Siting Livestock Sheds and Barns on Your Farm

When engaging a post frame ag building contractor to build a new shed or barn for your livestock, the location you choose affects much more than the scenery around your farm and the number of steps you have to take to get your chores done. The site you choose has a huge impact on the atmosphere inside your barn and the health of your livestock.

The odors coming from your livestock shed are always stronger inside, and animals spend a lot of time with their heads down near the ground. That’s why ventilation in a barn or shed is so important for your animals’ respiratory health.

Yet how much wind you want to direct through your barn will depend on your climate. In cold regions, it’s best to site your barn perpendicular to prevailing winds to block direct winter winds. In hot climates, you may want to site your barn parallel to prevailing wind currents to take advantage of cooling breezes during hot summer months.

Another important consideration when choosing a site for your livestock barn or shed is sun. Sunlight kills germs naturally, promoting animal health. It also makes it easier to work inside without lights. But the amount of sun you want to invite into your barn depends, once again, on your climate. In hotter climates, heat can easily build up to unhealthy levels inside your shed. Choosing a shaded site or angling the barn to block direct sun will help keep your animals cool in the summer heat. If you install ample ventilation in the eaves, you can close windows and doors to block the sun in the summer without closing off air flow.

The amount and direction of the sun at various times of year are important considerations when siting your livestock barn.
In cold climates, a sunny location is ideal, as are windows and doors located to let in sunlight. Many farmers use skylights and windows to admit extra sun where warmth and light are scarce through long winter months.


Like your livestock, barns hate wet feet. Your animals will do best on a site that’s high and dry throughout the seasons and your building will, too. Even in a dry location, you may need to build up the surface under your barn to encourage rainwater to flow around it rather than under or through it. Next to wind and air flow, moisture is the most important consideration for creating a healthy barn environment.

Of course, your barn won’t do you much good if you can’t get your vehicles and equipment in to do your work. Make sure you choose a site with easy access for moving equipment, animals, bedding and feed. Easy road access is also important in case of emergencies.

Your barn location should afford easy access for vehicles and equipment.


Even the cleanest livestock barn creates smells, and you’ll want to provide enough distance to keep things pleasant for the farm’s human residents, too. On the other hand, placing your barn close to your house and other farm buildings will save you steps, and that’s worth something too—especially in bad weather.

The Ideal Site for the Ideal Barn
Our designers have extensive experience designing pole barns for livestock, and they’ll be happy to help you choose the optimal location for your new livestock barn, shed or run-in. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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