LumberJocks

Building a Goat Barn #1: The Crazy Idea

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by David Bareford posted 07-30-2014 03:32 PM 1204 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Building a Goat Barn series Part 2: Harvesting Timber »

In 2012, my wife and our two daughters and I moved from Chicago to southwestern Washington state, outside the small town of Woodland where we bought a lovely five-acre rural property with a small but lovely house. We wanted a change of pace from the city and a chance to be more connected to the land and our food supply. It was this change that also got me into woodworking, after I inherited my grandfather’s hand tools. He was a building contractor in the 1920s and 30s, and his 1909 Disstons and planes started me down the path of electron-free woodworking.

This year, we decided we wanted to add a few goats to our lives, and that meant we needed a shelter for them. Since we would like to eventually milk our does and we live in the rainy Northwest, I wanted a more substantial shelter that included a milking station and room to store hay, feed, etc. Trying to live simply (and build cheaply), I decided to build the barn myself, using as much natural material from our land as possible. I am planning to build an ocatgonal barn about 18 feet across, using a post-and-beam framework with the wall in-filled with cordwood masonry. I chose an octagon because it has a larger enclosed area with less wall perimeter than a rectangle. It will have a living roof over reciprocal frame rafters. More on that later.

While our property, which we call Barewood, has many resources including 4 acres under timber (mostly red alder), it also has the challenge of being on a fairly steep slope and being overgrown with blackberries (hence the need for goats). The best location for the barn was near the garden…which means it is also a good hike uphill from the house and shop. Here is how the chosen site looked when I started:

Keep in mind that I have no power tools apart from a chainsaw, and that means no earth moving equipment except a wheelbarrow and shovels….



6 comments so far

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13446 posts in 1317 days


#1 posted 07-30-2014 03:58 PM

Goats will love that and they are fun to have. Sounds like s nice barn. Mine is just 6×8 with a hay and feed storage area. Fencing? Whatcha gonna do for fencing? How many goats? How large of an area. I let mine out for a while at a time to eat and then call them back by banging the food tin.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13446 posts in 1317 days


#2 posted 07-30-2014 04:02 PM

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View David Bareford's profile

David Bareford

66 posts in 1067 days


#3 posted 07-30-2014 05:16 PM

That’s a great little structure! I’d be done already if I hadn’t over complicated things… ;-)

For fencing, I’m planning to start with a permanent enclosure about 25’ square directly in front of the barn doors as an area for easy handling, etc. I’ll probably go with Redbrand’s 48” woven wire goat fence for that. The area around the barn is mostly choked with blackberry and thistle (which I hear goats like), so I’m planning to get some Premier 1 electric goat fencing and make temporary enclosure to rotate them around and clear out some of the area. Have you had any experience with either of these kinds of fences?

Thanks for responding; I can use all the advice and words of experience I can get!

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13446 posts in 1317 days


#4 posted 07-30-2014 05:35 PM

I have the 48” red brand and two strand of barbed wire above that for a total of 6’. Im trying to keep coyotes and bobcats out. So far successful and goats have stayed in. Never tried e fence. The redbrand was expensive but seemed to be the best.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View David Bareford's profile

David Bareford

66 posts in 1067 days


#5 posted 07-30-2014 06:20 PM

Good to hear about red brand. I’m going to go with that. For the coyotes and occasional cougar up here, I recently got an Akbash livestock guardian dog (he’s about 4 month old now…and 40+lbs). Right now, he lives in the chicken run with 9 birds; he does great and doesn’t chase them or anything, although it took the chickens quite a while to get used to the idea of a dog in their living space!

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13446 posts in 1317 days


#6 posted 07-30-2014 06:29 PM

The dog will help. I have the potential for bears and mountain lions too, but not very likely. There are some things goats shouldn’t eat. Might want to check into that, though they seem to know what’s good and not.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com