how many windows for a barn?

claraserena(4)September 10, 2010

We are in the process of planning/building a small barn (24X30 or 24X40 or 30X30). It will house our current poultry (mostly chickens, a few ducks) and eventually milk goats and maybe sheep. It will be wood frame construction with T911 panels. We are in northeast Wisconsin--cold winters of course.

What would be the best orientation for the barn for health and comfort of animals?

How many windows/doors and where for the best circulation? Does anyone know of a site that would tell how many square feet of windows per square feet of barn?

I'd appreciate ANY insights, experience, ideas!

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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

I like having east and west openings so that in the summer the air really moves through the barn. I also have a window on the south side for winter sun and summer breezes. In fact, I'm hoping to put a second one on the south side, eventually.


Here is a link that might be useful: My place: Busy Solitude Farm

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:23PM
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goodhors(z5 MI)

You might put in translucent panels instead of real windows, which often leak or are in the way when you change your inside layout. Many folks call them "fiberglass panels" and the patterns match metal siding for pole barns. Our panels are up high, just under the eaves of barn. They are covering the 10' to 12' high area of the walls, above the 10ft of solid metal walls below.

We have those instead of actual windows in our barn, they provide a lot of light, no drafts even being on the windy side of the barn.

You might want to create a journal of DAILY wind direction in the location of future barn. I say this because weirdly enough our winter winds come from the south or southwest. Summer winds are almost always straight out of the west. Other places I have lived the wind is ALWAYS out of the north west or west! Other folks around town never have a southern wind, just westerly. So this is a location issue, unexpected but you live with it. You may not notice this wind detail unless you track it for quite a while to notice the daily differences, SEASONAL differences that could affect your barn placement.

Lucky for us, barn is facing east and west, so airflow is excellent all the time. Even in winter, with barn closed up tight, we have terrific air exchange with three roof vents on the 60ft length. There is NEVER any stink to smell or ammonia from animals inside, making it a healthy setting for breathing. We have horses in the barn, so good air is extremely important for them. Cold is not a problem even with low temps, but bad air can damage lungs or make them sick.

Not sure how you plan to keep animals or stored items in the barn, but get the roof height up as high as you can afford. Much cheaper to go up in construction, than to add footage on the ground. I could probably add 1/3 more hay storage if we had gone up with 16ft sides instead of only 12ft high. When we built, we added MORE length than we thought we would EVER NEED. No REASON to EVER NEED higher walls. However our interests have changed over the years, have lots more horses now than we ever dreamed of needing, along with more hay storage needs. That height of walls is about the only feature we would change in our original plan. Hindsight is always so much better!!

We insulated the metal roof, preventing condensation inside and for noise reduction in rain storms. Insulation keeps the hot roof from overheating the barn under it. Well worth spending money on insulation!! Easier to insulate as you BUILD, than going back later to try fitting in the pieces between rafters in summer heat and dirt barns collect.

For your end doors you can do two 6ft sliders or a garage type roll-up doors. With the garage door, you will probably want a person sized walk in door too, just easier. I have the sliders, so can make a narrow space to walk in and the shut it again. Our doors don't seem to get snow blown up on them, which other folks have problems with. Shoveling out the door to open is very unpopular! This is where the roll-ups get popular, no shoveling to use them!!

We have a center aisle, 12ft, so you can drive almost anything thru. Vet truck, hay semi fits, carriage and horses, tractor and spreader, all go down the aisle easily. I would not want a narrower aisle in the course of my daily work in the barn. Lots easier to drive inside with a load, take it off at the point you store it, than carry things from the outside door to storage area. We put a LOT of hay in for winter, carrying it all would be a back-breaker to haul by hand. Husband works on tractor inside, protected from winter weather.

With the center aisle design, we leave both ends open for ventilation. There is almost always some kind of fresh air moving in summer to cool the horses stalled inside.

Lighting inside the barn should have wiring run thru conduit for varmint prevention. Cold start florescents have been nice for me, even in single digits they light well and don't flicker. I have heard some use the curly CFL bulbs in protective cages because they don't heat up like incandescent bulbs do. Just takes a minute to reach full strength light, even in cold temps. You also might check the new LED fixtures, have a very bright light, cheap to run, don't get hot.

We had the base for barn brought in the year ahead. This let the dirt settle all winter in wet and cold weather. This made base get firmly set, before building on it. Spread some cost out too, since base was raised up over 4ft from dirt. LOTS of fill was needed. When we finally put in the cement floors, there was no cracking later on.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 11:09PM
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I've got a question and although I've had goats, never had dairy goats and I am considering them. I have a large chicken building easily holding 100 hens, but even though I've cut the flock down considerably since I no longer sell eggs have not flirted with the idea of stalling off a section for a milk goat or two because of the disease issues.

Chicken sheds are usually dusty, often get mice coming and going and therefore raise the risk of things like E. coli besides the usual things you would associate with fowl. I've never had sick chickens, but have always had a great respect for the potential chickens raise around other foods. I also have tended and milked cows years ago on our family's farm. There is no way I'd want my milk cows in the same structure as my chickens, or at least certainly not want to do any milking there.

I've seen some people have their goat milking platforms in the same housing as their goats.........but chickens? Been thinking of converting part of another outbuilding for a goat shed. Am I being overly cautious?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:28AM
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Thjank you Johanna h and goodhors and calliope--you've given me much to think about.

We are getting the ground prepared/leveled in 2 days and getting trenches dug for water and electric--hoping to get it up before winter.

Our chickens are indoors only at night--otherwise they free-range all over the place--so they are not in the coop much but I can see the concern about keeping things clean. I am thinking their area will be walled off with separate entrance, outside run and door out to free range.
We haven't decided on windows yet. I like the idea of being able to drive in and that should be possible--a door at both ends is a good idea!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 7:51PM
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My chicken shed has south facing windows as was the custom in days before electric lights, because chickens egg in response to light and the south-facing light source provides the maximum lighting inside in winter to keep the hens laying as heavily as possible in the winter or transitional months. A small barn with south facing windows in our latitude always signaled a poultry barn. Some people keep their hens on artificial light in off seasons to keep them egging, but we don't so that may be an issue.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 9:19PM
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