When you're designing your barn, much of your focus is probably on the barn’s first floor. Positioning the horse stalls, tack room, feed room, and other barn components is important, and will factor into your day-to-day use of the barn.
However, some barn owners overlook the importance of designing the hayloft with the same attention to detail. Proper hayloft design can make feeding hay easier and can make the hayloft more functional. Consider the following tips when planning out your barn’s hayloft!
Install a Stairwell
Many barns feature a ladder up to the hayloft, but consider installing a stairwell instead. A stairwell makes it easier to carry items up into your hayloft in case you would like to use some of the space for storage. Additionally, a stairwell is easier to navigate and a bit safer than a ladder is.
Consider Where to Store Hay to Reduce Labor
If you’re building a large barn, then you might not need to fill the entire hayloft with hay. When you’re working with a large hayloft, plan out where the most convenient area would be to store hay. Keep in mind that the hay will be loaded through the hayloft door, and it’s generally convenient to stack hay somewhat close to that door. Think about where it will be most helpful to store hay in the loft, and plan to make this area easily accessible for both deliveries and day-to-day use.
Fully Finish the Hayloft Floor
Some older barns feature hayloft floors which are only partially finished – this is sometimes the case with a large barn, where finishing the floor is an added expense. Try to avoid going this route – a partially finished floor is dangerous and a person could fall through it. While it might cost more to finish the entire floor, this is an investment in safety and will allow you to fully use the space.
Use Pallets for Proper Hay Storage
It’s important to store hay up and off of the hayloft floor. Bring in plenty of wooden pallets so that air can circulate beneath the hay. If you don’t have access to pallets, then build some wooden frames that lift the hay at least 6” off of the ground.
Include Multiple Hayloft Doors for Throwing Hay
When you’re working with a larger barn, it may be most convenient to throw hay in multiple locations or in different ends of the barn. Build in hayloft doors or trap doors in the areas where you will want to throw hay. Installing multiple doors means that you won’t have to carry as much hay through the bottom floor of the barn, saving you time and aggravation during busy hours at the barn.
Use a Wheelbarrow for Easy Transportation
Lastly, leave a wheelbarrow or hay cart up in the hayloft so that you can easily transport bales throughout the loft.
With a little attention to design, you can ensure that your hayloft makes feeding and transporting hay easy!