The ABCs of building a barn in Australia

Millions of young children around the world grow up learning the nursery rhyme 'Old MacDonald had a farm', complete with information on the animals on his farmland and the shelter they were provided.

Mr MacDonald seems like a lovely bloke, so chances are, said shelter came in the form of custom designed barns. He probably also respected animal rights and took care to design features that would make life easier for the livestock.

If you're a farmer looking to build a rural shed or barn, look no further, as we've covered the ABCs of doing so right here. 

A is for agricultural animal welfare

The Australian dairy industry comprises farming, manufacturing and exporting, and provides the economy with a staggering $13 billion, according to Dairy Australia. In fact, the farmgate value itself is an impressive $4 billion. Throughout the states and territories, there are 6,700 dairy farmers and collectively they produce 9.5 billion litres of milk annually.

But let's not forget about the source of much of this income: The animals. 

"All states and territories have contemporary and comprehensive animal welfare legislation in place," noted the Department of Agriculture. 

Indeed, the Department of Agriculture takes animal welfare very seriously, and there are staunch laws in place to protect these animals. The National Dairy Industry Animal Welfare Strategy has been especially crafted to work as a national framework for coordinating stakeholder action so that all dairy animals are treated fairly.

As part of the Strategy, "Five Freedoms" have been legally developed. They are meant to be the guiding principles for all animal owners or workers in the dairy industry.

Here are the 'Five Freedoms', listed here verbatim: 

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of their own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. 

If you're currently in the process of designing a barn for your farm, you need to keep these Five Freedoms in mind. Read on below for our tips on how you can abide by them in barn design. 

It's important to keep animal welfare in mind while you design your barn. It's important to keep animal welfare in mind while you design your barn.

B is for barn features 

Shed Boss offers a range of extras that can added to your barn design. These extras can directly help you follow the Five Freedoms. For example, for Freedom 1, you can install rain water tanks to collect fresh H20 for the animals to drink, easy for them to access near the barn itself. 

As for Freedom 2 and 4, this is where the plan for your barn layout, exterior and interior comes in. Leaving enough room for livestock to rest can be archived by adding internal walls so there is enough separate space for sheep or goats to sleep. Adding soft hay bales can also help. If you'd like the animals to have plenty of natural light, a skylight won't go amiss. Such design decisions can help offer 'sufficient space and proper facilities' as per Freedom 4. 

Cows that sleep outdoors may still need to seek shelter from rain or wind, so building an open rural shed can be a haven for them, as well as ensuring that you are following the Five Freedoms. 

Horses can be housed in sturdy stables built adjacent to the barn, and if you'd like some unity in colour and style, both your barn and stable steel can match using the same hue of COLORBOND® steel. With 22 different shades to pick from, there's sure to be a colour that tickles your fancy for a good-looking farmland. 

Ultimately, taking the time to consider such designing when you are tinkering away on the Shed Boss app can help provide a comfortable, safe space for the animals – in keeping with Freedom 5, so you prevent their mental suffering.

It's easy to herd livestock in in an open barn, but you can also opt for a fully enclosed structure. It's easy to herd livestock in in an open rural shed, but you can also opt for a fully enclosed barn structure.

C is for customisability 

Here at Shed Boss, we take pride in offering customers complete freedom to customise their structures. How you choose to incorporate the Five Freedoms in your barn design is entirely up to you – however, if you would like to talk to our team of experts, don't hesitate to get in touch.

Each franchise knows about the council approval process in your area, and is also knowledgeable about the weather and climate conditions, so they can help advise your barn construction plans. Make the most of their expertise by scheduling an appointment or getting a quote for your barn. Shed Boss also provides a complete service package that manages the entire building project, freeing you up to get on with your important work on the farm – so there's freedom for you, as well. 

Don't be afraid to let your inner creativity flourish - customise to your heart's content. Don't be afraid to let your inner creativity flourish – customise to your heart's content.
Posted in Commercial Builds, Industry News.