how big of barn for livestock

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by crwilson, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. crwilson

    crwilson Well-Known Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Hi folks, this forum is great... but heres my question how big of a barn would one need for two large work horses, 4 or 5 cows and there calves 4-6goats 4-6 pigs and maybee a couple of sheep and alpacas.

    Im going to start my homesteading dream this summer taking it slow at first with building my own cordwood house, and a large garden, then hopefully have a few animals, and later in the summer build a barn..

    im not exactly sure what i will build it out of yet, but most likely a timber frame with plank walling.. how big would this barn need to be to support that many animals? also what would be the best flooring? I was thinking of leaving it mud and bedding the animals down on straw... I dont really want to have to pay for cement cuz it may be expensive? What would you folks recomend.. oh yeah i probably want a bit of a loaft for hay storage, but most of that will likely be put in another building.

  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    That is an assortment. I would be looking for a maternity & sick pen set of pens, a couple of pens to store your criters, with flexability for different sized animals. Lots of gates & cattle pannels come in 16' long sizes, so I would place my internal posts that far apart but leave it open otherwise, so you can move the partitioning around to create different sized pens.

    Sounds like you are on a budget, so I would build it tall enough & as big as I can, but allow the design to add some lean-tos to expand it in the future.

    It gets real old lugging hay from one building to another, you'll want that hay lean-to real soon. :) :)


  3. johnghagen

    johnghagen Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    40X60 feet and a 10 foot loft for grain and hay leaves some room for expansion but this is the mininum you need
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    Often, it is more useful to have several smaller buildings. The horses don't need a barn at all. A three-sided shed in the pasture, with perhaps a maternity stall if you plan to breed, would be all they need. Ditto for the cows and calves. Pigs should be kept separately anyway, as they make their pens smelly. All they need is a hut in their pen/s. Sheep, goats, etc. again only need a three-sided shed, even in really cold weather, as long as they can get out of the rain, and have clean dry bedding they will be fine. If you put critters in an enclosed barn, they are more prone to get sick. Partly that is due to ammonia fumes, partly to being crammed together, and partly to lack of sun. The best floors are dirt with deep bedding on top. Probably the best bedding (easiest to remove when it's time to clean the pen out) is shavings. I've been using waste from the alfalfa hay I'm feeding my goats, but they are getting switched over to alfalfa pellets, so I'll have to start buying shavings. (Don't know if I'll end up actually saving any money doing it this way, or not.) Arrange mangers so you can feed all your animals from outside their pens. This will save you a lot of time, and it will also save you from being trampled by eager animals when you have your hands full! If you are going to be feeding hay, a good arrangement is to build a pole barn for the hay, then arrange the livestock sheds around the perimeter of the hay barn. Leave space between the hay stack and the mangers so you can just walk around and fill feeders conveniently. One of the biggest things you will want, if at all possible, is running water to the barn. Electricity would be nice, but having running water there, with freeze-proof hydrants, will save you a LOT of work hauling water in the winter. In summer you can just run a hose (which is what I do).

  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    Pigs can destroy a barn. They will root around the foundation and literally bring the walls down. Make sure they can't.

    I agree that keeping animals in a barn isn't good. It's good to have a place for them if they need confined, but overall, it's better if they are outside.

  6. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2002
    South West MI
    The biggest barn you can afford then add 50%.

  7. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

    Jul 12, 2003
    east ont canada
    i sure agree with jena! raised up pigs one summer in our barn and the brats tore heck out of the sill logs!we had their one pen and shed that we moved around a eroded hill side made the sides heavy pipe (version 3) and rail tie bottem on the day you would not relize that it was once an eroding rocky hillside! when they are little you think how cute they are but 100+ running through the garden you start thinking roast on a spit!40 by 60 loafing and four boxstall/sick pens and able to add on.
  8. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    When you figure your time line for building, remember the learning curve.

    When I was building my greenhouse, the second end went up in half the time thie first end did. When you build, it will go very slowly at first and then pick up speed.
  9. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    May 26, 2004
    ok, first of all i think youve got a great idea, havign a variety of animals

    i assume the barn will be an inclement weather type run in shed from the pastures for each type of animal right ? and not a permanant house
    48x72 would be what i would look at , horses and cows need , as a ~~run in shelter ONLY ~~8 x 8 for each animal, goats need 3x3 for each animal , same with sheep and pastured pigs.

    hay storage 20x20 minimum , and everythin else storage, grain room 12x10 medicines,tack,misc room 8x10 need door open space ,for the tractor , or 4 wheeler, whicever you use

    personally , our pigs have thier field,and a large dog house type building ,is about 5x5 ft for 4 feeder pigs
    our sow has a a frame lean to made from scrap wood and sheet metal , about base measurement 6x6
    our two horses have trees for cover
    the goats have a shed which is half milkign/hay storage and half loafing shed right now it only houses 3 does and a buck , but they dont let him in ...he has a lean to out in the field, thier pen could house about 5-6 more does , its about 16x8
  10. Senior

    Senior Active Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Are there any good books on barn design? What type/style works best and for what type of animals, etc.

    Looking to build later this year and trying to gather ideas. Thanks.

  11. Gwendolyn

    Gwendolyn Domestic Diva

    May 10, 2002
    IN the heart of the Rustbelt NE OHIO
    A good book on the subject is...

    How to Buil Animal Housing

    "60 plans for coops,hutches,barns,sheds,pens,nest boxes,feeders,stanchions and much more."

    written Carol Ekarius

    Published by Storey