For those who have been making do with the existing structures on a farm, the opportunity to build customized agricultural buildings is an exciting one, especially when if their purpose will involve housing large livestock, like cattle, horses, or swine. Livestock shelters that are built to meet basic health and space requirements for large animals are an important part of reducing incidences of animal illness and injury, as well as improving gains and feed efficiency for the entire operation.
If you are currently planning for the addition of new agricultural buildings to house large livestock, implementing the following tips can help you ensure that your new buildings will provide a healthy, safe shelter for your animals and a more profitable operation for your family.
Basic open shelters
If your shelter is meant to offer basic protection against wind and precipitation, simple, three-sided shelters are often the best choice. Both beef and dairy cattle, as well as horses, donkeys, and other equines, can thrive in a mostly outdoor environment, even if the temperatures are quite cold. When building a three-sided shelter for large livestock, it is important to make sure that the overall dimensions will provide sufficient space for all animals to be sheltered. It is also important to select a spot with good drainage and to locate the open side of the shelter where it will not be affected by harsh winds or blowing rain during inclement weather.
Enclosed livestock shelters
If you are building enclosed shelters where it will be possible to house large animals in box or free stalls, you will want to plan carefully for adequate ventilation throughout the building. Large livestock that is housed in tightly enclosed spaces is more likely to experience illness and skin condition issues due to humid conditions that arise from poor ventilation.
Adding large vents, windows and large doors throughout the structure will allow you to have more control over both temperature and humidity inside the structure, even in cold weather. If the structure will be outfitted with electricity, opting to install a good ventilation fan system can be an excellent way to ensure healthy airflow throughout the facility.
When planning to meet with an agricultural building contractor, large livestock owners will want to be sure to provide them with critical information, such as the maximum number and type of animals that will be housed and the overall budget for the project, to help ensure that the finished building will best meet their needs.