I’ll start. I know this is silly but last night when I had to move a bunch of hay I realized how very much I love and appreciate my Muller Garden Cart. I think I must have purchased it in the early 80s. Super light weight, perfectly balanced, and the tub easily pops out of the aluminum frame. It was perfect to take to shows because it could be popped apart for storing during travel. I think I wrote a fan letter to the manufacturer about ten years ago - and the cart still looks new. So - anyone have any handy dandy gadgets, repurposed items, strategies, that cut chore time so there’s more saddle time available?
I’ve only been a farm owner for a few short months (and still revelling in all the chores), but nothing is more handy than my $10 pocket knife. Just a folding blade, but so useful everywhere for everything and then folds neatly and fits in any pocket, even the tiny little key pocket on running shorts or yoga tights.
Muck bucket carts, with much bucket, feed bucket, any kind of container, carries water jugs, hay, you name it.
Best, lightest for us is this kind, but any other will do:
There are sturdier models, also good, this one just seems to work for us well.
The one with the folding back leg the least favorite, that thing is a pain to get back out to stand cart, not necessary with other models.
I love these threads. always something new out there to keep starting a new thread up every now and then!
Ok: I LOVE my interlocking mats. one of my most favorite things
Some gadgets rely on barn build choices, (like electric outlets and where placed) but I LOVE my heated buckets and my heated muck tub for the run in. CANNOT imagine winter without them.
Same with my sealed motor outdoor area rated fans. Summer would not be bearable without them!.
will never stop singing praises for the hay hoops in stalls/ run in…with slow feed haynets. SO much less waste, SO easy to load. while still good head drop natural feed position.
Have an Eccotemp L-10 hot water propane unit for my outdoor washrack.
Smaller dead freezer for grain/all supplements /treats storage. This is something I will ALWAYS have now…I’ve even bought older ‘working ones’ because still cheaper and better for storage all year round .
the ‘coiling’ hoses : Y’know the ones that are shaped like a spring, not the deflating ones. Again, this is so simple and helpful to me because of where i established the frost free hydrants. But basically, if you put those every so few feet, like mine…these in 25 ft lengths and snap on connectors means: I have no hoses to re wind, drag, re position. I simply have a hook where my 25 ft gets hung to drain both ends after any use, still there ready to go.
if more crosses my mind, i’ll update the list!
My gator. Allows me to get around the property quickly, I can muck out stalls/paddocks into the bed, put hay out in the field(s) without having to drag a wheelbarrow, load tools and materials and have everything handy while working on fence lines, etc. I would say it is the #1 thing on the farm that saves me time and energy.
As far as smaller tools or accessories, I love love love my fine tines pitchfork. There’s a little more sifting labor involved but it gets most of those annoying poop pieces that fall through the tines on a normal pitchfork/muck rake and keeps the stalls cleaner. It has a basket style head on it which is great for moving larger amounts of manure per scoop. That’s nice when I want to quickly clean the paddock or dry lot.
As far as strategy… This wouldn’t work for everyone but I currently only feed a “meal” 1x per day. I might put hay out 2x or 3x a day depending on how much I put out the night before, what the weather is doing, where the horses are, etc. but they only get their mash with supplements once a day. That’s means I’m only doing one round of feed prep a day, which saves me a lot of time and gives me some flexibility in my schedule.
Hands down - My tractor! I don’t know how we did it before we purchased our tractor.
First the Kawasaki Mule, and now my JD Gator. Just now trading it in for a new one… I use it every day all day long.
My expandy hoses are da bomb. SO much easier than dealing with the heavy traditional hoses. I expect them to last a year, and generally get about that. This is the last one I picked up–two year warranty! I’m sure it’ll still die, but at least the next one is free
My husband very much wants a Gator (I will not be showing him all of these comments about how helpful they are, hahaha!) but we get a ton of use out of the tractor. It’s amazing just how much you can do with that loader bucket, or with a pallet on the hay forks.
Having a dedicated three bin manure system has also been such a HUUUUUGE improvement over the standard pile. Looks a lot neater, and much easier to manage!
As for strategies: horses have extra large hay nets that are filled daily. I’m never worried about getting out to the barn by a certain time, because they never run out of hay. Horses are more chill, and makes life much easier to have that flexibility!
The showman manure fork head has been a game changer for me. This is my all time fav manure fork. It slides so easily into the shavings, I can’t explain exactly why but its just so much easier to use.
They are so great my mom was stealing mine daily because she liked it so much. Of course we had to get her her own!
I just thought of something else that has been absolutely PRICELESS. It is not what you expect. It is a childs wagon, like this; https://www.step2.com/p/all-around-wagon/
I bought this at a yard sale and I use it all the freaking time. Its so great for moving horse laundry to the house, hay to the pasture, tack out of the trailer and more recently my dad made it his portable tool shop when he was building his new house. It even has a beer holder (Ok maybe its for juice boxes but…hello :lol:). Honestly the best $20 I have ever spent!
I went to get my horse the other day, and fond these catches have been installed on the pens, I’m already in love, and the thought of not having to fiddle with the old chains, and snap locks, in sub zero temps it just awesome.
This fine mesh strainer for cleaning water tubs and troughs. I use it every day and it really keeps the water clean and it’s saved me a lot of water and work. It has two layers of fine mesh and is made of stainless steel. I’ve had mine three years and it looks the same as the day I got it.
I bought mine through Amazon.
It even gets the tiny, little bits of hay and whatever and the water looks crystal clear after using it.
Made a new post because I was afraid to edit my other one.
I love these! Great ideas and thanks to the Gator enthusiasm I just started my Santa wish list, even though I have less than 15 acres which usually is walk-able. Still. In winter here, what a luxury! I did think of something I inherited when I bought my barn, previous owners left it behind. A hose attachment that had a modified lever-handled faucet - modified so it worked with a hose end and not the usual plumbing fixture it was designed for. So instead of the typical garden hose sprayer attachment that even on the widest setting still sprays cold water all over, there was a lovely full stream emitted with zero splashing. I used this for years til it broke and then somehow managed to misplace the pieces which would have helped to redesign something. I miss that darn gadget every day.
I love my Dura Fork Ergonomic pitchforks. Very lightweight and that little curve of the handle makes it super friendly on your back. DH loves them too.
I personally love this pitchfork head the most:
I will say, find a pitchfork you like, no matter which one it is. Cleaning with a fork you like makes the job much easier.
I like these gate latches:
@TheresanAppfurthat for a hose end I have a neat set up. A quarter turn valve with a length (like a foot) of hose after it. Easy one and off of the water with easy direction for filling buckets and troughs.
Stable cleaner. I spent about 20 years away from one and moved back to a barn with one last spring. Best invention ever. It should be illegal to build anything over 2 stalls without installing one
I have a Dewalt Cordless wet/dry vac. Use it to clean the automatic waterer bowls in our stalls, amongst other things!
Can you clarify what you mean by stable cleaner? Google gives me all kinds of things.
I just bought a whole-bale hay net and it has been a total game-changer. Round bales don’t seem to be a thing out here, and I’m not set up in any way to sling one around anyway. The net is so easy to pull on a three-string bale, and every three or four days I just haul a new bale out to the feeder (with my trusty quad :winkgrin:). Horses come and go, eat as much they want, when they want. Great for getting us through the late summer/fall crappy grass situation as we wait for greener grass this winter.