Barn floor dampness - would this work?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Nancy_in_GA, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    NE Georgia
    Our goats are for brush control, no milking or breeding. Our goat barn is 24x14, three sided, and has a red clay dirt floor.

    Last summer (our first) we cleaned the barn floor down to the dirt and put out new straw regularly. But apparently damp air comes up out of the ground inside the barn all the time. If you set a bucket on the floor, the bottom would be covered with drops of water in 24 hours, even if it was very dry weather---much worse if it was rainy.

    I worry about the goats breathing this damp air all night, even though there is always a layer of straw between them and the ground.

    Over the winter we have just kept adding more layers of straw to the barn floor, with an occasional layer of lime/Sevin Dust mix when we notice an odor. A layer of decomposed goat berries and straw has compacted between the top layer of loose straw and the clay soil. This layer is dry and hangs together, sort of like a thick pad. You have to use a shovel to peel it off the ground. I'm sure you all know what I'm describing, but this is all new to me.

    Anyway, the floor has been much dryer this winter than in the summer, even though we've had tons of rain here.

    From what I've read I'm supposed to strip everything off back down to the bare ground in the spring and start all over. But suppose we just rake off the straw and other loose material down to this compacted layer. Then spray it real well with Chlorox and Permectrin II and let it dry. Then cover it with clean straw, and clean out regularly but only down to this layer, not down to the dirt. It seems like this would provide a layer insulation from the dampness.

    Does anyone do it like this? If you could kill off any bacteria/parasites/fungus in this layer wouldn't it be safe? If so, would Chlorox and Permectrin II do the job, or is there something better? Seems like it would be healthier for the goats than breathing damp air all night. Any comments on what you do would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Nancy
     
  2. GoatsRus

    GoatsRus TMESIS

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    Zone 6 - Middle TN
    We put a layer of crush and run down when we had the barn built. It allows the urine to pass through to the ground and not stay in the hay or cedar chips. when we clean, we scrape down to the crush and run which is now pretty compacted, but still allows for drainage. We went with method since I worked for a Walking horse farm for a while and this is what they used for their expense horses. We also lime the floor before rebedding.
     

  3. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    Oct 19, 2004
    Location:
    NE Georgia
    Dear GoatsRus, thanks for the info. I guess some kind of fine gravel IS the best option. But wasn't sure this would stop the damp air coming up from the ground. The dampness is not from goats' urine, but from the moisture in the soil creeping up to the surface, like the reason they often put plastic on the ground here under a house with no basement.

    This layer of compost seems to dry out very quickly in the air, so thought maybe it might help. I may just experiment with it for a month or so, then go to the gravel after discovering the problems.
    Nancy
     
  4. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    Feb 17, 2005
    Location:
    northern Oklahoma
    That's what we need to do!

    We have clay too and it doesn't drain. We do it exactly as you've been doing it Nancy and have had the awfullest time with our kids this winter and pneumonia. I've partitioned off a room just for them where the adult goats can't go and urinate to help keep them away from the ammonia at night. That helped some. I've been told to leave that manure layer in the winter to decompose, because the decomposing produces heat and helps keep the goats warm, as opposed to the cold ground. Our barn is well ventilated, but it's too well ventilated (breezy)in the winter and we have to shut down a lot of the vents. We're in the process of making a wind block on the north side of the shed now. The little kid room has 4 vents, with the north and east ones covered in winter, and a heat lamp in it.