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McCoy’s states farmers and ranchers are ingenious, coming up with all sorts of creative ways to get things done with what they’ve got on hand. Here are some of the best hacks we’ve heard that make life on the range just a little bit easier.
When you’re out checking fences, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding a problem and not having the tools to fix it. These two multi-purpose tools are ideal to have on hand.
While there is no such thing as a perfect tool, fencing pliers get pretty darn close. Fencing pliers are a multi-tool that can be used as a hammer, wire cutter, wire twister, clamping and crimping tool, or as a claw to pull loose nails or staples. Carry this all-around tool when you’re out in the field checking fences or working on everyday projects. Having them on hand will make sure you can pull any dangerous staples or nails sticking out that can hurt your animals.
We all know the benefits of using a T-post driver to set our posts, but did you know you can also use them to pull your t-posts out of the ground? For this farm and ranch hack, all you do is set the driver on the ground and lock it in under one of the t-post’s teeth. Then use it like a ratchet, pulling it back so the resistance pulls the post out of the ground.
Many of the best farm and ranch hacks start with leftover PVC pipes. Most farmers and ranchers have a bit of PVC laying around. If you have leftover PVC pipes from an irrigation project don’t toss them out – there are plenty of ways to repurpose the scraps to make life easier around the farm.
Waste less chicken feed with a PVC feeder. Simply attach an elbow joint to the bottom of a 4” pipe and fill it up with feed. It’ll give the chickens a constant source of food while the deep sides prevent the food from falling out onto the ground, minimizing waste.
You can also use PVC as tool storage to hold long-handled tools like pitch forks or shovels so they aren’t lying on the ground. This farm and ranch hack can save you the frustration of tripping over tools later.
Create a chicken tractor by connecting PVC to make a frame and wrapping chicken wire around it to protect your foraging flock from hawks and other predators. These tractors are lightweight so you can move them around the pasture easily.
Use a 4” diameter PVC pipe to make a strawberry tower. Simple cut 2 ½” holes every 12” down the pipe, fill it with dirt, and place strawberry plants in each hole.
Place PVC pipes on your lopper’s handles to make them long enough to reach tall limbs. The PVC pipes act as an extension of the handles, so you’ll be able to cut with ease.
PVC is one of the most versatile products for farm and ranch hacks. Regardless of how you use it, it’s always a good idea to have a few sizes of PVC on hand in case of a pipe break or other miscellaneous tasks that may arise.
From being the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects to potentially causing strain on your animals’ legs, standing water around a water trough is an issue that must be dealt with quickly. These farm and ranch hacks for water troughs will get the mud under control in no time!
An easy and affordable farm and ranch hack is to spread gravel around the water trough. Make it wide enough that the animals stand completely on the gravel while drinking. Be sure to tamp it down to prevent loose rocks.
Float valves are an easy way to control your water level by preventing overfilling troughs. Since float valves automatically fill troughs to the correct water level, you’ll know your animals always have fresh water. No more time spent checking water levels and filling troughs!
Tracking mud on your shoes is a thing of the past thanks to this farm and ranch hack. Screw a contractor wooden broom head into the thresholds of your outbuildings so you can quickly scrape mud off your boots and stop mud from coming inside.
Ratchet straps have many more uses than just tying down supplies when you’re headed home from the store.
If you’re in the middle of a woodworking project but can’t find your clamps, you can use tie down straps as clamp replacements. The ratchets allow you to pull your wood together and secure it until the glue has dried.
For storage, use ratchet straps with a pulley system to store large items off the ground. This farm and ranch hack frees up space on the ground while still giving easy access to everything you need.
If you need a winch in a pinch, heavy duty ratchet straps will do the job! Secure the strap onto whatever you need, like the front of a utility vehicle stuck in the mud, and then use the ratchet to tighten the strap and pull the item you are trying to winch.
It’s easy to get creative with the ways you can use ratchet straps on the farm. Just make sure you use one that has the strength rating for the job you are trying to accomplish.
Tools don’t help if you can’t find them. These farm and ranch hacks can save you a bit of time and stress searching for the tool you need.
The benefits of having a pocket knife handy are endless – that’s why most farmers and ranchers wouldn’t be caught without one. A nice trick is to get your knife in bright colors so that if you drop it in a field of tall grass, you can find it easily.
It’s also a great idea to have different colors for the crew. That way you know which one belongs to whom, and if your knife gets “borrowed” you can track it down.
When the power goes out, or it’s dark outside, it’s easier to see brightly colored objects. Wrap your flashlight’s handle in the brightest duct tape you can find to make it easier to see when you need it. Bonus points if the tape is reflective!
Need to break up soil, but don’t have a hoe? Fasten a shelf bracket to a broom handle for a makeshift version. The rounded end of a regular shelf bracket is sharp enough to break up your ground with ease.
Where there’s a problem, there’s a solution. That solution was probably thought of by a farmer or rancher with good ol’ fashioned ingenuity. Sometimes though, having the right tool for the job is the best permanent solution. Find what you need at your local McCoy’s.
We’d love to see the great hacks you’ve invented! Use #mccoysbuildingsupply on Instagram to share your farm and ranch hacks.