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Building a barn, have questions.

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  • #41
    OK- read all the posts & noone mentioned eavelights.

    I <3 my 2' eavelights probably more than any inanimate object deserves & wish I'd gone for 3'.
    Along with skylights in the indoor, they let in so much daylight I seldom need to turn lights on in the barn or attached indoor.
    Mine are translucent but they now come in clear lexan also.

    Ditto on plenty of outlets - GFI! - and want to add I had the lights that light my aisle and the ones over the stalls set on separate switches right by the barn service door.
    That way I can come in when it is pitchblack & turn on a light for me w/o levitating sleeping horses.

    For lighting I chose cold-ballast fluorescent as I dislike the buzzing & warmup time that comes with halide.
    Mine are on instantly except when humidity is really high - for some reason (I am no electrician) they take a minute to come on fully then.

    Wish I'd added overhangs
    My stalls open via dutch doors directly to the sacrifice paddock that surrounds the barn & from there to pastures.
    When the rare East wind blows, it can rain or snow into the stall doorways.

    Go for the widest gates you can afford. Pair two gates if you have to for maximum width.
    I have a 12' gate at the entrance to my barn and although vet & farrier can drive their trucks right in, it is a teeth-gnashing tight fit when my hayguy does the same with a loaded wagon.
    Wish I'd gone with two 8' gates there.

    My aisle is 12' and that is plenty room for most use, but makes for some breath-held moments when haywagon coasts through to unload.

    Stalls & aisleway (center-aisle design) are floored with crusher-run gravel topped with tamped-down stonedust.
    It has packed over the years to where I can easily sweep the aisle. There's no unlevelness or pitting in the stalls (no mats) & it drains so no smell, but horses still leave shallow hoofprints in the aisle , so it has some give for them.

    I bed with wood pellets and find they last a good long time.
    Equine Fresh is my brand of choice for lasting power & absorbency.
    I mist the pellets and do not find them dusty as they break down.
    I can re-bed a stripped stall with 2 bags - not the mfr-recommended 6! - 3 for lush bedding, and that lasts at least 2 weeks before I need to add another bag to refresh.
    My horses are out 24/7, coming in to eat or hang out, so YMMV.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


    • Original Poster

      Thank you all again and again for the great advise! I really am writing these ideas down! I have a note book for barn stuff.
      We haven't built our house yet, we live in an apartment above the shop. I want the barn first, I can put up with living above the shop and way up a whole bunch of stairs for a couple more years as long as I can escape to the barn.
      I'll ask my hubby about the light switch with a remote that sounds awesome! He should be talking to the engineer today. We're still not sure what kind of foundation the county will require, so that will affect what type of flooring we have.
      Still lots of things to figure out and decide on also.
      This is really fun though! I'm getting more and more excited!
      I really can't say thank you enough, getting ideas and advise from so many knowledgeable people is priceless!
      Thank you again!!!


      • #43
        34x36 center pole barn with 3 12x12 stalls, 10' drive through aisle, a 24x12 open storage area, and a 12x12 tack room. Hay storage in loft above barn.

        What I love: 6' overhang over outside dutch doors for stalls & sliding doors inside, so I can let mine have 24x7 access to their turnout and stalls, and interior doors do not block the aisle when open. Water buckets can be filled (by a taller person than me) without opening the dutch doors. I also have power outlets behind stall walls for heated buckets, and above the stall fronts for fans, all wired to 1 switch so that I can either turn on heated buckets or stall fans with the flip of a switch.

        Flooring: Concrete aisle & storage area. Tack room is raised plywood flooring. Stalls are stone/dust. I'm getting to the point where I will have to put mats in the aisle, as they're getting worn smooth after 15 years, but I absolutely prefer the way I have it now and would not do it differently even if I could.

        What I'd change: I have no hot water, and really wish I did. I also regret the surveyor we hired to determine barn placement, he made a 10' error that has cost me a wide enough riding ring on the south side of my barn.

        We use bagged pelleted bedding. I'd prefer bulk sawdust, but Mr. Trevelyan is no longer willing to deal with it. And we are all agreed that we hate shavings.

        Tom King nailed it with the 25' foot hose and running a line for future electric. Also, run a phone line out there if you can.

        If you can't put automatic waterers in your pasture, put a hydrant in the best possible spot to fill a 70 (or larger) stock tank for every turnout, with a power outlet for a stock tank heater in winter. I have mine right on the corner of my barn under the overhang, and run the power for the heater through a small hole in the siding right to an outlet that's wired into the same switch I use for the stall buckets and fans.

        Try to layout your barn and pastures in a square with barn in the middle and turnouts radiating out from the barn to make turnout management easiest. Think of a box with 4 L shaped pastures surrounding it, one off each corner of the barn. And put your ring next to the barn if you can to make lighting easier.

        I love my place, but in hindsight, the 2 big mishaps were not running hot water and the survey error. I like my loft hay storage, even though I know a lot of people don't recommend them for both fire and air quality, but I have great ventilation, my hay is always high and dry, and horses are always out.
        Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
        Witherun Farm


        • #44
          I'm in the finishing stage of building my barn and I don't know how long THAT is going to take... but I wanted to share a picture of my barn so far with you which I thought might interest you because it sounds like yours is very similar to mine- a 36x48 monitor style barn.

          The one feature that I added that I think is pretty neat (and so does everyone who visits) is that I have the loft projecting out about 10 feet from the front of the barn- this gives me a little more hay space- and it gives me a shady/covered shelter work/hangout space at one end of my aisle- and it adds a little more interest to the overall shape of things. I'd love to add a cuppola someday.

          This picture wasn't really intended as picture of the barn, it was just a wierd dark orange sunset light. This side of the barn shows the doors for two of the box stalls and the windows at the tie stalls.


          I broke it up with 3 12x12 box stalls, 4 12x6 tie stalls, a 10x12 wash stall, 12x12 tack room and a 14x12 storage area for shavings, wheelbarrow, hay etc.

          I have a big dually and it's easy to drive up the aisle with it- but it wouldn't be possible to take a horse past the truck if it was parked in there... so handy for dropping off feed - not handy for a vet/farrier to work out of the truck unless they parked all the way at one end or the other.


          • #45
            Plainandtall that is good to point out. If you have horses that you know will never be kept in stalls for any lengthy period of time tie stalls might be a better use of space. You can bring horses in to be fed, you can groom and tack up, I grew up riding in a barn where we had tie stalls to work in. They were adjacent to the pasture and when you wanted to bring those horses in you just put some grain in each feed box in each tie stall and opened the pasture gate, they would all walk in and go into a stall.


            • #46
              But, horses you have now who you can pretty confidently say would never be stalled for any period of time, doesn't mean you won't end up with a horse down the road, maybe sooner rather than later, who would need some stall time.

              To keep costs down in the beginning, you can always plan a barn such that additional stalls can be added on to one end if/when the need arises.
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


              • #47
                My horses are out almost all the time, but due to their different dietary needs I mostly just need to have a safe way to seperate everyone for feeding and protect the slow eaters from the air ferns etc. I also plan to make it so that the wall dividing the last tie stall from the box stall can come out easily enough and make a big 12 x 18 "foaling" stall... I don't ever plan to breed horses- but you never know if something would come up.


                • Original Poster

                  Loving all these great ideas!!

                  Plaineandtall~Thank you for sharing a picture of your barn, it is beautiful! I like the wood exterior.

                  Tie stalls sound like a good idea, but I need a stall for each horse to overnight in (6 horses right now) during storms and such.

                  Here is the current setup:
                  We have 11 acres total, and the horse's area is sectioned into 3 pastures, the one up close to the house area is a sacrifice/dry lot area that is 1 acre +/-, that is where the barn will be, the other two pastures are about 4 acres each. The horses have a run through shelter right now that they all fit in (if they are getting along). I feed them hay outside in all the different weather, (Oct.-Mar.) that is a PITA! It rains a lot here (Pacific Northwest, we're an hour south of Canada), and that wastes a lot of hay, they trample it in the mud, plus there is no way of telling who is getting enough hay, and who is not. I end up having to feed a ton of extra hay and make 2 piles of hay for every horse so they always have an open pile of hay to go to. No one gets any grain, and haven't for years, they don't need it. If one of them needs a little something extra, they get soaked grass pellets.
                  I have a very large "foaling" stall that sits off by itself, that was built for a mare we had 5 years ago (no more foals for us!) and now it gets used to feed my old man (26 yr old) Joker his mush (alfalfa, orchard, timothy, and beet pulp pellets all soaked together = YUM YUM!) in. He overnights in there if the weather is really nasty also.
                  There is a water trough, no freeze faucet right next to it with a short hose = no draining (I figured that one out years ago living here, 1 year of draining and hauling hoses was enough for me! ). There's a huge bright light on a phone pole that lights the whole acre, and down the road haha, with an outdoor outlet for the tank heater. The round pen is also on that acre.
                  We have to move the run through shed, it's where the barn will be going, it's the highest point in there and will be built up much, much more! The shed will go out in the other pasture so they can use it for shelter when they are not stalled.
                  Right now there will not be any runs off the stalls, they will only be in there for feeding (that's going to save us so much hay!) and the occasional overnight stay. If someone needs an extended stall stay, we could put panels up and make a run off a stall.
                  Did I use enough ( ) ? LOL

                  I will make sure to add pictures of the process and include what little extra things we are adding.
                  I'm researching barn lighting and barn hardware online tonight.

                  Keep the ideas coming I love hearing about all the different barns!


                  • #49
                    One thing I love about our barn is that each stall has an electrical outlet on a support post at the top of the stall. Great for mounting fans in the summer, yet horses can't reach the electrical cord.

                    Also like that we have hot water in the wash stall. Great in cooler weather.

                    I would avoid hay being kept in the barn where horses are due to fire hazards.


                    • #50
                      We built a 36' x 48' Morton barn 2 & 1/2 years ago (4 12 x 14 stalls, grooming stall and tack/feed room--it's on the 5 year plan to finish...). My fav aspects are the exhaust fan in the cupola, the airy effect created by open air to the high pitched roof--great ventilation. I also love our barn doors with the glass top half--beautiful and let in lots of light. I had the electrician put outlets and light switches for each stall, with an extra outlet up high for each stall for fans. The stall lights are strung along the stall fronts instead of the middle of stalls--no shadows in stalls to complicate stall picking. We have lights strung from ceiling along center aisle with a separate switch. Also, per DH's insistence, a big rounded-top oblong window (can be opened) positioned above north barn door--it was expensive but increases light and is just darn beautiful--so worth it. One last thing--guttering--is so worth it.
                      "I never met a man I didn't like who liked horses." Will Rogers


                      • #51
                        Jokersmama....have you looked into hay boxes, nets, etc for feeding hay outside? Especially in such a wet region...hay is darned expensive and a pita if it gets wasted.

                        I use small hole hay nets outside. I have decent solid posts (6" rounds) and coated wire fencing under a flex fence rail. I just stuff nets and then loop the string around a post and over one of the coated wire strands to hold it up off the ground. Tie it off by looping string through a hole near the bottom of the net (opposite of the drawstring end) and let it hang like a hammock. The weight of the hay keeps it closed. I have next to zero wastage.
                        You jump in the saddle,
                        Hold onto the bridle!
                        Jump in the line!


                        • Original Poster

                          I was actually going to have hubby build some hay boxes this year. But I think we'll just do what we did last year, I got it worked out last year, to waste less and reduce mud I am making more piles and feeding in a different spot each time so it doesn't get as muddy. Also I'm leaving them on the entire pasture all winter and feeding hay out there instead of in the dry lot (it's really a mud lot this time of year), that has really helped to decrease waste and mud!
                          We make our own hay so cost is minimal, but I'd like not to waste as much! This is the last year of feeding outside!! I'm SO excited!!

                          Hubby went and talked to the engineer yesterday, the engineer said the barn is designed to have a 4" slab foundation, and the county requires we also cement in the center poles. So it looks like the whole barn will be sitting on a concrete foundation. We are also having him raise the whole height of the barn 1.5 feet so we can add an overhang off the ends of the stalls.

                          Next step: Permit dept.


                          • Original Poster

                            Our building permit got approved!
                            We submitted it on Nov. 6th and it finally got all approved Dec. 13th! YAY!!
                            Let the fun begin!
                            I'll post pics of the process.
                            Oh, and we got all but two of our stalls on Craigslist! 5 nice Noble Panel stall fronts with tongue and groove fir, drop down grate in the door, and a feeder window at the opposite end, divider walls, and mats! We only need two more fronts now.


                            • #54
                              I don't have a barn but board at one that has this feature and love it! I'll do my best to describe it:

                              Basically, instead of having automatic waterers for the horses (which I loathe because you can't know if the horses are drinking or not), each stall has a pipe run from that tack room to right above the water bucket. To water, you go into the tack room, turn the switch for the water and then walk down the aisle peeking into the buckets and turning each "bucket" on via tap at the individual stall.

                              The brilliant part of this is even when its very very cold (we're in Canada), once you are done watering the horses you just need to go back to the tack room, shut off the water and then quickly walk down the aisle and drain each pipe. As long as you do this the pipes will not freeze even in very cold conditions.

                              Clean water without having to drag a hose but still allowing you to monitor how much the horses are drinking. I think its brilliant!


                              • #55
                                This is an interesting thread and I don't have much to add. In my barn and arena, I have cllear panels along the top of the sides. It provides an amzing amount of light and in winter makes the barn a lot warmer. I also have insulation. Some people cautioned that insulation might hurt ventilation, but it doesn't in my barn or arena which both have a lot of doors. I would think on your barn, putting something clear - plasic or glass - on the south side of the hay storage would enable the sun to heat the hay and really provide some warmth for the entire barn but haven't looked into that since I don't have a loft. I do know that when I stack hay in part of my loafing shed, the hay acts as a solar collector of sorts and heats it up quite a bit.

                                I'm a little confused about your plans on feeding hay. If you are going to feed hay outside most of the time, the loft may not be convenient unless you utilize one of Bluey's ideas - about the hay shoot or the space to drop hay down directly into a truck. When I was a kid, the hay loft in the beautiful old barn where I boarded had a hole in the loft so that hay could go up and down through that hole inside the barn over the aisle.