What is a Loafing Barn?
Loafing or freestall barns, also called run-in sheds, are small barns that typically provide shelter for dairy cows, horses and other livestock from rain, wind and extreme sun. Though this is the typical use, there are various other uses to which a loafing barn can be adapted for industrial, business, recreational or personal use. Loafing barns can be portable or permanently placed.
Advantages of Building Your Own Loafing Barn
As a beginner or advanced craftsman, you can build a loafing barn for you own yard or family, The key to success is in the planning. Once you know exactly what you need, free plans can be found for download on the web that will make your efforts at building your own loafing barn a success. With a good set of plans, you will be able to build a barn more cost effectively than purchasing a ready-made or assembly kit barn. If you are very resourceful and scavenge or recycle the needed materials, you can build a reasonable loafing barn for a minimal outlay .
Variety of Loafing Barn Plans
Loafing barns vary widely in their size, materials and execution. They can be portable or permanent, and some have dirt floors while others have cement floors, which can be cleaned easily. Cement-floored loafing barns used in the dairy industry are thought to be environmentally friendly because they help control manure runoff and can improve water table quality. Some are three-sided structures with a roof and others include a fourth wall of gates allowing the barn to act also as a pen. With loafing barns located in remote locations in a field or pasture, open to all elements, structural damage may occur if not built using sound construction practices. Extreme care must also be taken to prevent any sharp edges or protruding building materials from injuring the animals for which the barn is built.
Where to Build Your Loafing Barn
A permanent loafing barn should be built in a well drained location to prevent livestock from standing in muddy stalls. Often gravel or rubber mats can be placed in the barn to ensure a dry, comfortable visit for the animals. A portable shed can be moved periodically to a fresh, dry site.
Plans and Barn Building Advice on the Web
There is a wealth of barn building advice and construction expertise available for free on the web. Many websites that offer plans for sale also offer basic plans for download at no cost. Searching for "free barn building plans" or "loafing barn plans free," for instance, elicits numerous options for plans that can be easily downloaded and printed for reference. Many of these plans come with detailed material lists and some even advise of material options.