Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mustang pens and chicks

The chicks are growing so fast, but it's hard to tell just how fast until I noticed today that there is one who is not quite thriving as well as the others. Notice how tiny the little black chick is compared to the yellow one beside him (and see how long the yellow one's primaries are!)

You can see that he holds his wings at a funny angle too. They sort of stick out, while the others hold their wings flat against their bodies. He was eating a lot today though, so maybe he just didn't start eating right away and he'll catch up. Or maybe there's something wrong inside and no matter how much he eats, he's not going to thrive. We'll see.

Before we started working today, I took some pictures of the pens. Note the new boards along the bottoms. Since these pictures, we've done a lot more, but I didn't take any after pics.

This is the front pen. The two posts closest to the barn on each side are set in the ground, while the three posts in the middle are "floating" posts; the panels are attached to them, but they are not dug into the ground so that we can move them. Notice that two of the posts are attached right next to eachother. This is essentially how we'll get the horses in (and out), and it is our gate. On the outside fence, the middle post is also floating.

This is a closeup of one of the post set ups to show you how we attached the panels to the posts (this happens to be one of the floating posts). We drilled a hole through the metal, and then attached the panels to the posts with 4.5 inch lags. The next panel is attached to the first with the panel attachments. Notice that on the rear pen (first picture), each panel has a post attached to it, unless we meant it to act as a gate, then that panel is only attached to the other panels by the hinges, so that it can be unlatched and swung open. The panel in the near corner on the side can be swung open.

I was at first a little worried that drilling holes in the panels would weaken them, and I think that it does a little, but these panels are really really old and almost trashed as they are. Many of them are bent and some have pipes that are starting to rust through (we didn't use these ones in the pens). I was worried that I might not be able to use them as a round pen in the future if we drilled holes in them, but now, I'm convinced that they would be a marginal round pen anyway with the shape that some of them are in. The rear pen will be a permanent pen, but the front pen will eventually be replaced with a wooden corral. And if I need a round pen in the future, we'll have to buy a new one, although that might not be necessary either because my neighbor has a round pen/arena that I'm allowed to use, so I just need to get the horses leading and then I can work with all of them down there.

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