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Your must haves if you were building barn from scratch...based on what you know now!

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  • #21
    Ditto to the 6 months hay storage!

    I also wish I had a side stall for grooming instead of the center aisle. The center aisle is great if it's just you-more than that and it makes it hard for others to move around easily, especially if the farrier or vet is there.

    My pitchfork website below has lots of pictures on my set up and the reasoning behind it. Hopefully it can give you a few ideas.


    • #22
      Call your fire department and have them look at where you want your barn and how there will be access to it if they need to get in there with big trucks.

      Here they like to have 100' from structure to structure and to any water well.
      You may not be able to quite make that, but it is a guideline to go by.

      I know my preference would be to build a shell, all purpose metal structure and then add portable stalls in there, with stalls with access to the outside and runs, then pastures.
      This way, down the years, you can remodel for placement and size of the stalls and the place will have more uses than just a horse barn for the next owners, without needing to do intensive remodeling.

      Store hay in bulk in some other structure and take only a week's worth or so to the main barn.

      Now, that is just some suggestions, everyone likes to do something else.


      • #23
        I've said it a million times before- my biggest regret in building my barn was not insulating the roof while it was being built.


        • #24
          We have a loft and I was just saying today how I really wish we had separate hay storage instead. That's the long range plan, adding another building for hay, but for now, we have it upstairs. I don't like the fire risk, and hate the DUST it creates. I can't even go up there as I have allergies, unless I mask up. We do have an elevator to get the hay up and can store several months worth up there, plus more on the "main floor."

          Do think about manure management. I see so many barns built around here with no thought as to where all the manure and bedding is going to go. We compost, and had concrete floored bins built into the hill below the barn. The one good thing about building on a slope! You take the wheelbarrow out and dump into the bins, no lifting, just over an edge...easy! Then on the lower side, gates hold the composting manure in, and just open to do turning or moving with the tractor. Put down a rock road there so we have access even when wet.

          Lighting is important. I hated so many of the barns that I've been in that were dark. I wanted plenty of light available - you don't have to use all of them all the time, but when you need it, it is there. We also put in the fiberglass (or plastic?) sheets up high on the walls that allow some light in - I'm sure there's some technical word for it! On semi sunny days, I don't even need to turn the lights on in my wash rack as those panels provide enough. And in winter, I love the little remote on off switch the electrician installed on our outside barn lights. It has a little remote like a tiny garage opener, and we can turn on the barn lights from the house, our car, whatever.

          Lots if good ideas on these threads - I always enjoy reading them. I'm not sure my SO appreciates it, however, as I come up with some new request for our place after I get "inspired!"
          Last edited by horsepoor; Mar. 14, 2013, 12:41 AM. Reason: Lost all my returns!


          • #25
            My two must haves were a 16 foot aisle and a covered porch off the stalls.


            • #26
              Most important for me: When installing overhead lighting in an aisle or grooming/farrier stall, don't place the lights lengthwise down the center of the aisle ceiling. It will be MUCH easier for the vet/farrier if there are two rows of lights (one on each side of the horse). Center-placed lighting casts a shadow, especially for farriers & vets.

              Stalls that open to a small paddock so the horses can come and go at all hours if they wish. Larger paddocks / grass fields so you can rotate turnout.

              Frost-free hydrants in convenient locations.

              If you live in a cold area, make sure any exposed pipes in the barn are well insulated. Make sure there is an outlet with breaker (forget what they're called - GFI?) for heat tape if necessary.

              I once managed a farm where each stall had a faucet outside the stall, with a small hole cut into the front of the stall. A short (maybe 2 foot?) hose ran from faucet, through hole when it was time to fill buckets. Very convenient - but again, if you live in a cold climate, make sure those pipes are insulated!

              Add more electrical outlets than you think you'll need. Make sure the horses can't reach them. I had outlets placed between every stall, near the top of the stall. More outlets can be added at a more convenient height in areas that horses don't frequent (grooming stall, etc)

              Feed storage - make sure horses can't access grain in the event the feed room door is left open. A dead chest freezer works great for this purpose.

              Check with your state or municipality regarding manure management. Here, you must have a manure management plan if there are more than 5 horses on the property. Some residential areas require a dumpster for manure.

              Paddock gates - Good idea to place a gate wheel on the side the gate opens. Helps prevent sagging of the gate over time.


              • #27
                Originally posted by tpup View Post
                Thanks everyone! Kiwayu, I will definitely check it out on FB. I will be doing 80-90% of the work myself. My children (now almost 11 and 8) will be helping as they get older. My husband is non-horsey but 100% supportive and loves being around the horses in general. I will not have a boarder (at least for a few yrs). My two horses are both very easy to handle. Large pony (19 going on 10 and older QUIET Appy. I would LOVE tall ceilings (hence another plus for no loft) and glad someone pointed out the point about getting the hay UP into the loft. The barn will be fairly close to the house. The lot is a perfect rectangle 10 acres that goes from top of hill to bottom...so the short sides of the rectangle are at the top and bottom...if you can picture, house on top left, angled to bottom right corner. Plan is to have barn to right of home slightly down (right corner flattens out some)...so at most a 50 yard walk?...then smaller paddock around barn, and one or two larger paddocks in middle of rectangle. Bottom will be cross country course/riding area...maybe pond someday.
                If you want tall ceilings, you can do the loft only over the isle like i did. I promise you, you WANT a loft!!!! Even if you don't use it for hay, you always need storage (buckets, blankets, tack, etc). That tack room fills quick, trust me. I also put kitchen cabinets in my tack room for maximum storage space and made space under the stairs to the loft for more space. Email me and I can send you detail pics.

                Kiwayu & Figiso Pictures:


                • #28
                  You can have an open, airy barn without loft and use the top of the enclosed areas, tack room/feed room for extra storage.
                  That is the way our barns have been.

                  In so many barns in Europe and in bank barns in the East, you have upper floors and so the hay stored above.
                  While that is still a serious fire hazard, because it has separate ventilation, dust is not a problem like it is in barns with lofts full of hay inside the same barn air space, other than when you drop hay below at feeding time.

                  In Europe, the hay was dropped thru a hay chute and then carried to each stall, unlike in some bank barns, that had a slot over each stall to drop the hay directly in there, but you lost loft storing space then.
                  In the chute system, you were not gaining much over bringing the hay from another nearby structure, other than in bad weather.

                  We need to realize that small bales may not be the way hay is handled always, but big bales and hay in sacks is getting more and more common.
                  To figure how to keep hay today by small bales may be obsolete in some years down the road.

                  Right now, some farmers here are making small alfalfa bales and banding them so many to the pallet and storage space for those will depend more in some place you can move pallets with a forklift of forklift attachment on a tractor, best done in it's own separate building, or separate space in the main barn, where a tractor can get to.

                  Those pallets with many little bales work great for people with a couple of backyard horses going to the feed store and getting a pallet on the back of their pickup once a week or so.


                  • #29
                    I have all stalls (4) located on 1 side of the barn, they have covered paddocks (12x18) that open directly into the pasture. I leave stalls/paddocks open 24/7. This works great but often I will find 3 horses packed into one stall resting in the afternoon. SO FAR, no one has injured themselves etc with this arrangement (of their own making). I don't like it but I want them to have 24/7 turnout available so it's left up to them to arrange themselves. I do feed them seperately. Definately have a climate controlled feed/tack room, bathroom would be a wonderful thing to have but I don't know what your budget is like. A sink in the tack/feed room, automatic waters in the stalls would be nice. I would do minimum 12x12 stalls. Indoor wash rack/groom stall nice to have. While I prefer seperate hay storage (but don't have), I realize that is just not possible for everyone to have 2 buildings detected to horses and hay. I actually don't like tall ceilings, they are impossible to keep clean, free of dust and webs. While they are nice for air circulation, fans in the stalls can accomplish the same. Windows and doors at each end of the barn also allow for good air movement. Good lighting is a must. Be sure to check with your city/county on building requirements, zoning laws, permits etc. before you start.
                    "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by LookmaNohands View Post
                      Make your layout easy to work. Will you be doing the work or paying someone else? Count how many steps from here to there that you want to take to get your daily tasks done.

                      Lofts aren't all they are cracked up to be. Your hay guy has to get the hay up there first. If he uses a hay elevator you need a special plug for that. Otherwise it is pure muscle power. A loft will make your barn hotter and cut down on ventilation. It can also be a fire hazard. Consider a separate barn for hay.

                      Make the barn pleasant for the horses and consider good and bad weather and how you will deal with wind, rain, snow hurricanes etc.
                      We have a hay elevator, and we don't have a special plug for it. It plugs into any outlet. We do have to use an extension cord. Our hay elevator lives in our loft, with the motor on the up end, and we let it down onto the hay guy's truck to use it.
                      blogging at HN: http://www.horsenation.com/
                      check out my writing: http://jeseymour.com
                      Just out: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/dd-p...ead-poisoning/


                      • #31
                        Flooring: concrete--and put mats over it if you want. But a dirt floor and mats is a pain in the neck; it shifts, can't get the mats flat, etc.


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by 4cornersfarm View Post
                          We have a hay elevator, and we don't have a special plug for it. It plugs into any outlet. We do have to use an extension cord. Our hay elevator lives in our loft, with the motor on the up end, and we let it down onto the hay guy's truck to use it.
                          Yep, this is how our elevator works too. Normal electric plug, and we have an outlet handy to the loading area. Getting it back up to the loft is the hardest part of the whole operation, but SO has finally perfected a method using the tractor bucket (unless we have enough hay boys on hand to just do it manually).


                          • #33
                            Never built a barn but going from boarding ones

                            1. pay attention to which way the wind blows, since we have to build up against hills most barns side is to the hill so air flows downhill into and across the barn, nice in summer. You dont want wind blowing from 1 end to another if you have sawdust. Ask me how I know.

                            2. pay attention to which way the water is going to come off this hill, will it go into your barn or around it? This is a serious question.

                            3. One BB around here has a metal garage type thing for feed/tractor but hay isnt stored there, easily could be then all your stuff is out of the weather & you have only barn. Loft then for buckets/blanekts/etc Or else keep hay in 3rd building away from gas engines. Depends on how much land you have

                            4. Bathroom will get used alot. Get a big sink so you can wash stuff in it. Have hot water for washrack & drinking, if you live where it gets cold.
                            “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                            • #34
                              My only regret is that I poured some concrete floor without :
                              Insulating the pad from the outside with some rigid foam insulation;
                              Installing a wire grid and radiant floor heating Pex tubing.
                              This obviously applies to the colder northern climates.
                              I would think that a concrete heat sink slab would marry really well with a solar hot water system; the slab area wouldn't be interior living 70 degree warm, but then again it wouldn't be freezing water pipes cold either.


                              • #35
                                Pay someone to do your stall floors and do them before the stall walls go in.

                                I did my floors myself because i changed my mind 1.2MM times on what type of floors I wanted. I ended up doiing mats over limestone. I tamped the dirt and the limestone down myself (with a tamper rented from the home depot) and I have many a bubbles. Luckily my mats are super tight in my stalls, so the mats edges are all snug, but there are some hills and valley in my stalls that drive me nuts when stripping!

                                I second the loft. I love it! It's only over m tack room at this point, but it holds 3 months of hay. I have another shed for extra hay, but I made it through this winter getting hay brought in bi-weekly.

                                Make sure your doors are tall enough for your tallest tractor.

                                Insulate your roof.


                                • #36
                                  put in 36" mandoors not 32",then you can get a wheelbarrow or a horse through if the weather is too bad to open the big aisle doors. Gargage doors on the aisle don't require digging out for snow and don't blow shut in wind.
                                  We are currently renovating our barn and are putting in stalls with removable center deviders so I can adjust stall size/numbers as needed.


                                  • #37
                                    A new barn wish list!

                                    Let's see!

                                    Large stalls
                                    Wide aisles
                                    Good safe lighting
                                    Safety electrical outlets
                                    Provision for big fans
                                    Secure grain storage (feed room)
                                    Handy, good, big hay storage,
                                    Handy bedding storage
                                    Heated in stall waterers
                                    Heated easily secured tack room, with frost free hydrant
                                    Heated wash stall,
                                    Heated people potty
                                    Dust free indoor arena-attached
                                    Handy equipment storage
                                    Safe fencing and planned pasture layout with waterers.

                                    OK What did I forget?
                                    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                    • #38
                                      4)Swinging rather than sliding stall doors

                                      I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                                      • #39
                                        Heated automatic waterers. Absolutely non-negotiable.


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by JackSprats Mom View Post
                                          4)Swinging rather than sliding stall doors

                                          I would use either, sliding if you have a small aisle, but in general, swinging hardly ever have trouble for years on end, sliding tend to always have some not quite working well after so long, you have to keep working on them.

                                          Some people like sliding better to handle getting horses in and out, we prefer swinging doors/gates to get horses in and out, that I think is preference, no real advantage either way.

                                          I know that I have repaired many sliding doors over the years, hardly ever a swinging one.