New Barn construction : LUSENET : A Village Commons : One Thread

Well, I've started saving my pennies to have a pole barn put up come spring/summer. I picked the 24x40 with 10' sidewalls. But, that leaves me with gobs of questions about doors, windows, etc.

The barn will be used primarily for storage and secondarily for severe weather shelter for (eventually, at most) a dozen or so sheep, and a cow and calf. Possibly (though not very probable, and certainly no time soon) a couple of hogs, which would obviously require their own (strong) pen. One corner will be set up as a (low tech) milking area. My van and a smallish tractor and its attachments (which I don't own yet) will be parked inside, and the tiller, DR trimmer/mower, and other small powered equipment will be stored in there. Hay storage, and some feed (in small amounts, in Rubbermaid trash cans). An area will be set up as a workshop where I will be fabricating the panels for the dome I'll be building the year after next.

I'm thinking an overhead door to drive the van in. A sliding door into the tractor bay. A sliding door into the animal area. Set the barn longways running n/s. van door on the e side, North end (the county road is on the w side and runs N-S, my driveway runs e from the county road, will add a loop into the van bay). Tractor bay w/sliding door to the left (South) of the van bay. I'm not sure how much space I would need for tractor attachments, I'd like to have a discer, a harrow, a brushhog, and a sickle bar mower. I want a smallish tractor along the lines of a 9N in size. I don't know if all of that will fit in a space roughly 10 or 12 x 24. I figure the tractor, implements, and van will take up roughly half the barn.

This leaves me about 20x24, I'm guessing, with one corner taken up by a milking area. I'd like to set aside a 10x12 area as a workshop, where my saw table(s) could be set up. Lumber will be stored up high in racks along the wall or overhead, in the rafters. Hay in square bales (the normal size that one person can lift, not the huge ones you need a forklift for) would be stored in at least part of the barn. So, another sliding door SOMEWHERE to give animal access to the milking area, and equipment access to hay storage (like, back my van in there and start unloading hay bales out the back of it).

This sounds too crowded to me, and I'm thinking a lean-to on one side, partially walled to cut the wind, would be a better bet for emergency animal pens. It really doesn't get cold enough up here that sheep especially would need indoor shelter, as long as they can get out of the wind.

Gee, 24x40 sounded so big. Am I cramming too many things in there? Where's a good place for some windows? Seems its going to be awful dark in there. I'll need power for lights and power tools, running water, some way to make sure the pipes won't freeze in winter, like a frost-free hydrant (though I STILL haven't solved the mystery of why the other frost-free hydrant isn't).

For those of you who have barns, how'd you set them up?

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), August 23, 2001


WOW,, if you can fit all that in a 24x40,, come on over and organize my shed and closets<< PLEASE!!!!!!! If the equipment is going to used almost everyday,, dont park it inside. Use a lean too,, or a car port type structure. Once you get it up,, the space will be used up, REAL FAST. I would plan on a regular house door,, ,, and since you want to use the rafters,, use 2 sliders, , one on each end on opposite sides . If you have enough leftover steel,, you can always make out building for the hay and milking areas

-- stan (, August 23, 2001.

Just as a quick answer, Yup, too crowded. You think 24' x 40' sounds big? It's no more than twice a double garage! And with all of the partitians you'll need in there, they are eating up space hand over fist. Right off the bat I wouldn't worry about storing tractors and vans inside the building. It's nice, but sheltering them can wait whereas animals and workshops don't have a choice. Pulverizers and harrows can sit out all the time but I'd try to get the bush hog and mower under cover at some point.

If I were building a new barn like this again I'd do one of two things: Either build the building 24 x 40 like you have planned, but build it with one eave at 10' and the other side at 16 or 18' so you have a very tall "leanto" building, or else build it with, say, 14' eaves all around with regular rafters, which would then allow you nice leanto building space later on. With the first option, in several years you could add the second side to the building and have a 48' x 40' building that would look "normal" with the regular two sloped roofs. With the second option, 14' eaves gives you much better height to add a useful leanto on later. You can go out a good 16-18' feet with a 14' building to start with and have normal sidewalls. Ten feet will only allow you a leanto about, oh, 10' or so, and you'll have the sloped roof right on your head.

Still, maybe you might not mind adding other outbuildings over the years and would be happy having this barn like you have planned it. I do like a lot of space (never have enough) to store things, so I'd build as big as I could each time. :) At the very least, with the building you have planned now, consider 12' eaves. By the time you are driving under the headers on doors at the side you don't have 10' clearance. You might get a good deal on a larger tractor and the exhaust can stick up pretty high on some of those suckers. I can't get one of my tractors into my barn for this reason, and it's only a 60 horse tractor, but the barn has 10' eaves with 12" headers over the doors and a built up concrete floor. YOu may have an 8N now, but it may not be the only tractor you'll have.

Windows. Give an animal a window they can access and they'll end up breaking it sometime. Animals don't need windows. They need skylights. :) Fiberglass skylights right in the roof are great and common. Also, most of the time their doors will be open, so they'll have huge "windows" available to them. You might have a gate shut across the door to keep them in, but the door will be open in most weather. Put yourself a couple of nice windows in your workshop and you'll be all set.

I really think you're complicating it by trying to get too much into a small barn. You'll be happier by doing something much larger or going the traditional route of livestock/feed storage in one barn, garage/workshop areas in another building.

Boy, do I love planning barns with other people's money! :>

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 23, 2001.

Do have a book by Ken Kern named "The Owner-Built Homestead"? A registered architect as well as homesteader, he had a KICKING shop design in one of the chapters. Well worth looking for the design; it was based on space / production line design. From what I remember, it incorporated a U shaped counter which reduced your walking distances, as well as seperated wood working (dusty areas) versus metal working areas. It was really cool; try and locate a copy of the book or find someone to lend it to you.

I wish I could help more, but I've never designed a barn before. One way my northern friends tell me that keeps water pipes from freezing is to come up from the earth into building in the interior. Down here (south Texas), we stub up at the perimeter of the foundation and ell in thru the wall with an exposed shutoff valve. Convenient down here, wouldn't work where freezing temperatures are the norm. The small "can" skylights work pretty well for the cost. A 16" diameter skylight will light about 400 sq. ft.; strategically placed, good natural FREE light during daylight hours. I would be worried about hail damage but I'm sure the manufacturers already took that into consideration. Good luck with the project, I know others have lots of feedback for your use too.

-- j.r. guerra (, August 23, 2001.

I have a 24x36 stable. I use it for a couple of llamas, tack room with some say storage. Thats takes up half the stable. The rest is taken up with a compact tractor and garden tractor. Keep in mind your attachments pretty much have to face out and be accessable and easy to get the 3pt on the tractor to. My small compact is about about 9ft long, Add another 3ft or so for the loader and put another 4 or 5 ft behind for a bushhog or mower. Thats at least 15ft of legnth when connected. More when disjoined. Its not going to fit.

You want large access doors on the end, a small personal door on the side. Why put in windows. Use opaqe plastic roof and let the sun shine in.

Pipes need to be put below your local frost line, 4ft or so under ground. The frost free hydrants and (city fire hydrants) are freese proof becuase water is stopped below the ground. Only when it it needed does it come to the surface. When its shutoff it drips back down into a small well around the hydrant. You MIGHT, be able to house the animals but I doubt it and have space for you to work the animals. Dont forget feed for the animals that has to go somewhwere.

-- Gary (, August 23, 2001.

Thanks for the suggestions. I can't afford a bigger barn, nor the higher sidewalls. I CAN guarantee you I will NEVER have a tractor too big to fit in under 10' sidewalls. I only have 8 or 9 acres of pasture/truck garden area, and a couple of pretty tight spots where a 5 acre corner was cut out of my original quarter section to give the property south of me access to the road. Anything to big to fit in under a 10' sidewall is #1 too big for me to want to drive it and #2 too big to turn around in the space available. I'm unlikely to get anything that size for the $4k or so I'm willing to spend, anyway.

I am not aiming to keep animals in there on a regular basis, and have decided the partially enclosed lean to is a better idea for those rare instances when the winter weather gets so bad I feel like the animals need shelter. So, that frees up some room. The milking area doesn't need to be very big either, I'll be milking one cow with a bucket milker. I'm not talking grade A dairy stuff here, no bulk tank or any of that mess.

Why not use plastic roof panels? Hail. We had softball size hail about 10 miles north of me this past winter. But, I will talk to the building supply guys and see how tough they say those panels are. Maybe they are tougher than they look. I'll ask. If they're not tough enough, maybe I can work out something in the way of Lexan instead. At any rate, I'll want windows in the shop area so I can see outside. I just prefer to be able to see out. Probably, in that case, one window is enough.

Yes, I have Ken Kern's book, but unfortunately can't lay my hands on it. Things are getting increasingly hectic and crowded around here as I enter in to my third year of camper dwelling and the house nears "completion" (e.g., done enough to move into).

The frost line here, btw, is nowhere near 4'. It's 18" to 24". I love living in a southerly direction. :D

With the animals out of the picture, I'm wondering what "partitions" are needed? Even the milking area doesn't need more than a stanchion, I would think. I don't plan on leaving the cow in there unattended. Sans the animals, why would I need any interior partitions? Am I overlooking something?

Gary, the barn is 24' wide. Why would 15' of connected up tractor/attachment not fit in 24'? And here's a really dumb question, what's a loader and why would it be attached to the tractor at the same time as your bushhog or mower deck? THe tractors I have looked at connect directly to the mower deck at the three point hitch. Unless I'm far more unobservant than I thought, which is a distinct possibility. Or are you talking about having a front end loader hooked on at the same time as your brush hog, in which case the question is why would you want to do THAT? (Well, maybe its why would *I* want to do that, you could have very good reasons in your situation)

I really want all my iron under roof. I've seen what happens to equipment that's "meant" to be left outside. I just got my formerly brand new until I loaned it to my brother last fall tiller back, and its rusted up from him having obviously left it sitting out for a full year after he broke it (despite my having begged him to keep it under cover). I firmly believe that equipment left sitting out ages at three to five times the rate of equipment that is protected from the elements.

I'll leave the hay out before I'll leave the iron out. And before y'all laugh your heads off, that's just what many small farmers do - Gene Logsdon (My Hero) puts his loose hay up in a faux haystack made of a 15' circle of field fence two deep (so its like 8 to 12 feet high) which he then stacks his loose hay into. Of course, he's got a front end loader he can hoist himself up into to throw the hay in over the top of that second level of fencing. I think he covers the top of the stack with a tarp but the sides are open. My stack couldn't be that tall since I am #1 a good foot shorter than he is and #2 I do not have a front end loader and am unlikely ever to have one, and even if I did would not be able to be hoist skyward in it since there is only me, so who would hoist while I'm in the bucket? LOL!

I don't know if this will work with a shorter stack, but I aim to try. I'm at least two years away from it at this point though.

You all have given me much to think about. I need to sit down and draw some until I get this all worked around some more.

Thanks for all the input, I'd obviously better do some real drawing and finagling.

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), August 23, 2001.

Sojourner, Dont bet on the 10ft limit. If your getting a modern tractor, it will have a Roll over protection bar (ROPS) and that may extend up to 10ft. Even without a ROPS, you, sitting on top of an old tractor is going to be getting close to 10ft. $4k for tractor is pretty limiting. If your not familar with tractors I would NOT!!! get a tricycle tractor. THis again limits what you can get with $4k. An older 8n with a bush hog, but that would be about it around here.

Will your barn have dirt or concrete floor? The plastic roof panels are very strong and will take the abause any other roof structure will. Note there are some wall panels available in home and garden centers that look the same as the roof panels but are not designed for any load. As for a window in the shop area, I am not sure where you going to find space for the shop in the small barn.

If your not using the barn for animals then you have opened up some space but your implements are going to take up a fair amount of room. Remembers they have to be accessable so you can back the tractor up to them unless you build trollys for the implements and put in a concrete floor. Even then you have a fair amount of floor space taken up. Yes my 15ft tractor will fit in my 24x36 barn. Door placement is going to dictate how you can fit things in. Mine has door on the 12ft door on each end (24ftside). If you will drop me your email address I can send you photo's of the barn and how space gets eaten up. Yes the front end loader is on at the same time as the bush hog. WHile the loader is a quick attach, I use it so much thats its not worth removing. Even if I did take it off I would need another 6ftx5ft area to store it. On an older tractor you will not have an option of quick attach loaders, They will be fixed, maybe welded on. While its nice to keep the tractor under cover, figure that any tractor your buying for $4k has spent a fair amount of time in the weather already. You will soon find that you dont have enough space under roof to store your implements and they will end up out side anyway. A good tarp will cover them if you really need to, but whats the wather going to do to a 2 bottom plow? As for the Hay, Put it under cover, tarp, roof, whatever, but under cover. As for your friend Gene, He should never be in or on the bucket of a front end loader. To dangerous. A, side note, A loader has many uses around a farm or homestead, dont overlook them. My back just cant take much anymore and the loader is used for a lot of small and large jobs.

One thing you might want to do is get you some string and a couple of stick and make your a barn on the ground. They try to place string items in the barn. You will see just how tight it is and it will be even tighter when you actually get in the barn and start using it.

-- Gary (, August 24, 2001.

Hey Sojo, I'm with you on the tractor. I bought a used 18 HP, 4WD Bolens with front and back PTO for $1250 about a billion years ago - well, okay - maybe 10 or so. Now, take into consideration that I'm a shrimp, but I can drive it into a regular garage door without any problem at all. It doesn't set any higher than a lawn tractor and handles a belly mower for lawn mowing; a 4' bush hog, and my regular and split row tillers. It'll also pull a small disk we cut down from a larger one, but we really don't use the disk much as the tillers work much better. We also use it to skid trees after we drop them, up to a level surface to saw them into fire wood lengths - lots safer and more convienet than cuttin on a hill. She'll pull a truck bed trailor loaded with wood over soft ground too. Can't tell I love my little tractor, can you?!

One thing we did when we built on to our shed was extend the roof line into a canopy 50 feet down one side (like a lean-to). Didn't cost much extra, and gives me lots of room to keep stuff sorta out of the weather as I can hang tarps over the open parts of it. I've also used straw bales to make a wall for the winter, then used them on the berries and garden in the spring.

Haven't had the chance to sit down and draw out your barn on graph paper yet - like Jennifer, I like to spend other people's money! - but thinking to your location - MO, isn't it? - your critters are probably going to spend a lot of time outside anyway - they can stand to be a bit crowded if they need to come in for a blizzard or something. And frankly, they don't need as much shelter as a pole barn provides - a three sided structure can handle just about anything MO would throw at them.

If you're planning for overhead storage, tell the builders because they will probably want to strengthen the trusses, and may need to put them closer together as well.

Remember to consider your size. If I try to pull down a bale when they are stacked more than 5 high, I need a step ladder. I'm still likely to squash myself when they are just 5 high! If you stack bales on dirt, remember to put down a vapor barrior to protect your hay - cheap tarp. In fact, wouldn't hurt to do it on concrete or gravel either. I use el-cheapo Dollar Store trash cans (Rubbermaid wannabe's) to store feed for the cats, dogs, chickens and rabbits. They'll hold two 40 - 50 pound bags of feed. When I stock up for the winter, I put it still in bags in an old watering trough with a thick plywood lid - Boo-boo kitty just loves to sleep on top of it, so no mouse problems.

Good luck - sure wish I could talk these guys into a barn!

-- Polly (, August 24, 2001.

Sojournor, most tillage equipment sits outside with no problems. We aren't talking wussy cheap tin stuff that gets sold to suburbanites, but the real thing. :) Some pulverizers, etc, have clevis hook ups on them, meaning they are just dragged loosely, not tight on a three point hitch or even held solid by a pin on the draw bar, and they have no wheels. These kinds of equipment don't back up, don't do NOTHIN' but get dragged on the field and then get parked in a convenient hedgerow. You couldn't put them in a barn if you wanted to, unless you had a drive through barn. The last time I did a new seeding I took a chain and dragged the light pulverizers out of the hedgerow where it had been sitting for, I'm not kidding, 30 years. They were fine. Grease them up and away we went. The heavy set had been sitting on a piece of scrub land and were likewise fine, but they see a little more use than the light ones. It sounds like machinery abuse, but it isn't. City people would have said they were "abandoned", but everyone in the family knew where they were parked. :) This kind of stuff is solid iron, weighs a ton and rust is not an issue. All I'm saying is, don't worry about this equipment sitting out. It's too expensive to put up a building to store it in. But, if you do want it inside, don't look at anything with a clevis hook, at least!

Re: loader. You can get a loader for an 8N. You really will need one when you get going. Seriously. There's just too many jobs that they can do for you that you absolutely cannot do by your own power. I know this has nothing to do with your barn but I just had to comment. :) I wouldn't be in business without mine. I have two of them and they both get used all the time. If I sold my whole dairy tomorrow, I'd still keep both of them. Just living in the country you need one.

Re: interior partitions. If you aren't going to have noticeable animals inside, then why not just have a wall between your workshop and garage section? That way you could heat it during the cold months if you wanted to. It would also make wall/counter space available to the workshop, too, that you wouldn't have otherwise.

Re: hay storage. Store it inside. Putting up high quality hay is one of the delights of farming/country life. You don't want to take good hay and ruin it by letting it get weathered outside. Especially since you are in the warmer southern areas. Here in the north the hay is essentially in a freezer from December to mid March, and even then I'd never leave it out. When my father used to comment on good hay, he'd say, "This will make them wiggle their ears!" Did you ever see a cow tear into a good bale of hay? They take it and shake it and shower it all over themselves, and then they wiggle their ears to get the hay to fall off. :) They don't do that with lower quality hay. You want to store it so they will always wiggle their ears. :)

Oh, this is great, not only do I get to spend your money building a barn, I get to spend it on equipment, too! LOL! OK, I'll shut up now. :)

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 25, 2001.

Jennifer, You can not get a modern Front end loader for an 8N! You can get (even new) a manure scoop with a manual dump bucket. Not enough hydraulics to drive a real loader.

-- Gary (, August 25, 2001.

We sold the 8N after I brought my Bolens to the home place. Yeah, you can put a scoop on it (8N). In my opinion, they are a pain in the butt and not for an inexperienced driver. That said, the 8N is what I learned to drive a tractor on. Caution: if you are mowing with a bush hog, even if you clutch it, the mower will continue to push you forward - into the creek, for example. Learned a few new cuss words that day, I did. We also have a Ford 4600 (1976) that we used to use spraying the orchard that now pulls our plow and planter once a year, and a couple of ancient IH M's that we use for whatever when they run; also an IH 100 that gets used to mow in the lots and to drag the chicken tractor around. The only two that get used with any regularity on our place are the Bolens and the 100.

The Bolens, the 100, the fancy M (parades only) and the strawberry planter are the only equipment that gets kept inside; everything else is in the fencerow, including my one row ear corn picker that I paid a guy $25 for - the deal being that he had to cut down the tree that had grown up inside it while it had been parked in HIS fencerow. Worked fine after a lot of grease and cussin'. We be upscale now, though; we got us a four row combine - $400! Uncle Ivan (Case/IH mechanic for about a million years now) gets this stuff given to him or buys it real cheap so we have quite an eclectic collection - one of my friends thought I ought to pull the "antique" drill up in the front yard and plant flowers in it - I said "Naw, Unc'd tear out the flowers when he goes to plant wheat this fall."

Now, if we're really gonna spend your equipment dollars right (with me here, Jen?) we're gonna have to have a layout of your place - 9 acres did you say? Where's the house, where's the barn gonna go, you got any creeks, timber, pasture and how big is your crop area and what are you going to plant in it, MO - hmmm rolling ground or you got actual hills down there?!?

Giggle - this IS fun!!

-- Polly (, August 25, 2001.

Really, Gary? I didn't know that about the 8N. My uncle has one with a back hoe attachment, but I guess they were manufactured with a different hydraulic system (?). Among other stuff I have a Jubilee, but it just chugs around with a hay rake or defunct manure spreader for yard work. Thanks for the correction! :)

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 25, 2001.

That's right, Polly, we'll have Sojournor all set up before she knows it! She's probably making plans to move in the night to avoid us, now. ;)

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 25, 2001.

Polly, If your bush hog is pushing you then you need a slip clutch added to your PTO. For tractors without a live PTO, a slip clutch is a MUST for saftey, About $75 at TSC or other tractor supply house.

Jennifer, The loaders on 8n are power up, gravity down, manual dump. This is has minimal applications. A true FEL would have power up/down and power dump/close.

-- Gary (, August 25, 2001.

Got rid of the 8N, Gary; but I'll keep the info in mind if I run across someone else with one. I just started throwing the mower out of gear when I got near the end of a row (or the creek!). Thanks!

-- Polly (, August 25, 2001.

Polly, Problem is with many tractor, gear in/out or cluch in/out the PTO will still drive the tractor since they are indepenant of each other.

-- Gary (, August 25, 2001.

Thanks for the info, Gary. I'll stick with my two Bobcats for my jobs, I guess. Nothing beats a skid-steer. :)

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, August 25, 2001.

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