ground as hard as concrete to ground as soft as jello. So what to do with the animals that dislike mud (which is actually most of them)?

We have tried the traditional methods:

Straw - need LOTS of it.  Requires a thick layer to prevent sinking in the mud below, and has to be replaced about weekly during rains.  We are talking dozens of tons to cover the ground we need to cover. While thats good for the ground, it is too expensive and labor intensive to be practical.

Rock - Expensive and immovable.  To cover the areas we need, would take a lot of rock and expensive earth moving and sculpting. Plus once that is done... the area is unchangeable. It can never be planted with a cover crop, and fences are somewhat permanent.  Thats besides the fact that rock must be replaced frequently as it slowly disappears into the earth below.

Cement - See rock, just more permenant.

Wood Pallets - nicely moveable, but dont last long and a royal mess to keep clean! The wood rots and pallets fall apart if left too long, making them impossible to easily remove.


Introducing --- Portable Patio Squares!

These things are IDEAL!

Easy to build
Easily moveable
Easy to Clean
Able to shape into almost any area
Rough enough to help trim hoofs
Stay Dry

Take a look:

It is nothing but a pallet, covered with 1/2" hardware cloth with a 2x4 frame on top filled with 1/2 to 3/4 clean granite.

They can be washed down with a water hose, because the "clean" granite means  no fines to stick together. The rocks stay loose, so as animals walk on them they shift around. With a little water (rain) this becomes almost self cleaning. The action of shifting rocks under hoofs helps the rough granite sides to grind against the hoofs, providing a measure of self-trimming, Since it is just a pallet, they are easily movable with a tractor to place in position, change, stack, etc.  The materials cost somewhere around $10 each to build, less if you use scraps.  And each square covers about 3x4 feet. They are sturdy enough to take reasonable abuse, and can be moved out for repairs when necessary.

We are building a few dozen of these and deploying them in all animal walkways around the farm to provide dry clean sidewalks and patios. We are even building a "play spot" for the goats  that will have some  things to climb on and have fun without getting in the mud. 

Here are some pics of the first deployment in the milking barn:

I will try to post a quick "how to build these" series when possible, right now we are in process of building and placing these ASAP. 

1 comment:

  1. update: WOW what a difference! after just one day, the girls are significantly dryer and cleaner, even though there has been almost constant rain all week. the milking goat are is flooded, but the girls are hanging out in the barn and patio squares. they can move between all the barn stalls, grain feeder, alfalfa area, waterer, and milking barn without ever touching wet ground.