The average barn in North America houses horses, mules, cows, calves, or sheep and stores crops and materials like hay and grain. The anatomy of a farm building can somewhat vary depending on the purpose. However, some features apply regardless of what’s being put inside.
Let’s learn the eleven essential supplies inside of a barn:
Of course, when you walk into a barn, you’re most likely to find livestock housed in a safe, protective environment with everything they need to feel comfortable. A barn layout and design are built around the animals it houses.
The most common livestock inside a barn are cattle, chickens, sheep, ducks, goats, horses, donkeys, and pigs.
2. Animal Stalls
Stalls are a common component of a barn layout. They are built as individual enclosures, usually located on the main level. Stalls provide the animals a comfortable, safe place to sleep and rest. Stalls can be helpful in many situations, such as if an animal becomes sick and requires separation from others.
3. Barn Exhaust Fans
Barn ventilation helps get rid of moisture, gasses, and dust. They’re an underrated and highly valuable part of keeping animals strong and healthy, focusing on the respiratory aspect. Barn exhaust fans will also allow you to regulate humidity, keeping the climate comfortable for animals staying there.
4. Hay Bales & Drive Bay
A common item you will find in a lot of barns is hay bales. As food for livestock, bales need to be kept for when fresh grass is inaccessible, such as during winter. Hay bales are typically offloaded in the drive bay, where you will likely find some farm machinery stationed.
Drive bays are also common for storing bagged compost, certain hand tools a farmer might use, and materials they decide to put here in their layout.
5. Animal Feed
Barns are used to storing the feed for animals. Items like grain, corn, and commercially-purposed feed are important to keeping livestock fed and healthy year-round. A barn’s feed room should be organized for easy cleaning.
Here, you’ll also have materials, equipment, and tools related to feeding. The feed room must be dust-free so the feed is not contaminated. Common precautions include rat-proof containers, tightly-fitted lids, lighting, and an entrance with a latch so stray animals don’t wander in.
Water is a key element in keeping animals healthy. They need access to fresh, clean water constantly. Especially with cattle, they drink quickly and in large quantities. A water trough is a man-made receptacle that provides drinking water for animals.
This way, you know there’s water available 24/7 and avoid the risk of dehydrating animals. Water troughs kept in barns also benefit from being unaffected by the weather and the elements.
7. Tack Room
A tack room is for when you have horses. A tack room is where saddles, bridles, and similar equipment are kept. The equipment is taken out and used when riding and caring for livestock. Upon return, they can be kept properly maintained and organized. A tack room requires careful planning to get the layout and ensure all equipment is correctly stored.
8. Farming Tools
A barn is the most natural place to keep a farmer’s tools. Shovels, rakes, hoes, and any similar items you know you’ll pull out regularly are best kept in a barn and out of the elements. This maintains the tool and will extend its lifespan. Farmers’ tools will always be kept dry and protected in a barn when not in use.
9. Tractors and Equipment
A barn large enough and with the designated space can handle the storage of tractors, plows, trailers, wagons, and other farm equipment. Like with tools, this prevents rust and damage and keeps farming equipment from inclement weather.
A barn is also a great place to do maintenance work on tools and equipment, such as performing oil changes, lubricating moving parts, checking hitches and tires, calibrating any special equipment, and inspecting for damage.
10. Lighting System
A farmer often works in the barn during the early morning or late evening. Lights are needed to provide visibility when it’s dark outside. There are many approaches to lighting and ways to light a barn, including wall lighting, hanging lights, ceiling-mounted lights, and targeted lighting for specific areas.
Barns can be difficult to light, but once you have an excellent lighting system, it’ll make working during low light so much easier.
11. Waste Storage
Farm waste products have to be handled. Manure, plant residues, nutrient-rich runoff, and mortalities are all examples of waste, and unaddressed, they add up quickly. Waste removal and storage in a barn has to be mapped out correctly, ensuring it’s safe and environmentally protected.
Occasionally, you may also have non-agricultural waste, such as industrial or land-clearing waste, requiring attention.