When we first got Karen and Alan last summer, the intention was to use them to clear our land. Milking goats was nowhere near being on, or even in the vicinity of my radar. But, it didn't take me long after getting them to jump on the goat milk train and decide that I wanted to expand my herd and start breeding for milk. For the past year we have kept them in a dog house with a door we could close them in. This set up is not suited for kidding or raising kids, and although we knew it was temporary anyway, the plans for breeding pushed us to get moving on a permanent solution.
There is an existing concrete slab on our property, adjacent to the one side of the goat's perimeter fence. This is where some sort of barn used to stand, and the slab is roughly 11x50 feet. Due to financial and spacial constraints, we decided on a 11' by 16' structure. Because this is going to exclusively be for small dairy goats (and Annie of course), this is a good size to grow into and if designed right, can provide more than enough space for the amount of goats we need.
A space this size, when maximized and designed properly, has a surprising amount of space. Door layouts with consideration to location, swing direction and size of the stalls, creating feeders to hang on the walls, high shelving, and a hay loft are all ways to save on floor space, and reduce wasted space.
We laid out our barn so that along the right side (16' side) there is the potential for three (~5'x5') stalls. These will come in handy to separate babies from mothers when weaning, as well as privacy during kidding. The third stall will be used for hay storage for now and I will store my milk stand to the left in the general area.
For the time being, we have hay stacked where the third stall will be, as well as in the loft overhead. Eventually, all of the hay that we can't fit into the loft (which is about 12 square bales) will go into a small metal structure that we plan on adding in the next few years when we need the floor space.
We still have some finishing touches to add, finish up the trim around the windows, corners, and roof line as well as add the sliding barn doors on the stall side. This small barn has more than enough space to accommodate our existing herd, as well as the herd size we plan to grow into. With a thought out design, and plans to add supplemental hay storage in the future, a lot can be accomplished in a small space!
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