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Things to consider before building your animal pen.
Building animal pens is a necessity if you are going to keep animals. So we want to do everything we can to make our animals safe, comfortable, and happy.
Location is very important when deciding where to place a pen. You need to consider several things:
Access to water, if your pen is too far from a water source it could become a real pain.
Also be sure the place you are choosing has enough room, extra space may be needed just in case you decide to expand the number of animals you are raising.
The area should also be in a convenient location so you can access it for cleaning, feeding, and so on.
It is very important to be sure the pen is strong enough to hold the animal you plan on keeping. Don’t think you are going to keep a bull in a pen surrounded by flimsy welded wire. As the old saying goes keep your fences horse high, pig tight, and bull strong. Not only do you need to consider keeping your critters in, but you should also think about keeping things out. If your animal could be a tasty treat to a predator, then you need fences that will keep them out. Also if you are containing something that is dangerous, take extra care on locking the gates so someone does not unknowingly wander in there and get killed.
You wouldn’t want to hang out in the rain, wind, and sun all the time with no where to escape. Make sure you have as many layers of shelter as you can. Things like houses for smaller animals such as dogs, pigs, and goats are great ideas. If you are housing larger animals like cows, horses, or mules, then you may want to go with a simple shade cover with one side closed in, preferably the side that gets afternoon sun. If it is really hot in your climate then maybe you should entertain the idea of putting up a shade cloth cover for a cheap option of extending out the shaded area the animals have access to.
You need to make sure your food container is large enough to hold the right amount of food. If you only feed once a day then you are going to need a larger container than if you feed twice a day. Your container should be strong enough to handle abuse from the animal it is feeding. Lastly make sure you secure the food dish in place. It never fails that when you are in a hurry, your critter will have moved the food dish upside down and into the hardest spot to get to in their entire pen.
In this case bigger is better, it will not hurt any animal to have an excess of drinking water. It will however hurt or kill and animal if they do not have access to drinking water. When selecting a water container keep in mind you will need to clean it out from time to time, if you have a giant dish that will be to heavy to just dump over, make sure there is a drain on the bottom so you can flush the water out. Make sure you position the water dish in the pen so that you can get your hose to it easily if you don’t plan on setting up a float system.