If I had known what I know now, I would have built my barn differently. I have to say that I’m mostly happy with the barn. I know I’m fortunate to have it. But here are some things I would change.
I would plan some space for packing for shows.
My aisles are just wide enough to lay out my carriers – and then trip over them constantly until my rabbits are packed. If I had planned for just a couple of feet more per aisle – six feet wider or longer – I could have walked more easily up and down the aisles or had room at the end of the barn to lay those suckers out, without getting in my way.
I would have planned a special area for storing my feed out of the sunshine. Of course, I actually did this, but then I changed it to a cage space. Now my feed is in a galvanized can in the middle of one of my aisles because the only space that would be out of my way is in the sunshine.
I would have known that I was going to close in the overhang (where the feed use to be) from the beginning and would have hung my florescent lights in that third aisle at the start. As it stands, I have flood lights in that part. And those much-needed florescent lights have been on my to-do list for quite some time. I don’t feel that the lighting from the flood lights is adequate for keeping fur in condition and keeping my rabbits from being depressed. I need those fluorescents.
I would have put in more outlets, all hooked to the thermostat for fans.
I do have one such outlet, which, when I just had two aisles, seemed like plenty. But now I’ve scattered to three aisles and I find that I need fans on the south side of the barn (the one outlet is on the north side), so I end up with extension cords everywhere – extension cords covered in hay, urine, spider webs, and manure, of course.
I’d have made a solid wall entirely around the back and side of my work table to keep flying fur, misdirected urine, and the occasional pile of manure from invading my spaces. It would also have kept nosey rabbits from the closest cage from distracting the rabbit I am dealing with on the work table. It would also have kept my telephone a lot cleaner.
I think I would have installed a storm door instead of a screen door. The screen door hasn’t held up well. But maybe the storm door wouldn’t have either.
I would have built in an exhaust fan in the peak of my barn.
Now I am trying to figure out how to go back and do that after the fact.
I would have built a second door to the barn. This one would be in the third aisle, which used to be the overhang. It would make major barn cleaning events much easier.
I would have made better use of the rocks on my property – perhaps mixed with mortar – to make sure that wild animals could not crawl under the walls. Since I have a gravel floor in my barn – one of the things I really like – I fear that I’ll find something has burrowed inside one day.
I would have built in worm beds under my hanging cages from the very beginning. Building worm beds has been on my to-do list as long as the florescent lights have.
I wish that I had brought the water line up inside the barn instead of just outside it. And I wish I had brought it up just inside the southern “windows.” These windows are screened and covered in hardware cloth. During the winter, they are covered in clear plastic and cause a bit of greenhouse effect. That could have served to help my water lines unfreeze more quickly.
I wouldn’t have built that one hot corner in my barn, but would have opened each aisle on both ends for air flow. That hot corner was my second attempt to build a place to put my feed out of the sunshine, but I hung cages there, too.
If I’d had a bigger budget, I’d have built a small room on the front of the barn to keep visitors contained in. I’d have built an area for a couple of larger cages for any chubby rabbit that needed more exercise. My husband wishes for hot and cold running water in the barn, but we’re just lucky to have cold water out there (when it doesn’t freeze). I guess I could wish for air conditioning while I’m at it, but then I’d have to wish for a way to pay for the electricity bill, too.