Monday, August 27, 2018

Challenge Accepted

Probably my favorite part of being a farmer is the small challenges we face everyday. I guess its not the challenges themselves that I like, but the need to use creativity and some improvisational thinking to solve these challenges. Some days the challenges are large and stressful, other days they are fun and menial. Either way, it is rewarding to quash these issues with a little brain power, some elbow grease, and whatever spare parts we might have had laying around.
Recently we needed to improve our turkey feeding system. we had been using some home-made range feeders that I threw together real quick a couple years ago using a 5 gallon bucket and a metal pan. These served their purpose, but we now want to scale up our turkey production and needed to develop a more robust feeding system that would be 1) more labor efficient, 2)accepted by the birds, and 3) weather proof. In our current system we load several buckets full of feed onto the pick-up truck, and then drive out to the turkey pasture and dump those buckets into the turkey feeders. That has worked okay, but it is a lot of manual feed handling. And on top of that, the feeders had no top, so during pretty weather they worked fine but after a rain we would have to empty out any leftover feed that was now wet and clean the feeders. We found available for purchase a range feeder that has a weather shield to keep rain off of the feed, so that accomplished one of our requirements. These feeders also hold 300 lbs so we could probably make less trips hauling feed to the pasture, making them more efficient. But we would still need to load those buckets onto the truck. I felt like there was a better way. I looked around the farm and found an old axle from a wind damaged poultry shelter. After a little modification, we constructed a deck on the axle and mounted the feeders on top. Now we can grab the feed buggy with the atv, back up under the feed auger, fill each with 300 lb of feed and pull it back out to pasture for the turkeys to enjoy.