View Full Version : What do you wish you'd known?
Aug. 12, 2010, 07:07 PM
Fourteen months after putting our house on the market, hubby and I finally sold it and bought a house with 30 cleared acres and a 4 stall barn. We close next week, and I'm SO excited...yet a little nervous! I'd love to hear what everyone's experiences are as new farm owners. All info is welcome! I've done self care at a boarding place for years, driving 20 miles round trip twice a day (at least!) to care for my horses and I'm thrilled at the thought of having them at my own place. So please, share whatever essential info you might have for the newbie mini-farm owner! Thanks in advance!
Aug. 12, 2010, 07:31 PM
CONGRATULATIONS on bringing your horses home!! It is so fulfilling to have them right there... even if it does ultimately mean you don't actually RIDE them as much as you did when they were 20 miles away! ;)
If you need to fence, for heaven's sake, follow my advice (advice I was given & ignored!) and don't fence using landscape timbers. They're relatively cheap, they look nice -- but even though pressure treated, they do not last.
Start early with fly control. You may not see an increase in population for several years, and then Whammo! your neighbors are complaining, with reason! :o (I just have one horse but neighbors are close on both sides; last year was a banner year for the flies, it seems :no:.) Anyhow, feed-through fly control is a good thing, as are the parasitical wasps. Also, if you need to control flies near your manure pile, a tarp over the pile is invaluable for keeping flies from breeding.
Set things up with an eye to winter, assuming you have "real" winter wherever you are. So for example, I had electricity run to the "wishing well" in the paddock, where I dropped in a pump & had an outlet added, so I don't deal with frozen water tubs. I just plug in a heated tub in the winter, and plug in the pump when I need to fill it. Ahhhhh, no frozen hoses for me!
A farm tractor with a bucket is your friend. I remember being tempted to get a big ATV, and I am so glad I was talked into a small, barely used Kubota tractor instead. That's much more of a "workhorse" for a small farm than an ATV.
Aug. 12, 2010, 08:42 PM
Always buy the bigger tractor!
Aug. 12, 2010, 09:08 PM
JeanM thank you for sharing! Our place is fenced with hot wire, the owners took down the barbed wire and replaced it as a contigency for us to buy it. THANK YOU for the advice on fly control...we've been wondering if the feed through stuff is worth it and it's helpful to hear that it is.
Aug. 12, 2010, 09:23 PM
Spending a little more money to do it right the first time is less expensive then doing it cheap twice.
Depending on how set everything is--pasture, gates, water troughs, faucets, lighting, etc. Spend some time really visualizing how you are going to do all the little things. Whether it's feeding in a snow storm, turning out in a flood, walking into the barn at night and turning on the lights or dealing with a bleeding and hurt horse at midnight--then plan and place things accordingly.
Aug. 13, 2010, 10:22 AM
I don't personally own a farm, but help do a lot of work at the one I am at and will tell you that management goes a LOOOOONG way towards fly control. We drag pastures on a weekly basis, keep stalls clean (horses are out 99% of time anyway), use almost all manure on garden, and keep all grass cut short. There are very few places for bugs to nest and live and it makes a WORLD of difference. Keeping your grass short also keeps your weeds down, so mow mow mow!
Aug. 13, 2010, 10:47 AM
If you're in a snowy climate and your stalls open to the pasture have at least a 4' or more overhang because otherwise the snow will come over your barn roof and fall right at the stall doors. If it's only a little snow, less than 12", it's easy to shovel but more is a royal PITA. I finally bought a tractor with an enclosed cab and snow blower for the bigger snowfalls and/or blizzards. Course we generally get a good 100" or more of snowfall/winter.
Mind you it will still fall over the roof area but at least you can open the stall doors without having to struggle against a foot+ of snow. :)
Like someone else said, plan to mow and mow and mow to keep weeds AND bugs down.
Have at least 2 larger pastures to the horses. As soon as you remove the horses from one pasture, that pasture is dragged and mowed to about 4". By the time you plan to use it again it's back to 6". Now if you have a really wet summer, you are mowing even more. :(
Aug. 13, 2010, 12:57 PM
Thanks for all the tips! Looking at tractors now...we don't live in a snowy area so mowing will be almost year-round.
Aug. 13, 2010, 01:02 PM
Don't make any fast moves ;). Study the land, live with it through some storms and rain and wind. See what makes sense about where to put an arena, loafing sheds, parking the horse trailer, etc..just soak in it a while and walk it a ton and may I recommend a glass of wine? Just don't pressure yourself to do it ALL instantly. You can tinker and think and be wrong and change your mind. Marinate in it a while.
If you do know where you want fences and gates (the bigger the better and never in low spots and ideally not in any corners) ....then pay for real fence contractors to install the fence you want from the get go. Friend of mine bought a place recently, and while I think her house is ok, what I really lust after is her WAY fabulous fence. Way. She totally out fences me ;)
Think about lighting between barn and house- will there be late nights trekking back and forth?
Do you need to plug in a LQ? Plug in diesel trucks? Where ya gonna do that?
Think about security- would you like a driveway alarm? Gate with remote controls or keypad?
Buy the bigger tractor :)
Aug. 13, 2010, 01:32 PM
Wish I would have known just how much upkeep a property takes...as well as how much money to make improvements.
Best of luck, Enjoy!
Aug. 13, 2010, 01:54 PM
Like others mentioned - mowing. I'm always stunned how many folks don't mow pastures. :no: What do they think that they are doing? Growing weeds! Yes, good fencing, drainage all that stuff.
To add a few things not mentioned. A fence around your barn area to confine a loose horse is mighty nice, it makes a barnyard space and cute looking too, esp when I leave the pony out loose to mow for me and when the kids play with him. As well as some nice apple trees! :yes:
An enclosed tack room and a dehumidifier if you live where it is humid.
Automatic waterers someplace for turn-outs, dry lot paddocks w/ sheds or run-in barn access, round bale feeders if you want a life! Overhangs on the barn! Shade trees - mine keep my whole barn and one paddock area super cool even in this heat.
Plan your deliveries access - farrier, shavings, hay, trailer turn arounds etc.
Are the stalls already in place? Me, I like larger stall sizes b/c they don't get stirred and are easier to clean.
Let us know how it goes! enjoy