Help with small farm planning...
So I ended up putting in an offer on a house with about 5 acres. The barn, arena,and pasture ae going to definitely need some work. I need some advice on pasture planning, arena work, and barn repair.
Firstly, I have a large pasture area which takes up about 3 acres. I was going to section them off into three separate pasture areas to formulate a rotation of sorts. For the pasture area I was planning on using horseguard electric fence. I just need to figure out what I should use as posts. Pressure treated wood? I know that's a bit more expensive and hard to install but it might be worth it. I know I don't want to use the metal t-posts with tennis balls over them, lol. (that's what's out there now), and the wire mesh fence is in rough shape so I will be removing that. I will need to brush hog and remove 2-3 trees. The area has great drainage, but is there anything I can do to encourage even grass growth? It's like one side of the field is lush, and the other half (where the trees are) has a bit more weeds and spottier grass growth. Also, what should I do for gates? I don't want to use the horseguard gates.
Off the barn is a loafing shed where I plan on creating a decent sized dry paddock, for keeping the horses out of the field when it is crappy weather, to control the mud. This paddock will most likely be lined with wood chips or hog fuel, and horses that are sick, can't be on grass, etc.. can spend their time here. I don't know what type of fencing material to use, but I was thinking flex rail. Again, I don't know what posts to use, or if another option for fencing would be better.
Now for the arena. The arena is large, but it has not been maintained. The base looks good, a sand, crushed rock mix. The footing will need to be replaced. Will I have to redrag the base before I dump the footing? There are some areas where grass has regrown, so I'm thinking yes. I was thinking of using stone dust, or sand mixed with rubber. The arena is going to be fenced with vinyl. It is in direct view of the street so I want it to be aesthetically pleasing but functional.
The barn, oh my god, I have my work cut out for me. There are 4 stalls enclosed, and 2 partial stalls that close but are basically outside. The barn has a cement center aisle but the stalls are dirt-based. A great deal of the boards and the stall doors will need to be replaced. It looks like they tried to make repairs themselves, so everything is really poorly done in the way of haphazard boards and mis-matched temporary fix its. I need the opinion of someone that knows how to restore barns. Should I hire a contractor to give me an idea of how to go about fixing it up so that it is habitable for horses? The roof is new, has water and electric, but it is almost like everything else needs to be gutted and replaced. Who should I contact to help me?
I plan on composting the manure by building three tarp-covered wood-boxed compost heaps so I can compost in stages and turn them easily, with pvc pipes stuck in the middle to facilitate aeration. I will either give the compost away or spread it on the pasture a few times a year.
Any more idea on how I can make this a great place for horses to live? I have about 6 months to accomplish this. Thanks
Last edited by Seahorseys; 04-13-2010 at 08:39 AM.