building a new barn

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ROAD WARRIOR

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I am in the planning stage of building a new barn. As our life "revolves" around the barn I want to make it as functional as possible. Efficient use of space is a must, working facility under roof, washrack, office, feed room, square bale storage, tack room - you get the idea. I haven't won the lottery so we have to keep a budget in mind. Any suggestions or ideas?
 

red

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we put up corrugated walls/cork so we can hang things on the walls. Keeps it off the ground & makes it neater. Also a sealed feed room that is rodent proof is good
Plenty of drainage also
Make it so there is a good breeze way through. It's amazing how that can cool a barn down

Red
 

chambero

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Are you looking for fancy or functional?

There is no better, cheaper dry storage that is rodent proof than a sea cargo container.  A 40 footer will run you between $2500-$3500.  Folks down here are starting to incorporate them into barns.

We built a new show barn about two years ago.  Cost me around $15K not counting tin (we already had it from a building we had "deconstructed).  A few lessons-learned:

We turn out calves at night into large (1 acre+) pens with grass or hay.  We built 10x12 stalls.  I still think that is a perfect size. 

My washrack is 10x22.  10' is not wide enough.  I wish it was 12' wide to allow plenty of room to walk behind a big steer tied up to the rail.

I like a high roof with completely open sides to allow air movement.

If you have pens on both sides of an aisle, make your gates big enough that you can open them and fasten them together to make giant pens.  This is great for keeping cow/calf pairs in immediately after calving it you want them out of the weather.
 

ROAD WARRIOR

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Keep in mind that although the summers here get very hot (90+ degrees, over 100 at times) we still have below zero temperatures in the winter. Don't need to have a palace but still needs to look nice as most of our customers come to the barn to buy cattle.
 

cowz

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Don't scrimp on the concrete or door work.  That is where the mice get in.  We have been fighting mice since my new doors don't seal up to my "Scottish" concrete work.  Learn from my mistake!!

I have to agree with Chambero....the washrack is a must!
 

chambero

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What part of the country are you from?

There are some very nice looking barns made with the cargo containers.  There is a place in Wichita Falls, TX called Waters Ag Storage that sells lots of them for that purpose.  You could get a brochure sent to you.  The only reason I know anything about it is I'm about to buy one for stand alone a storage building.  I saw some cool photos of some barns built with them.

http://www.watersagstorage.com/index.html

I don't see any photos of the barns on their website. 

Our bad cold spells are infrequent enough that we don't have to worry about the open sides on the south, west, and east.  We do have about half of our north side closed in with sliding doors on the rest.  

We have ready access to pipe from oil fields, so we build everything out of metal.  My barn is made out of pipe and sucker rods.

I still think it would be a good topic to post pictures of our barns.  I'll get around to taking some one of these days.  
 

red

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First set of pictures is our cow barn. We have the gates set up so 2 people can easily handle the cows when treating them. Hubby built many of the gates you see. Have plenty of room for hay & straw. Note the colors are scarlet & gray!!!

The second picture is of my calf barn. Biggest mistake is no indoor washrack. It's just outside. a royal pain in the winter. The feed bin was built by the hubby & can hold 500 pounds of feed. We also have a squeeze chute so we can work w/ the calves if needed.

Notice the blue Heeler has to be in all pictures!

Red (dog)
 

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knabe

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for lots of great ideas, check out this dudes website. 

http://www.pecorfamily.com/2005_08_01_archive.html


put gutters on barns, and bury the pipe and have an exit way away from barn.  i have stalls where the panels between stalls can be easily removed.  lots of electricity with sockets up high to keep cords off ground.  get sliding doors.  i installed stupid dutch doors on the outside cuz i thought they looked neat.  horse, cows, stick their head out and push on the doors.  totally hate them.  sliders on the inside from md barns  http://www.mdent.com/catalogD.aspx?Catalogid=9  you can see that the latch is one of the verical pipes.  i bought these and had them install two extra hangers on the rail system for added strength.  incorporate wash rack drainage with gutter system on roof.  install 220 and lots of sockets and an electricity panel with room for expansion.  two sources of water in case one goes out.  mine is insulated on the south side.  all eaves are open so ventilation is not much of a problem.

be careful of pipe corrals for stalls.  my neighbor just put down a two month foal who got both her legs through the piping.  sad.

consider covered geotextile fabric on top of rocks for high travel areas so they don't get muddy.  they work great in soils with high clay.

easy access to manure handling.  have room to pivot in the tack room when piddling with your saddle. 

you will never have enough stalls, so be very careful about making the tack room, office too big.  in the hay room cement it to sweep up the fines minus dirt instead of wasting it.  make sure tack room has good ventilation.
 

DL

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When I bought the farm (not literally, to some peoples dismay ;D) it had a 95 foot by 40 foot barn (set up for horses) - the left half was concrete (still is) with garage doors - the right was dug down some, with a loft on both sides and a center isle - well believe me a possessed woman and a skid steer can sure remove pens...that is now where the office and chute are as well as isle in and out and the horse has his own place - clearly I needed something more

I built a 90 by 60 building that comes into the old barn at a right angle - it goes east west and has NO walls (yes, true I live in Michigan and some people thought I was nuts). There is a wall on the west with a huge slider (our prevailing wind is south west and it is wicked) - there is also a 16 foot overhand on the south (hope that gives you a visual - it does me but of course I live it)

I put in no center posts - basically the barn without the overhang had 6x6 posts every 12 feet - so the inside was basically empty. Adding the overhang added additional 6x6 posts 12 feet apart - I had gates made for just about every 12 x 12 space. Then I had to add 2 6x6 internally to use to anchor these metal frames that basically hook together to form pens and do not require any additional posts - all the gates and panels and gizmos can be removed by removing a pin (easier said than done if you are a 90 lb weakling) and can therefore be reconfigured or turned around. I started with 4 pens on the left and added as the need and the money permitted - I have one more permanent pen (40 x40) that is right at the entrance of the old barn, but basically everything else can be wiggled and opened or closed for a huge number of different configurations depending on the need - if I figure this right I can have 14 12 x 12 pens at one time or any number of 12 x24, 12 x 36, etc. I can get cattle in from just about anywhere and I have 2 pens with "nursing panels" which are basically a combo little head gate and gate which half lifts up (I need to take pictures - I can see all this, you all probably can't  ;D)

Try to figure out how you will use the barn, how the traffic will flow, where will cows be that might need water, how much light do you need in your calving pens etc draw it out. I have reversed a lot of gates, added 2 waterers and one more hydrant (that gives me 4) - I hate hauling water - I hate frozen hoses!

Here are my thoughts
1) Walls are greatly overrated - and lack of walls gives great ventilation esp in weather like we are having now - 98 with high humidity; In the winter I put up panels (with little gizmos that fit over the gates) of plywood or tarps (4 or 5 foot high) - that keeps the calves out of the wind - there is about one day a year or 2 I wish I had walls - when there is a blizzard and the wind is whipping in circles - barn gets full of snow (more straw fixes the issue)
2) For maximum flexability stay away from anything permanent - I have 3 orange Souix gates on the 40 x 40 pen - that was a mistake (I don't like them either!)
3) When you put in your lines (electric and water) put in more light sockets and plugs  than you ever thought you wanted - no matter how many you put in or where - you always want more and in a different place. If you intend to put in mercury lights but don't want to buy them now - run the lines.
4) Water - figure out where you might want automatic waterers and put the lines in for them - it is easier to just add the waterer when you get it that to re dig
5) Hydrants - you can never have too many -
6) Gates - I would pick gates instead of non swing panels in most cases. Depending on where you are there may be someone who makes gates - in the past my custom gates were no more expensive than the Souix gates - however the price of steel and diesel etc has increased and likely they will too.
7) Big vent in the roof top
8) IMHO concrete is greatly overrated and not good for cattle feet - yes there are probably some areas that need it but I don't keep my cows on concrete - every year after I clean out the barn I add more bedding sand - it is cool in the summer and drains well with straw on top in the winter
9) separate electrical panel for the barn
10) gutters - big gutters with underground drainage - hide the gutters from the cows they like to squish them

What do I wish I had done differently
1) water shut off in the barn - when the Ritchie waterer went bezerk running back and forth in the house into the basement to turn off and on the water was a real pain (and made a huge mess)
2) my 2 barns are not physically connected - there is a half foot space - this is a wet pain sometimes
3) more waterers
4) investigate geofabric (not sure that is the name) for the low side of the barn (south)

I am sure there is more, I'll try to get picutres

2)
 

pigguy

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kansas
i am thinking about building a new barn. we used to use lean-tos. but i moved.

i live in southwest,ks so hot in the summer cold in the winter.i have about 11 acres that i can put it on.

i will be breakin about 12 calves that i raise every year in the winter. and then about 4-6 in the summer. i  get bagged feed in loads of 2-3 tons each time. so i will need some place and then small square bales.  i would like a wash rack. a tie rack, stalls, and then turn out pens . any one have ideas on how big and how to set it up. thanks in advance
 

DL

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OK - here we go
The old barn had 3 long garage type bays (now used for tractor, skid steer and hay etc) then a 4 foot drop to the old horse barn - imagine a tic tack toe board with 1 on the top left, 4 middle left and 9 bottom right - there were 3 sliders at 2, 9 and 8 - they are all gone. The T from 8 5 and then 1 through 3 is concrete - 6 is the office, the chute  starts at 1 and ends in 7 - the gate swings in at the entrance of the chute (not ideal, but when the scales arent there it is not an issue)
 

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DL

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Here is the new barn.

I love my barn - it is set up so I can pretty much do anything I want by myself - if I could change anything I would make it bigger (RW - make sure you have room to expand when you build your barn - ie if you are too close to the property line you can't go any further in that direction).  I love my barn....
 

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DL

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The nursing gates/contraptions are really useful for all sorts of things if your cattle are calm - they basically clip or bolt to a panel - you can catch the head and you can set it up so you can pull a rope from the far end as you swing the gate. I have one that swings in to the right and one to the left but you can also use them sort of  backwards - just push the cow up against another gate - also very useful for the big old cows that when pregnant won't fit in my chute (actually they would fit in the chute they just can't get there with the current set up) The picture is the front of the contraption,on the picture of the frame you can see the nursing gate to the left - it doesnt take up much space and is very useful - you may be able to see where it splits in half and can be lifted up and held in place with pins for nursing a  calf, milking out a cow and some foot work....thats all - I love my barn!
 

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ROAD WARRIOR

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DL - I will be building about 100 yards from my nearest boundary, that being the road. Looks like River Road got into your pocket a little, excellent gates though. I liked alot of your set up except maybe in front of the chute. This is the second one that I have built and I am thinking of putting a sale facility in this one. I agree you can never have too much electricity or water (in the right places!) My rule of thumb on electricity is triple what you think you may need, it doesn't take long to run out of outlets when you start plugging in fans, blowers, clippers,scales etc etc. My feed room will need to be fairly large as I house 2 roller mills, an electric feed mixer, feed cooker as well as the various feed ingrediants (Mix feed twice a day). I am thinking 14' side walls on the outside structure with sliding doors on the east and west ends. Keep the ideas coming about what you have done and what you would change - I hope this will be the last one I build so I am putting alot of thought into it.
 

red

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pigguy said:
i am thinking about building a new barn. we used to use lean-tos. but i moved.

i live in southwest,ks so hot in the summer cold in the winter.i have about 11 acres that i can put it on.

i will be breakin about 12 calves that i raise every year in the winter. and then about 4-6 in the summer. i  get bagged feed in loads of 2-3 tons each time. so i will need some place and then small square bales.  i would like a wash rack. a tie rack, stalls, and then turn out pens . any one have ideas on how big and how to set it up. thanks in advance

Pigguy- I combined these topics since there were some good ideas in the first thread.

Red
 

DL

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ROAD WARRIOR said:
DL - I will be building about 100 yards from my nearest boundary, that being the road. Looks like River Road got into your pocket a little, excellent gates though. I liked alot of your set up except maybe in front of the chute. This is the second one that I have built and I am thinking of putting a sale facility in this one. I agree you can never have too much electricity or water (in the right places!) My rule of thumb on electricity is triple what you think you may need, it doesn't take long to run out of outlets when you start plugging in fans, blowers, clippers,scales etc etc. My feed room will need to be fairly large as I house 2 roller mills, an electric feed mixer, feed cooker as well as the various feed ingrediants (Mix feed twice a day). I am thinking 14' side walls on the outside structure with sliding doors on the east and west ends. Keep the ideas coming about what you have done and what you would change - I hope this will be the last one I build so I am putting alot of thought into it.

Hey RW - it wasn't River Road - we have a local guy who makes them - started as a FFA project for his son- so I could get custom everything. I am not 100% thrilled with the chute either but haven't been able to come up with a better option - it is at a bit of an angle so the cows have to make a little turn, but there is a palpation cage and a slide gate so I can  line up 3 (not the big cows) and run them thru at a time - I don't hink it would work ideally for many cattle as cows don't really like the idea of going sideways - but I train them as youngsters and have no trouble getting them to go in.

I also wish I had a different place for the scales and in a perfect world it would be separate from the chute...does need cement so still thinking...sounds like you should have a lot of fun!

Another thought - guys aren't always good about picking up nails - they make big magnets on wheels - I got one when a place went out of business...it was a real good investment - dl
 

ROAD WARRIOR

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I took a magnet out of an old grinder/mixer and mounted it on an old push mower frame. It's about 24" long and 8" wide and is a really strong magnet. Works really good for nails, screws and small pieces of scrap iron. I'm always building or modifying something to fit my needs (besides that I'm cheap). It works really good to pick up behind me. The gates sure look alot like river roads but I'm guessing the price was better!
 
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