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Hello All,
I would like to design/build a small barn for myself and am wondering what type of floor do folks think is best for the cooler climates (Central Maine – 4b). I plan for it to be home to dairy goats, pot bellies and maybe some sheep (not sure about the sheep). Don’t think anything like a dairy cow or horse, but who knows down the line (can you tell we are a little new to this?). Should I be thinking a natural earth floor or concrete or something else? Thanks in advance.
 

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MacCurmudgeon
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I will be putting down a foot of sand on the floor of my 40'X45' barn this week-end. It wiil pack down fairly well and when it becomes urine soaked or too soiled to clean well, I'll scrap it out and scatter it on my pasture to help with the drainage and then put down another layer of sand in the barn.

It will take about 70 cubic yards (already delivered for $350), and a day to spread it out.

I thought of gravel but didn't think the cattle would like it much, it costs more, and would be harder to clean.

Concrete is easy to clean but too hard on the cattle's feet and legs.

Urine soaked dirt becomes mud.

I'll go with sand.
 

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Sand can get soft if its wet. I had dirt floors in my old barn and the beef cows stood in it for shade and fly protection until it got muddy. Then each time they went out they carried some of the mud outside on their feet until they had a minor pond inside. I filled it back up with clay, then put a 4 inch layer of crushed stone chips over the top. The chips had fines in it and packed down until I could slide the loader bucket right over it without digging down into it. That was over ten years ago and its still there. It lets urine soak down better than concrete and costs an awful lot less. I always used straw bedding over it. With my horses I put wood shavings in their stalls.
 

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It's been my experience the goats don't like cement floors, it seems to bother their feet, especially in the winter when it's real cold flooring and they try to sleep on it. You would need several feet deep of bedding to keep them off the cold. Same with the pigs. Hard packed clayey dirt works well and is easy to clean.
 

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Dirt or sand is often best unless you plan to clean. The problem is the humidity (although the concrete is hard on feet and legs) a dirt or sand floor breathes. I have a tile under the sand base in my barns to wick away excess water to a run off pit that stores the yard run off water too. Keep your barn dry and you'll have fewer problems. Concrete can work and is easier to work on but you have to clean more often. Dry is more important than clean so why fight an uphill battle?
 

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We have concrete in several of our barns, which were adapted for dairy and beef cattle. We use deep litter bedding of either sawdust or straw and clean the barns out two or three times a year with skid loader. We have poultry, too, in our shed at the house (as opposed to the main farm) and have them on concrete. I like the idea of cleaning out to an impervious floor -- and if for some reason I need to disinfect, I can do that on concrete.

When I had horses, I had them on gravel (which didn't drain very well) and forked them out daily.

Ann
 
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