There’s always lots to do here at my Bedford, New York farm. Among our latest projects – moving the donkeys and their run-in shed.
I have several large pastures – enclosed spaces where my Friesians, Fell pony, and donkeys are turned out to exercise and graze. Recently, I decided to move my donkeys to another paddock on the north side of my stable, where they can view farm activities from a different location. Doing this meant we also had to relocate the donkey run-in shed. Run-in sheds are three-sided buildings that allow horses and donkeys free-choice access during inclement weather. My crew took on this task and got the job done in just a couple of hours.
Enjoy these photos.
Here on my farm, I always instruct my outdoor grounds crew to use the right tools for the right jobs. For this project, it was necessary to move the donkey run-in shed from one paddock to another quickly and efficiently. Our trusted hi-lo is the perfect solution for this task. A hi-lo is a vehicle with a pronged device in front for lifting and carrying heavy loads. Here, Pete drives it carefully into the enclosure to the run-in shed.
The hi-lo can lift thousands of pounds. This run-in shed is not moving far – just to the other side of the stable and my Boxwood Allée.
The first step is to make sure it is completely secured. Pete, Doug, and Fernando wrap two heavy-duty straps around the entire shed.
Underneath, the crew places wooden boards and a metal pipe, so the shed remains intact when it is lifted. Giving it ample support from all sides is crucial.
A moving blanket is also placed on the forklift where the shed will rest, so the side is properly protected.
Here, the forklift is moved carefully under the structure…
… And in just a short time, the shed is on the move.
Pete drives the hi-lo carefully out of the paddock and onto the carriage road in front of the stable.
Then it is turned ever so slowly into the Boxwood Allée. The new paddock gate is just off one end of the allée.
The inside is completely empty. One can see how it is being carried on the inside.
In order to maneuver the shed into the paddock without touching the boxwood, Pete lifts the shed using the strong forklift arm of the hi-lo over the burlap covered specimens.
Here it is about 10-feet in the air – so far, so good.
Fernando is ready with blocks to place under the shed as soon as it is lowered into its new position.
And before lunch, the entire run-in shed is in its new home – intact and looking great.
Next, the sod from in front of the shed is removed and some industrial weed cloth is put down in its place.
Because this will be a high-traffic area for the donkeys, I wanted to be sure the entrance to the run-in shed is safe. Muddy high-traffic areas are not suitable for horses – they can cause poor footing, which can lead to leg injuries, strain, and stress to their joints, muscles, and ligaments. To help, Pete is installing this flexible, high density, three-inch deep polyethylene mat, which will contain filler and improve drainage where it is needed most.
The mat cells are each three-inches deep. It will be able to hold an adequate amount of stone dust.
Here, Pete starts filling the cells with stone dust. Once the cells are filled, they will add another two inch layer on top of the mat.
It can also be mounded up slightly in the center to allow for better drainage. Pete and Fernando make sure none of the mat is exposed.
Here’s Truman “TJ” Junior walking over to see what’s going on. “TJ” is one of five Sicilian donkeys here at my farm.
And where one goes, the others follow – here comes Rufus.
Soon, Jude “JJ” Junior joins the herd.
I think “TJ” likes where his new run-in shed is. He decides to roll right away – approval, or marking his new territory?
The donkeys seem to like their new space. This new paddock will be a fun change. Here, they will spend their days running, rolling, and grazing in the grass. It will also be easier for visitors to stop by and visit with them.
The run-in shed looks great in its new location and I love seeing it from the windows of my Winter House. I think the donkeys will be very happy in their new enclosure. See you soon, my darling “donks.”