Once you try some of these, you'll wonder how you lived without them!
The holidays are a-coming, and it’s time to start shopping for the perfect gift for the livestock farmer in your life (maybe that’s you!). Some useful tools and gadgets for the livestock barn might be just the jumping-off point you need. Sheep, goat, horse, dairy, cattle, llama, or other livestock farmers might just be delighted with any of these gifts.
1. Two-wheeled wheelbarrow
Wheelbarrows are a standard item in livestock barns everywhere—to haul bedding, straw, manure, or whatever else needs moving. But take a step to make chore-time easier by choosing a two-wheeled wheelbarrow. These are steadier and far easier to control when moving heavy loads (say goodbye to tipping and spilling). You can even move them one-handed when they’re empty.
2. Cordless drill/impact driver
You probably already keep a cordless drill in the garage or shop, but it’s also wise to give the livestock barn its own dedicated unit. Not necessarily because there are a lot of holes to drill in the barn, but because nothing beats a cordless drill for driving screws. With a cordless drill and a good assortment of screws of various lengths, you’ll be ready for any quick repair job the next time a goat, cow, horse, sheep, or llama decides to cause a little damage. Purchase an assortment of bits too—flat, Phillips, square, and Torx.
3. Head lamp and lantern
Even with good lighting in the barn and out, it can be dark around the farm at night—especially in winter. Whether you’re performing routine chores, attending lambing season, or making fence repairs during a snowstorm, adequate lighting is essential. Modern LED headlamps provide an astonishing amount of light right where you need it, all while going easy on the batteries. LED floodlights or Coleman-style LED lanterns can light up your general work area for larger projects.
4. Wireless cameras
Keep an eye on the barn—or the paddocks—from the comfort (read: warmth!) of your home with a wireless camera system. These aren’t old-fashioned, fuzzy baby monitors—modern wireless agriculture cameras deliver sharp, high-definition images that make it easy to see the details you’re looking for so you can check on the status of your herd, day or night. Some systems can function without an Internet connection in the barn, but may need a line-of-sight radio signal between the house and barn.
5. Traction cleats
In the north, winter can begin in October stretch well into March and April. Trouble is, the sun is getting up pretty high by that time, melting the snow during the day and making for some treacherous ice conditions by evening. If there is ice around your barn, add some safety to this winter’s daily chores by attaching a pair of removable traction cleats to your boots. There are many different styles, including some rubberized versions that slip over your treads and supply a series of metal grips to improve your footing.
6. Basic toolkit
Yes, you have a set of basic tools in the house, and in the garage or shop. But why not purchase a simple kit for the barn, too? It’ll save you time and you’ll be amazed at how often you find yourself reaching for it when a quick repair is at hand. Besides the essential hammer, pliers, adjustable wrench and multi-screwdriver, toss in some bonus items like zip ties, string, tape, plastic gloves, and a magnet for when you drop a nail!
7. Satellite radio
There’s nothing wrong with making barn chores a little more enjoyable by adding some music. Regular old AM/FM radios work great, but if you’re searching to expand your station choices, consider investing in a satellite radio subscription for the barn. Satellite radio isn’t just for the truck!
8. Durable bluetooth
Another option would be to stream music, but your barn might be a little cut off from the Internet. Still, with a cell signal (maybe), and if you don’t mind using up some data for music, you could always try streaming music into a rugged, portable Bluetooth speaker. Many manufacturers supply water-resistant, shock-tough speakers designed for outdoor use—perfect for the dusty and potentially electronic-unfriendly environment of your barn.
What’s on your list for the livestock farmer in your life?
About the author
Samantha Johnson writes about the happy things in life—pets, home, family, food, and gardening—and thinks Mondays are the most wonderful day of the week. She fills her rare spare moments by crafting to-do lists and fulfilling the commands and demands of her bossy Corgi. View her portfolio at samanthajohnson.contently.com