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My Mini Barn with Mini Animals!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AmandaVirginia, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. AmandaVirginia

    AmandaVirginia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All barn ideas welcome! I need recommendations from experience! I'm going to be having my first barn built this summer!

    Call Ducks, Netherland Dwarf Bunnies, Serama Chickens, and Nigerian Dwarf Goats - all miniature animals - will live in it :) I would like it to have an aisle and either 4 or 6 stalls. I don't think it will need a loft. Please tell me about each of your favorite parts about your barn!

    Anything and everything will be greatly appreciated! I want to do this right the first time! I am very excited!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    First thing - make sure you plan for preventing fires.

    What I like about our "barn" is that it is a converted part of our walkout basement. That means it stays above 40F without any extra heat because it is so well insulated (and has a heated upstairs above it). It has big windows, that's really nice especially in winter when they need to stay in when it's nasty cold outside.

    It has flooring that won't rot if it gets damp and is easy to clean.

    It has a flexible floor plan so that I can sequester ducks who need their own space for a little while.

    It is near us - I can hear what's going on so if there is a duck in distress I can go check easily.

    I don't have to shovel to get to the "barn."

    The space is large enough to store 3 50 pound bags of feed, cat kibble, crushed oyster shell in snug metal cans, as well as bales of shavings and bags of sawdust.

    There is a fire extinguisher right there.

    There are screens on the windows to keep flies out.

    There is a water spigot (faucet) right outside the door.

    There is room for me to set up a resting spot by laying out a few shavings bales so I can rest with the ducks.

    It is secure in a storm.

    It is cool (below 75F) in summer. So if it's really hot outdoors, I can bring the ducks in to cool off a little.

    -----

    I am very excited for you!!! I got carried away thinking about answering your question - I did not mean to sound less that thrilled for you (c:
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  3. BreedBoy

    BreedBoy New Egg

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    my barn has a feed room that is air conditioned
     
  4. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have a barn for my ducks yet.

    I did grow up on a working horse and beef farm. I had three goats for pasture buddies, too. :)

    If you're going to breeding and raising goats or other mammals. You'll want an oversized stall for birthing and baby care until they can be released to a safe pasture. This stall can double a hospital stall when you need to treat/isolate an individual. This stall can also serve as a weaning room when you wean babies from mama.

    Goats can be susceptible to coccidiosis so it might be best to have their area separate in the structure (no sharing with other species).

    You'll want an area for medicating/grooming/hoof trimming. Cross ties/head gate etc.


    If you're going to show your goats consider running a hot water line and shower to an area with a drain. It's much easier to bathe in cross ties in the barn than it is to bathe on a long line in the yard by the faucet.

    I'd consider adding openable dutch doors or windows in each stall. Dutch doors if you're going to have small paddocks directly off the stalls. Windows so you can open them for ventilation.

    Consider a cupola or ventilation fan/ridge vent on the roof. Stabled animals need airflow to keep the air quality good.

    Consider adding skylights to help with the natural lighting. Either fiberglass panels inlaid in roof or actual sky lights. Our home has bubble lights which use mirrors to intensify the light. We never turn the lights on in those rooms in the day.

    I'd also consider a tack room /tool room for storing nonfood items like halters/leads/medicine etc. Devoting a tiny area for those things helps your whole structure feel like it has more room.

    Please don't store hay above or in the same structure as your animals. It's a terrible fire risk and the dust/mold particles in hay really lowers the air quality. I'd keep no more in there with them than can eat in a day or two.

    Electricity, obviously. If you want to use regular incandescent bulbs please use a fire cage.

    You may also want to install cameras so you can watch for labor signs. I know from experience that it sucks sleeping in the barn while you're waiting for an animal to start labor or running in & out every hour to check on them.

    Large single or double sliding doors on both ends so you can open them for ventilation.

    Keep the center aisle free and clear. You never know when you'll need to use it to stall/bed down an animal. We've used this strategy with untamed horses so they'd have a larger area to be in at first. Then they'd get moved into a stall once they were not so scared of people.

    Consider how you want to handle the waste material each species creates. You may to put in floor drains and drain lines for the ducks and the goats to help drain moisture away. If you go this route then you may need ot consider where the males will be kept and where the females will be kept. Because they release urine from different directions. Boys need drains in the middle and girls most likely need a drain towards the edges. But honestly girls tend to be more gross in their stalls than boys. Poo everywhere.

    I've worked with both composting and drainage systems. There are pros & cons to both.

    Finally, depending on your area you may also need to plan for a generator so your barn has power if you lose power due to weather etc. I always have to consider this because if we do lose power it's out for a week to 10 days at a time.

    PS- you can always contact your local ag extension agent or Ag department at a land grant university. The professors can help you with facilities design questions.

    PPS- Goats absolutely love to eat horse tail hair and human hair. I bet this goes for feathers and bunny fur too. Don't ask how i learned that they like to eat human hair.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  5. AmandaVirginia

    AmandaVirginia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, thanks for all of the great information!

    I don't plan on breeding or showing the goats, just having two little girls as pets! As far as the chickens, bunnies, and ducks go - I'll start out with a pair of each! And, I can't wait for baby ducklings, bunnies, and chicks every Spring! I already have one house Call duck I hatched last April and I'm in the incubation process of hatching her mate :)

    I definitely want dutch doors with a window in each stall as well as double sliding barn doors on both ends of the aisle! I also love the idea of having a couple skylights, I think you have convinced me! I still haven't decided which route I should go as far as the floor goes though! I don't want dirt, yet concrete seems uncomfortable! Are there any other options to choose between?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  6. AmandaVirginia

    AmandaVirginia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    I love this one!! I think I'll probably model mine very similarly in red!!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  7. AmandaVirginia

    AmandaVirginia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, anything anyone can tell me about Nigerian Dwarfs would be very much appreciated! I know everything a person could ever need to know about ducks, bunnies, and chickens but have LOTS to learn about goats before getting my own!
     
  8. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am not sure if it's the same thing as a Norwegian Dwarf, but I had a Netherland Dwarf rabbit. He was very cute and friendly, and I raised him from a kitten, and he grew to be a whopping 1.8 pounds. They have a tendecy to be nervous, so you will probably want to get your pair young and spend lots of time handling them. Mine loved to be stroked but he had a big attitude for such a little guy lol. They can live in cages but do appreciate time outside the cage to play. Mine loved to roam around the house, and was somewhat litter trained. I would also put him outside in a play pen for a couple hours, but I always made sure to put a sheet over top of the pen and secure it with clothes pins to protect from aerial predators. They love playing in the grass, but there are many things that love to eat them. Mine lived almost seven years, and would have lived longer if my puppy hadn't pounced on him in play and broke his neck :(
     
  9. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most racehorse barns use asphalt or "chippings" (small chipped stone held together by asphalt/tar) in the center aisleway. It helps with keeping dust down and provides decent surface for workers and for the animals. The downside is that it gets slick! when its wet.

    Concrete is way too hard of a surface for animals to stand on or sleep on permanently. It is OK to use as flooring in a bathing station if you do decide to use it.

    All of our barns had hardpack dirt for flooring in the aisleways. Feed room & tack room had wood plank flooring to give a better protected room.

    Some people use rubber stall mats or rubber flooring. These are more comfortable to stand on but they are heavy!!!! when you need to move them and clean them.

    The lowest maintenance for us was deep litter straw in each stall. As long you're diligent about turning it over and picking the large poos out of them frequently to prevent the bedding from getting matted it is very easy to work with. It was my job to pick stalls twice a day and help with mucking out the stalls. It was only a pain in the butt when the bedding became matted down.
     
  10. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a lamancha goat and a nubian goat named Jimbob and Joebob.

    Goats are social and they definitely need a buddy or 3 to keep them happy. They appreciate obstacles they can jump on or climb in their paddocks. King of the mountain is a favorite goat game.

    They are very sensitive to copper so you have to make sure they're eating a balanced goat ration. They will die if they eat too much copper.

    They need a place to get out of the rain if they're kept outside. They don't like to be wet.

    We vaccinated ours regularly because we had breeding & show animals of other species.

    If you are breeding goats, be prepared for twins or triplets.

    They can have a long life. My Nubian goat died at around 12 years old. The lamancha died about a year earlier from old age.

    They are picky eaters and prefer to browse (take bites here and there). They will taste paper and love to eat hair.

    You have to trim feet regularly. If you're not comfy with that a vet or farrier may do it for you for a small price. We used horse hoof trimmers to trim the hooves.

    You may wish to trim horns or burn the horn buds if you want to retard horn growth.

    The billy goats do pee on their beards as part of their normal behavior. You may want to neuter them (make them wethers) to prevent the ungodly stench on their pee-beards.

    Goats are really really smart and curious and they will make you laugh out loud at their antics. In a lot of ways they remind me of ducks. :)
     

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