Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting The Most Out Of Reclaimed Wood

This is our ugly barn.  Really that's what we call it.  We have what we call the "chicken barn" which is where all our layers stay, up near the house, and the ugly barn that sits as an eyesore in the field.  It does have it's good qualities and thank goodness looks much better on the inside than the out.  This farm was at one time a pig farm.  The barn was set up with a well system and automatic water troughs with self fill float devices (none of which are working now and are far down the "honey do" list).  The doors on the outside of the barn for each stall were supposed to slide up with a string and pully mechanism hooked on the inside of the barn (another thing on the list of restorations), and the floor in the whole barn is concreted with spillways and gutters leading out in both the center isle and on the outside wall of each stall which makes it so much easier to clean than dirt floors.  Somewhere along the way the actual stalls were torn down and when we purchased the property it was just a wide open barn (filled with a whole lot of junk) with a few reminders of what it used to look like.  You have to be able to see past what an old barn may look like to see it's full potential.  After a few years of work, this is our barn now....Still ugly I know but it is functional and with some hard work and very little money it now safely houses the animals that make this place worth working for.

 The stalls are made of reclaimed lumber from pallets and some cull pieces from the lumber yard.  The only things we had to purchase for making them were a couple 2x4's and 6- 2x6x12's from the lumber yard for support rails.

Notice the milk stand that we made out of the pallets also.  I prefer to milk the goats while standing it is much better for my bad back so when we made this we kept that in mind.  We also made a ramp that folds up to save space if needed. When disassembling pallets do not pull them apart.  Use a sawzall with a fine blade for cutting through the nails and pre-drill each board before screwing them into place to avoid cracking.  It is a little tedious but makes all the difference.

For the turkey pen we used pallet wood and 4- 1x4x10's so that we could enclose the whole thing to protect the babies from the raccoons and weasels...the chicken wire was left here by the previous owner so that was a freebie also...The roost was made from a clothes rack that was being thrown away at the local flea-market.  Old closet rod brackets screwed in to the walls are great to hold bird waterers and the kick plate at the bottom helps keep in the shaving.  (Note: The bottom sill does not sit on the floor but an inch or so above to let water flow out into the gutter for easy cleaning)

The slide up doors are very convenient for letting the animals in and out without having to go into the barn to do so.  We repaired most of them with the press board that was screwed to the bottom of the pallets and cut them to size.  Most of the outdoor channel slides were repaired with pallet boards also. 

We use old bungee cords to hold the doors up for all but the pigs who have figured out how lift them to let themselves in and out on their own. (Naughty pigs! They are a whole other story)  We also made the roosts out of some pallet wood and one out of the other half of the old cloths rack they were throwing away from the flea-market.
By the time all was said and done we had spent under $150 on materials most of which was screws, hinges and lock for each stall and built 3 stalls, a special birthing stall for the goats, and 3 bird aviaries for our chickens, turkeys and geese.


  1. Wow, you guys did an amazing job!! I'm SO envious of your barn!! My animals would be too :) You are very fortunate to have such a nice setup!!

  2. This is very nice ... and not ugly at all! Very functional. I hope to have a similar setup in the near future. Your post keeps hope afloat :-)

  3. Wow- I can totally relate to this post! We have 2 "ugly" barns... But, I can't complain because even though they aren't pretty to look at, they have enabled us to raise animals much sooner than if we would have had to build from scratch! But, looks like you've put a lot of work into yours and have made them very useable and functional! Thanks for sharing this post at the Homestead Barn Hop! Hope to see you again next week!

  4. I love it-it doesn't look ugly at all! Holly

  5. Hi Laura-Lisa,
    I think your ugly barn is beautiful! We plan on making a barn out of pallets and yes the crate we made for our goat is out of pallets, 5 to be exact. We don't have plans but I we post more pictures soon so your husband and just built it by site.

    Thanks for stopping by Healthy Homesteading. I will be back :)