Advantages & Disadvantages of an American Barn

Treat Your Horses to a Timber Framed American Barn

In the past, it was common when sheds were used to keep the animals contained and farm vehicles stored. Nowadays, you can build them on your own to create an ample protected area for your cars and other storage. Besides discussing the uses of such sheds of the past, we will look at the positive and negative features of creating an American barn. We hope to enlighten you and help you decide if this is an option for you.

The element of an American barn is that it is essentially a large portal framed building which contains stable boxes for animals under one big roof. The American barn is typically used when more stables are needed because they offer a much more pragmatic solution to managing livestock. Within American Barns, the stable boxes are divided into partitions and are accessed through a central aisle that connects all boxes. The main aisle is usually the same size as the stable boxes with a typical width of 12-14ft.

A Typical American barn Structure & Door Opening. Image credit: A.C Bacon Engineering

A positive feature of the American Barn is that the animals all know where each other is. This makes the animals a lot more comfortable and easier to maintain. When horses are stressed or feel isolated they will act out and bring you slightly more issues. Letting them socialize is a good idea keeping the stables side by side.

Another good feature of the American Barn is that it allows you a lot of space. You will have a lot of freedom to move around and store vehicles and storage along with your horses. Secondly, you can keep all of the feed and hay above the horses in the second level of the barn. This frees up a lot of space. Also, the open area of the American barn allows for natural sunlight and good ventilation.

A positive trait of American barns are under one roof, the stalls, the tack room, wash racks, feeding area, and working areas and storage. You can go from your horses to stall to the tack room without having to be exposed to the elements. When the weather acts up, you are protected from the elements and have no need to work outside. Once the weather clears up you are free to ride.

You will also appreciate an American barn for the fact that they house bathrooms for the people that work in and use the barn. This makes it an ideal work area where you won’t have to leave your working area to use the facilities. Also, the American barn provides a lot of space for storing cars, trucks, and farm vehicles. Not only that but they also offer you an opportunity to have an open working area where you can store tools that are used frequently.

One last benefit we will mention is that the close proximity of stables when an American barn design is used means services like plumbing and lighting can cost you less money to install when it comes to expenses compared to an open yard method which utilizes the stable boxes being spread throughout a much larger area.

Horses are generally happier in barns as they can socialise with others. Image credit: Peak Horse

Now there are also negative features of an American barn. Although there are not many, we will show you things you will need to know about before you make any decisions on whether you would like to feature a barn on your property. Take a look at the disadvantages below.

To begin with, when all the stables share the same airspace there is a risk of cross-contamination in an American barn. The risk is higher than that of a traditional yard where the stables are open to the elements and separated from neighboring boxes by a solid partition wall. Natural airflow is an ideal method to reduce the risks of cross-contamination. A suggested idea is to build the roof pitch of an American barn more than 30 degrees as to allow warm contaminated air to raise up and be ventilated from the ridge of the roof above.

Another negative that we can point out is that housing all the horses using side by side stables in an American Barn with an open area is that horses with dusty allergies can be effected from the spores of straw or hay that will be hovering within the air from the other adjoining horse stables.

This concludes the positives and negatives of using American barns. We hope you have learned a thing or two that will help you with deciding if an American barn is suitable for usage.

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