Monday, January 05, 2009

Working on Our Building Plan

I don't know if you can tell or not, but when it comes to making a decision I usually take a long time and mull things over A LOT! That is what is going on with our shed/barn'ish building plans at the moment. I figure you only get one chance to put up a big building (I'm not really into tearing things down) so I better make sure that we have the right placement, the right design, the right price, and of course the right idea. So, here is what I'm thinking ... I would love to hear your thoughts on the plan.
  • Right now we are looking at building a 24' x 32' building with clear span trusses and 12' side walls. The building would have walls on three sides and be open across the front to the South with two 16' bays. I am also going to ask the building how much it would cost to add another 16' bay making it 24' x 48', but money is an issue so we will have to see.
  • Off of the back of the building I would like to add a 16' lean-to that will continue the pitch of the roof. This should give us about a 7' or 8' side wall on the lean-to and this area would ideally become a winter feeding area for our cattle. We would be able to throw down hay from the main area and feed the cattle in deep bedding much like Joel Salatin writes about and does. The lean-to would also mean that all of the main area could be used for storage.
  • One of the questions we are facing is how much we are going to hire done and how much we are going to do ourselves. As of now we are planning with the same builder who put up the building for our house because we are comfortable with him and pleased with his work, but we aren't sure how much to have him do. Initially we were going to have him frame up the building and put on the roof. That would mean that we would add the lean-to and the steel for it and the sides. The thing we need to figure out is how easy it would be to add the lean-to after the building roof is done.
  • Another question that I have been thinking about is what all we are going to add to the interior or around the shed. What I mean is that I would like to run electricity out there so we can plug in our fencers there and also have lights. It would also be great to have a water hydrant out there for watering livestock, and I have even been thinking about installing a freeze proof cattle water thing (something like this one).
So, there are some of the plans. There are more things that are bouncing around in my head, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Either things from experience or ideas that pop into your mind.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about doing anything with Rainwater Cachement? With that sized roof, you could potentially get much of your water needs from the rain/snow. not sure how far you would need to run water lines so hard to compare the cost, but a thought.

GreenRanchingMom said...

As far as "energy Free" with the MiraFounts, you will still have to "punch" the balls down to keep them from freezing to the waterer. If you have a "heat tube" put in the ground about 3 - 6 feet around your water line, it greatly reduces the amount of extra heat needed or ice on the top of the waters.

Ethan Book said...

Collecting rainwater is something that I had considered. If nothing else, it would be great for the garden which won't be too far away.

GreenRanchingMom - Thanks for the tip on the MiraFounts. Punching down the ball would be a lot better than chipping away ice every day, and hopefully less wasteful. It is amazing how much water I throw on the ground so the cows can have fresh water.

Rich said...

Have you explained to your builder that you would like to add and/or modify the building in the future?

He might have some ideas that could be incorporated into the initial building process that would make it easier to build new additions.

I would try to make everything is as multiple-purpose and flexible as possible, and try to think a few steps ahead. Make your lean-to large enough to park a livestock trailer inside, or try to visualize how a future set of cattle pens would fit into the overall plan, or make sure that your tractor can fit into the covered feeding area with the bedding (so you aren't cleaning it out by hand), or think of ways that the feeding area could also be used as an area that includes a cattle working or loading chute.

Of course, at the same time, you don't want to be bogged down so much by trying to accommodate every possibility that you become paralyzed and unable to make a decision.

Steven said...

Don't be scared to make the feeding area roof a different pitch if that's what you have to do to fit your tractor in there (as Rich said). It would be awful to have to scoop all that bedding out by hand.

Mrs. Darcy said...

With steel prices falling, I would consider building the biggest barn (without a center pole) you can afford. A neighbor of ours did this and he has not regretted it . . .

It will save you the hassel of having to add on later and you won't ever accidentally hit that pole with the tractor (or whatever).

Jena said...

We are looking in to the automatic waterers with heaters built right in. Safety and easy cleaning are our 2 big priorities.

If you're planning to deep bed try to plan for that when you plan the ceiling height. The bedding may build up high during part of the year. Then when you clean it out it may get very low. I would build up the ground with soil or sand before adding bedding. We have found that after repeatedly cleaning out our pen we've ended up with a foot deep pit under the whole roof. I suppose you could avoid scaping that deep but our building is on a bit of a slope and we didn't have much choice but to clean out that much.

Hope this helps!

Jena said...

To add to what Rich said, you may consider spacing your poles so that 8 or 16' gates will swing freely between them. Normal buildings have the poles 8 or 16' on centers which means standard gates don't fit between them. We've tossed around this idea ourselves. There would be some waste on your 2x4s but it may be worth it depending on your goals for the building. Just something to consider.

Ethan Book said...

Rich, Jena, Steven, etc. - You make a good point about looking at what all you can do with the space. I am really going to have to think about the deep bedding and the ability to get the tractor in there at the end of winter.

Also, the sorting and gates and stuff is a good thing to think about!

Rich said...

"...you may consider spacing your poles so that 8 or 16' gates will swing freely..."

I recently bought some 12' gates and found that a 12' gate is usually between 11'3" and 11'6", so I would measure the gates I was planning to use inside a barn before I altered the building plan significantly.

It would be pretty frustrating to carefully plan for a 16'0 gate inside a building, and then find out that the only gates available were 15'3" and would have fit before the changes.

Jena said...

Rich - yes, good point, definitely measure first! I'm not sure about 12' gates, I'll have to look in to that. I know you can sometimes find off sizes at auctions that fit exactly what you need. We usually only use 16' gates and those have been a real problem, 15' would be much nicer for our setup.

Mac Riemenschneider said...

Really enjoy your blog. I found it this past summer. My wife and I are on similar adventure as you are, a small direct marketing local meat business in Wisconsin. Just wanted to add my thoughts on your building plans from my experience. We have a typical WI dairy barn and have been converting it for use raising beef, pork, and poultry. I like the idea of subdividing the barn with gates to be able to create multiple pens of different sizes as needed. Your lean to for feeding and housing the cattle like Salatin is something I would like to do also but I don't know if your plan has enough height to allow a bedding pack to build up. The way I read Salatin is that his building has like 12 feet high sidewalls. I have a neighbor who is having good success out wintering his cattle with just portable wind breaks. For waterers you should consider a Cobett made in a Iowa by a farmer. I have had one for almost ten years with no more work than dumping the water container a few times a year to clean out the algae and chipping less than an inch of ice when it gets below zero.

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