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Barn ventilation

Discussion in 'Fencing, Housing, Manure Management' started by NachoFarm, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Apr 18, 2012
    NachoFarm

    NachoFarm Chillin' with the herd

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    So I kind of thought since our barn is "rustic" that it would just by nature have good ventilation. However when I was in there the other day and knelt down I noticed a distinct ammonia smell.

    We house six chickens and two 3 month old goats in the barn and it's approximately 32'X20'.

    It's old barn board on the inside and was covered over with what looks like aluminum panels on the sides and the roof. It's by no means insulated and has one large door, one small door and a horizontal crank out window above the goat stall that hasn't been opened yet.

    How do we get it properly ventilated without causing a chill?
  2. Apr 18, 2012
    elevan

    elevan Critter Addict ♥ Moderator Moderator

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    Add some vents up high by the roof overhang. That's where I'd start.
  3. Apr 18, 2012
    ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Alpaca Master

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    How often do you clean out the barn? What is on the barn floor?
  4. Apr 18, 2012
    goodhors

    goodhors Overrun with beasties

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    We have roof vents. This is a pole barn, so even with the doors tight shut, we have
    very good air exchange without any drafts.

    I have horses in the barn, so I don't worry about how cold they are. They can manage
    cold just fine. Drafts that will chill by blowing on them, they can't escape, are what
    can make them sick.

    Ammonia smells can make animals sick. We have excellent drainage, stalls are
    cleaned daily, so there is NO AMMONIA, ever. Ammonia smells in the barn is very bad for
    horses who need good lungs to be able to do horsey activities. Horse who can't breathe well is
    pretty much done for. Can't fix damaged lungs. Ammonia isn't very good breathing for
    other livestock, birds either.

    Sounds like that stall needs cleaning pretty quick. This is along with opening up the barn,
    getting the new air inside and moving thru without chilling the animals. Does
    your barn have any venting in the roof?
  5. Apr 19, 2012
    NachoFarm

    NachoFarm Chillin' with the herd

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    So I just got out there and opened up both doors and the window above the goat stall. I'm going to leave it open all day and let the goats roam free. They're in their glory right now. :rolleyes:

    I don't believe we have any sort of venting at the roof line or in the roof so that will be first on the list.

    We have dirt floor and there were several wet spots under the feeder that's my guess as to what was causing the smell. Call me clueless but I kind of figured that since the floor was dirt the urine would just seep away into the earth... :/ Um, I guess it doesn't. I raked up all the bedding (we just use waste hay...) and raked the dirt up really good to try and get some air on it.

    Is there a product that any one can reccomend for dirt floors that I can use to control the moisture and smell? Would you recommend getting stall mats and the putting bedding on that?

    I feel so bad. These poor creatures have to endure my learning curve.
  6. Apr 19, 2012
    ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Alpaca Master

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    You could try something like stall dry. You can put pine shavings down first and then put down the wasted hay. I just clean out the goat pens on a regular basis. If you could clean them out on a day that you could do it in the morning and let it air dry during the day, that helps.
  7. Apr 19, 2012
    Pearce Pastures

    Pearce Pastures Goat Walker

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    I use barn lime from TSC.
  8. Apr 19, 2012
    elevan

    elevan Critter Addict ♥ Moderator Moderator

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    x2
  9. Apr 19, 2012
    DonnaBelle

    DonnaBelle Loving the herd life

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    Sprinkle down the barn lime, then put the hay/shavings or whatever you use, make it thick enough that the goats can't touch it. It is lime and it's caustic to skin. But it will sweeten the soil and keep the barn dirt clean. I still like having a base of dirt in the barn.

    I also use stall dry. It's the urine that causes most of the smell. You just have to pick up the wet/soiled bedding once a day. We do that and put it on a huge pile of dirt DH dredged out of the end of the pond last year. After a month or two he takes his tractor with the loader on the front an turns it. Soon you have lovely goat poop/pee compost.

    It's part of living with livestock. I admire the folks on here that have full time away from home jobs and manage to get everything done.

    Also, we put lots of high wall vents and other kinds of roof ventilation. Ventilation is an absolute must in any kind of chicken house, barn or building animals poop/pee in.

    DonnaBelle
  10. Apr 20, 2012
    goodhors

    goodhors Overrun with beasties

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    We have stall mats over gravel type, fill dirt in the stalls. Mats are VERY
    easy to clean, you don't loose dirt fill in the stalls, getting out the bedding.
    I watched the folks throw away bushels of dirt, cleaning the stalls last
    year at the Fair. Just "shoveled it up", along with the traces of bedding,
    to go into the manure piles. I was VERY unhappy, because I had spent
    about 8 hours putting that NEW DIRT into those stalls, after all the complaints
    of uneven footing in the horse stalls. Easier to toss the dirt out, than pick
    out the soiled bedding for throwing away. GRRRR! Dirt cost money and
    time to put back in.

    We layered the powdered barn lime from TSC on the dirt, plus there is a
    deep layer of smaller limestone rocks under the gravel, so no ammonia
    smells happen under our stall mats. We usually drag them out once a year,
    make sure the dirt is leveled, put down another layer of lime. Then we bring
    mats back in, make sure the corners are flat and even on edges. Our horses
    sometimes pull up a corner, so bedding will get under and make it stick up.
    Just getting it all back even, usually is good for another year.

    Stall mats are a huge time saver here, along with making a nice cushion
    for standing or laying on. They are a good insulation layer, so body
    heat is not pulled out of animal laying on frozen winter ground. Animals
    can't dig holes, tear up the dirt floor with matting over it, so floors stay
    nice and flat under them. Bigger animals have problems with floors
    that are not mostly flat. No frozen manure piles you can't get off the dirt
    floor! I HATE dirt floors for cleaning, so much work, never look that nice
    to me, along with being uneven, no matter what you do trying to fix it.

    For us, the stall mats were a worthwhile investment to floor the dirt stalls,
    for all those reasons above.

    Last I checked, the Family Farm and Home store had the THICK 4'x6' mats for
    $30 each, best price I have seen. Sometimes they have a sale, knock off
    a dollar or two on those mats. Other farm stores have their mats priced
    quite a bit higher, even when on sale.

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