A new addition for this year's kidding season is a set of nursery pens for the bottle babies.... down in the basement! Yes, in the basement. One of the cool things about houses built in 1940 is the basement. Ours is unfinished with a gravel floor.
I got to thinking .... Hummm .... since it's going to be cold when the kids start being born ... and since we start bottle feed them when they're only around 3 days old.... why should we carry all those warm bottles of goat milk out to the barn? So .... I had this brilliant idea to build a new Kid Nursery in the corner of the basement.
Of course the first thing I had to do was to move the tubs and boxes of camping gear and other stuff that had occupied the corner of the basement that I wanted to use.
The basement corner cleaned out
When that was done, I put down some heavy plastic over the gravel floor. This would prevent any ground moisture during heavy spring rains from getting the bedding in the kid pens damp. This will also make it easier to take the used bedding out to use as mulch around the fruit trees this summer when the kids are all out of the nursery!
Heavy Plastic went down first
I had some 16 foot heavy welded wire panels that are 32 inches tall around the garden last year. I thought the kid pens would be a better place for the panels at this time ..... so I brought 7 of them into the basement and started cutting them to the lengths I needed. This was HARD work and took a couple of afternoons to get finished.
Cutting the panels
I put one of the 16 foot panels along the north wall of the basement and then wired 4 foot sections of the panels that I had cut onto the back panel along the wall. This will give us 8 pens that are 4 foot square ... 4 along the north wall and 4 along the east wall ... in an L shape.
Some of the divider panels in place (front view)
Some of the divider panels in place (side view)
Before I wired on the 16 foot front panel, I realized that I probably should install some additional electrical outlets for the heat lamps that we'll be using to keep the kids warm. There was only one outlet on that side of the basement and with 8 kid pens, we would need more than that. I'm so glad my Dad showed me how to run the wire and correctly wire up the outlets while we were remodeling the milk parlor and cheese room! That experience sure came in handy with this project. I installed 3 new sets of outlets. Dad is coming to wire them into the breaker box. I'm not quite comfortable with working inside the breaker box yet!
New outlets installed
I got 8 large bags of pine shavings from the feed store and put a whole bag in each pen. This gave about 6 to 8 inches of soft fluffy bedding for the kids. It makes the basement smell good too!
Pine shavings for bedding (side view)
Pine shavings for bedding (front view)
I'm getting pretty excited about this year's kidding season. I think having the new kid nursery in the basement will make it so much easier at feeding time.
My Mom (who is 71) lives with us and takes care of most of the bottle feeding of the kids. She likes the idea of having the bottle kids in the basement too. She doesn't enjoy dragging a large cooler full of warm milk bottles out to the barn to feed the kids. She did this last year and was not looking forward to it again this year!
Mom feeding the Kids out in the barn last kidding season
We still have the pens out in the barn, but they'll be used as kidding stalls this year. With 48 does to have kids ... we'll need all the room we can get!