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Barn Blog

January 3, 2015

How to Use a Pole Barn as an Animal Shelter

Animals need protection from the elements, especially cold winter temperatures. If you own horses or other animals, you can use a pole barn to house them at night and during days with harsh weather. Here are some tips on how to convert a pole barn into an animal shelter.

You can use several types of wood to build your pole barn. Rough-cut oak is the best, followed by other species, such as pine. You can also use plywood, but your animals might be able to kick through it. Use metal or asphalt shingles on the roof and metal or wood siding on the walls.

The first step in converting your pole barn into an animal shelter is to measure the amount of available floor space inside the building. This will help you figure out how many stalls you can build and the best way to arrange them. It will be helpful to draw a scale diagram and try different configurations until you find the one that will work the best. If your pole barn doesn't have a loft, remember to allow for space to store feed, hay, wood shavings, and other things you will need to care for your animals.

If your region is prone to cold winter temperatures, snow, and ice, you will need to insulate your pole barn to keep your animals warm. You can stuff blanket insulation between beams and rafters and seal it with building wrap. Seal any gaps with weather-stripping to keep cold air from leaking into the building.

Proper drainage is essential. Use a builder's level to figure out the slope of the land on the building site. Dig a 24 inch deep trench starting at the area with the higher grade and extending down. Pour two inches of gravel into the trench, lay a perforated drainage pipe on top, and then fill in the rest of the trench with gravel.

Hook up any utilities you will need, such as electricity and water. If you don't know how to do this yourself, hire a professional. Be sure that the contractor knows where the stalls will be located so that he or she will be able to figure out the best locations for the utility lines.

Choose free-standing stall kits that can be anchored to the floor. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions. Install any food and water troughs your animals will need in the stalls. Lay rubber mats on top of the concrete floor to make cleaning easier.

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