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I have shared some of this in other posts but thought having a post of it's own might benefit someone who is just beginning the building process. This information comes from experience, in addition to my college education. I hope it helps someone out there not make a big mistake.

The first step before any building project, no matter what it is (house, barn, goat shelter, etc.) is to know your land. If it is possible, spend a year looking at the area where you want to put the building to see how it fares during the different seasons and weather events. What happens after a heavy rain? A heavy snowfall? etc. Will you be able to or even want to go tend to the animals during bad weather if you place the building there?

In college (California) we were taken to some property that is a natural bog, but only during the rainy season. A house can be put up in a matter of weeks and every summer the land is bone dry. But once it starts raining...swamp. It is much easier to decide before your plans are set in stone to move the location of your barn/goat shelter, then to try and come up with ways to solve a bad situation.

During and after every severe weather event--take notice. What direction does the storms come from? A friend told us to build our goat shelter with the opening towards the south as the winds will be warmer from that direction. Our shelter was partly built when we had a bad storm. The wind was blowing at 35mph. We looked out the living room window and saw the rain going sideways in the exact direction of the opening to the shelter. We had not put any doors on yet so the goats had to find shelter from the trees. We still think the opening needs to be from the south, but that experience caused us to do some rethinking and make some adjustments.

After that storm, we walked around the area to see where water was piling up and anything else we needed to be concerned about. I discovered right in front of one gate a pond suddenly developed. Since then I have dumped a lot of dirt there and planted Bermuda grass seed. No more pond when it rains.

When thinking about the structure, plan for the worst. Two weeks after our very well built goat shelter was completed (10by10 and 8 feet tall), we were hit by microburst straight line winds. That storm lasted only 30 minutes and we got 0.67 inches of rain. The wind came out of nowhere, lifted the goat shelter more than 10 feet off the ground and over trees in 3 different directions, knocking down our fence. Our well house was also destroyed and our house shook. Microburst's are winds that can travel 160mph or faster but are not tornadoes. There is no warning. Planes have literally dropped out of the sky due to microburst winds. When I looked out the window before the rain/lightening had subsided and saw the goat shelter missing, I feared I would find a bunch of dead goats. Thankfully that did not happen. Our first goat shelter was attached to solid rock but clearly not anchored well enough. After some research and thinking, the new goat shelter has been built even stronger. So before you even begin, think about the worse storm that could possibly hit your area and build for that. Weather it is earth quakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzard, etc., figure out what you need to do to keep your animals safe during such a storm. Microburst's and earthquakes both happen in a second, which means no time to run out and put your animals in the safest place possible.

Some folks want to put windows in their goat shelter. My only advice is to consider hail. Even on very hot days my goats didn't seem to mind the hot shelter as they chose to spend the hot afternoons inside their shelter instead of outside. It is possible to install solar powered ventilation systems if your goats need a cooler environment, but glass windows bother me if hail is a real threat. I don't want broken glass falling on my goats.

Other things to think about is your comfort while in the building. Our goat shelter is tall so we can stand up in it (and the goats cannot jump on the roof). The old well house, which was destroyed by the microburst, was only 4 feet high. Every time the well broke we basically had to crawl inside on our hands and knees. Our new well house is 6 feet tall.

That is all I can think of right now. If anyone else has some advice, please share it. We can all learn from each other.
 

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Good advice,

Being in Florida, and subject to the ever possible hurricane; we always tie down small structures. Our goat house sits on blocks to stay high and dry, and is secured on all 4 corners with timbers that are buried 6 feet in the ground and set in concrete.

All connections between the floor, studs, and roof rafters are tied together with hurricane clips. Really helps keep everything together when the winds get high.
 

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Where were you when I first started to build. Yeah I learned the hard way about run off. Its no fun diging ditches in a storm or have to put a floor down that you know will only last a few years. Thank you for sharing with us all :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Where were you when I first started to build. Yeah I learned the hard way about run off. Its no fun diging ditches in a storm or have to put a floor down that you know will only last a few years. Thank you for sharing with us all :)
I understand your pain. Shortly after we started building the fence (in stone) we had a heavy rain and so I went out and looked around. What I found was one inch of rain every where. Apparently water doesn't seep through rocks very fast:rolleyes: Even if we had not already begun building the fence, locating the goat enclosure elsewhere would not have been very convenient. I do have a long term plan to remedy the problem, which is to build up the soil through composting. My goat enclosure is only a quarter of an acre so it is a realistic goal.

Not sure it will make you feel any better, but even seasoned house builders make the same mistake. Saw on the news a few years ago a bunch of people were filing lawsuits against the company who had built their homes. Turns out a natural stream ran right through their homes. These homes were only a year old and they foundations were cracking.
 
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