Friday, January 16, 2009

Double Duty

"Peter Arnold wants his concrete to do double duty." That is the tag line of this months cover story in "Graze" magazine (it also happens to be my first issue). Anyways, Mr. Arnold's concrete in this case is dealing with his milking parlor and other things that you tries to utilize as often as possible. Basically he didn't want to put up a great structure that only had one use ... it had to be more that just one thing. Which got me thinking...

What all do I want to do with a building that I put up on this farm, and more importantly how much can I cram under one roof (realizing that not everything should or could go in there). So, what I did was come up with a list of what I would like a building to be. I would love to hear your thoughts or additions to my list.
  1. Hay Storage: This is probably the number one priority because if I'm going to make small squares I'm going to need a place to keep them out of the weather.
  2. Deep Bedding Feeding: I have described and discussed this a lot and after my last round, with the help of you all, I came to the realization that doing that in a back lean-to wasn't going to work. So, now I'm thinking of adding a third 16x24 bay for the winter cattle feeding area. That should allow me to get the tractor in because it would have 12 foot side walls.
  3. Equipment Storage: Not all of my equipment needs to live inside all of the time, but it would be nice to have a place where I can park the tractor, baler, and a whatever else out of the weather. Plus, there is something to be said for having a place to work on equipment.
  4. Livestock Stall: There are plenty of good reasons to have a stall in a shed where you can put an animal if need be. Some place out of the weather and relatively warm would be nice.
  5. Feed Storage: I haven't really decided how this one would play out yet, but there is a need for storage of pig feed and chicken feed (and may more) on the farm. Having a dedicated place would be a good thing.
There you go ... just a few of my ideas. What can you add to the list?


Jean said...

Play area. Children will make sure of that!

Your extra transportation. That could go in Equipment storage slot. But think when your boys get to a certain age...

Extra storage space. Things you don't have a need for inside small house at the moment but need the space. I've stored fabric scraps in tight lidded 5 gallon buckets in leaky outdoor building.

A space to work on food stuffs of any kind. This would be handy on a rainy, cold, and/or windy days. You wouldn't want to temporarily hold vegetables/fruits in same "room" where critters once lived.

these are just my two cents from a woman's perspective. Of course some "rooms" can be interchangeable.

Dave said...

The inefficiency of old farms having 5-10-15 small buildings (chicken coop, greenhouse, hay barn, equipment shed, scales, etc.) cluttering up the place has always bothered me. I'm sure it was a "pay as you grow" and "build as there was need", but the idea of at least starting with one building that is expandable seems wise.
My current set up has livestock separated by quite a distance (assumed someone else's design). During inclimate weather, especially, I dream of having one big barn/building I could feed/water/shelter all the livestock from. It would cut down a lot on chore time (2x's a day 365 days a year over many years really adds up). Of course we're all in the same boat as the old timers in needing to build as we can afford. . . just designing it to be expandable vs. recreated somewhere else would seem smart.
PS - really enjoy/appreciate the information you share on the blog.

Rich said...

My grandfather had a couple of hay barns (before a tornado took care of them) that were mainly used to store small square bales, but they had some “multipurpose” areas built in that were used for seed wheat storage, feed storage, misc. junk storage, etc.

His barns were pole barns with poles in the interior, they were about 40’ wide and had about 20’ openings with sliding doors on the gable ends of the barn. The main portion of the barn had a dirt floor, but he poured about a 10’ x 20’ concrete slab in one corner and built a couple of 10’x10’ “rooms” with about a 10’ ceiling height (sort of like a horse stall, etc). The walls were built pretty solid (conventional 2x6 stud framing) because he used them to store either grain or feed at times, and the door openings used a system of boards slid into slots so that the grain wouldn’t pour out if a door were opened.

There was a floor on top of the room so that it could be used for storage if needed and to also keep birds and rodents out of the grain. Since the walls were lined on the inside with tongue and groove siding (because it was primarily a grain/feed bin), he just nailed some ladder cleats on the outside of the wall for a ladder to reach the storage above.

Even if you don’t plan on storing loose grain or bulk feed, including a small enclosed 8’x8’ or 10’x10’ area would give you the flexibility for storing feed in a less rodent vulnerable area, you could set up a poultry brooding area, have a protected winter chicken coop, store your “junk” on top out of sight, put an extra freezer in the barn, have a “warmer” place to work on equipment in the winter, vegetable seed starting area for the garden, etc.

Anonymous said...

the comment here about tornadoes wiping out 2 barns makes me realize the importance of having 2 barns if possible.

I bought a place w/ 1 big barn where we have animal stalls, bale storage, tractor parking, my workshop, tack, feed, etc. It is handy in some ways, but I would prefer to store my hay elsewhere (round bales).

In the case of fire (which often occurs where hay is stored), tornado, or other disaster, it would be nice to have your animals and equipment penned elsewhere. Not putting all your proverbial eggs in one basket.

I do like a barn to be multi-purpose and flexible and convertible, but I still see wisdom in a separate hay structure if possible.

Anonymous said...

If you're willing to unburden your barn of the hay, here's an old way to deal with the hay and animal shelter, along with some other interesting ideas:

Apologies if you've seen it, or it's wide of the mark.


Jena said...

A place to hang a cabinet to store animal goods would be nice. For example: disinfectants, wound ointments, halters, supplements, bottles, nipples, small buckets, nail trimmers, syringes, clippers, etc. Basically all the things that are lining the shelves in my house because we don't have a cabinet like that in our barn. Of course some things may freeze and could be a problem but a lot of things should be kept in the barn.

Rich said...

The idea of a deep-bedded hay feeding structure is interesting, due to the compost making possibilities and producing pork using the pig-aerator concept, but is a covered structure absolutely necessary?

Even though I’ve never seen a hay feeding structure like this myself, I get the impression that one of the main advantages is some sort of “automatic” hay feeding assembly inside the building and the roof is needed to cover the hay as much as the bedding.

Would it be possible to have the deep-bedded area just outside of the building and the feeding “assembly” just inside the building so that it would be easier to clean out with a tractor, quicker and easier to apply bedding, and wouldn’t require as large of a roof? More bedding might be required due to its being more exposed to the weather, but looking at it another way, more compost could be made in a shorter amount of time because the composting process would start much earlier.

GreenRanchingMom said...

I agree with, your one barn for many purposes, philosopy. We have done this with our barn. If your herd is going to stay small, you might not need that much inside room for the cattle to "loaf" in. You might be better served with an area for warming calves or a pen for calving or keeping a heifer pair separate. Hay storage, just needs to be far enough from the tractors to not have loose hay on the ground below the tractors. I think you might want to travel to some barns, to FEEL the space and see how the other owners would change their barn or what they would keep.

Ethan Book said...

I'm slowly trying to catch up on comments here ... not that I haven't read them, but rather that I haven't had time to respond completely.

Rich - Your comments on an outside deep bedding area are interesting, but I think it would have a lot to do with location more than anything else. I think that one of the benefits of the deep bedding system is that heat is allowed to build up in all of that bedding that is beginning to compost and that the roof and walls keep it in. So, in effect you have a little warmer area ... something I wouldn't mind after this year!

As far as a place with slightly warmer weather than Iowa ... it would be something to look into, but I think the biggest thing would be that it would be next to impossible to keep dry bedding available. But, I'm not completely sure.

I do think one of the big things about it (the system Salatin describes) is that they feed hay is right there (small squares) so feeding isn't much of a chore.

Alexander said...

Recently I bought a Portable Hey Storage in reasonable price.

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