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Barn drainage troubles and flooring
Our girls have been at home with us now for one month. We had a barn built and have a paddock area for them. The problem is that the barn sits right next to a steep mountainside. The water runs right into the barn and the barn "floor" is as much of a mudpit as the paddock is right now. We will start digging a ditch between the barn and the mountainside in a few days. However, I'm concerned that that just won't be enough.
Currently the floor of the barn is clay and rock which doesn't absorb a bit of water. We've been using sawdust and pelleted bedding. I think it would be a good idea to put a "sub-floor" of gravel (like a foot of it) and then put rubber stall mats on top. It seems like this would help our drainage issues a lot and make things a lot cleaner. Has anyone done this? How well does it work? It seems like you would use a lot less bedding. Does excess urine drain out through the mats or can you spray them down with water after cleaning up used bedding. (right now I can't imagine adding water to the mess :-().
Right now I'm doing what I can by adding lots of absorbant bedding, but I can't keep adding this much this often. It's just a quick fix.
I'll attach some pics to show how the floor on the barn is slanted away from the mountainside (which you would think would help drainage more than it does). The pics were taken the day we got the horses home - believe me it hasn't been that dry since!
You could try Stall Skins. They're cheaper than rubber mats, but do require work installing them over gravel. Stallskins
Those look awesome! Exactly what I need. Now, I just have to convince DH.
Anyone else ever use Stall Skins? What can you tell me about them?
Some people have had the Stalls Skins tear. Then you're kind of short of luck unless you rip them out. The sawdust gets under them and the ammonia builds up.
I would go ahead and dig the ditch and in the process move the dirt around so that the land goes uphill to the back of the barn, to keep the water from flowing downhill to into the barn. Hopefully it'll run down the side of the mountain and be re-routed with the ditch. But any water that happens to get by the ditch (in heavy rain) could be stopped from entering the barn with the built up land around the edges. ...Hope that made sense.
You might want to look into Frech Drains - I'm sure they would help a ton.
And as far as inside goes - I would go ahead and put down stone dust and mats. It can't hurt. The pee that isn't absorbed by the sawdust will seap between the cracks in the mats and drain into the stone, which shouldn't be a problem.
I don't have any suggestions, but I feel your pain! My show mare is the only one stalled now, as we're in the process of building a new barn. The barn she's in was poorly built and drainage was not even thought about. When she pees or it rains, the water will just sit and I can't keep her stall dry unless she's put out for two weeks! I will be happy when our new barn is finished. I like My Beau said about putting the extra dirt on the edges. Couldn't hurt. Hope you get it figured out!
If that still isn't enough, we'll look into stall mats or stall skins next spring when we have the girls out in one of the neighbor's pastures. I really like the idea of stall mats or skins even if the drainage issues are fixed, but hubby is negative on them. I've ordered a sample and pamphlets and will keep working on him - what the heck, I have until spring anyway.
The ditch has helped a lot. Way more than I expected. Plus we started using a deep layer of straw instead of sawdust for bedding so if a little water gets in, it's under the straw, rather than absorbed by the sawdust. The barn is 100% better now. I think next summer we will put in french drains and stall skins so that we can go back to the sawdust. I hate scooping poop out of straw, but it's definitely the best way to go for now. Thanks for the help!
If you're going to do mats or stall skins, try a layer of gravel, and then a layer of packed limestone sprayed down, then left to harden over night. The limestone will help with the ammonia (And make the stalls level), and the water should drain through the gravel.
Glad to hear that the ditch has helped for now, get you threw until summer. I havent heard many really positive things about stall skins, I have known 4 people to have them and they have ripped or torn within a year of having them. But maybe thats just bad luck?
When people had the stall skins tear, were they using enough bedding material? The company recommends 8 inches of bedding. It seems like that would keep the horses from really even touching the stall skins and decrease the chance of tearing. Just a thought. If we do it, we'll just try it in one stall to start and see how it goes.
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