Raising small animals can be a fulfilling experience. Whether you are interested in pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, or turkeys, devoting time and energy to the well-being of your livestock will help you feel closer to nature.
If you’re setting up your small farm, you will need a barn for your animals. If you’re unsure where to start, these seven small animal barn ideas are for you.
Idea #1: You can build it from scratch or buy a kit
When building a small animal barn, you have two options. You can build your barn from scratch or buy a barn kit that needs to be assembled.
The best choice for you depends on your needs, budget, and the size of the barn you want. Remember that if you build your barn from scratch, you can fully customize it and choose the materials you want.
Idea #2: Choose the location of your barn carefully
Ideally, your small animal barn should be close to your home, especially if you have a large property. This makes it easier to check on your animals and bring electricity and running water to your barn.
However, you don’t want to build your barn too close to your home so you don’t get disturbed by odours and noise. To make the most of your new barn, choose its location carefully.
First, choose a location that will allow for good drainage. You want the rain to drain away from your barn and not to pool around it. You also want to be able to take advantage of natural light.
And if you live in a cold climate, try to orient your small barn so you can rely on the sun’s heat to keep it warm in the winter.
Idea #3: Think about natural and mechanical ventilation
Ventilation is another important thing to consider when you search for the perfect location for your barn. If you live in a cold climate, you want to orient the largest openings of your barn away from the prevailing wind. If you live in a warm climate, on the other hand, you want the breeze to be able to flow through your barn.
One way or another, natural ventilation will help prevent a buildup of ammonia inside your barn.
You must also consider mechanical ventilation, as a well-installed barn exhaust fan will allow your small animal barn to breathe.
Idea #4: Plan storage space for equipment and feed
The size of your barn will depend on the type of animals you want to raise and how many of them you plan to raise.
But it’s also a good idea to add a storage room to your small barn. For example, you can keep some farm equipment there and store the feed your animals need through winter.
If you plan on storing hay in your barn, remember that it will be much easier if your tractor can access it to bring it inside.
Idea #5: Make sure there is enough space for a possible expansion
You never know what the future might bring. Remember that you might need a bigger one day when looking for the perfect location for your barn.
Even if you do not intend to double or triple your livestock’s size, ensure enough space for a possible expansion.
And if you know you will want to transform your barn into a bigger one in the future, consider that as you design it.
Idea #6: Consider building a solar-powered barn
Building a solar-powered barn could help you save some money on your energy bills.
Solar energy can be used to power a water heater but also to keep your animals warm and comfortable during the winter.
Equipping your barn with solar panels will be an important investment, but it will eventually pay for itself.
Idea #7: Consider installing a video monitoring system
Another good idea for your small animal barn would be to equip it with a video monitoring system. This would allow you to check on your animals without leaving the comfort of your home to ensure they are comfortable and healthy.
A video monitoring system would be even more useful when pregnant animals are in your herd. You would be alerted when a future mother is about to give birth, so you could be present to help her if necessary.