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Well, my husband and I are currently under contract for a beautiful, 17 acre little farm. We will be building a house on the site which will hopefully start in July. The land includes a large metal 3 sided barn which we are enclosing for the tractor and livestock if needed. It also has a large overhang on the back. The land has been previously used for cattle and has hand set wooden fence posts with 4 board fencing around the entire perimeter but no cross fencing. There are lots of gates and a cattle sorting system that has a loading ramp as well. There are several watering troughs that are plumbed into the well that have the large balls that the animals have to push down to access the water. Are those suitable for sheep? It also has a small pond. We will not be adding sheep for a year or so but will hopefully have a small hobby flock and will sell to the local specialty market.


It's exciting but a bit scary too. I've always wanted my own little farm and it looks like my dream might just be about to come true.

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How very exciting!!!! Congratulations!


I'm still learning about stock tanks (today I learned that there's a MUCH easier way to drain groundwater-fed stock tanks than by bailing with a bucket, which was what I did on Monday). I don't know anyone who uses the sort of tank you describe for sheep. How high are the sides? Two of mine are 18" high, which is fine for sheep, but one is 24" high, and I'll probably set up some cinder blocks on the outside so that the sheep can access it OK.


I'm thinking of getting a grate built to go on top of each tank (made of welded rebars). Its purpose would be to keep lambs from climbing into the tanks and drowning - I'll keep the openings big enough to allow the sheep to drink from it.

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Dear New Farmers,


The ball waterers don't work very well for sheep (I have them) unless you have many many sheep who'll rotate the ball frequently enough to keep the unit from freezing. Mine are black plastic and into freezing weather they warm up enough in the sun to thaw and I can break a light skim of ice. After it gets really cold, drain the waterer and go to plan B.


The balls, however, do prevent lambs from drowning which is an ugliness to avoid. Some kind of grate's a good idea.


Donald McCaig

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Congrats on the new farm, it is an adventure and a new lifestyle.


The down side of a grate on top of the water tank is dogs can no longer use it to cool off after working. Make sure the grate is designed so that a lamb can get off on its own (can get its feet out if the holes so it can climb off).

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