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
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
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
Here is a smaller scale drawing of the central
portion with all the gates shown:
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
letters begin at the top left and are assigned from left to right and top to
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.