Tag: Animal Housing

Get Ready for September 2016
The Lifestyle

Get Ready for September 2016

Get Ready for September 2016Are you ready for fall?  Spend a little time watching the birds, caring for the animals, and stocking the pantry.

  1. Invest in a dog owner’s home veterinary handbook.
  2. Feed your backyard birds.
  3. Discover why people built round barns.
  4. Stock up for the winter.
  5. Learn about pH.
  6. Weigh the pros and cons of draft animals.
  7. Explore the K-State weather data library.
  8. Open up the breeding toolbox.
  9. Find out how to raise chickens.
  10. Do the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way.
Free LSU Building Plans
The Skills

Free LSU Building Plans

Free LSU Building PlansLouisiana State University has put together an excellent website packed with countless building plans available for free PDF download.  If you are the do-it-yourself type, this is a site that you should definitely bookmark!

Just to give you a very small sampling of the plans and projects that are included:

  • Gates.
  • Barns.
  • Corrals.
  • Feeders.
  • Dairy parlors.
  • Rearview mirrors for tractors.
  • Walk-in refrigerators.
  • Roadside fruit stands.
  • Trailers.
  • Composters.
  • Greenhouses.
  • Chicken coops.
  • Cabins.
  • Canoes.
  • Beehives.
  • Doghouses.

The PDFs are simply diagrams—they do not contain step-by-step directions.  However, dimensions are provided.  With a little bit of building know-how, you should be able to get started without too much trouble.

While some of the plans are a little overkill for most country families (need an auction barn?), many of them will provide useful ideas for your construction projects, whether large or small.  Highly recommended site!

Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens
The Farm

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Storey's Guide to Raising ChickensAre you considering raising chickens for the first time?  Are you a beginner with a brand-new flock?  Have you been keeping chickens for a few years but still have some problems to solve?

If you can identify with any of these questions, one book you should consider reading is Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow.  This guide can be an incredible help right from the start, but it can also help you with troubleshooting later on.

Topics include:

  • Buying chickens.
  • Housing.
  • Feed.
  • Predators.
  • First aid.
  • Egg production problems.
  • Breeding chickens.
  • Raising chicks.
  • Raising meat birds.

And this is just the beginning!

Although there may be times when you would want to delve deeper into a specific topic, such as the particulars of building a coop or solving a health problem, Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens is a handy resource to have on your shelf.  It covers all of the basics in an easy-to-understand manner.

A good starting point, but equally handy for answering questions later on.  Highly recommended!

Kansas Barns
The Sunflower State

Kansas Barns

Kansas BarnsHave you ever driven along the back roads of Kansas and wondered about the stories those old barns could tell?

Whether you love barns or are just an all-around Kansas history buff, you will probably enjoy Kansas Barns and Kansas Barns II by Martha Knudsen. The two-volume set features at least one barn from every county in Kansas, each sketched in accurate and intricate detail by the author. Many of the barns are also accompanied by a brief description and a little historical background.

Kansas BarnsThese attractive books can be an interesting source of information if you happen to spot a barn somewhere in rural Kansas, or they can sit on the coffee table for perusal on those rainy days. They also make excellent gifts.

Why Did People Build Round Barns?
The Sunflower State

Why Did People Build Round Barns?

Why Did People Build Round Barns?

Raymond Brinkman barn near Stillwell, Kansas

If you have ventured out on some of the scenic back roads of Kansas, you have probably seen quite a few old barns—simple barns, ornate barns, wood barns, stone barns…and round barns.

Round barns aren’t always round. Many times they have eight, twelve, or sixteen sides. One old barn in eastern Kansas had twenty-four sides! Only a few barns are considered “true circular.”

Why build a round barn? Many people believed that round barns were efficient in a number of ways:

  • The round barn had a greater volume-to-surface ratio than a rectangular barn.
  • The Kansas State Board of Agriculture estimated a 34% to 58% savings in cost of materials compared to a rectangular barn.
  • The open floor gave farmers space to work without having to dodge the posts supporting the building.
  • Farmers could also work in a continuous direction.
  • Feed was often stored in the center of the barn, making it easy to distribute to the stalls.
  • Stalls were wedge-shaped, which actually fits quite well with the natural shape of cattle.

But efficiency was just one of the reasons some farmers built round barns. Many people believed that round barns were stronger and could better withstand severe weather. Others thought that the design stayed warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Were all of these advantages true, or were they just propaganda concocted by the early promoters of the design? Many of the reasons for building round barns actually had some basis in mathematical fact, such as the volume-to-surface ratio. Others were borne out in practice, such as the ability of round barns to stand up in storms and tornadoes while their rectangular neighbors were destroyed.

Often, however, the efficiency of the barn simply depended on its design and construction. The Fromme-Birney round barn near Mullinville, Kansas, cost several thousand dollars more than a typical barn of its era, and some round barns are decidedly inefficient in maintaining a relatively stable temperature. Sometimes the architects were a little overambitious and built huge barns that were dark and poorly ventilated, not to mention wastes of space. Furthermore, there were disadvantages to storing feeds such as silage in the middle of the building because of the toxic fumes.

An estimated 41 round barns were built in Kansas. Unfortunately, many of these have been lost to storms, fires, and old age. Over half are still believed to exist, although it is difficult to say because so many are privately owned. Of the survivors, the Fromme-Birney barn is probably the best known.


Helpful Resources

Kansas BarnsKansas Barns and Kansas Barns II
Intrigued? These books by Martha Knudsen offer detailed sketches of many beautiful barns, round and otherwise. Read our full review.

Round Barn
More about the Fromme-Birney barn from the City of Mullinville (scroll down).

“The Round Barns of Kansas”
Article by James Shortridge provides interesting history. Includes facts about and photos of each of the 41 round barns of Kansas.

Getting Your First Horse
The Farm

Getting Your First Horse

Getting Your First HorseYou or your children have always wanted a horse or pony, and now that you have a home in the country the time is right to buy one. But before you purchase your first horse, some preliminary research is in order.

Getting Your First Horse by Judith Dutson is a great place to start.

This guide walks beginners through the process of buying and caring for a pleasure horse. After giving you the information you need to make a wise purchase, Getting Your First Horse helps you choose the appropriate supplies and housing facilities for your horse. Subsequent chapters cover the basics of feeding, health, and safety around horses. A chapter on breeds is also included and is illustrated with beautiful color plates.

Getting Your First Horse does an excellent job of warning beginners of potential pitfalls and helping them weigh the pros and cons of each decision they will have to make. While this book will not teach you how to ride, it will help ensure that you and your new horse share many enjoyable years together. Great starting point for those with no prior experience with horses!