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Here’s Part 2 of how we built our barn (in two sections!) Read Part 1 about how we started building our barn if you missed it – we explain why we decide to build our barn in two stages. If you are looking at how to build a barn, you will get lots of ideas from these posts!
Building a Barn
Here’s a picture of how our barn looked at the end of that first year. We got farther along on the building than we thought we would. You can see the chicken coop on the left is completed. Behind the coop, is our feed area. To this day, it remains open although we had intended to close it in by putting siding on the outside walls. We will likely still do that at some point, it just has not got that high on our priority list.
The right hand side of the barn (where the old truck is) has been completely closed in. We turned it into a large room where we can raise our Cornish Giant meat chickens. Here’s how we did that:
We framed in that right side, allowing for one window on the end and two windows along the side. There are also a total of 3 man doors. This room is now being used for a variety of things.
Let’s look at WHAT we use this room for during any given year. It’s important to plan ahead when you are figuring out the blueprint for your barn. Try to cover all the possibilities so that you can build it to adapt to what you will use it for.
When we raise meat birds, we set up heat lights and they grow out in that room. When we raise weaner pigs, they start off in this room. We get them around the end of March and there is still far too much snow on the ground for us to have them outside.
We throw lots of hay down on the dirt floor and the weaners stay in there for probably 4 or 5 weeks. At that point, we move them out to a pastured area and they sleep in their own little house. Since we have quite a few predators here in the Valley, there is no way we would put small weaner pigs out in the open right away. They are probably about 30 pounds when they arrive and they are far too small to be able to fend off predators.
Once the weaners are moved out, we open up the big end doors and clean out the room. The photo shows Graham’s old truck being stored in that room for winter.
Note: If you have a dirt floor in your barn, you may want to put down a layer of sand on top of the dirt. Then throw your hay on top of that. It makes cleanup easier it – is quite amazing. The used bedding hay lifts right off the sand – much easier than with a dirt floor.
We let the room air out for several weeks. Then we can set up the heat lamps, feeders and waterers for the meat birds. Once they are grown out and sent to freezer camp, we clean the room out again. Actually the room gets cleaned out probably three times while the meat birds are there, as they generate a lot of manure!
After the room is again thoroughly cleaned out, it is usually late Fall. Time for cleanup and putting things away. Many items get put into this room for storing over winter.
If we put the old truck in there, we simply put our tools in the bed of the truck. Then the truck stays there until mid-March, when we take it out and get ready for pigs again.
So this “meat bird room” is more of a multipurpose room and it is great to have a room like that in your barn. Use it seasonally like we do for different things, but try to plan ahead for various uses. This way, you can make the appropriate changes to your barn building plans.
Back to the building – friends in the Valley had a lot of extra insulation laying around that they weren’t going to use and they were happy to pass it along to us. Here you can see that the meat bird room is now totally framed in and insulating can begin.
Here’s that room being insulated and then covered with OSB. This room should be quite warm during early Spring when the weaner pigs arrive.
Homemade hinges for the two large doors that Graham made with a forge.
Here’s how it looks with those end doors open. That thing on the inside left wall is the greenhouse (the one we had under the porch) – we used to store the pieces in this room for Winter. The lumber that you see in the breezeway is all the wood we reclaimed from building the shop foundation. Graham will reuse this wood, to do some framing for those gable ends down at the barn.
If you need to build a barn or are waiting to move to your bare land, here is a good resource. How to Build Small Barns & Outbuildings will take you step by step through the process.