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Building a barn, have questions.

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  • #21
    Our previous barn had a drive thru aisle. We floored out the loft over the stalls but not over the aisle. Very easy to pull the wagon or truck in and throw hay off into the loft. And because the loft was the depth of the stalls, no dragging bales from one end to the other. When we needed hay down, just drag a few feet and drop over the edge.

    A tall aisle is really handy.
    Ride like you mean it.

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by ezduzit View Post
      Our previous barn had a drive thru aisle. We floored out the loft over the stalls but not over the aisle. Very easy to pull the wagon or truck in and throw hay off into the loft. And because the loft was the depth of the stalls, no dragging bales from one end to the other. When we needed hay down, just drag a few feet and drop over the edge.

      A tall aisle is really handy.
      In some barns in Europe, where we didn't have hay holes into mangers below, we had a hay chute from the loft to the barn below where the stalls were.
      We had a place between stalls you opened a trap and dropped hay bales down into and that is where you got your hay at feeding time.

      In some barns, we had a loft over the stalls but not in the middle.
      We would drive the trucks into the aisle, let down with a winch a wood platform right by the truck, load the hay onto it, winch it up right by the loft and unload right into it from whatever height we choose to have the platform.

      There are so many ways to store hay, but we also had some fires in the lofts, that we ourselves could put out before the whole barn went up in flames, although other barns were not so lucky.

      I don't know, I would still never want any larger amounts of hay in a loft and maybe not even in the same barn with horses.

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by jokersmama View Post
        and it seems the most common things people need are more power outlets, and lights, and warm water.
        More power outlets isn't necessarily better, but carefully planned locations is It probably depends on what you plan on doing regularly enough to make an extra effort, or what you want to have work well even if only on rare occasions. For example, there's nowhere in my barn I can't reach with an electrical tool
        /etc that a 50' extension cord won't let me do. Or maybe 75' if I'm doing something outside the barn So, if I needed to run a fan in a stall at the opposite corner from the outlet in the wash stall, I'd use an extension cord. However, as I mentioned before, horses aren't in a lot, really hardly ever during the day when it's hot, but if I had a hot weather layup, I could do that.

        I did have an extra switch installed at the far end of the barn that turns on the center aisle lights. I doubted I'd need it often, but there have been a few times that for whatever reason I came into the barn from that end and it was just nice to turn the lights on from there instead of having to walk (a whole 36' lol) to the other end

        I also have floodlights on the corners of the barn (well, 2 now, wish I'd just done all 4) that I can turn on from right at the front entrance, and even though we don't use it much, it's been very handy.

        Warm water? For now I just have a bucket heater. If I were prone to needing to give baths in cold weather, I'd have long ago gotten an on-demand heater, and will do that one day.
        ______________________________
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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        • #24
          1. What is your favorite feature in your barn?
          My fave barn features are: ventilation, ability to use barn aisle as a run-in also, heated auto waterers.

          2. If you could change, or add anything to your barn, what would it be?

          If I could change a major thing or things I'd love to add? One thing I'd change in a heartbeat was the entire design of not having a center aisle. That was stupid. Mine has a 12x40 aisle but it's not a center one with doors at either end. Makes it hot in hot weather.
          I'd add: having the electrician add a generator hookup. Costs little when having electrical done, worth it's weight in gold later on. A little generator is a small cost later on. My barn still has water in an outtage (water comes from house, house has generator) but no lights. Cleaning stalls with a headlamp isn't fun.
          I'd also add ceiling fans. Not a huge necessity but nice to have.

          3. What type of flooring do you have in your stalls under the mats? What do you like or dislike about it?
          The entire interior of my barn's foundation was filled with crushed process, levelled and packed, packed, packed. Makes is almost like cement except the entire interior of the barn is one giant dry well. Can't flood.

          Covering that is 4x6 mats in both aisle and stalls. In summer I can clean the mats by hosing them down. All the water runs to the seams and drains away. (my barn is on a 4' frost wall foundation so the packed process is almost 4' deep)
          I wouldn't change that for anything. Drainage is HUGE for a barn. Inside and more importantly...outside. Plan, plan, plan the exterior of the barn more than the interior. Not in a low spot, not bottom of a hill, all ground sloping down and away from it on all 4 sides, drainage added if needed. Biggest pita for a barn is flooding. Also I didn't add gutters to the roof, so outside of the foundation was backfilled with 2-3" rock so all water coming off of the roof drains into there and away from barn. My barn has never been wet.
          4. What kind of bedding do you use in your stalls, and why?
          I use pelleted bedding. Used Woody Pet for years since I found, for me, it was the best at eliminating any smells. (I'm really anal retentive about having an immaculate barn, LOL!) I actually switched this year to one in a black 40# bag...I think it's Superior? Something like that. 10# more than WP, same price, the pellets are more crushed to start and it changes to sawdust better and it lasts forever and also eliminates all smells.


          I use it because:
          I have 4.5 acres and compost my manure pile. Any other bedding builds up a pile faster than it composts down. The pelleted bedding makes for a fantastic working manure compost...my manure pile has been the exact same size for 8.5 years!
          Also use it because I can not STAND a stinky barn.
          It makes a great supporting thick bedding, my horses adore it.
          I can bed really really deep and it's still easy and economical to use. It does cost more than other bedding BUT...I only use one bag per stall per week. So I bed my horses on 8+ inches of bone dry, fresh smelling fluffy bedding for $7.80 per week per horse. My manure pile never grows and is fantastic for fertilizer, my barn can be shut tight in winter and in the morning when you open the doors all you smell is fresh bedding. Keeps feet nice and dry in wet weather.


          On electrical...make ALL outlets GFCI. Small cost, large benefit. You want every outlet to trip off if it needs to. One outlet per stall. Place it somewhere useful but not in reach of rubbery horse lips. In case you want to use fans or anything in the stalls. Hard wire in a generator hookup if possible.

          A light per stall...light shop a LOT. Visit other area barns and ask if you can see what they used, how they like it, etc. (actually, call a few barns and ask about coming to look/ask about anything. Most are very willing if you're not going to be competition and can be a wealth if advice and info on what to do not to do) My lights are good, but can cast a shadow in the stalls.

          Think about adding an overhang on 1 or 2 sides of the barn. HUGE benefit in those. Keeps snow/rain mostly away from doors/windows. Place to store stuff. Can act like a run in if needed.

          Driveways...ability to drive to barn, aroound barn, etc. Think about vets and farriers coming and where they can park and work. Think about hay deliveries/you bringing it home. Can a truck and trailer get in and out?

          Plan your barn for severe weather...do NOT forget hot summer weather. Most horses loathe the heat and a hot barn really sucks. Ventilation is great for winter too. I can close all windows and doors to the barn, but have vents in the entire roof peak, along the eaves and on both eave ends. I added screen to those, wasps like to build nests in vents. With barn sealed up, it still gets fresh air but zero drafts, rain or snow.


          You jump in the saddle,
          Hold onto the bridle!
          Jump in the line!
          ...Belefonte

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          • #25
            One last thing...BEST advice I ever got on what to do to build the perfect barn?

            Never ever put any horses in it if you want it to stay nice!
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!
            ...Belefonte

            Comment


            • #26
              Fancy bucket doors

              Visited a great barn the other day that had separate mini doors for just the buckets. The bucket holders were welded to a small door within the main stall door, and if you wanted to fill a bucket, you just opened the "mini door" and swung out the bucket. Fill 'er up and swing the door closed again. Soooo much easier than poking through the bars with a hose to fill water, or trying to get the grain into the feed bucket with enthusiastic "help" from the horse.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #27
                I have a whole page of ideas and things to look into thanks to this forum!
                Thank you, thank you!
                If you have more to add please do!
                We bring our plans to the engineer tomorrow, and then get the permitting process started. *Fingers crossed!

                Comment


                • #28
                  I would be sure to add a hot water heater, a deep sink in the tack room and consider adding a toilet in your tack room. It's certainly handy to have.

                  Also, if you build a concrete center aisle, consider putting a floor drain in it.

                  I have an outdoor wash stall which works fine most of time but I live in a warm climate (Texas).

                  Our stalls all have exterior doors which allow for exterior access and provide great ventilation.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I'm sure you are doing it this way, but cement floor in the tack room/feed room. Also a way to run a dehumidifier.

                    Hay in the loft will make your barn continuously dusty, I've boarded in several and speak from experience, so plan accordingly with how you will store the stuff you don't want getting dusty...

                    I can't think of anything else that wasn't already said (this may have been too). You will have to post pictures!
                    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I would want the tack and feed to be kept in 2 seperate rooms. Feed attracts mice, which will want to build nests with what is available (saddle pads and blankets in a tack room). Also, where are you going to store pitch forks, shovels, muck buckets, wheelbarrow, etc.? It doesn't sound like you are allowing for enough storage spave for the items necessary to care for 6 horses. Storing everything in the aisle is cluttered and can be un-safe.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Building my second barn now, learned a few things from the first one *(though my first one I wasn't quite a rookie at it either)

                        1. Drainage like everyone says, put this one as on top of a hill as I could get it (natural drainage on three sides and graded the front drive going to it so it runs away).

                        2. Easy access to water...HATE frozen hoses, the shorter the hose you have to deal with the easier to keep them drained and open for water in winter. At this place main water is trough outside barn, have a frost free hydrant there approx 2 feet from trough (outside fence) only need 2 feet of hose to fill it...LOVE this.

                        3. Have a 12 foot concrete aisle, and I feel happy with that, we easily can drive a truck/trailer through it and park the tractor in there as well. Aisle is 12 feet high as well, great ventilation. New barn aisle has door at each end, and with other openings, LOTS of breezes during hot summers, our winters aren't so tough.

                        4. OVERHANGS! Best part, because I don't keep horses up but just keep stalls open for them, so they can stand in the shade in the summer, and keep from the rain/snow/wind in winter and still be out where they are happiest. Mine are 12' and run down both sides of barn. Horses have one side and horse trailer and tractor are parked on the other side.

                        5. Stalls are rubber mats over crushed stone, done it before and it's great.

                        6. Tack/feed room, only have a 12x12, but it's just me and MY stuff. Love what Renae pointed out about mice and feed and getting into your STUFF. I HATE THAT!! Mouse poop everywhere. Plan is for mouse resistant cabinets for stuff and feed in metal trash cans. (big bins can't be dumped and cleaned easily, trash cans are great for this, no fear of moldy leftovers.). Thanks to this board, I"m more aware of the threat of saddles being stolen, and plan to put those inside a locked cabinet at least, the downside being mold, but then the tack room will be insulated and a dehumidifier is in the budget.

                        7. Have a power outlet at each stall for whatever you need, digging out extension cords is a pain and make sure you have an outlet for easy reach for farrier and vet. As for GFCI...if the first outlet of the circuit is GFCI, that protects all the others down the line from it, so you just need one for each circuit. We're putting floodlights at each barn corner and dusk to dawn at peak and running aisle lights and stall lights on different switches. Plan is to be able to light it up like Vegas if we need to. One thing I am working on that I'm trying to hammer out details of is having low set protected lights on the wall in the grooming area, nice if you have a hoof/leg injury or for a farrier shoeing in the dark (or for grooming bellies) as overheads cast a terrible shadow. Saw this in a nice barn one time in the grooming bay and though what a fantastic idea!

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                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Even more great ideas! Thanks!!

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                            Loading hay into a loft is one of my least favorite activities, and we have a sled that runs up a ladder. Plop the bale on the sled and haul it up - we need a double block and tackle to make it easier but only have a joke of a single. Before we used the FEL and drove the tractor part way in and grabbed the bales off that but it was always a little sketchy leaning out into space too much. We've walled off that entry and can't get the FEL close enough now.

                            Have you planned at all on how to load the loft? Will your hay guy do it when he delivers or will you be the one gettnig covered in itchy chaff?

                            In my perfect world I'd have an extending conveyor on the back of a truck-like pro roofers have-that of course would be miraculously stored ready for use somewhere on my place so we could just toss the bales on the conveyor and they would ride up to the loft without any grunt power.

                            In the real world however . . .

                            When I was a kid a lot of the monitor barns or loft barns in general had an extension on the roof peak that stuck out about four to six feet and had the double block hanging from a track. You had hay hooks on the end of tha tackle and hooked the bale, hoisted it up and then lead it back into the barn with the little apparatus riding on the track. It only went into the barn a little bit, after that you had to pull it back and do it again. They make all kinds of electric winches nowadays for the exact same use, for pulling motors and changing BIG batteries out of forklifts and such, hook it up, just press the button and up she goes, lead it away, put it down and get a fresh battery and lead it back etc.. That's expensive and may be overkill for an 8 stall barn though.

                            Link to pic here:
                            This, plus verify that your area allows hay and horses in the same barn and check with your insurance company.

                            I store my hay in a separate 30 x 30 building. Here's some interesting info on hay and horses http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/ub034.pdf
                            I wasn't always a Smurf
                            Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                            "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                            The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Plan for maximum hose length needed for anything to be 25 feet. A hose that length is easy to drain in freezing weather, and much easier than anything else to handle any kind of way.

                              3-way switch in house to turn lights on in barn.
                              www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Tom King View Post
                                Plan for maximum hose length needed for anything to be 25 feet. A hose that length is easy to drain in freezing weather, and much easier than anything else to handle any kind of way.

                                3-way switch in house to turn lights on in barn.
                                Last barn hose length was 25 feet, you hit that on the head with that advice, any longer and I would have been cursing it.

                                BUT the three way switch...oh YEAH. Very very smart. Last place I had two lights on poles outside and then barn, all wired to house electrical panel, and would keep light pole switches on and switch breaker on and off for the poles to light my way to the barn, ok, NOT the way to use a breaker, but it worked. And a great thing to not have to fumble to the barn in the dark in the winter!

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  If you are trenching from the house to the barn, put a length of black polyethylene pipe and suck a nylon mason's string through it with a vacuum cleaner. When you want to pull some kind of wire that you forgot, or hasn't been invented yet, in the future, you will have an easy way to get it there. Any time you pull a wire through it, pull another line for what's next.

                                  110 volt path lights from the house to the barn, also on 3-way switches. Ours have been in for 31 years, and I've never had to think about changing out a transformer for low voltage lights. We use 25 watt bulbs on the little green multi-tered lights, and I bet I haven't had to change bulbs more than 3 times in all those years.
                                  www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Oh dang Tom, I wish I'd known that about the pipe and string when I had water run to the barn over the Summer! Highly unlikely I'll have anything else run down there, but still...
                                    ______________________________
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Pipe and string is an excellent idea.

                                      On the switch in house idea, we just had the electrician doing our barn addition add a wireless switch to the outside barn lights that is super slick. It was maybe a 100 bucks, and you have a switch in the barn that toggles on and off, then a remote that you can mount in your house, carry in your car, whatever, that switches on/off. You can buy additional remotes as well, like a garage opener, but much smaller. Nice for us too as we do not have direct wiring from house to barn in place (junction box is between houses and barn, so wire ran separate from it to house and barn).

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        horsepoor, that sounds like an awesome device! Is that addition something I could add on? Our house and barn on are totally separate services
                                        ______________________________
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by JB View Post
                                          horsepoor, that sounds like an awesome device! Is that addition something I could add on? Our house and barn on are totally separate services
                                          I'm sure you can add it pretty easily (I think they just rewired the switch in place of the one that was there on the wall of the barn, and programmed the remote, and voila...done). We got it through our electrician, but I bet any good electrical supply store would be able to direct you to the right thing. My builder/friend added the same thing to his barn at the same time.

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