Portable Calf Barn You Can Build Yourself

Here's a good idea for cattlemen -- and anyone else who'd like to have a bit more flexibility when putting up new buildings around the farm.

Greg Blahun needed new calving facilities for his 220-cow herd, but he needed shelters at more than one of his corrals. Instead of building multiple sheds, he found a simple answer. He built a 30 by 30-ft. barn in three sections, mounted on skids that make them easy to move around.

The two side sections are simply three-sided, open-front calf shelters with roofs that slope to the back. The low end of of each section is 6 ft. high and the high end 8 ft. Each one is 10 ft. wide and 30 ft. long.

The center section is open on both sides with a peaked roof that slopes to either side. The ends are closed in with overhead doors which allow easy access to the animals inside.

"The foundation for a barn is always a major expense. We eliminated it by mounting the barn on skids," says Blahun.

He built heavy skids from 8-in. dia. oil field pipe that he bought for scrap. Each section is built on two 30-ft. skids with a crossbar at each end. He used the same pipe for the frame, bolting 2 by 6-in. boards to the uprights which the then pressure-treated.

When the sections are skidded together, Blahun leaves a 2 ft. gap between each side section and center.

"That gives me another 4 ft. of room in the barn. The roofs overlap by 6 to 12 in. where the side sections fit under the peaked roof. Water runs off the center section onto the roofs of the side sections. The 4 to 6 in. gap between the roof sections lets in air and light. The wind blows a little snow in through the gap but I can plug the openings with straw bales, when necessary."

Blahun notes that you could easily modify the design so there's no gaps between the roofs.

To let more light in, he used translucent plastic greenhouse siding on the ends above the overhead doors.

Each side section has three 10 by 12-ft. stalls with a 2-ft. walk-through gate. All gates fold flat against the walls when not needed. A maternity pen, with halogen lights, is located in the center pen.

Blahun enjoys the mobility and versatility of his barn. "If you build a barn on a foundation, it's there to stay. I can move this barn from one pen to another or from one farm to another. I'm currently building corrals on another part of my farm where there are no buildings. I'll be able to set this barn up there in a half hour. And when it comes to cleaning, all I have to do is pull the barn out of the way and use a tractor to clean out. No more shoveling out calf pens."

He can also use the side sections alone as open-sided calf pens in the spring if there's bad weather.