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DH & I are in the process of trying to save some money for a down payment on some land. In the meantime, I've been looking at properties online and making a 'wish list'. Some of the properties I've looked at have a creek that runs through them. At first I rejected those because of a possibility of flooding but I'm beginning to change my mind. I'm now thinking, with the lay of the land and with the help of the county's flood map(s), having a creek might be a possibility which brings me to my questions. Does anyone on the boards also have a creek or pond on their property? If you do, do you use it as a watering source for your livestock? If so, do you have any health-related problems that might be contributed to that? Giardia? Coccidiosis? Scours? I would love for my goats to have a year round water supply without having to carry it to them everyday but I'm concerned about their health, especially since they will be dairy goats. So if that's not a good idea, I'll mark it off my wish list and come up with another idea.

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DH & I are in the process of trying to save some money for a down payment on some land. In the meantime, I've been looking at properties online and making a 'wish list'. Some of the properties I've looked at have a creek that runs through them. At first I rejected those because of a possibility of flooding but I'm beginning to change my mind. I'm now thinking, with the lay of the land and with the help of the county's flood map(s), having a creek might be a possibility which brings me to my questions. Does anyone on the boards also have a creek or pond on their property? If you do, do you use it as a watering source for your livestock? If so, do you have any health-related problems that might be contributed to that? Giardia? Coccidiosis? Scours? I would love for my goats to have a year round water supply without having to carry it to them everyday but I'm concerned about their health, especially since they will be dairy goats. So if that's not a good idea, I'll mark it off my wish list and come up with another idea.

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I have a natural creek (not a drainage ditch) on my land that everybody drinks out of, the dogs, the horses and the sheep, and have seen no ill effects over 9 years so far. Very handy when working dogs in the summer--don't have to go all the way back up to the corral for water for the dogs. Also has a restful water sound to sit by while waiting for a dog to cool off.

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I have 2 ponds. They aren't the greatest but no ill health effects from them except I swear it's helping to keep foot rot going strong. It starts with scald from having to wade in the ponds (not good enough to just get to the edge and drink from there, they wade in) then thier feet get compacted with pond yuck (they were cow ponds long ago) then we move on to foot rot. Besides the owner of the prop. brought her sheep here with foot rot already, so the bacteria is here.

 

I love having a nice pond. One that the livestock can drink from and where the dogs can swim.

 

I'm trying to buy a place that has a spring fed creek. I'm all excited about the creek. Maybe a bit of flooding in the field if the creek come way up but it's not going to flood anything more than a field so I'm game. Plus the field looks wonderful from previous times where the creek rose. The house and barns are not in any low lying area so flooding isn't going to be an issue.

 

I even love a nice pond more that a creek for dog swimming and livestock watering but I'll take a creek specially with a spring right on the prop!

 

Yep...water on your property is a huge plus in my book!!

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Hi Brenda,

 

I think you are wise to be cautious around a water way (stream/creek/river etc) for obvious reasons of flooding. I like your idea of researching with the county though. On the other hand, having a creek can be a bonus. I've lived with a creek and presently with a pond. With a flowing waterway on your property, you have to be careful with water rights. (can you divert water to your barn? etc.) And I know here in Ontario, we need to fence off access to flowing waterways in order to preserve shoreline (fish habitat etc) and to stop the contamination of water with livestock waste. There was a terrible tragedy in Walkerton a number of years back and Ontario farmers have been paying for it ever since.

 

If you can divert a stream, there are ingenious ways to do so. The internet is full of sites with really bright ideas.

 

We have a pond (30' x 60' by maybe 15' deep) that I allow the sheep to drink from. It is only a supplementary watering hole and used only in a rotation of grazing. I know folks who have put in a pump system in their pond, feeding the barn, but I haven't done that with ours. (thought alot about it though)

 

It also makes a difference if the pond has a source.... Ours does not as it was dug when we built our house. If there is an underground source to your pond, I wouldn't hesitate to tap into it as a watering source for the barn! If it is a stagnant pond as is ours, you would have to put in a special (can't remember what they are called) type of filter box in the bottom of the pond I think. And, depending on the size of the pond you may run out of water! We almost did a few years back when having a drought.

 

Hmmmm I seem to be rambling a bit so better quit while I'm ahead. Have fun dreaming and figuring things out. That's half the fun of getting your own place. And it doesn't stop when you move in either!

 

Nanc in Ontario

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KnottyClarence, I like the sound of running water too. :)

 

bcnewe2, our backyard neighbors have a creek. Well, I should say had until the beavers moved in. Even though each dam allows a little flow (last I heard there were 7-8 dams), each pond is still full of stagnant water. As long as we don't get beavers, I think I would like running water like a creek better.

 

Nancy, you have a good point. I'll check into the water rights. One piece of property I saw online stated it had a great place for a pond. I haven't walked the land so I don't know if that means we would have to dig it out or widen the creek. If the creek has enough water running thru it, I was planning on running it up to the barn as well as the vegetable garden. If that's not possible, another idea I have is seeing if we can attach another pipe to the well we dig for the house and run it to the barn. I know nothing about wells so I don't know if that's possible though. I've also found places online that sale do-it-yourself well diggers. I don't know if DH would want to go that route but at least it's another option.

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Kristen, Do you think if you had flowing water vs. a pond that the bacteria would have washed away? But then again, would it cause problems further down the creek? I think I need to do some research in how long that bacteria lives.

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My sheep spend a good portion of the year drinking out of ponds. Never had any trouble from it. Our dairy goats are far fussier about what they'll drink out of- they won't touch the ponds the sheep do. We also back up to a HUGE wetland. Because of it's classification, we can't allow livestock close enough to it to drink from it.

 

Before you dig a pond or widen or divert a stream, please check your local regulations & consult with a wetland or soil scientist. My partner is both, and he does work for a LOT of people who didn't bother to check the local regs & now have to pay a fine and fix things because they just went ahead and diverted/widened a waterway. Even small creeks (and drainage ditches) ca be regulated waterways.

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No Brenda I don't think the bacteria would wash away. It's on/in the soil.

The landlord brought her sheep here with foot rot and who knows it could have been here already.

I guess I haven't done enough research to really know for sure. I do know her sheep suffer and she battles FR constantly. She has also bought sheep and brought them here from sale barns. That's something I try hard not to do with my own stock. If you buy stock from someone you know or at least can go and check out where they are/were living you can get a read on what you might be bringing home.

 

She has vaccinated for it, set up foot baths and done all she or I know to battle this, but still fights it. It's my own personal opinion that the pond(s) is the cause. Both her ponds don't have running water through them unless it's been raining hard and then it's run off from the fields.

 

I've had ponds on previous properties and my sheep were fine. But I had never had foot rot so I think that helped allot plus my ponds were clean enough that the sheep could stand at the side and drink without getting in.

 

I know livestock can pollute rivers and streams but I always thought it was more cattle (they like to wade in or stand around in ponds or creeks). I never really aquated sheep with that statement. They do not like to wade in nor stand in them, unless they're forced to do it getting a drink.

 

We've decided here that we are going to start with having the ponds mucked out and redug.

 

The first pond I ever had, we did the same. When he moved on our place back in '99 the pond was no more than a wet spot where cattails and other pond robbing veg. grew. We had it drained and redug and enjoyed a great spot after that. We stocked it with fish and added healthy pond plants. It was a wildlife haven for birds and other small animals. Plus where we dumped the muck turned into one of our best pastures. The muck was great fertlizer.

 

Like I mentioned earlier, I love having a pond or creek on my property. I like water, as long as I live up hill from it!

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We have a full time stream and several areas with running water when the water table is high enough for several part time springs to be flowing.

Our sheep don't like to drink from our streams because they don't like to get their feet wet (if they have a choice).

We have 2 spring fed water troughs that run full time and don't freeze which they prefer to use.

 

 

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How does your neighbor keep the pond from freezing over in the winter. I had to put a stocktank out here, the ponds are so shallow from all the old muck that they would freeze fast. Now I hardly see the stock come up to get a drink. But in the freeze they were up here everyday. I also know (I've only been here since last Aug.) that now the ponds are really full and are much better. Last summer at the end they were all but dried up and the pond vegetation had taken over the sides so that the sheep did have to wade in. Now I assume they are just standing at the side.

So much easier than having to water everyday!

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Location, location, location (NC)

 

 

well....Duh :P ...guess I could of figured that one out!

My parents are in freeze area like me...they keep a little bubbler going for their ducks but I can't get electric all the way out at the pond!

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Hopefuly I'll get the place I'm trying to buy. It has the creek with a spring right on the prop. Won't need a bubbler but I will pass the info along to the owner of this place.

 

Still say even with the foot rot we're dealing with, water on your prop is a huge plus!

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Thanks everyone for your replies. It's been educational. I've even added some lines to my "Notes to self" doc. I hope by the time we have enough money for a down payment (and the lawyer's fee) we can afford a piece of property that has some sort of water feature. Now I have to work extra hard on my patience! :lol:

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Before you dig a pond or widen or divert a stream, please check your local regulations & consult with a wetland or soil scientist. My partner is both, and he does work for a LOT of people who didn't bother to check the local regs & now have to pay a fine and fix things because they just went ahead anddiverted/widened a waterway. Even small creeks (and drainage ditches) ca be regulated waterways.

 

I agree. You also need to be concerned about allowing access and runoff from your operation. Our area of NYS is cracking down on this (for good reasons). Small farms will probably be held to the same standards as large, meaning large costs for revisions. Since we're surrounded on all sides by streams and ponds, I'm a little worried about the implications for us owning sheep.

 

Kim

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I know livestock can pollute rivers and streams but I always thought it was more cattle (they like to wade in or stand around in ponds or creeks). I never really aquated sheep with that statement. They do not like to wade in nor stand in them, unless they're forced to do it getting a drink.

 

 

It's not so much livestock stirring up and polluting by wading. Conservation wise, it's about trampled shorelines. (and you're right, the wading cow makes it hard on fish spawning) Health wise (and why Ontario farmers are paying the price) it is all about manure runoff. There are Canadian federal/provincial plans that help finance part (half) of the fencing and I think there is financial aid available in America also. Both our countries are trying to make some of the regulations they are ramming down our throats, a little easier to swallow.

 

Nancy in Ontario

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it is all about manure runoff.

It's this that I think is our foot rot culpret. Cows tend to stand around and poop in the pond (or at least that's what I've seen evidence of) and they use the banks as a bathroom station. That is what is sitting in the bottom of the ponds the sheep are wading into to get their drink. The bacteria gets stuck along with pond muck in their hooves and it's ripe for bacteria growth. A healthy pond doesn't have this issue. Or at least that's been my finding.

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DH & I are in the process of trying to save some money for a down payment on some land. In the meantime, I've been looking at properties online and making a 'wish list'. Some of the properties I've looked at have a creek that runs through them. At first I rejected those because of a possibility of flooding but I'm beginning to change my mind. I'm now thinking, with the lay of the land and with the help of the county's flood map(s), having a creek might be a possibility which brings me to my questions. Does anyone on the boards also have a creek or pond on their property? If you do, do you use it as a watering source for your livestock? If so, do you have any health-related problems that might be contributed to that? Giardia? Coccidiosis? Scours? I would love for my goats to have a year round water supply without having to carry it to them everyday but I'm concerned about their health, especially since they will be dairy goats. So if that's not a good idea, I'll mark it off my wish list and come up with another idea.

 

Check with your area Natural Resource Conservation Service regarding planning for use of a creek or a pond for watering livestock - the goal is to provide water to the stock without contaminating the water -- it sounds like cross purposes, but with a little ingenuity, it can be done, as it isn't only the animals that can develop health problems from the water. The animals can also impact the over all water quality, and of course, their safety is a factor as well. Much of the information on NRCS website is aimed at large scale farming, but they will offer assistance to the small landowner as well.

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As Nick pointed out, the U.S. has (at least) as many regulations as Canada governing stream bank protection and agricultural runoff, both from manure and pesticides (and to be fair, storm water runoff from developments). Pennsylvania, for example, owns all of the creeks, streams and rivers in the state -- every drop is "the waters of the Commonwealth" -- property owners can't impede or change its course in any way. There was a great deal of program assistance to farmers, particularly in the Chesapeake Bay watershed -- we planted a great many trees, put up miles of fencing, and installed graveled stream bank crossings for cattle, solar water tanks for watering livestock in the pastures....how much of that has since dried up in the tightened economy, I don't know...

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The NRCS is on my radar. I also found out we could create a "community" well if we don't get some land with some kind of water on it. That will be more expensive initially but at least it's an option.

 

And I can't believe I'm getting barn envy. I had to go to the city Thursday. On the way there I past yet another new barn that's been built since the last time I was there. I'm so jealous and we don't even have our land yet. I even have it laid out in my mind. It'll have a feed room, a 12 x 16 stall for the goats at night (We're only going to have 4-5 but I want to section a part of it off so I can be able to quarantine if one becomes ill) on one side and a stall for DH's tractor and implements and a stall for my garden stuff on the other side. And I want double dutch doors on the front and back. I'll figure out the milking section later.

 

DH is being more sensible. Today I told him the first thing I wanted to do when we got our land was to fence it in so he started thinking about an auger and a double axle trailer to haul the tractor, auger and fencing. He even laughed at me about the chickens. I told him we were going to have a chicken tractor instead of a chicken coop and it was going to be set up in our garden between the rows. Every few days I will pull it forward so the chickens can scratch and fertilize the ground. The next season, I'll plant the veggies in the rows the chickens fertilized after tilling and adding compost and start the chickens on the old growth part and rotate each year. And in the meantime, we'll have fresh eggs. I don't know how that'll work in real life but it sounds good in my head. :lol:

 

I wish we could win the lottery. Our retirement home keeps getting more and more expensive.

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