Handy Farm Devices and How To Make Them

Compiled by Rolfe Cobleigh, NEW YORK, ORANGE JUDD COMPANY 1912, Associate Editor American Agriculturist.

Barns and Stock Part I

A Handy Feed Basket

PROVIDE a feed basket like this to strap upon the nose of a horse when giving the animal feed while away from the stable. It is simpler to make than the round basket, and has an added advantage. When not in use, the two sides press together and occupy scarcely any room. Cut out two semi-circular pieces of wood from a 3/4-inch board in the shape suggested in the cut. Setting them at the proper distance apart, tack a strip of canvas, or other stout cloth, around the curved partition, as shown in the accompanying picture. Nail a strap and a buckle at the sides, to go over the head, and the feed basket will be complete.

The form of this basket more nearly fits the shape of a horse's head, and besides, because of its oblong shape, gives the horse more freedom in opening his mouth than does the close-fitting round basket.

He who will not be counseled cannot be helped

Make the Horse Eat Slowly

If your horse has the habit of bolting his feed you can easily remedy it by making a self-feeder on his box. The accompanying drawing shows how a feeder may be made similar to a poultry feed hopper. The contrivance may be made of inch boards large enough to hold one feed. The horse can get the grain only in small quantities and so cannot eat it more rapidly than he should. The bottom must be made with enough slant to insure all of the feed coming out in the trough.

I am only one,
But I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something.
What I can do I ought to do;
And what I ought to do
By the grace of God I will do.

Stalls Better than Stanchions

The only point in favor of stanchions is that they take up less room than stalls, but the increase in milk is a reward for allowing more space and convenience to each cow. The cut shows one kind of stall. The rack, a, is of hardwood 30 inches high, with the slats wide enough so the cow can thrust her nose through up to her eyes.

The bottom of the rack is 18 inches wide, extending into the stall toward the cow. The feed box, b, slides through an opening in the stall on the barn floor. It can be drawn into the feedway, cleansed out and a new feed put in without being disturbed by the cow. The halter strap, c, is just long enough to allow the cow to lie down comfortably. The gutter, d, is 8 inches lower than the stall floor. When she lies down she will put her head under the rack in kneeling and when she gets up, she will move backward so that she can look through the rack. The length and width of stall can be made to suit the cows. Small breeds, like Jerseys and Ayrshires, will need about 6 inches less each way than Holsteins and Shorthorns.

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
-- Cowper.

The man who is always poking his nose into other folks' business rarely has any of his own worth attending to.

There is no knowledge that is not power.
-- Emerson.

Good Ties for Cows

The merits of stanchions and other forms of cow ties have been debated by dairymen for a long time.

The mass of experience is in favor of the tying arrangement which will give the cow the most freedom of movement. The old-fashioned solid stanchion fails in this respect. In many cases it is difficult for the cow to lie down or get up with her head fast in one of these stanchions.

The heavy swinging stanchions have advantages over this, but it also must be criticised in many cases, because of its weight and of the consequent lack of freedom on the part of the cow. A very light swinging stanchion is the best type of that form. It is easy to fasten, as the cows will in most cases put their heads in position as they go into the stall. There is not so much danger of the dairyman being struck by the horns of the cow in fastening these stanchions. Many modern barns are equipped with this kind.

The chain tie is favored in many sections. This consists simply of a crosschain with considerable slack, attached to a ring at each end which runs over a perpendicular iron rod about 18 inches long. In the center of this chain is a loop with a snap which goes around the cow's neck. This arrangement gives the greatest freedom, and allows the cow to lie down and get up without difficulty. If light partitions are used between the heads of the cows no difficulty will be experienced in their striking each other with their horns. This is by far the least expensive of cow ties, and is at the same time one of the most satisfactory.

Handy Calf-feeding Device

To feed a half-dozen calves at once is entirely possible if one uses the device shown here. A man who has one reports no more trouble with calves since he has used this. He rattles a couple of buckets together, the calves come running up to the fence and soon have all their heads through the stanchions, to which they are easily fastened by throwing down lever a, which draws the bar, b, into position. Then one may feed each calf without difficulty.

Leave a 4-inch space for the calves' heads. Make the rack of 1-inch lumber and it can be moved from one pasture to another and attached to the fence or a couple of posts. It can also be used for holding ewes at lambing time.

Management of Kicking Cows

Make a slatted stall just high enough so the cow can't jump out, and wide enough to hold her comfortably, with nothing to spare, and narrower at the end, where her feed box should be placed as high from the ground as is comfortable for her to eat out of. This slatted stall should be long enough to have cleats through which a bar or two should be run behind the cow to keep her from backing out, and also places to run a bar in front of her hind legs about the hock joint, or as high up as possible so as not to interfere with milking. A hole about 18 or 20 inches wide is left open for this purpose from the ground up to the cow's flank, which allows easy and safe access to the udder, while the cleat and post prevent the cow from kicking outwardly at the milker, thus insuring safety.

A Handy Milking Stool

Milkers who have trouble with restless cows that invariably either upset the pail or get a quantity of dirt in it will find the stool shown here a remedy for their troubles. It is also very serviceable in fly time. The upright pieces forming the legs and ends of stools are made of 2 x 8-inch pieces about 1 foot long. The supports for the bucket and the seat are made of inch boards. To secure rigidity it is well to put three-cornered blocks under the seat and bucket board as brace stays. The most restless cow is not likely to upset the bucket from this stool.

The Ever Ready Stool

A very convenient stool for use in milking the cow in yard or field is shown in the cut. It is merely a one-legged stool to which are attached four straps connecting with a broad strap that is buckled around the waist. The stool is quickly fastened to the milker and is always in a position so one can sit down anywhere. Such a stool with a short leg would also be useful in the garden. Of course, if one preferred four legs instead of one, the stool could be so made, but experience proves that the one-legged kind serves well.

Cheap Milking Stool

A cheap and very useful milking stool is made of the reel from which barbed wire has been removed. Saw off the ends so it will set level and cut a board to fit on top. Make a hand hole through the board as shown in the illustration and the stool is ready for use.

Keep Stools Clean

Much milk contamination is undoubtedly due to the careless handling of the milk stools. When the milker is through milking one cow he gives the stool a toss, then he picks it up again when he starts to milk the next cow and his hands become more or less contaminated from the stool and from them the dirt drops into the milk pail during the milking.

When the milking is over, the stool is left in the yard or on the barn floor. It is so easy to make a small rack and to bore holes in the legs of the stool, so that they may be hung up. This keeps them out of the dirt and it is only necessary to brush them off carefully once in a while to keep them scrupulously clean.

The man who is constantly changing his mind usually has little to change.

A Useful Stock Cart

Here is a handy transfer cart, made with wheels and cross-arch of an old corn plow to carry a hog or sheep, pigs or a calf. Raise the tongue, which lets the rear end on ground, then drive in the animal, shut the gate, pull tongue down and you have your load ready to fasten to a wagon.

How to Stake out Stock

A convenient and simple contrivance so that no harm can come to the animal is to drive two stakes several feet apart and stretch a rope or wire on which a ring is placed. To this ring fasten halter strap. The animal can graze up and down on both sides without tangle or injury. The ring slides, and the stretched wire will give some.

Feed Box for Field

A handy feed box for use in open lots or when steers are being fed upon grass is shown in the cut. Cut a barrel in two and strengthen the halves by placing a frame of two boards across the inside, as shown in this sketch. This will prevent the tub being smashed and will allow four animals to eat out of the trough without bothering each other unnecessarily. It is important that a very strong barrel be selected and that the hoops be nailed to each stave.

Be advis'd;
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself: we may outrun,
By violent swiftness, that which we run at,
And lose by over-running.
-- Henry VIII.

Have more than thou showest,
Speak less than thou knowest,
Lend less than thou owest,
Ride more than thou goest,
Learn more than thou trowest,
Set less than thou throwest.
-- King Lear.

Use or practice of a thing is the best master.

Cheap Sheds of Straw

It would pay every farmer to put up in the pastures some kind of protection for his sheep, hogs and cattle. Where labor is scarce and hay and straw is plentiful and cheap, a condition which prevails in many large sections, straw sheds and barns are very profitable. Put up a framework of posts 8 feet high, 16 feet wide and as long as needed; 30 feet is a good length.

The posts are hewed evenly on two sides and set so that a bale of straw will fit snugly between them. They are cut off at a uniform height and a 2 x 6 spiked securely on top. Rafters are nailed to this and covered loosely with poles. Baled straw is used for the sides.

After the sides are up the roof is covered 2 feet deep with loose straw held in place with a few poles that are tied together in pairs and placed over the ridge. Several of these sheds have been built for five years and have not needed any attention.

Life is made up not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort.
-- Sir H. Davy.

You must cut your coat according to your cloth.

Feed Trough for Sheep

For a sheep trough procure two 6-inch boards, a, about 3 feet long and at the bottom of each fasten another board, b. Make a flat trough and let the ends project above the top. Bore a hole through each end and also through the standards, a, and hang the trough on bolts. After the sheep eat and leave the cobs, or if it rains, the trough can be turned bottom side up and quickly cleaned.

The luck that I believe in
Is that which comes with work,
And no one ever finds it
Who's content to wish and shirk.
The men the world calls lucky
Will tell you, every one,
That success comes, not by wishing,
But by hard work, bravely done.

A Novel Feed Rack

An overhead manger, as shown in the sketch, is excellent for sheep or calves. It should hang just high enough so that they will pass under without rubbing their backs. When filled with hay from above they will eat of it at their pleasure, and at the same time it will not take up floor space.

Such a manger is not suitable for grains or fine cut fodders, as too much may be wasted.

A Wheelbarrow Sheep Trough

It very often happens that one wishes to run the sheep on several different pastures during the season. If heavy feed racks are used it is quite a task to move them. The drawing shows a rack that can be easily moved from one field to another by one person. It is simply mounted upon a pair of wheels and has handles on the other end.

If the rack is made very large, it can be easily attached to a wagon, and thus drawn from place to place. The one shown is mounted on old cultivator wheels.

Packing the Fleece

One of the best ways to pack a fleece is to lay it upon a table, turn in the head and tail, then the flanks. After this roll it up into a neat roll and tie firmly, using such a device as here illustrated.

The tying box is made from light lumber with slots, as shown, through which the rope is passed. The fleece is placed upon this rope and the roll easily tied. Wool buyers prefer to have the fleece loose, light to handle and elastic and tied up so that it can be opened if needed.

Easy to Handle Heavy Hogs

The old fashion of having a lot of help around at hog-killing time is going out, owing to the use of better appliances for handling the animals after killing. You may rig up a simple arrangement so that you can handle heavy hogs without assistance. Build a fire box with a flue, b, of three joints of old stovepipe. The vat is made of heavy galvanized iron 4 feet long by 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep. Over this erect a frame of 2 x 4-inch strips, upon which place an old traveler from a hay carrier, or construct one similar to d. With the windlass arrangement, a, and the tackle, e, to which are attached the four feet of the hog, you can convey it from the vat to the bench. A rope, c, passing over the pulley at g, serves to pull the carrier, d, over the bench from the vat.