1. Gates. Can you open your gate with one hand? Or do you have to drop everything and fiddle with carabiners, springs, pushing up or pulling out something to make it work? Do you have to lift up and carry your gate to open it all the way? Maybe the gate isn’t quite flush and you have to pull out a bar to get the gate open, or it needs WD40, or it needs re-adjusting. This is a daily annoyance and can be easily fixed!
For easy, one-handed opening gate latches, check out this chain gate hook – easy open, automatic close, and strong so even the most determined animals can’t get past it. Consider a gate wheel to let your gate stand open on its own, and move easily when you need to open it.
2. Flies. I don’t know any farm that doesn’t have (and doesn’t hate) flies. You can spray your cows with fly spray till, well, the cows come home, and you will not see the end of the flies. Fly predators are an amazing solution. Spalding labs offers a “subscription” for fly season. You fill out a form where you specify number of animals and your acreage, and they will send you the correct number of predators. These little bugs eliminate the flies before they even hatch. The difference is remarkable!
3. Shade. During the summer, the sun is high and sometimes just a shed isn’t enough especially if there is no cross-ventilation in the shed. A really inexpensive and easy-to-install solution is sun sails. I’ve ordered a number of different colors and sizes from amazon. I’ve found that the blues and reds seem to keep the sun out better than the tan colored sails. If you don’t have a high-enough spot to secure the sails, go to your hardware store and buy an 8′ t-post and an 8-10′ 2″ wide PVC pipe. Drill a hole in the top of the PVC pipe, pop it on top of the T-post, and you’ve got a terrific and stable place to hang your sunsail. They are water-permeable so they won’t sag like tarps do.
4. Winter winds. Your animals can tolerate a lot of weather, but cold wind in the winter can really be not only difficult but painful. You need to have a solid shelter, of course. But blocking the wind is especially important, and one way is to simply put up a piece of plywood so that your guys can get behind it and get out of the wind’s cruel blowing.