You might have read one of my previous posts that talked about my to-do list over Christmas break. I included a planner that can also be used as an overall winter homestead planner. Our first big project was a partial barn transformation.
It was originally supposed to be a barn cleaning, manure scooping day, then we were going to build horse stalls to replace the old ones. We had two makeshift stalls made out of corral panels for our two Haflingers, but after five years of spending winters in their stalls(with outside time too), they got a little too cantankerous and beat up some of those panels beyond repair.
So, the only shelter for the horses this winter would have been shared with the goats. Yeah, not a good idea. Poor goats would probably starve and get kicked out of the barn, literally. Needless to say this project was top priority.
Here is a before pic, don’t judge.
We have never been successful at growing a dollar tree out back, so we couldn’t put any money into this big project, but my son and I came up with an idea that would require no purchases and we could actually use what we already had, cattle panels and scrap wood.
Being creative with what we have is quite rewarding!
Instead of making more horse stalls, we decided to extend the goat area under the loft, which was where the horse stalls were and put a goat door(small framed out doorway that only goats could get through). That way, the horses could have shelter where the goats were originally, and the goats could have their own shelter separate from the horses.
For starters and six truckloads of multi-species manure later, yes, I said six and no we did not have a working tractor with a frontloader and no we don’t own a manure spreader(wishlist), we got the barn scooped out. That took two days.
Don’t pay too much attention to the frizzy, manure-sprinkled hair or my kids sitting on a manure pile.
My husband and son tightened the fence that divided horses from goats and framed out a goat door into the new area for goats only. They used a piece of scrap wood for the top frame, the left side is a beam supporting the loft and the right side is a leftover corner post.
We had some corral panels that didn’t get too beat up so we were going to use those for the extended goat area, but we thought using leftover cattle panels would be more feasible. Little baby goats could escape the corral panels because of the big gaps. Plus, cattle panels would look better in our opinion. We attached the cattle panels to the loft beams with u-nails and we quickly had a new area for the goats.
The platform in the background is made from a metal frame that a go-cart came in years ago. We put a scrap piece of treated wood on top to make a little platform for the goats to play on.
The above picture is shown with the loft above. We put an old swimming pool ladder over the cattle panels so that we don’t have to open up the panels as much(one side of a panel is chained to the beam for access inside). We aren’t milking right now, but the old milk stand sits right outside the goat pen for easy access and fresh air(right by the big door).
If I had a before picture, you would be quite amazed!
Although we did make past purchases of corral panels and cattle panels, we were able to recycle them and use them for this big project. We have transformed our barn without spending a dime! It was hard work and we threw away a lot of junk that has accumulated over the years, cleared out and organized, raked old hay and trash from the floor and then blew dust from our noses for a few days after that!
We originally thought we would have to put a good bit of money into this project, but as we began to think outside the box, we saw things a little differently. Granted, we don’t have expensive top-notch stalls, but really, who needs them?
Many of us keep things that might be of good use to the farm, and while most of the time they just end up collecting dust and chicken poo, sometimes there is a gem that can really be put to good use!
Believe it or not, I use essential oils on my creatures shown in these pictures! Find out more HERE.