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Building a farm from scratch... Questions

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  • Building a farm from scratch... Questions

    This posting isn't just for farm owners, I know as a boarder, I have a preference to stalls, fencing, etc.

    Was suppose to build this year but life got in the way in terms of planning so we are starting early this year for next spring. Hopefully we will be in a better position then...

    Anyways, we have a clean plate. Do have some ideas and expectations of what we want. Orignally we wanted to do some sort of small boarding and lesson barn with indoor but we'ved decided to go away from that and the main goal will be just a barn for our personal use.

    Would like to hear from others on what they wish they had done or they had in their current barn.

    Our main thing right now is the hay.

    1) On the fence on how we would store hay and obviously the two options are 1) Above the barn and 2) In a seperate building.

    Would you have the hay in a hay loft or would you have the hay in a seperate building. And why? Is there even a third option that I am not thinking of?

    2) What do you have under your rubber mats in the stalls? Cement? Wood? Packed Sand?

    3) What methods have you taken to reduce the mud in high traffic areas?

    4) Is 12x12 good enough for a stall (currently the 16.1 h.h TBs are in a 10x10 and they are comfortable enough). Would you have went 14x14 given the chance? (Chances of us having a broodmare and foal, breeding, etc is one in a million )

    5) Wash Stall- is the drainage complicated? Obviously its on my list to research/look into. Its not a must have for us but after I battled mud fever this summer, life would have been easier to have a wash stall where I boarded- due to all the mud... So we deicded to look into this option. Or did you think the same thing as us and got rid of your wash stall or your wash stall collect dust?

    More questions to come....

  • #2
    Originally posted by firstimpressioncounts View Post
    1) On the fence on how we would store hay and obviously the two options are 1) Above the barn and 2) In a seperate building.

    Would you have the hay in a hay loft or would you have the hay in a seperate building. And why? Is there even a third option that I am not thinking of?
    You may have trouble with insurance if you store hay in the barn. Something else to think about What type of hay are you looking to store, as in, what size bales? How much hay (in tons) do you need to store? How often can you/would you buy hay? Those factor greatly into what size hay storage you need.

    2) What do you have under your rubber mats in the stalls? Cement? Wood? Packed Sand?
    Sand won't pack You need stonedust/screenings or sandrock, wet down and ideally packed with a vibrating tamper.

    3) What methods have you taken to reduce the mud in high traffic areas?
    In some areas I have crush-n-run which packs nicely. In another smaller area I have some sandrock. What you use depends on the slope and the soil. I have 2 areas right now that I've been debating with, and will likely put down some geotextile fabric (red clay that will suck anything down into it) and one area (loafing area) will like have sand (which I hope will entice them to roll there and not in the wet sticky icky red clay ) but the other one, which is at a gate, will probably be more gravel.

    4) Is 12x12 good enough for a stall (currently the 16.1 h.h TBs are in a 10x10 and they are comfortable enough). Would you have went 14x14 given the chance? (Chances of us having a broodmare and foal, breeding, etc is one in a million )
    12x12 is fine. My 17h horse does fine in a 12x12. 14x14 would be nice, but it ends up adding not insignificant cost to the barn (since board lengths are usually more economical at 12') and it takes a lot more shavings. They're nice, but just not necessary unless you have/plan to have drafts-type horses. If you have stalls next to each other, you can construct the center dividers to be removable so that if you ever need a large stall (foaling, injury, etc) you can remove it and have a 12x24.

    5) Wash Stall- is the drainage complicated? Obviously its on my list to research/look into. Its not a must have for us but after I battled mud fever this summer, life would have been easier to have a wash stall where I boarded- due to all the mud... So we deicded to look into this option. Or did you think the same thing as us and got rid of your wash stall or your wash stall collect dust?
    Drainage doesn't have to be complicate. Mine is set up with a drain box in the middle of the back, connected to PVC which runs out the back under the back wall. You'd want to check into regulations to see if you have to have some sort of dry well to control runoff. I have 2 horses, so I don't generate much at all. The concrete was poured after the box was put in, so the height of the concrete needs to be known first, so the box can be set in such that the concrete can slope towards it, wherever you place it.

    More questions to come....
    Always are! I've only had my barn up for a few years, with the concrete being done less than 2 years ago, so I'm still pretty fresh from the same questions

    One thing about the concrete and any exterior doors. We built and hung our exterior tall sliding doors well before concreting the aisle. Once the concrete was in, it was higher than the bottom of the doors. I absolutely did not want to deal with re-hanging the doors higher ( couldn't, actually), or cutting off the bottoms, so I had the edge of the concrete stop just inside the doors. It's a bit of a pita, as there's a ledge now, on both ends. It's certain not the end of the world, though it would be nice to have the ground and the concrete at the same level. If you know you're going to concrete the aisle, you can plan all the grading around where that level will be.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

    Comment


    • #3
      1) On the fence on how we would store hay and obviously the two options are 1) Above the barn and 2) In a seperate building. Would you have the hay in a hay loft or would you have the hay in a seperate building. And why? Is there even a third option that I am not thinking of?

      I have a hay loft over my center-aisle barn, which will hold, if I stack it very carefully, just about the year's worth of hay. The barn was built with a steeper roof pitch (6:12) to accomodate the hay, and a hay door up in the loft for the elevator, which the hay man brings with him. I'm very well aware that having hay in the barn is more of a fire hazard than NOT having it in there, but for me it works. My horses are never confined to the barn (they're out 24/7 with access to their stalls at will) and the convenience and cost savings of having the hay right in the barn (no extra building was in the budget) works for me very well.

      Our insurance company did not blink at the hay in the barn.

      We've since put up one of those tent-type garage buildings for general storage, but I don't want to keep hay in there--mostly I use that to store tractor implements, jumps, and various stuff I don't want lying around everywhere. Extra storage space is one thing I think it's very easy to understimate when planning/building!

      2) What do you have under your rubber mats in the stalls? Cement? Wood? Packed Sand?

      I don't have rubber mats in the stalls, I have Stall Skins which drain through to the undersurface, reducing the amount of urine and cutting way down on bedding. For these you have to have a porous base, and my barn is built on packed sand with a layer of crushed concrete on top. Working fine 2 years later--the Stall Skins still drain (except when the ground is frozen solid) and I like them. They're not for cushion, but my horses don't spend that much time in their stalls anyhow.

      3) What methods have you taken to reduce the mud in high traffic areas?

      We are blessed with wonderful, sandy soil that drains great, but we also get very liberal with the large pile of crushed concrete that we have delivered every spring. The excavator guy is our friend and after the first two wet seasons (fall and spring) we did a bit of re-grading to send the water away from the barn a bit more. Gutters are vital, and choosing the barn site even more so--go for high and dry from the get-go and this problem will be much smaller.

      4) Is 12x12 good enough for a stall (currently the 16.1 h.h TBs are in a 10x10 and they are comfortable enough). Would you have went 14x14 given the chance? (Chances of us having a broodmare and foal, breeding, etc is one in a million )

      12 x 12 stalls are fine for even large horses, IMO. Of course mine spend little time in them, but they seem perfectly happy if I happen to confine them for some reason. In fact, more often than not two of them spend the night in the same stall, especially in the winter so they can huddle up and stay warm.

      I did construct two of my three stalls with a semi-permanent, chest-high divider rather than a full floor-to ceiling one with a grate in between ,etc.. If I need a 12 x 24 foaling stall all I need to do is take down that partition, which I'm guessing would take me half an hour. It also means that the horses in those two stalls can get at each other, but again in my situation they're not really "in" their stalls much.

      5) Wash Stall- is the drainage complicated? Obviously its on my list to research/look into. Its not a must have for us but after I battled mud fever this summer, life would have been easier to have a wash stall where I boarded- due to all the mud... So we deicded to look into this option. Or did you think the same thing as us and got rid of your wash stall or your wash stall collect dust?

      My wash stall is currently a storage area for hay that I've taken down from the loft. Saves me trips up the ladder every day, and although it is set up for a wash stall it has never been used for one. I bathe the horses outside, usually tied up to the trailer, and that works fine. The trailer is parked 30 feet from the barn and is on a nice, high dry crushed concrete pad. Did I mention we love crushed concrete? In the winter I don't bathe them--might wash legs but that's do-able outside--so I've just never missed not having a proper wash stall.

      Drainage is something worth thinking about--we don't have a proper drain, just pipes trenched from the sink in the tack room and the gutters that go into the nearby creek. I'm very, very vigilant about not letting anything unsavory go down the drains for this reason. Maybe a little saddle soap now and then, but that's it. Another reason I prefer to bathe outside--I don't want to put a lot of soap into the creek and a full septic/dry well, etc. for the barn just wasn't in the budget.


      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Our main thing right now is the hay.

        1) On the fence on how we would store hay and obviously the two options are 1) Above the barn and 2) In a seperate building.

        Would you have the hay in a hay loft or would you have the hay in a seperate building. And why? Is there even a third option that I am not thinking of?

        We are hoping to have the funds to do a separate building. I personally feel its safer out of the barn, especially round bales. Right now, some is stored in the barn, the rest is stored in a bay of our detached garage.

        2) What do you have under your rubber mats in the stalls? Cement? Wood? Packed Sand?

        As somebody else mention, can't use sand. Ours is packed stone dust in the matted stalls. Has held up very well except for the mice that occassionally think its fun to tunnel out a corner (yes, the chewed a hole in the mat too )

        3) What methods have you taken to reduce the mud in high traffic areas?

        We are digging out the areas we have found to be problems and putting in gravel topped with packed stone dust - current project - feel free to come over and get first hand experience

        4) Is 12x12 good enough for a stall (currently the 16.1 h.h TBs are in a 10x10 and they are comfortable enough). Would you have went 14x14 given the chance? (Chances of us having a broodmare and foal, breeding, etc is one in a million )

        Most of ours are 12x12 (17.1 hh mare gets 12 x 14). The larger stalls are mainly foaling stalls. If you don't do larger stalls, I would build one (two) stalls with removable walls that can come down for either foaling or an extended injury where they can move around more, but not ready for turn out

        5) Wash Stall- is the drainage complicated? Obviously its on my list to research/look into. Its not a must have for us but after I battled mud fever this summer, life would have been easier to have a wash stall where I boarded- due to all the mud... So we deicded to look into this option. Or did you think the same thing as us and got rid of your wash stall or your wash stall collect dust?

        Our wash stall is in the corner and the drain ties into the roof drainage (perferrated pipe on gravel). It works for bathing, cold hosing and a place to drain/clean buckets so I don't get a mud pit just outside the barn doors.
        Epona Farm
        Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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        Comment


        • #5
          DW is right about storage, for all sorts of stuff - you can't have too much! You want to think about where you'll store the wheelbarrow(s), pitch forks/muck forks, broom, and any other tools you want to keep handy in/near the barn. I only have 3 horses, for a 4-stall barn, so right now the 4th stall is a bit of a storage stall, mostly with hay left from last year.

          DO consider how you deal with water runnoff from the roof. I have gutters, with downspouts at all 4 corners. The uphill downspouts have connected pipes, trenched under the ground to hook up with the pipes from the downhill downspouts, and it all drains downhill of the barn (there is very, very little pasture downhill of the barn. A 36x36 12:12 pitch roof generates a LOT of runoff. My downspouts are actually heavy duty PVC, NOT metal, as my horses can be around the barn.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            Honest opinion

            I use a lot of hay and have stored it up high as well as low. I hate up high.

            1) Even with an elevator, it is a pain in the butt to get it up there. Labor costs go up. The hay elevator's are noisy (even the electric ones), prone to breaking (at all the wrong times), and add more risk (injury wise). A small hay elevator is ok, a really tall one...just adds more problems.

            2) It gets hot up there! More risk of fire and your labor may not come back for a second day. Getting up into a hay loft to throw hay, when it is 100 degrees out and it is 110 in the attic sucks.

            3) I am almost fifty, I don't like climbing high ladders, if I don't have to.

            4) Load. It is just more expensive to build a hay loft that will hold 20 tons of hay, than to build a hay shed.

            5) As most of us use an ATV/Tractor/mule, moving it from one location to another isn't an issue.

            Am I biased, yep! I wouldn't go to storing it above the barn again unless I had to.
            Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s

            Comment


            • #7
              If you live in the Frozen Great North, having hay in the loft, if horses are inside a good bit, can be a bonus - insulation.

              But for sure, down here in the South, it gets really hot and humid up on a loft unless it's VERY well constructed, which includes a very high peak with ample ventilation for the heat to rise from, and proper ventiliation vents at ground level to encourage updrafts. Heck, even in the frozen North, proper updraft ventilation is necessary if horses are stalled for any real length of time.

              Having hay above stalls, if horses are in there for any length of time, can lead to some respiration problems. Hay is DUSTY. Air movement, which is of course critical, leads to that dust floating around, and eventually coming down.
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

              Comment


              • #8
                1. When building my barn, I begged for a loft! My husband flat out said no, too expensive (was on a pretty tight budget), so it was cheaper to make the barn longer than higher. So my hay is all on ground level.

                2. I just have packed dirt and bank run gravel under the mats.

                3. drainage for muddy areas? I'm working on it! Haven't quite decided what I am going to use yet.

                4. My stalls are 12 x 12 and they have lots of room.

                5. I love my wash stall! Used as a grooming/wash stall and used a gazillion times a day (well, maybe not that much). Slightly sloped to a center drain and just drains outside with a pvc pipe under ground. Will be hooked to gutters when they go up. Even if the drain is never hooked to the gutters, it wouldn't be a big deal, it would just drain out to the pasture.

                Comment


                • #9
                  We have built two farms from scratch, our current one, we bought in March of 2007 as just basically clear farmland with two old tobacco barns on it, started building fence, barns etc last August. We now have a nice 8 stall barn with grooming area/feed room, separate tack buidling, 250 x 140 arena and quite a few turnout pastures (20.5 acres total) as well as our house. We built EVERYTHING ourselves except of coruse, the house and the barn "shell"

                  Originally posted by firstimpressioncounts View Post

                  1) On the fence on how we would store hay and obviously the two options are 1) Above the barn and 2) In a seperate building.

                  We store hay in two separate buildings, one is an old tobacco barn on the property that has a wooden floor and is weather proof, the other is a shed that we bought from Cover-All, it is smaller, 12 x 20 and is at the end of our shed row barn, we use it for daily hay use, fill it up weekly and the other holds the bulk of our hay. Wouldn't want a loft, pain in the A** to put the hay up there!

                  2) What do you have under your rubber mats in the stalls? Cement? Wood? Packed Sand?We put screenings down before erecting barn, about 8 - 10 inches of them, they pack and drain well. We use the interlocking mats (didn't do this at our last place and they shift too much without being interlocking)
                  3) What methods have you taken to reduce the mud in high traffic areas?

                  We still have some mud problems, as that was the last thing to be addressed, but plan to bring in screenings for high trafic area in front of the barn

                  4) Is 12x12 good enough for a stall (currently the 16.1 h.h TBs are in a 10x10 and they are comfortable enough). Would you have went 14x14 given the chance? (Chances of us having a broodmare and foal, breeding, etc is one in a million )

                  We have 10 x 12 stalls and they are more than adequate for our horses, ahd them in our old barn as well and yes, we foaled mares out in them. I keep LARGE horses in them, have had many over 17 hands with no problems.

                  5) Wash Stall- is the drainage complicated? Obviously its on my list to research/look into. Its not a must have for us but after I battled mud fever this summer, life would have been easier to have a wash stall where I boarded- due to all the mud... So we deicded to look into this option. Or did you think the same thing as us and got rid of your wash stall or your wash stall collect dust?

                  We elected to have a grooming stall with mats, and wash outside the barn. Just didn't want to get into pouring concrete etc. Outside wash areas with screenings and mats are very adequate
                  www.shawneeacres.net

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Regarding inside, concrete wash stall, vs outside stall (of whatever material):

                    I don't hose horses off in the Winter here, but I did want my wash stall inside, concreted, so that if I ever get into a situation where I'm routinely having to wash something, a wound, for example, I don't want to be doing it outside in the dark at 8pm in a sleet storm in February

                    Lots of barns in the NC area only have outside wash area, formal or not. I grew up at a barn like that, and having been through having to cold hose a "boob" due to a Rabies shot, and soaking several abcessed feet, ALL in cold weather, all either outside (hosing, in the mud) or inside on a dirt floor which immediately makes everything dirty again I vowed my barn would have a concrete wash stall, damnit!
                    ______________________________
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you plan to ride consistently .... every day, then I would think about the convenience of the following because it will cut your preparing-to-ride and after-ride-care time by a lot. Also, the wash down will let you do various horse care chores in a timely manner during any weather conditions.

                      1) On the fence on how we would store hay and obviously the two options are 1) Above the barn and 2) In a seperate building.

                      Would you have the hay in a hay loft or would you have the hay in a seperate building. And why? Is there even a third option that I am not thinking of?
                      I would make a space in the main barn for enough hay to feed the horses for a month and I would keep it on the main floor. Overhead hay storage is not a good idea for a couple of reasons 1) too dusty 2) sometimes contains mold even when it shouldn't which is bad for horses to breath 3) a years supply of hay could possibly have been baled improperly in the field and contain moisture ... which could lead to internal combustion inside of the bales, which in turn could burn your barn down.

                      I would store the majority of the years hay in another building close by, but far enough away that if there were ever a problem with the hay that was not detected intitially, it could explode without killing your horses or burning down your barn. Plus, it keeps dust away from your horses which could lead to heaves.

                      2) What do you have under your rubber mats in the stalls? Cement? Wood? Packed Sand?
                      Packed red clay.

                      3) What methods have you taken to reduce the mud in high traffic areas?
                      Gravel laid over a properly prepared sub-base. A properly prepared sub-base might be as simple as the dirt that is already there being leveled up a bit and DRY before you lay the gravel.

                      4) Is 12x12 good enough for a stall (currently the 16.1 h.h TBs are in a 10x10 and they are comfortable enough). Would you have went 14x14 given the chance? (Chances of us having a broodmare and foal, breeding, etc is one in a million )
                      I have 12' X 12' right now and I am going to build 14' X 14' and 14' X 16', I may add a 14' X 18'. If I had a 17+hh well-conditioned competition horse I would want an 18' X 24'. Horses do much better being able to move around when they are inside. It keeps sore horses limber and feeling better. Any horse that has an injury and needs to be on stall rest will fair better if he can move around a bit. A horse does not get cast easily on a large stall. Horses do better when they can really lay down flat to sleep.

                      5) Wash Stall- is the drainage complicated? Obviously its on my list to research/look into. Its not a must have for us but after I battled mud fever this summer, life would have been easier to have a wash stall where I boarded- due to all the mud... So we deicded to look into this option. Or did you think the same thing as us and got rid of your wash stall or your wash stall collect dust?
                      I thought i could get away with not having a wash stall. Dumb idea. I am now adding one. At least 12' X 14', probably going to be 14' X 14'. Medicine cabinet, hot water heater, sink and room for horse vac. Waterproof outlets for clippers.
                      Last edited by BaroquePony; Sep. 16, 2008, 06:47 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You've gotten a lot of great info here.

                        We built a small farm (6 stall barn, shelters, arena on 5 acres) from scratch, and the best advice we got early on was to 1) live on-site for a while before committing to a specific layout/buildings and 2) draw up sketches for the entire property. We sketched fencing, driveways, vehicle access, water lines, power lines, buildings, paddocks, etc.

                        When planning fencing, figure out how many gates you need, then double it! You can never have too many gates!

                        We have 12x12 stall, which are fine, but I wish I'd built one larger stall for layups and senior horses who need more space to lay down. We first kept our hay in the horse barn, but have since moved it to a separate building due to fire concerns. I sleep better at night now.

                        Also, consider how easily large trucks, dump trucks, big hay trucks, transfer rigs, etc. can get in and out of your place. We did that (fortunately) and made sure we set aside ample room for a transfer truck to pull in, drop a trailer, and then transfer all in our yard. At $110/hour for trucking, it paid off, BIG TIME, when we hauled in thousands of yards of gravel and materials for barn and arena construction. ACCESS, ACCESS, ACCESS!!!

                        Good luck! Have fun! I still refer to my worn, stained hand-drawn farm sketch. So much of it has come true over 7 years, and I am amazed at how we have implemented some elements are originally envisioned, and others are totally different. Living on the property gave me a sense of wind direction, weather, etc. It made me site the barn a certain way (so I could see the center aisle from my kitchen window and keep an eye on the kids that we did not have when we first started...I now have those kids and watch them tack up while cooking dinner!), and we changed the location of our arena entirely after seeing how a certain field flooded one wet winter...

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                        • #13
                          Oh, excellent thoughts on gates and access points!

                          All my gates can be seen from our bedroom window. It wasn't actually planned that way, not consciously, but if we ever build again, I'll do the same thing.

                          Trucks to do "farm stuff" are usually pretty wide, so you can't go wrong with at least one 16' gate into the biggest area on the place. If you have someone do your liming or seeding or fertilizing while you work on getting the equipment to do it (or, in the case of lime, it's just usually much cheaper for it to be done in bulk all the time, which means big truck) they have to be able to get into the pasture. Even the gate to the riding area needs to be big enough for a large dump truck.

                          Think about how you will walk to and from places inside fencing. Do you want to make a triangle from the house to a gate to the barn? Do you want to climb over or under fencing? Do you want to put in a 2' human gate? If you do wooden fencing, there is a way to construct a zig-zag that a person can navigate but a horse can't, not even the smallest one. Can't remember what that's called. Pretty cool though. It eliminates the need for hand to open a gate if you're carrying something. Not suitable for getting bigger boxes or bags through though, unless you can carry it over your head

                          I would not have any gates not visible from somewhere in the house. I wouldn't have any gates on a main road.

                          Do site your barn so it gets a long wall facing due South, or close, if at all possible. The warmth of the sun makes it very nice. If you don't want a shedrow-type setup outside the South-facing wall, then at least consider a good 2'-4' roof overhand to shield the interior from the worst of the Summer sun. Situate the barn aisle(s) to catch as much breeze as possible. You can open doors in good weather to catch the wind, or close them when it's too cold. That's one reason I really like having the exterior stall doors: not only do they face South which allows the most warm-weather breeze to come in, but it lets lots and lots of light in. My aisle runs E-W. In the Summer, that's a bummer as the sun comes right in the door, but closing the doors solves that. However, if you can put the barn close enough (which can still be pretty far away) to a large mature deciduous tree on the West end, the leafed out tree will block most of the afternoon Summer sun, but when the leaves fall, it will let light in for the Winter. The back of my barn faces woods, with quite a few evergreen/pine/conifer trees, and that serves to block a lot of the Winter Northern wind.
                          ______________________________
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                          • #14
                            You might want to consider picking up this book: "Complete Plans for Building Horse Barns Big and Small(3rd Edition)" by Nancy W. Ambrosiano

                            Things I've seen in barns that may be relevant:

                            1. rat problems in barns without concrete stall floors, as well as deterioration over time from meal time diggers

                            2. stall doors that open out, in case a horse gets cast

                            3. as well as dutch doors for horses to put their heads out

                            4. front and rear doors - also in case a horse is cast, but also for the possibility of runs or direct pasture access

                            5. doubled fence lines to limit fighting

                            6. rotation pastures to allow grass to rebound

                            7. a "tunnel" to an indoor to decrease dust inhalation (think of laying the barn out in a "T" shape)

                            8. all weather sand turnout pens for bad weather

                            9. optional shelter for pastures

                            10. all weather runs connected to stalls to allow horses to move (may settle some of the stall size questions too) - keeps them healthier and happier I think

                            11. rubber mats on the entire aisle floor, or dedicated grooming stalls with rubber mats

                            12. heavy duty washer/dryer in the barn

                            13. feed room with a door, and lined bins with lids to keep out rodents
                            www.canterusa.org
                            www.harpsonline.org

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                            • #15
                              Don't forget to consider an area for a sacrifice paddock. It the most versatile space on our farm--it allows me to rest the grass paddocks, keep horses off the grass when it's too muddy, place horses (make that PONY) on a diet if necessary, etc. Mine is 1/2 acre and is attached directly to the barn, so the horses can go in and out of their stalls and hang out with plenty of space to move around. There is a 10 x 36' overhang where the stalls go out into this area, which I've built up and filled, using RR ties (cheap!) to hold the dirt and bedding I put in there. After a summer of using it, the footing in there (1/3 sand, 1/3 dirt, 1/3 pine pellets) is just right: soft, dust-free, absorbent and easy to clean and the horses are finally using it as a bed and bathroom instead of going into their stalls to pee.

                              When I first brought the horses home the sacrifice paddock was the only one that was finished. 1/2 acre of grass doesn't last long with 2 hungry mares--within 3 months it was a dirt paddock, which is easy to pick out, easy to harrow (I ride in it, too) and drains well. I only have a total of about 4.5 acres of grass, and the small dirt paddock is a godsend for keeping the horses outside 24/7 without having to muzzle them or ruin the grass from overgrazing/traffic.
                              Click here before you buy.

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                              • #16
                                Oh, forgot to mention that if you go for "no loft" like I did, skylights are great!!! Even if its all closed up the sun lets tons of light in.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by firstimpressioncounts View Post
                                  This posting isn't just for farm owners, I know as a boarder, I have a preference to stalls, fencing, etc.

                                  Was suppose to build this year but life got in the way in terms of planning so we are starting early this year for next spring. Hopefully we will be in a better position then...

                                  Anyways, we have a clean plate. Do have some ideas and expectations of what we want. Orignally we wanted to do some sort of small boarding and lesson barn with indoor but we'ved decided to go away from that and the main goal will be just a barn for our personal use.

                                  Would like to hear from others on what they wish they had done or they had in their current barn.

                                  Our main thing right now is the hay.

                                  1) On the fence on how we would store hay and obviously the two options are 1) Above the barn and 2) In a seperate building.

                                  Separate building is currently being ordered. It's a metal building that is rated for hurricane force winds up to 140mph. We will also use it to store farm equipment.


                                  2) What do you have under your rubber mats in the stalls? Cement? Wood? Packed Sand?
                                  Stone screenings

                                  3) What methods have you taken to reduce the mud in high traffic areas?
                                  I've not gotten that far yet but I don't have boarders. It's on the list

                                  4) Is 12x12 good enough for a stall (currently the 16.1 h.h TBs are in a 10x10 and they are comfortable enough). Would you have went 14x14 given the chance? (Chances of us having a broodmare and foal, breeding, etc is one in a million
                                  I have 12x12 stallls and find them to be just fine. I have warmbloods. If you are building the barn yourself like we did, the 12 foot stalls made it easier b/c it's a common lenght for lumber.

                                  5) Wash Stall- is the drainage complicated? Obviously its on my list to research/look into. Its not a must have for us but after I battled mud fever this summer, life would have been easier to have a wash stall where I boarded- due to all the mud... So we deicded to look into this option. Or did you think the same thing as us and got rid of your wash stall or your wash stall collect dust?
                                  We are putting our wash rack outside of our barn but will cover it to protect from the elements. I actually prefer this set up but I'm in FL so we have very mild winters.
                                  "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."

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                                  • #18
                                    I'll answer 2, 4 and 5 since hay is pretty much covered and nothing to contribute for 3.

                                    2. My barn floor has a base of 8 inches of stone on top of graded clay and then on the stone I have 2 inch high 12 x 12 crates that look sort of like the material plastic milk cartons are made of. Those are filled with pea gravel. Even though the base is essentially stone, the plastic provides enough cushioning so that the floor is not stressful to my horses legs. Although not as cushy as mats, I find them much more cushioned than macadam. I've only had them for a year and so far I'm very pleased with them. They provide excellent drainage when used with straw or shavings. I found that pellets just sort of clog them up.

                                    My stalls are twelve by twelve and the boards between them can be removed if I want a larger stall. We used ash which is very hard and that turned out to be a good decision. I decided to keep the stalls as open as possible so that when stalled the horses can see and even touch each other. Each stall has a dutch door to the outside so that half of that can be opened to ensure lots of fresh air.

                                    I didn't include a wash stall but I did have hot water put in the faucet outside where I wash them. Even on the coldest days here in western NY I give my guys hot baths outside, which they love. Then I throw on a warm cooler and hurry them into the barn. It works for me, but I would love a wash stall.

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                                    • #19
                                      1. About every 5 years around here someone's barn catches on fire because of improperly stored hay. Keep your hay in another building, or be very careful how it is cured and how you stack it.
                                      2. Rock dust under mats just put down last December.
                                      3. Be very careful about slope and drainage. Have a good bulldozer operator. That goes for any outdoor arena also. Spend the extra time to have it right the first time.
                                      4. 10 x 12 now. Wish they were 12 x 12.
                                      5. Wish I had more than the gravel area outside with cross ties in it.

                                      Sliding stall doors take up less aisle room, but dutch doors are great.

                                      Another yes to skylights. And be sure your clipping/braiding area has plenty of lighting.

                                      Have fun planning!
                                      Never argue with a fool. Noone can tell who is who.

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                                      • #20
                                        mine

                                        I have hay in an attached addition. I did this to localize everything. I design my place so one person can quickly do all jobs. I have a very good hay guy and he appreciates my business. I appreciate that he delivers and stacks. T make it easy I have hay from ground to roof, the door is an extra wide and tall over head door for a loaded flatbed of hay. The area to the door is very easy to get the truck and trailer into. I had an existing pole barn so I was limited by its dimensions...the worst thing they did (that I can't change easily) is to have too small and low doors. This is Minnesota so all doors are important to think about as snow can freeze you in or out.

                                        I have Irish Draughts...mostly young. I wish they had used extra heavy duty everything. They have bent lightweight gates...unaligned dutch doors...planted a foot in my auto waterers...they flip hay out the top of their expensive hay racks without any problem...they rub butts on not sturdy enough walls doors and grates...so far so good they have not popped from their channels.

                                        My stalls are on the large size and while it WAS a shock to see how many bags of shavings it took to bed like I like I like the larger stalls for my big horses. They prefer stalls with a view of their adjacent neighbor and if that was a problem I could hang a canvas to give privacy. I have two stalls with a dutch door and I wish they all had a dutch door but I have an overhang to keep snow from the door and if I didn't I would pass. The overhang is another problem as it was built for midgets and my then 16+ hand filly has hit her head very hard on the overhang...frightening moments of horse keeping. I can't use the stalls as sheds for all the horses as they sometimes are not capable of getting along well enough in close quarters.

                                        I built a shed that is divided by a wall and fence line with 20 feet on each side and 15 feet deep and very high for rearing playing youngsters...17+ hand Irish Draught mare standing in the shed doing the Hi Ho Silver imitation. I wish it were 30 by 60...bugs are not as bad if they can get deeper in a shed and mine come in more in the summer to get away from the bugs than they do in a Minnesota winter.

                                        I have 2 Nelson waterers...waterers are a good thing.

                                        I have a wood fenced sacrifice paddocK and then horse guard with some barbless that was in place but is now electric and rehung. It is more work to remove what is there than to maintain and fix what is there. I absolutely agree that you can't have enough gates...sturdy gates. Some wider for big equipment some pickup width.

                                        I have sand so stall floors are class five and sand...that was a mistake as this class five has nearly no clay. I was smart and made mounds for the shed and barn and it sit the sheds up higher to help keep them dry...it works. Mine is 2 feet above the grade and extends as an apron around the shed and barn.

                                        Make sure your contract includes a smoth grading of the site as I didn;t get that and combined with gopher holes I have a flat land with nothing smooth...I have lots of splints from active play.

                                        Think about moving horses without a lead rope...think about a stranger or a newby doing chores and staying safe(chores without any or limited leading and handling. Think about the worst weather and picture where the drifts or lakes sit...worst where is the puddle iced up in the most used gate they RUN through. My horses come in teh barn through a dutch door. they go into their stalls...after they have played with everything that interests them and I could feed through the feed door of each stall. Think of a huge truck needing someplace to turn around that is dry. Gotta go. PatO

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