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If you are fortunate enough to be able to plan your barn and stock working area from scratch, you'll want to make sure you have protection from the weather, a containment area, a place to work your animals, a place to load and unload your animals, and any other amenities you may want or need.  We elected to have an office area and enough room under cover to store our various non-bulk feeds in 55 gallon drums.

Here is a floor plan of our entire barn.  It's drawn on 1/4 inch graph paper and the scale is 1/4"=2'.


We decided to have two entirely separate pens attached to two separated halves of the barn with a working area in between.  The entire building is 80' wide x 20' deep.  Each side is open in the front and is 30' x 20'.  Each side has a hay feeder, flexible pens in the rear, and a 4' wide pen/hallway/creep feeder combination at the side next to the central portion.

The central area is 20' square with a 10' square enclosed office which has a fridge, cabinets, desk, small tool storage, work shelf, and a place to feed the cats.  The front of the office is enclosed and there is a 10' sliding barn door opening into the adjacent 10' section.  The sliding door has a person door built into it.  Feed drums and some equipment are stored along the sides while the tilt table (Sydell #930-2) and the Weigh-Pig 500 scale (from FarmTek) are along the back wall and form part of a continuous chute running around the central portion with multiple options for sorting, loading, unloading, holding and working the animals.

Here is a smaller scale drawing of the central portion with all the gates shown:

Below is the central portion of the barn with no gates shown but all the points at each end of each gate are lettered.  We'll look at each possible position for each gate to enumerate the options we designed into the working area.

The letters begin at the top left and are assigned from left to right and top to bottom.

The 10' sorting gate is hinged at point D.  If the other end of the gate is at point E, the goats are run from the scale into the barn area.   If it is at point A, the goats are run into the pen enclosed by the gate hinged at J and closed at K.

The 4' gate hinged at J is simply used to close the pen.  This gate has a hole in the bottom that we can cover or open to let kids in when we use this pen for a creep feed area.  When the gate is opened to point H, the pen becomes a hallway to funnel goats through it.

The 10' gate hinged at O will form one side of the loading chute when it is connected to point J.  When it is connected to point K, it works as the gate to the barnyard on that side of the barn.  If the gate is not wanted at all, it can be removed or opened against the fence.

The small gate hinged at O is the loading chute gate.  It is approximately 2' wide and is closed when connected to point P and open when swung back to point N.

The 10' gate hinged at point P forms the other half of the loading chute when connected to point K or becomes half of a fence enclosing the area in front of the central portion of the barn.  It connects to the gate hinged at point R where they meet at point Q.

One 10' gate hinged at point R is either used to complete the fence across the front of the barn or left totally open against the front of the fence connected to its hinge point.

The second 10' gate hinged at point R can be closed to point L (its usual position as a barnyard gate) to point M (to form part of the chute that leads up to the back of the barn) or totally opened against the back of the fence connected to its hinge point.

The 4' gate hinged at L is used to close off the pen or to open it for use as a chute.  It, too, has an opening that can be covered or opened for kids to use to enter for creep feed.

The 4' gate hinged at F is solely to block the entrance to the tilt table.  We initially used only a piece of panel and were amazed at how many goats and dogs "needed" to get to the tilt table and beyond when we didn't want them to.  It is removed when we work the goats as the table has a sliding door and panels funnel the goats into it.

The 4' gate hinged at G can either complete the creep feed pen or be opened to point C to complete the chute to the tilt table area.

The goats move from the tilt table into the scale. The scale door swings to block their entrance into the larger open area of the center section.  From the scale, they go through the sorting gate and complete the circle.

As one visitor told us in a rather excited voice, "You could run the goats in a circle all day long if you wanted to!"  We never figured out why he thought that was so neat but it does explain the plan as long as you understand that we can move the goats in and out of the circle at any of several points along the way.

The loading chute is not raised: we simply put a piece of panel about six inches high under the rear of the trailer to prevent goats from crawling under.

We compromised with the 4' measurement on the side pens.  4' is a little too wide for a chute and a little too small for a holding pen but we find it workable for either and we've adapted to it.

The 10' measurement from the roof line to the front fence was forced by our decision to have gates made up in 10' lengths.  It extends the barn area on nice days and gives the goats more room when they're lounging.

Immediately outside of the barn gates is a relatively small pen about 100' square that we can hold the goats in if we need to and each holding pen then has a gate to the 10 acres of woods that is their pasture.

Our barn is not ideal but it is as close as we could come within our budget.  We've used it in this configuration for almost five years now and are quite satisfied with its flexibility and workability.  We hope it will give some ideas you may find useful in planning your farm layout.  If you see things that you like about it, please feel free to use them.  If you could find the time to drop us an email and tell us about any occasions  when our plan may have provided you with the basis of something that has worked for you, we'd love to hear about it.

Dan & Paula Lane
Copyright 2002 [Bountiful Farm]. All rights reserved.

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