We have a field shelter complex in one of our small fields. Our sheep really like the shelter and they head there when it's raining (for shelter) or sunny (for shade). They also head there when they're a bit stressed, for example when it's midgie weather. Last year, we added slabs all the way round to ensure they had some hard standing.
That worked really well, but annoyingly, the ground in the shelters got quite muddy and in places there were small puddles. Mixed with a bit of sheep poo, it can get a little smelly. Over the winter, we used a lot of sawdust and straw to keep things fresh. While that gave us a mini mountain of mulch, it's still not that brilliant for the sheep. With 27 of them, it was really a bit more than the shelters could cope with.
So, we decided to add some drainage. We have also set up a path from our fields to the lambing paddock. They were not well connected, but a little bit of fencing means we can now give the sheep unrestricted access to the lambing shed. This winter, we'll be able to spread the load between the two shed complexes.
Anyway, I did a bit of planning and bought some drainage pipe. The plan is to run a pipe through each shelter and also around three edges where it can get pretty damp and muddy. Combined with the guttering installed last year, this should take a lot of water around the shed away.
Then it was time to roll the sleeves up and get digging. I had also bought a special sock, a covering for the drainage pipe that kept the silt out. This meant I didn't have to bed it in gravel and also I didn't have to put it in that deep. Nevertheless, the digging took a while.
Once the trench was dug, it didn't take long to get the pipe in place. We're hoping it will make a big difference.
In the meantime, the sheep have access to the lambing shed which has a floor made of hard core, so they are perfectly happy - when they remember it's there!
We'll be keeping that field shut for the summer to allow the ground to recover from the pounding of 27 sheeps' hooves