Reading about Claire's compacted gravel floor in her barn made me wonder what everyone has out there.
The barn I'm renting ($50/month) has a poured concrete slab foundation. Katika's big box stall had wide plank flooring over this. I built two standing stalls in the other, giant box, for my two donkeys, and scavenged old 2x6's to create stall floors for them. This covers about 1/3 of their big rectangular box.
I am hoping to build my own barn on my own property down the road this summer. (Barn before the house, of course!) I have assumed I would have a concrete slab foundation. Every barn I've ever worked in has had one. Of course, this adds thousands to the cost.
Someone nearby told me I should just have a floor of compacted crusher run (probably similar to Claire's gravel?) and possibly put treated boards on top as stall flooring. I worry because of the gallons of pee and the very wet weather here in the Adirondacks (a northern rainforest). Would I be creating a potential stinking cesspool? Do others have experience they can share?
Last Edit: May 6, 2010 14:31:41 GMT -5 by barnydhppy
Milkmaid to Katika, Canadienne x Jersey born 5/12/2002 Moxie, Jersey rescue heifer, born 8/2009 Rocky, Katika's steer calf, born 4/27/2010 Duke Wayne, foster Jersey bull calf born 10/10/10 Phoenix (Fee), Katika's heifer calf, born 7/3/2011 Birch, 25-year-old Azteca gelding 11 Clun Forest and cross ewes dogs and cat
Concrete is generally not a good thing with cows. If its wet they run the risk of falling (and breaking). It holds in the cold and isn't good for their feet in the long term. Getting the concrete graded/ roughed up helps, but then you get manure and such stuck in the floor.
My barn floor is 4-11 gravel. Compacted by a thing that looks like a vibrating lawnmower that used water to tamp everything down. You can slope the floors and put in drains as well to help keep everything dry. We also have very wet weather, Ohio is damp and mushy much of the year and I have had a cesspool of a barn on many occasions. We have finally dealt with the puddling problem by stripping the barn and going around with gravel to change the slant of the floor and fill in puddle areas so they drain away.
I would think if you put in compacted gravel, floor drains and were careful to get the floor graded so it slopes a bit to drain outside and into the drains you would have a pretty dry barn. You could even put wood down (maybe with small spaces between boards so the pee drains out?) in the stall areas.
I described my cows run-in under the Molasses thread. I did not mention it there, but I have a floor much as Claire describes but less professional. It has a couple of yards of a mixture of sand and gravel that is not what we ordered, but works ok. It seemed to compact itself. On top of that is the hay covering. I see no reason to use concrete anywhere for most cow applications. Big dairies like to be able to srape with a tractor and use a high pressure hose. That is overkill for us. And as Claire says, cows are always slipping on concrete (and so are people) and breaking their hips or something.
In some other parts of my barn I have 100 year old wooden floors, great planks not often available today. Wood is good if you are on a hillside and want to set up for the old fashioned method of tie stalls and gutters and a trap door to push the manure down to a run-in below. This is a fine efficient way to build a manure pile under cover. Often it fell right down into a manure spreader which could be hauled away and spread.
I prefer not to keep my cows tied. I like them to go in and out at will.
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mamacherri10: good afternoon! I have not been on the website in a long time. Have a new jersey milk cow and am looking to see how long she needs to be dried up prior to calving? She is due the third week of May.
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