barn floor

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by marvella, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    here's the deal. when i moved to this place, i had a 16 x 24 barn with a loft built. wasn't really planning on horses, so i left it as a dirt floor. basically it was intended to be a place to separate the bucks from the does during kidding, and hay storage. also has a chicken coop tacked on the side, and nest boxes under the loft stairs. it has some drainage problems, which i have been filling in by building up the floor with layers of shredded paper. in a kind of vague way i thought if the chance ever came up, i'd be willing to take in an old horse, looking to live out his days in comfort, and to help the goats keep some acreage cleared. ended up with two aged mares, and for the most part we are getting along real good.

    however, this is my first full winter with my own horses, and my word!! the MUD!! mud i've been in before doesn't even come close to what these two old girls can churn up. it's way beyond what some paper can absorb. it's so deep in front of the barn doors, it is well over my ankles, and sucks my boots off. the horses don't like to walk in it either, and i don't blame them. it's even worse in the morning, when all of it is frozen into solid ruts.

    the horses are using one side of the barn as a run-in, and where they stand all the time is getting pretty muddy too, inside the barn. up until now, i took great pride in my neat and tidy barn. oh well.

    so, what's the best solution?? been reading storey's horse book, and they say sand or gravel. should i get a load of gravel to make a built up road from the gate to the barn doors, where the worst of it is? can i put a thick layer of gravel on the barn floor too? if i do, how do i clean it without digging up all the gravel too?? or should i consider a concrete floor in the barn? that would probably require a water source nearby for cleaning, and i don't have that. and sand? seems like sand wouldn't even come close to being a solution.

    sorry about the rambling length. am open to any and all suggestions, and thanks to all who reply!!
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    You have a common problem. Sand won't help too much. Gravel will though. I put a load of limestone chips inside my barn after I got it leveled out with a clay mixture. My cattle packed those limestone chips with powder down like concrete. The manure loader bucket would slide on top of it when cleaning the barn out.
     

  3. Beeman

    Beeman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,977
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2002
    Location:
    East TN
    Dig a deep trench through the middle of the barn and install plastic drainage pipe and gravel.
     
  4. travis91

    travis91 Formerly 4animals.

    Messages:
    1,035
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Location:
    south alabama(Hartford)
    stone dust or asphalt shavings(there free)
     
  5. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    You have a common problem. Sand won't help too much. Gravel will though. I put a load of limestone chips inside my barn after I got it leveled out with a clay mixture. My cattle packed those limestone chips with powder down like concrete. The manure loader bucket would slide on top of it when cleaning the barn out.


    uncle will- is it something i should just learn to live with? i can get it built up to fill the low spots. are the limestone chips cheaper than gravel?? and how do i clean it?

    Dig a deep trench through the middle of the barn and install plastic drainage pipe and gravel.

    bee- while i understnad what you mean, i dont think that would work for this particular barn floor. i think building the floor up a bit should solve that problem. almost one year of it has helped a lot.

    stone dust or asphalt shavings(there free)

    4- where would i find these things??
     
  6. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

    Messages:
    1,126
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    W. Washington State
    We had sheep in our 2 stalls for years, dirt floor, then got horses! I know exactly what you are going thru!!!! First year, we put down mats in the stalls, right over the dirt (it was too wet by then to get a gravel truck anywhere near the barn!) This summer, we took the mats out and put at least 3 inches of gravel down, then re-installed the mats. I know some folks will compact the gravel first, but we did not have a tool to do that with. So we let the horses do it! For several weeks, you could hear the crunch-crunch when they walked on it, now it's all packed. Outside the barn: We dug as much of the mud/dirt out of there as we could, then put 4-5 inches of gravel down. This is in a small sacrifice area, directly outside of the stalls. We still have mud at the perimeter of the gravel where they walk thru to get to their pasture areas, but it's way better than the sea of mud right up to the stalls!

    Gravel, plus having gutters on the barn roof to divert as much water as possible away from the barn really help the mud! I hope this is helpful to you!
     
  7. 1sttimemom

    1sttimemom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    780
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    I always hate that mud pit horses make in front of their sheds! I agree that gravel with a mat over it works pretty well.
     
  8. GoatsRus

    GoatsRus TMESIS

    Messages:
    1,220
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 6 - Middle TN
    The TN walking horse farm that I worked at used quarter-down or crush and run in the horse stalls and walkways.
     
  9. mikeg

    mikeg Active Member

    Messages:
    27
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    I have seen what you are talking about with cows and horses. The drain pipe under will help if there is a place for it to go. When I extended my drive way I put down old used carpet befor I put the stone down it kept it from getting pushed down in the dirt and using so much rock. Used carpet is free for the taking and keeps it out of the landfills.
     
  10. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,402
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    South Carolina
    Can't have mud without water--------is it possible to dig a few feet deep covered pit/hole for the water to have some where to seep to, if you have electricity---put a float switch on a pump to pump the water to a down hill location or you can use a gas pump and run it as needed.
     
  11. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    you've made a believer out of me about the gravel!! i'm not sure the gravel truck could get in there right now either. i've been dreaming about guttering the barn, just to have the rain water, so they are not totally dependent on water piped from the well. the muddiest area doesn't get the run off (the roof runs the other way) but it could help with other drainage problems for sure.

    keep 'em coming!!

    please, does anyone have a word about cleaning the barn floor? i've been using shredded paper, as i mentioned before. rake it up, and put down another layer as needed. if i were to gravel the barn floor as well, how would i clean it?
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    If it were me I'd add the gravel in in layers and run a small plate tamper over it to compact it, then top it with an inch or 3 so of sand, then whatever bedding on top of that. Drain tiles make a world of difference, if they've nowhere to run to I'd dig a sump and pump it with a trash/sewage pump it.
     
  13. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,540
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ocala, FL
    sand and horses don't mix well- you can have alot of trouble with sand colic if they eat off of a sandy floor....

    Our solution to the horrible deep muddy areas around the doorways to our barn was to get hardwood bark mulch, you know the "big mulch" for landscaping? Put down 4-5 inches in all areas that get soaked, and then the horses can walk around on it without tearing the ground up.

    1. It's safe, even when frozen
    2. It won't get caught in their hooves like gravel will (oh no! stone bruises..)
    3. As it decomposes over time, it naturally builds up the area you spread it in.

    We use straw in our run-in, so we just pitch fork the poops into a wheelbarrow every 3-4 days.

    Hope this helps!
     
  14. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

    Messages:
    6,615
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    Near Traverse City Michigan
    If you are getting water im the barn from outside the only thing you can do is add enought fill to get it above grade. Concrete would definately help, but gettng the floor high enough so the water cant run in, and keeping the manure cleaned up every day would do wonders. You need to clean all the organic material out before adding fill.
     
  15. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,700
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Missouri
    My thoughts on gravel is NO!
    It would be costly but you should dig a trench and put drain pipe around the outside of the barn with drainage grade gravel over that and then the soil.
    Inside you should build up the ground leval with a good clay base soil.
    Put rain gutter over the barn doors so the water doesn't go to ground right in front of the door.
    Horses are lazy and don't like to go out in rain or very cold wind so will often just step outside the door to pee when the weather is bad. Once they start that it is hard to get them to go away from the barn to do it.
    If you have had to lock them in the barn for any time at all like when they have a foot or leg injury, they will go in their stall. They are like any other animal, in that they will go where they smell it. It is hard to break them of this bad habit.
    My donkey usually keeps her stall nice and clean. I never close the barn doors so they all go outside to do their business usually. She does get into the bad habit of using the toilet. This is true! She has a barrell hay feeder that hangs on the wall. it is cut down the side three quarters of the way with about half of the barrell removed. A hay rack has been bolted on to the remaining half and the bottom is still there to catch hay spillage.
    She likes to back up to the feeder and put her butt in the tray and poop in it.
    Nice and neat if it wasn't also her feed rack.
    STUPID DONKEY! or is that a very smart donkey??? I'm not quite sure. :confused:
     
  16. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    (Hiya, corky!!! :cowboy: )

    that sounds like part of it. through the summer, they stayed out most of the time, unless it was really bad weather. they were really good about not messing in the barn, because they ate in there, then went out to poop. it may be that they are getting next to the door and peeing, instead of gong all the way out where it is raining and cold. i bet that's why just inside the door is so wet. i was thinking it was seepage. even when they are stalled, they poop mostly in the same spot.

    the water table is pretty high here, it's like delta farmland between 3 rivers that drain into a tva lake. when we were first putting up fence, we'd hit water about 12 to 18 inches down. it's just all around wet here, almost a rain forest, with 70 - 80 inches of rain a year, in normal years. also we are having a pretty wet winter so far.
     
  17. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

    Messages:
    4,570
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    We had problems with very soft soil, high water table etc. My horse was going into the soil halfway up his cannon bones - and pulling up antique glass bottles when he pulled his feet out! (Barn built on old farm dump site). We went to the local waste facility and got several trailer loads of shredded wood, fairly coarse stuff, and put that down. It mats together nicely so their hooves don't go through it - and it's free!
     
  18. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,910
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2003
    Location:
    tn
    more good ideas!! thanks!!!!
     
  19. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,281
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Appalachian Foothills
    Corky: have you considered your Donkey is telling you she doesn't like her food? :eek:
     
  20. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

    Messages:
    1,126
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    W. Washington State
    We did the "shredded wood"
    (around here they call it hogs fuel). when we could not get a gravel truck to the barn. It worked "ok", fine for horse feet, but with all the rain and the impossibility of getting all the poop out of it, it was pretty broken down after a year.

    We've not had ANY bruising or abcess problems by having gravel. On the contrary, our farrier noticed an improvement in the hardness of their feet. One is barefoot for the winter, the other horse is shod. I'm pretty sure we used 3/8ths minus crushed rock (or was it 5/8ths? I can never remember, DH ordered it!) Many barns around here use gravel in their turnout areas, the gravel helps keep their feet conditioned and free of mud. Also, gravel is WAY easier to scoop the poop off of.