Goat (and chicken!) barn plans: thoughts?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by ThistleMary, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. ThistleMary

    ThistleMary Well-Known Member

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    Mar 29, 2013
    Location:
    Florida and Alabama
    I am posting my rough plans for our brand new goat (and chicken, housed separately) barn, to be built before we move up to the new homestead in a year. I would very much like to hear your feedback, since we are newbies to the raising goats and chickens thing.

    To start, we plan on only having 3 or 4 goats and 6 chickens, but we expect to increase that to up to 8-10 goats and a dozen chickens within a year or so. The barn plan is for 20' x 30', with a loft that extends over half the barn (to store hay). We want a concrete floor with a drainage slope towards the back, to easily hose out and clean the barn.

    I want a big laundry-type sink (cold water only from same deep well that supplies our home) in the milking room (washing hands, rinsing equipment, etc.), as you see, so my husband will plumb for that (which will allow a hose to be attached to spray out the barn when needed.) I'm thinking the chick nursery can go inside the chicken portion of the barn with a heat lamp. Is there a problem keeping chicks in a separate area in the chicken coop?

    I've seen plans where there is a straight-thru opening for a tractor drive-thru, and that appeals to both my husband and I in case we need to haul stuff in or out of the barn.

    :) All comments appreciated! As you know, it's much easier to make mods now and incorporate them in the plan than wait until later. I know you all have ideas about the best way to do this. I would love to hear them.

    Thanks,
    Mary
     

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  2. ThistleMary

    ThistleMary Well-Known Member

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    Florida and Alabama
    During the day, all goats will be in our small field (1 acre), and chickens will either be in the chicken run shown or in a separate chicken tractor that we will move around in our orchard area. At night, livestock will be in the barn for safety, since coyotes, hawks, etc. are in our neighborhood. We're thinking about getting guinea hens (to sound the alert for snakes) and a couple of guard dogs (coyotes). At least, that's the plan. We'll be in southern Alabama, near a swampy area.
     

  3. shaky6

    shaky6 Well-Known Member

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    At some point you're going to have to vaccinate, weigh, trim feet, and deworm. You'll need a small area to confine them in, run one at a time into a head catch/work table, and then separate the finished ones.
     
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  4. shaky6

    shaky6 Well-Known Member

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    Where abouts in southern Bama? I'm near Dothan.
     
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  5. ThistleMary

    ThistleMary Well-Known Member

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    We will be west of Dothan, about an hour or so.

    Howdy neighbor! Small world.
     
  6. Melinda29

    Melinda29 Member

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    I used to have my chickens in the barn in a little room like yours, and I found it is really gross to have to walk around in their mess (even if you clean it frequently) to give them fresh water or whatnot. We had to have special separate "chicken shoes" for everyone. It is a huge pain to have a room that has to be shoveled out to clean it. Also, chickens do really well with goats, cleaning up any parasite eggs and worm, and they have fun playing together. So with all that in mind, I would have a separate coop up on legs (with a pull out tray for changing the bedding) and keep it in one corner of the goat yard. Or have a wire bottom (large enough spaces for poop to fall through, but tough enough to keep out nighttime predators) and just move the coop around every few days. If we lived in a warmer area, we would put wheels on our coop and do that. But we need the bottom for warmth.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  7. Melinda29

    Melinda29 Member

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    Also, if you can get one or two breeds that will go broody, then the hens can do all the work for you to raise new chicks. We have a rooster now, but in the past we bought fertilized eggs from our neighbor when a hen goes broody. That way we don't need a separate chick nursery. Mama hen does all the work to keep them warm, fed, and safe.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  8. ThistleMary

    ThistleMary Well-Known Member

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    Awesome idea, Melinda! I was wondering about using a chicken tractor vs. giving them a space in the barn. That might be the way to go, and let them share space in the "goat yard."

    Thank you for comment!
     
  9. freestargirl

    freestargirl Member

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    I would make sure to have room for human access to the chicken run, incase of stray eggs in the run. I agree to get broody breeds and a rooster to do the work for you. We have a rotational run for our chickens- a main on that comes off the coop and a couple that branch out from it. It also butts up around our garden area so that weeds that are pulled can be thrown in for them during when we are growing. We also have a 'chicken door' in our fence to let the chickens in and out of the garden when we want them to eat weeds. We haven't been doing that lately because we have a hawk that watches them in the garden, like, well a hawk. Their run is in the middle of our property and was a wooded area at one time, and there are still a good number of deciduous trees, so this time of year they have plenty of shade, and during the winter they get light. And the trees help deter the hawks then.

    We have our 'juvenile' chicken run adjacent. When get a broody, we move her nest and all. It's a 'annex' on our main coop with an open window into the coop separated with hardware cloth. Baby chicks can still get thru chicken wire. They can see each other but none of the other hens can add to the nest or mess with it. The roof lifts up and there is a pop-door that we open during the day so mama can move around if she wants to. We have it totally covered with chicken wire, as the younger birds tend to be 'flightier'. And it's 'skirted' with hardware cloth. Our regular chicken run fencing is 6 ft. and they do still find their way over it sometimes, though. But I agree about being able to keep your chickens with your goats, it will help with the parasites. Hindsight is 20/20. We've had chickens for years and our barn we didn't build to last year.

    We have meat rabbits in 1 section of our barn. Also the same size as yours, 20 x 30. We did a cement floor, thinking it would be easier to clean. One of our projects currently is "Where are we going to move the rabbits because animal poop and cement was a terrible idea." We hose, sweep, and shopvac the rabbits weekly. It's disgusting. We also have rubbermaid totes set up under their hutches, with shower curtains hanging off the bottom of their cages to 'funnel' the poop and pee into the tote. It's still a gross mess.

    I like your goat layout. It's similar to my friends, but all she has is goats in her barn and her barn is much bigger and it works great. Our barn is divided into 3 sections- the 'bunny barn', the middle, we call the 'barn' where we have our feed, hay and other animal supplies, extra feeders waterers etc. The 3rd section, the 'goat barn' the fence runs the length of the barn in the middle of their section. We have 3 goats. They have plenty of room to walk around, sleep stay dry etc. On the people side of the goat fence in the barn, we have our kidding stall and milking stand right there. This worked great for us because all the goats were still together during kidding, and were able to get used to the kids and we had no 'introduction' problems, no goats alone. Having the milk stand in the goat area worked great because if we'd had the milking area in the main part, she'd go running for the hay. We also use the milk stand for our bucks to administer shots or supplements when needed and to trim hooves. One thing to mention though, is our younger bucks horns will no longer fit thru the top of the milk stand, so that's something to consider.
    We don't have a sink in the barn. Our milking routine is like this. Get pot with a cup of warm water and couple of clean 'goat rags' in the house. We go out to the barn, get the goat on the stand, hobble her legs, and we keep a pump-dispenser of very diluted hand soap under the stand. Couple of pumps on our hands before we start milking, wipe them on one rag. Dip another rag in the water from the house, wipe off teats. Milk into the pail. Cover, and go sit it on the freezer in the main part that has feed in it. Go put the goat back in with the others. Take the milk into the house, where sometimes someone else will strain it and put it in the fridge and sometimes not, then we go do the other critter chores.
    So that works for us. What doesn't work again is the cement floor. We have rotational runs for the chickens. We have the same with the goats. We also have a solar powered electric fence on the goat and have never had a problem. What would I chan ge about our current set up? My barn would be BIGGER. It's not big enough. We to did the door big enough to drive a tractor in, for when we get a tractor. After we got the feed freezers in there, and a chicken brooder that we only use now for sick or injured birds, and hay.... no room for a tractor. I'd have a barn cat or 2 for the mice and snakes that now love our barn. (We have dogs. That eat cats. My advice is get a cat before dogs).

    So that's my 2 cents.