Building a Barn – Part 2

A few days ago, I wrote about how we started building our barn. Click on the link to read that post if you missed it and want to read it.


build your own barn


Here’s a picture of how our barn looked at the end of that first year. We got farther along on the building than we thought we would. You can see the chicken coop on the left is completed. Behind the coop, is our feed area. To this day, it remains open although we had intended to close it in by putting siding on the outside walls. We will likely still do that at some point, it just has not got that high on our priority list.

The right hand side of the barn (where the old truck is) has been completely closed in. Here’s how we did that:


build your own barn, barns, milling wood


We framed in that right side, allowing for one window on the end and two windows along the side. Tere are also a total of 3 man doors. This room is now being used for a variety of things. When we raise meat birds, we set up heat lights and they grow out in that room. When we raise weaner pigs, they start off in this room. We get them around the end of March and there is still far too much snow on the ground for us to have them outside.

We throw lots of hay down on the dirt floor and the weaners stay in there for probably 4 or 5 weeks. At that point, we move them out to a pastured area and they sleep in their own little house. Since we have quite a few predators here in the Valley, there is no way we would put small weaner pigs out in the open right away. They are probably about 30 pounds when they arrive and they are far too small to be able to fend off predators.

Once the weaners are moved out, we open up the big end doors and clean out the room. Note: If you have a dirt floor in your barn, you may want to put down a layer of sand on top of the dirt. Then throw your hay on top of that. It makes cleanup so much easier it is quite amazing.

We let the room air out for several weeks. Then we can set up the heat lamps, feeders and waterers for the meat birds. Once they are grown out and sent to freezer camp, we clean the room out again. Actually the room gets cleaned out probably three times while the meat birds are there, as they generate a lot of manure!

After the room is again thoroughly cleaned out, it is usually late Fall. Time for cleanup and putting things away. Many items get put into this room for storing over winter. If we put the old truck in there, we simply put our tools, etc in the bed of the truck. Then the truck stays there until mid-March, when we take it out and get ready for pigs again.

So this “meat bird room” is more of a multipurpose room and it is great to have a room like that in your barn. Use it seasonally like we do for different things, but try to plan ahead for various uses. This way, you can make the appropriate changes to your barn building plans.


insulation, building a barn


Back to the building – friends in the Valley had a lot of insulation laying around that they weren’t going to use and they were happy to pass it along to us. Here you can see that the meat bird room is now totally framed in and insulating can begin.


insulation, building a barn

Here’s that room being insulated and covered with OSB.




homemade hinges, hinges for barns, build your own barn


Homemade hinges for the two large doors.



build your own barn, barn doors

Here’s how it looks with those end doors open.  That thing on the inside left wall is the greenhouse (the one we had under the porch) – we used to store the pieces in this room for Winter. The lumber that you see in the breezeway is all the wood we reclaimed from building the shop foundation. The Gman will reuse it, to do some framing for those gable ends down at the barn.

Next up, I’ll post pictures of the loft area.

If you need to build a barn or are waiting to move to your bare land, here is a good resource. How to Build Small Barns & Outbuildings will take you step by step through the process.



Building a Barn – Part 1

(I wrote this post in 2011. Since winter is often a time of planning the years goals, hopes and dreams, I thought I would republish it. What’s on YOUR list of goals for this year?)

One of the reasons we moved out here to our Cariboo Valley was to have some acreage way out in the boonies, raise a few animals and have a huge vegetable garden. We have never regretted our move out of the city out here to wilderness. Since there wasn’t a barn here when we arrived, we had to build one.

We tossed around a few ideas – we wanted it to be inexpensive but solid. We wanted to custom build it for what we would use it for (pigs, laying hens and some meat birds, livestock feed storage). So we thought and thought and thought some more. One night after a few drinks (funny how ideas flow better when the wine is flowing), we had a bit of a “Eureka” moment.


Building a Barn


Why not do a barn built in two stages? This would spread out the cost over a couple of years, it would enable us to move our laying hens down there and get them settled in, plus we could get a couple of feeder pigs.

Putting pen to paper, we came up with a “half barn”. Since we would also need a place to store either extra vehicles or our future tractor, we would end up with two sections with a breezeway in between. Sounded perfect. And so we began.

Graham excavated and poured footings. Then he stuck those saddle things in the concrete. We got some logs from when the barn next door was taken down, so he used those for the posts. The above picture shows what the first “half barn” looked like with the rafters up.



He cut all the wood (except for those logs from barn next door) to size with his sawmill. Then came the strapping and you can see him trimming the strapping in the picture.



Next came the metal roof. I think it took us four hours to put it on; it is not that hard to do. It’s not a job you want to do if there is any wind; then an easy job turns into a nightmare. Also that last sheet is a bugger to put on and it helps if you have a couple of ladders for doing it.




Here’s a picture from the other side. You can see the chicken coop starting to take shape.



Now things are starting to come together.  Those fence posts you see will be two separate runs for my layers. Two so that they can run around in one, while a bit of rye grass or alfalfa is growing in the other.

The ultimate goal is to have greens growing in either run, and rotate the hens between them. This will allow them to nibble a bit, and when it’s eaten down, they get moved to the other run. See the 2 little tiny doors? One on the side and one on the front (with black tar paper). We can just close off whatever door we like, and choose the run we want them in. Upper hole is for the window, one on side and one on front.



Here it the “half barn”. This picture was taken from our porch. This is pretty much the way we thought the barn would stay until the following year, except we wanted to finish off the siding. Chickens on one side, and our 2 piggies on the other. In the Fall, our parents came for a week. They like to keep busy and love to help us with a project.



So my Dad got busy doing firewood while Graham and his Dad figured well why not put up the other “half barn”? Well, why not indeed!


Check out the posts and bracing.


There goes the strapping, then comes the metal roofing.



And the outer shell is completed before the snow flies. There is even storage for this winter for Graham’s old beauty. Here you can really see the breezeway between the two “half barns”.  We are loving the way it is turning out. There will be a couple of rooms for meat birds (where the truck is parked now), plus we will design those rooms so if we eventually want a cow or horse in there, we can easily accomodate them. Plus we will have a feed room.

We will close in the upper portion and use it for hay storage. Here’s the next chapter on the second part of How to Build a Barn.

If you need to build a barn or are waiting to move to your bare land, here is a good resource. How to Build Small Barns & Outbuildings will take you step by step through the process.


Want to be sure you’re reading what we’re writing?   Subscribe to our mailing list and don’t miss a single post. Take a look at our sidebar at the top of the page and subscribe. I promise you I’ll keep your email addresses to myself – you won’t ever be spammed and I won’t ever do anything with my list other than let you know every time a new post is published here and give you the inside scoop on great info and deals.