The manure spreader is hands down on of my favorite pieces of farm equipment! Prior to purchasing this, I had a huge manure pile that just kept growing and growing. The unsightly pile contributed to a lot of flies and barn odor. I finally hired someone to remove the pile while simultaneously researching manure spreaders. Ultimately, I chose the Newer Spreader because it was affordable, light weight (I can pull it around by hand) and it would not take up much space in my barn. Now I muck the stalls into the spreader and using my ATV, I drive far into the woods to spread it. The spreader breaks up the manure enabling to dry faster (thus not support flies), and I no longer have an unsightly, stinky pile near my barn. This really is one piece of equipment that I cannot imagine living without.
OK, I LOVE my automatic waterers! Initially this was a bit of a splurge, but incredibly worth it. Richie Waterers in each stall eliminate the need for hauling water, dumping/cleaning tubs, accidentally overflowing water tubs, or coiling hoses. They save a ton of time. I never have to worry about my horses or alpacas running out of water, and the water is always fresh. The units were very easy to install (I was able to do the installation myself). The only cons are that a) I cannot monitor each animal's individual water intake (although since my animals share paddocks, it was only an estimate anyway) and b) for about three weeks each year they freeze. During this time, I have to lug buckets of water to fill several heated buckets/troughs. This adds about 15 minutes to my routine each morning and evening ... and reminds me how much I love automatic waterers.
Heated Hose, Tape & Buckets
The heated tape is a critical component of having automatic waterers. The tape (which I cover with pipe insulation, prevents the pipes from freezing. Unfortunately, the water inside the automatic waters still freezes for 3-4 weeks out of the year.
During this time, I use the heated hose to fill heated buckets. No longer do I have to drag the hose into the house to thaw it out. (Been there -done that-it's such a hassle.)
I have 5-gallon and 16-gallon heated buckets in the stalls to ensure the horse always have tepid (not freezing) water to drink. This brand is durable and with the 5-gallon bucket, the metal wrapped cord can be stowed away for easy stacking/storage in the summer.
For horses that will finish a full bucket before I get home, I added a large 80-gallon metal water tank complete with a floating heater. Since I don't trust these two not to chew, the cord runs through thick PVC that is anchored to the stall wall. Make sure that you install the correct heater for the size of the tank.
It's important to plug all the heaters near water into GFI outlets and make sure that the horses cannot chew the electrical cord. Also, never let the heated buckets or metal water tank run empty when the heater is on. Routinely (several times a week) check the cords to be sure they are not damaged or compromised in any way.
This was such a worthwhile, affordable investment!
No more late night trip up to the barn. Now I can monitor the barn, and property, right from the comfort of my couch, while I'm at work or when I am traveling.
The cameras give me immense piece of mind.
After researching a variety of brands, I settled on the Blink cameras by Amazon. First, I'm not tech savvy so I needed something that was idiot-proof to install.
I love that each camera can be set as "'motion activated" (e.g., aisle of the barn, front porch) or "live view" (e.g., horses stalls, dogs fenced in yard). On the motion sensor mode, the cameras can send an alert to your phone that someone is on your porch or there is a horse loose in the aisle. The live view is better for looking into the stalls or dog area since it won't ring your phone each time a horse moves. You click it when you want to check on your pets.
The cameras have a two-way microphone so you can talk to your pets, or someone on the porch.
The data is stored (at no extra charge-like some brands) in the cloud so that if the cameras are stolen or damaged, you can still access all the footage.
The cameras do not need to be hardwired or plugged in. They use AA Lithium batteries. They are installed with just two small screws, and then once in place, they can be angled.