What's a Good Barn Layout?

by Shivani
(US)

We have finally bought a homestead and will be moving there this spring. Lots to learn and do.

I love this website. Just discovered it yesterday.

Amish cut red pines on our land there and they are drying now as timber for a
barn. I need to know more about how to lay out the barn in terms of pens,
doors, windows, etc. Can anyone suggest resources for that? (No horses. 1-4
cattle at any given time. Chickens. A few sheep. Probably feeder pigs in
summer. 10 acres total. One large field we will alley crop with hazel nut
trees, not yet planted.)

Thanks,
Shivani in WI

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Feb 14, 2012
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Good Barn Layout
by: Anonymous

I would be thinking in terms of functions - answer the following questions and you will just about have the barn designed:

* Feed loading How are you going to get feed to storage area
* Feed storage - are you thinking of gravity for distributions what is the nature of the feed - Grain, baled or loose hay and what max. volume of the feed and how heavy a support do you need etc?
* Actual feeding and watering animals - by hand or gravity feed by chute how many chutes do you really need, is free fall ok?
* Are you going to move animals out of their stall to clean the manure if so where are they going to be while you do that. Are you doing any of these things by hand or are you having machinery help,
* Where is all the effluent and solids going to be stored/processed out of the barn? Is there a way to do this without double handling?
* Do animals have any access to outdoors and how secure does the barn need to be is wind a factor since the trees are now boards or are there any shelter belt trees close enough that offer cold wind protection?
* How much room should an animal have in a humane setup?
* Is the barn also to be used to store tractors other machinery, hand tools. workshop? Flammables?

You get the idea. Answer the question as to what you want the barn for and then visualise in your mind's eye how you would think of going about those activities. Then think about is there a smarter way of going about that. Then start putting it down on paper then cut it all up and play with in to see if some shape arrangements work better AND think in a vertical sense as well.

Then draw it up again and let is sit for a few days. This allows your subconscious to work on the problem. When an idea flashes into your mind put it to paper IMMEDIATELY. It is likely to be THE solution you were hoping for.

Or you could get in the car and just go and see the barns in your area. Chances are they were designed by highly practical people who learned from others and eventually got it right.

You are the envy of lots of folks in cyber-homesteading land. Those that want to start homesteading and those who have a barn and wish they could start the planning all over again because of the "I wish this/that were different" factor.

Best wish for your adventure.

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