Creating a green outdoor space for your pets and other animals
Conscientious farmers and animal lovers are already on the right path to creating a green outdoor area for their pets and other animals. It begins with appreciation and respect. Animals provide us with so much. In addition to providing food, they help recycle nutrients and fertilize the soil. They have always been an essential part of farming. They love us, protect us, provide for us, and hope for the same in return. Providing a suitable green habitat that allows them to live comfortably is easier than most people realize. It requires some understanding about the needs of each type of animal, advanced planning, and periodic monitoring and upkeep.
Chickens and Other Poultry
Many people choose to start their backyard farm with chickens, ducks, geese, or turkeys. Salmonella commonly exist in the intestines of chickens and other animals. It may not make the chickens sick, but can cause severe illness in people. Visit the Centers for Disease Control for helpful tips on preventing salmonella infections when raising live poultry.
Chickens are social creatures. Anyone wishing to raise chickens should keep at least six. Each one requires three or four square feet in the coop and an additional three or four square feet in their run. This means you need a minimum of 36 square feet dedicated to housing chickens. They will earn their keep by providing healthier eggs than you can buy elsewhere, composting kitchen scraps, and plucking unwanted insects out of your garden and yard. This reduces your need to buy fertilizers and pesticides with harmful chemicals.
Outdoor Space for Pets
An outdoor pet play area is essential for a quality life for a pet. Veterinary experts at All Pets Vet state that spacious boarding area for outdoor pets and using pet-friendly, non-hazardous materials is essential for giving your pet a happy and sustainable home. Designate an area with a homemade fence made of reclaimed wood, or a recycled fence. Consider giving the area natural shade, by building the area under an existing tree, or planting one. Creating shade from a hung canopy or shed will also suffice if no natural shade is available. Grown dogs can enjoy an above ground kiddy pool, as underground, homemade pools are difficult to keep clean. Choose a pool made of recycled plastic, free of BPA.
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) provides the only Federal minimum standards for breeders. States and local municipalities may have their own criteria. Proper disposal of waste is the top environmental concern for breeders. Your best option is an underground pet waste digester. Here’s a video below:
Environmentally Friendly Barns
Pole barns can be built practically anywhere and do not require concrete foundations or much disruption to natural terrain. With limited excavation, you reduce the possibility of erosion and drainage problems.
Solar powered fans keep air fresh circulating and cool air flowing. They reduce moisture and eliminate the hot, stagnant atmosphere that fosters the growth of mold, bacteria, germs, and insects. During the winter, these fans circulate and distribute body heat of the animals. Add a solar water heating system to further reduce your need for electricity.
Tubular Daylighting Devices (TDDs) also reduce the need for electricity and the possibility of fires due to faulty or damaged wiring. These TDDs capture the sunlight and direct it to the interior. Diffusers can then spread the light so a 10" tube lights a 170 sq ft area. Animals respond better to natural light than florescent.
Be sure to visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) to see if any of your efforts qualify for incentives, tax credits, or accelerated depreciation.
When building shelters for any of your animals, choose sustainable building material with recycled content. Use light-colored roofing to minimize temperature rise. But above all else, love and respect your animals you’re keeping and they will reward you back.