The Rickshaw

I know, I know, posts have been few and far between lately.  In our defense, that is because we’ve been busy out on the homestead DOING rather than in on the computer TALKING about it.  One of the projects that has consumed many hours over the past few weeks is what we are calling The Rickshaw.

The desired goal: Rotational Grazing
The challenges: Providing water and shade, and milking the dairy goats

Fortunately, HWA loves a good challenge.  Out came the sketchpad and pencil and for three weekends, he sketched, measured, erased and sketched some more.  Then he shopped for supplies – first from our collection of scrap lumber – and then at a store for what we didn’t already own.

Finally he was ready to start building.

Know what this is so far? Me either!

Know what this is so far? Me either!

For a couple of weekends he sawed, hammered, measured and cursed.  And then  it was time to buy paint.  Anyone who knows me, knows that painting is the thing I hate to do more than almost anything.  Nevertheless I dutifully went to the hardware store where I was gobsmacked by the selection available.  As I wandered countless rows filled with shelves of different types of paint, I spied one called “Barn Paint”.  Among its attributes, it “self primes” and is safe to be used on animal housing.  However it comes in only three colors: White, Ranch Brown or Barn Red.  And no, they can’t add color to the white – I asked.  Given those options, the only one that made sense for a structure we hope will blend into our pasture, was Ranch Brown.

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The color doesn’t look too bad!

You can see why we call it The Rickshaw.  Two large wheels at one end allow it to roll easily, using handles at the opposite end.  The built-in milk stand and head catch hold the goats still for milking.  The water tub holds 30 gallons, and we use our lawn cart or ride-on mower to haul water out to fill the tub.

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Hooks on the side hold a couple of 6-foot lengths of panel while we are moving it.  The shelf at the far right holds the solar charger, as well as a bucket of other supplies – brushes for keeping the milk stand and water tank clean, halters and hoof trimmers.

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A close-up of the head catch. A loop around the top holds the goat’s head in place so that she cannot move either forward or back while we milk.

Here it is after being put into service.  The Rickshaw becomes a part of the fence, with the milk stand and water inside, and the supply shelf/solar charger outside.  The panels are then used to create a gate that allows us to easily enter the paddock when we need to.  And last, a tarp provides shade that is also portable for the animals.

A tarp attached to the Rickshaw, panel and fence provides shade

A tarp attached to the Rickshaw, panel and fence provides shade

We’ve been rotational grazing most of the summer but until now were limited to areas that had trees to provide shade.  We are excited to be able to set up a rotational paddock anywhere on the property, to fully utilize our pasture area, yet still provide the basic needs of the animals.

Kate the goat relaxes on the stand while being milked

Kate the goat relaxes on the stand while being milked

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