Multi-Use Barn Layout

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by minnikin1, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    We are converting 1/2 of an old central hall dairy barn to be used for all of our stock.
    We live in a colder region of zone five, damp and snowy.
    We plan to have 1 or 2 pigs, a handful of laying hens, a handful of sheep, a couple of goats, 2 oxen and 1 jersey with calf, and a rabbitry.

    The oxen will be scottish highlands, and will be outdoors except when young/in training, for grooming/vetting or during the most brutal storms.
    The sheep go out all day but come in for saftety at night.
    The goats and jersey I have no experience with yet, so don't know
    how much time they will spend indoors, but I'm guessing quite a bit in winter.

    I don't have a clue about how to layout the interior to accomodate everyone.
    Any ideas?
    What special features would you want in your dream barn?
     
  2. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    Minni-

    We are about to do the same ting when we move to our new place. We haven't spent enough time there yet to have figured out how we will lay it out. I'll be watching this thread with interest and hope you'll post what works for you.
     

  3. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    I don't have much experience either, but you may want to decide if you want to free stall all the critters (except the pigs) or have them in their own stalls. When you decide that then you can work something out.
    Not sure you'd want to keep pigs over winter though, wouldn''t you just buy weiners in the Spring and slaughter in the fall, that way you don't have to worry about pigs and winter? Not sure I've helped but just some things to cloudy up your thoughts, lol

    Carol K
     
  4. ebarj1098

    ebarj1098 Active Member

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    We've kept a center aisle and built pens down the sides. Calf pens, pig pen, chicken coops and a tie stall. Different sizes for different animals. The folks that were here before just let everybody wander throughout the barn in winter, what a mess!
     
  5. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Did you keep the manure trench or fill it in?
    I'm thinking that I'd like a little of both ideas, a kind of generally open milling area where cross-species pals can hang out together, and then a few specialty spaces for working, lamb creeps, etc.

    I was thinking I would want to have one sow for breeding. Maybe I'll rethink that idea. Sometimes piglets are readily available, and sometimes they're impossible to find. I can't live without bacon, so I have to be sure I'll have my porkers year to year!!

    I know I want the rabbitry to be lean-to hutches on the outside wall, with a "pass thru" to them from inside, and an open stall area where they can exercise indoors when weather does not permit them time in their outdoor pen area.

    We are going to be living in the other end of the barn, so there will be a mudroom, breezeway, then milkroom, feed and storage rooms, milking area etc between us and "them".
    The barn is 140 feet long so there won't be a problem getting them far enough away from us.

    I just have to get started making some kind of arrangement for the animals and I've been kind of paralyzed by indecision. I think I will try to do everything to emphasize adaptability, so we can make changes easily as we live with it and learn. Maybe for now I'll set up 2 milling areas (to separate any grouchies) and then just build what we need as we need it.

    BearCreekFarm - OK! I'm counting on you to report back as you try things!
     
  6. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Having a center asile with various pens along both sides makes a very good set up. The larger animals need to be pened near the back end of the barn so you can let them out easily.
    Having a large enough door to alow a loader tractor into the barn at the back end of each row of pens will save a world of manual labor when cleanout time comes around. If you buy steel gates to divide the pens, they can be swung back to allow loader entry to clean several stalls at once. If there is a manure trench down through the middles of each side, just fill it with fine crushed stone.
    The chicken pens should be near the front and have wire dividers around them that go to the ceiling to prevent preditors from having a finger-lickin snack. I asume there are stanchions on both sides of the center asile. Some will need to be removed to make entry doors into the various pens.
    If you need an area for the animals running out doors to get inside for shade of bad weather protection, you can open a large door at the back end of the pens and let them in or out as they choose. If need be a second pen gate could be swung back to give them more room. Be sure to keep stanchions in the cow pens. A free moving cow in a stall will get crap all over herself during the winter when she spends much time there. Farmers mostly kept the milk cows in stanchions all the time they were shut indoors.
     
  7. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    Great input, Uncle Will. Luckily our tractor/loader is a compact model so it shouldn't require too much turning space.

    I love the idea of putting crushed stone in the trenches. The guy before us filled some spots with concrete, and now if you wanted to it would be a real pain to get it out of there.
     
  8. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    I always thought having a mainly open barn would be great and I'd pondered when I built mine if I could have Pasture gates hung on the barn walls to just separate areas off if i wanted to. So you take a few , let's say, 10' gates, hang 2 on the wall 10 feet apart and then use another as a gate across the front.when you are not using them they fold back against the barn walls. You could make several stalls this way without having them permanent. Problem for me is I can never make up my mind where I want things, circumstances change etc etc, and this way I don't have solid walls to mess with. Just some thoughts,

    Carol K
     
  9. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    If you can find them, Louis Bromfield's books on farming have many ideas about housing livestock. There is much about bedding and its management.

    I am a fan of Joel Salatin's methods for winter housing. His books are helpful, and the video is very useful in conjunction with the books. He stores the feed hay in the center of the barn, and feeds the cattle around the sides. He uses deep bedding which is added to often. A lot of time is spent gathering bedding material during the farm year. He strews corn in the various layers of bedding. He has a simple system of movable stanchions that are designed to keep the feed hay clean. The deep bedding is composting and provides heat for the animals. He is in Virginia and has to feed and house the animals for 70-80 days.

    Once the cattle are back out on pasture (a whole 'nother subject), he turns pigs into the bedding. The pigs go after the fermented corn and really turn the bedding thereby assuring a thorough compost process. He adds the compost to half of his fields each year. There is NO waste. He has a yard for the animals to go out into if they want, but most prefer to spend their time under cover.

    It's really an elegant system tying many elements, including the nature of the animals, together to become a very efficient way of dealing with the animals. Timing the breeding is also a factor in all this.

    Well, I could go on and on, explaining his theories and systems, but that is why the books were written.

    BTW, his son, Daniel, has raised rabbits for years (I think he was 7 when he started). They are penned along the sides of a hoophouse with deep bedding and chickens on the floor. Nest boxes for the latter are in the center. The deep bedding method is vital in managing the rabbit poo and providing certain vital elements in the chicken diet. Bromfield also has much to say about this.
     
  10. diamondefarm

    diamondefarm Well-Known Member

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    This book might help. It is called "In One Barn: Efficient Livestock Housing and Management.

    Amazon link to book

    Good luck :)
     
  11. kate

    kate Well-Known Member

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    well, the sheep and goats have similar needs and the sheep, if sheared will agree with the goat on staying inside on nasty days.........my decisions on barns have usually narrowed down to ease of keeping clean and width of openings to accomodate machines, even if you do not have any now. someday you probably will get tired of spending hours cleaning and wheeling manure........a bobcat is wonderful for this and can get into small spaces and cut your cleaning time down, so you can concentrate on other things...............most older barns were designed with cutting cleaning time down.
    btw, the pigs should be summertime projects, out of barn completely.