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One of the reasons we moved out here to our Cariboo Valley was to have some acreage way out in the bush, raise a few animals and have a huge vegetable garden. We have never regretted our move out of the city out here to wilderness.
Building a Barn
Since there wasn’t a barn here when we arrived, we had to build one. We tossed around a few ideas – we wanted it to be inexpensive but solid.
We wanted to custom build it for what we would use it for (pigs, laying hens and some meat birds, livestock feed storage).
So we thought and thought and thought some more. One night after a few drinks (funny how ideas flow better when the wine is flowing), we had a bit of a “Eureka” moment.
Why not do a barn built in two stages? This would spread out the cost over a couple of years, it would enable us to move our laying hens down there and get them settled in, plus we could get a couple of feeder pigs to raise over the summer and butcher in the fall.
Putting pen to paper, we came up with a “half barn”. Since we would also need a place to store either extra vehicles or our future tractor, we would end up with two sections with a breezeway in between. Sounded perfect. And so we began.
Graham excavated and poured footings. Then he stuck those saddle things in the concrete. We got some logs from when the barn next door was taken down, so he used those for the posts. The above picture shows what the first “half barn” looked like with the rafters up.
He cut all the wood (except for those logs from barn next door) to size with his sawmill. Then came the strapping and you can see him trimming the strapping in the picture.
Next came the metal roof. Metal roofs are great – zero maintenance ever and they last more than 50 years. I think it took us four hours to put it on; it is not that hard to do.
It’s not a job you want to do if there is any wind; then an easy job turns into a nightmare. Also that last sheet is a bugger to put on and it helps if you have a couple of ladders for doing it.
Here’s a picture from the other side. You can see the chicken coop starting to take shape.
Now things are starting to come together. Those fence posts you see will be two separate runs for my layers. Two so that they can run around in one, while a bit of rye grass or alfalfa is growing in the other.
The ultimate goal is to have greens growing in either run, and rotate the hens between them. This will allow them to nibble a bit, and when it’s eaten down, they get moved to the other run.
See the 2 little tiny doors? One on the side and one on the front (with black tar paper). We can just close off whatever door we like, and choose the run we want them in. Upper hole is for the window, one on side and one on front.
Here it the “half barn”. This picture was taken from our porch. This is pretty much the way we thought the barn would stay until the following year, except we wanted to finish off the siding. Chickens on one side, and our 2 piggies on the other.
See the temporary Greenhouse we set up in our first couple years? That would disappear the next year, when we figured out how to build a Greenhouse for under $200. The roof panels of the one in the photo would become the roof for our permanent Greenhouse!
Back to the barn building – that Fall, our parents came for a week. They like to keep busy and love to help us with a project.
So my Dad got busy doing firewood while Graham and his Dad figured well why not put up the other “half barn”? Well, why not indeed!
Check out the posts and bracing.
There goes the strapping, then comes the metal roofing. The metal roof sheets didn’t cost a lot and are well worth the investment.
And the outer shell is completed before the snow flies. There is even storage for this winter for Graham’s old beauty. Here you can really see the breezeway between the two “half barns”. We are loving the way it is turning out. There will be a couple of rooms for meat birds (where the truck is parked now), plus we will design those rooms so if we eventually want a cow or horse in there, we can easily accomodate them. Plus we will have a feed room.
We will close in the upper portion and use it for hay storage. Here’s the next chapter on the second part of How to Build a Barn. We built separate rooms and made an awesome swinging wall.
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.
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