The Cooling Off the Barn Saga, Part 2



Here in the Inland Empire, we can get some pretty hot temperatures in the summer time. So hot that the animals are stressed enough to make us stressed! When that happens, it’s time to get to work.

The Cooling Off the Barn Sage, Part 2 - Stone Family Farmstead

As you may remember, I had been working on cooling off the barn in hopes to make an acceptable summer home for my rabbits, and possibly, a new-to-me group of chinchillas that need to be rehomed. Both of these animals need much more temperate situations than my barn was able to provide, so this summer we made it a priority to watch the temperature in there at various intervals and record our findings.

Our findings showed that there was no way that our pretty-hearty rabbits would be comfortable in the barn, let alone chinchillas that were used to living indoors. Our swamp cooler was working well enough, but the humidity was making it warmer in the barn than I liked. You may remember that I began digging a trench to bury the hose in hopes of bringing the temperature of the water in the hose down. The idea was to bury the hose 12 or so inches down, and my thinking was that it might even cool the water as it travels from the spicket to the swamp unit.

Digging a Trench - Stone Family Farmstead

Here’s me, digging that trench. Not easy work!

I got nearly the whole trench dug out, but there was a really stubborn stretch of 6 or so feet that just did not want to be dug. The soil was so hard and compacted that I would need to dig it out little by little. Each time I would dig more out, I’d get to another layer of what felt like rock, and I’d need to fill it with water and try again the next day. Thankfully, Todd and some friends noticed that I was having trouble and decided to add some muscle to the job. They got the rest dug out for me in a very short time.

Trench - Stone Family Farmstead

The trench, before the guys dug it out the rest of the way.

Todd decided that a better idea would be to run PVC through the trench instead of the hose, so the handy guy that he is, that’s just what he did.

The covered trench - The Cooling Off the Barn Saga, Part 2 - Stone Family Farmstead

Here’s the trench after the PVC was run and it was covered back up.

He added a spicket next to the barn, and connected the PVC to the existing spicket that the hose was attached to.

New Spicket - Stone Family Farmstead

Todd also added a solar-powered attic fan to the barn roof. He added it on the side that gets the sun in the hottest part of the day. Thankfully, it actually starts turning earlier in the day than I thought it would.

Attic Fan from the inside of the barn - Stone Family Farmstead

Here is the attic fan from the inside of the barn. It is directly over the side of the barn where the rabbits and chins are, so as to remove all the hot air and humidity from that side first.

The next thing that I did was to hang up an old scruffy tarp in the doorway. I was keeping that door shut because of the sun and heat that was entering that doorway in the afternoon, but in keeping the door shut, I was also keeping the humidity from the swamp cooler in the barn. Keeping the door open with the old tarp in place keeps the sun and heat out, but allows the breeze to come through, which carries the humidity out of the barn that the attic fan doesn’t remove.

Tarp in the barn doorway - Stone Family Farmstead

It’s really not been hot enough lately to test these changes. Oddly, we are in the middle of a ‘cold snap’ for this time of year–70s and 80s. It’s been cool enough to leave the swamp cooler off and we have barely needed to even use the fan–not that I’m complaining! It’s a good time to bring the chins over to get acclimated to living outdoors. It also gives us a chance to test all of our new systems to see if everyone can stay cool enough over the summer. If these things don’t keep it cool enough, the chins will go back home and we’ll keep working on the barn until it is. But I think we’ll be able to make it work.

Shared at Simple Saturdays, Good Morning Mondays, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Mondays, Homemade Mondays, Hey Momma Monday Link Party, MisAdventures Monday, The Gathering Spot, Maple Hill Hop, Tuesdays with a Twist, Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop



 
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Kristi Stone

Kristi Stone

Honestly? I'm the author of this blog...sometimes. My family and I live in Sunny Southern California on a one acre hobby farm where we are working diligently to one day produce our dairy, eggs, and produce. That takes A LOT of work, so if you don't hear from me as soon as you'd like, give me a shout out in the comments and I'll chat back as soon as I can between the garden, goat kids, chickens, husband, human kids, and playing with my grandboy, Kieran. And in the mean time, if you'd like to see more frequently what goes on at our farm, please feel free to join my Facebook group (see the right column) where I am more active. I'd love to get to know you! šŸ™‚
Kristi Stone

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Comments

  1. I am really amazed and impressed with all the work that cooling the barn requires!! Hopefully it will cool off enough for your chinchillas!! Thanks for linking up with #heymomma!

    • So true, Casey! When we moved in, I honestly thought the barn as-is would be all we needed, but nope! Thankfully all of our work seems to be paying off, but we’ll see how it holds up in 100+ temps!

  2. I hope this works in keeping your barn cooler. We recently put a thermometer in our barn, and have been surprised at just how hot it reads!
    Lori from LL Farm

    • I know, Lori! It gets VERY hot in a barn, and the way we were keeping it before we put our digital thermometer in there (measures heat and humidity) would have probably read much higher than now. I keep thermometers inside of the rabbit hutches to make sure that the temps stay managed well, but with the chinchillas, I have to use the digital outside of the cage. Thankfully after all of the changes, the temps are reading cooler–however, the outdoor temps haven’t been as high as they could be, so the real test is still to come! Thermometers in the barn are a must out here!

  3. How wonderful that you are finding out what will work for your critters. Thanks for sharing this on The Maple Hill Hop!

    • I can’t tell you how happy I am that we are finally hitting on something here. It really means life and death to the bunnies and chins, so it’s pretty imperative that we make sure they get plenty of fresh cool air, cool breezes in the barn to remove the humidity, and generally kind temps in there. Thanks for stopping by, Daisy!

  4. Another option: We added a ridge vent to the roof of our pole barn to cool it down. It really did help too. We also recently added a ridge vent to our home to help with ice dams when we re-roofed the house last fall.

    • That’s an interesting idea, Donna. It seems like it would be a great help. Thankfully, we are seeing quite a bit of progress with our present setup because my husband mentioned that it was an option, but that it would be very difficult to do on our barn (not sure why, though).

  5. Wow what a lot of work you have done. We simply set up a box fan and on super hot day (90 F) we give our rabbits and poultry frozen bottles of water to lay against. They seem to do well with our routine. Thanks for sharing on the (mis)Adventures Mondays Blog Hop. I can’t wait to see what you share this week!

    • I know! I wish it would have worked well to do what you did, but it can get to 105-110 a few days in the year and often over 100 for 2 months straight, so we knew we had to do something. 90 degrees is a relatively cool dummer day for us! I’ll be there, Mindie! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. We will be adding meat rabbits & chickens to our farm this year, so I’m reading everything that I can on the topics.
    We have been running a hose to an auto-water dish in the pigpen during the summers & I hate that their water is warm from the hose. Not to mention, I hate that the hose is laying across the barnyard all summer. Thanks to you, that ends this year as I think we can dig in a summer pvc line (similar to the way you did). The idea of hooking the pvc up directly to the hydrant spigot & then adding a second spigot at the business end is fab – now just to get my ‘engineer’ on board…

    You are obviously in HOT country, whereas we are in The Great White North; but the great lake (Lake Winnipeg) is only 10 miles away & the ‘lake effect’ turns the summer heat into oppressive humidity, so your articles have given food for thought & viable solutions for my first year venturing into rabbits & chickens.

    • Hi Mrs. Shoes! I get you on that warm water issue. I’ve had that issue with more than just the rabbits’ cooler, but also with the dogs auto-water dish too. It’s so annoying because it gets SO hot out here. One thing I have found is that if you can gradually acclimate your rabbits to the climate, they will do ok. Just make sure to have frozen water bottles on hand and anything else you want to use to keep them cool in the summer. As for your chickens, head over to BackyardChickens.com and use their site to help you choose chickens that will do well under the climate conditions you guys have where you live. We did that, and our girls do just fine in this heat. God bless, Mrs. Shoes!

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