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Emergency stable for restraining horses during shoeing
Stables on the farm (courtyard stables)

With a stable (also stable ; actual location, place ) is a building used to house pets .

In Switzerland, the barn also describes farm buildings, which are used for the combined accommodation of animals and z. B. hay were built, or are only used to store the latter ("hay barn").

Types of stables

Outdoor stable on a Maiensäss (Spalegna near Flims ); Combined cattle barn (below) and hay barn (above) in round wood construction.
Village stable in Falera , below cattle barn, above left hay barn, above right barn, in front of the facade the cornhouse ( harp ). The gallery under the roof is used for drying.

Stables often form buildings on or near a farm . Such stables are called court stables , even if they are relatively large. The decisive feature of a yard barn is that the farmer can reach his animals relatively quickly from his home. In the case of residential stable houses , which were predominant before the industrial revolution , the stable function is performed by a part of the building integrated into the residential building.

Stables for free-range animals located near larger pastures (often far away from a farm) are referred to as outdoor stalls . The semi-nomadic mountain pastures of the three-tier economy have combined outdoor stalls for winter feeding in the Alpine region; In the past, animals were often driven from barn to barn, especially during the winter, instead of mainly transporting the hay into the valley, as is the case today.

In the industrialized agriculture of the 21st century, in addition to the above-mentioned types of barn, the large barn without a building with a residential function in the immediate vicinity in the outer area of ​​municipalities is the third type of barn. Animals kept in such stalls are usually not given the opportunity to eat outdoors.

Stables in the 21st century

Even today, farm animals are kept both in grazing areas and in stables. In Germany and other industrialized countries, most animal species are mostly kept in stables: of 12.5 million cattle in Germany, 4.8 million are given the opportunity to go pasture at least temporarily. Less than 1 percent of the pigs in Germany are kept outdoors. In contrast, 93 percent of the 22,800 sheep farmers in Germany graze their animals; that's 84 percent of all sheep. There are also stalls for animals that are kept outdoors (predominantly or seasonally), mostly in the form of outdoor stalls. One reason for keeping animals in stables that could theoretically be outdoors all year round is their safety. In winter, the water points are often iced over, there is a risk of slipping and injury. The stable housing offers security, control and care. In addition, the collection of animal manure is facilitated by the concentration of the animals.

Today, there are certain types of construction for every species and direction of use, which are geared to the different requirements of feeding, management, heat regulation and breathing air supply, depending on the species being kept. In particular, the construction of large stables must be adapted to numerous specifications.

A special type of stable has developed with mobile housing systems. The systems are relocatable complex systems. Mobile housing systems are mainly used in chicken keeping.

general structure

Today, stable buildings are mostly halls with a stable lane and one or more stalls or boxes (pens) for one or more animals each with an appropriate feeding area width. The animals are fed today either all year round or at least in the barn during the cold season.

Only in older farm stables is there often a hay or straw store above the stable; In the case of newer stables, the feed is usually kept in separate rooms or containers.


Modern cowshed
Cattle in their run in front of the playpen

When keeping cattle in stalls , a basic distinction is made between individual keeping and group keeping . When kept individually, the cattle are restrained. This can be done by connecting to a long stand, medium long stand or short stand, with the short stand being increasingly preferred because there the excretions fall behind the lying surface and can thus be disposed of more easily. Alternatively, there is the very rare locking fixation, which is available in the lock box stand, swivel stand ("Ryholm system") and mobile box stand ("Unicar system").

Young animals ( calves ) are usually kept in calf huts (also igloo , outside huts ) for the first two weeks of life . Groups are required from the 8th week.

When it comes to keeping groups or herds in the playpen, there are different models that differ in terms of room layout and litter . Common variant in the dairy farming is the cubicle housing or feeding cubicle housing, in which the high yielding cows undisturbed on separated Ironing subsections of slabs their food cud can without stepping up stands or lies down on the oversized udder. In young animal rearing or extensive suckler cow husbandry, there is often a manure shed . In this case, the floor is laid out with an incline, at the upper end of which fresh litter is regularly added, while the animals continuously step the manure to the lower end, where it is cleared away. Litter is also used in deep stalls ; Here, fresh litter is applied to the manure that has been gathered, which is then again crushed. If the litter is added in the right proportion to the excretions that arise, an insulating mattress is created on the substrate, which grows increasingly towards the stable ceiling. This system is most likely still used in young animal rearing and bull fattening . An increasingly popular alternative to this is the playpen with a fixed or partially fixed floor: completely concreted (paved), slatted floor or a mixed form without litter. The playpen is standard in new buildings, as it has advantages in terms of animal health and work economy.

The water is supplied through drinking troughs ; the feed supply via troughs or feeding tables.

Adult cattle generate a large amount of heat in summer and winter. The beef prefers temperatures of −5 ° C to +8 ° C. A distinction is made between cold and warm houses:

In a cold stable (outside climate stable) there is a temperature difference of +5 K to the outside climate. It is perpendicular to the main wind direction and has enough open areas on the long sides so that there is cross ventilation . In modern stables, one side of the stable is often open. Depending on the temperature, the supply air or cross ventilation is regulated by adjustable curtains.

In a warm stable, the air exchange is usually carried out by forced ventilation or passive ridge-eaves ventilation . Passive ventilation systems use the lower specific weight of the air heated by the animals, which rises up and can escape through the ridge. From the point of view of cow comfort, there is currently an increasing tendency towards the construction of outdoor climatic stalls.


When it comes to keeping pigs, there are different types of construction that are also tailored to the respective farming section.

Pig fattening

Pig fattening, GDR, 1956

The pig is done in groups, which is why pig barn into compartments is divided. The warm stable is ventilated and the water is supplied via nipple drinkers . The feed supply is very diverse, roughly a distinction can be made between liquid feeding, automatic feeding and dry feeding (all processes are highly automated) and manual feeding for small stocks.

If the functional areas of loungers and dung are separated, the littered variant is called Danish stables ; A slatted floor is sometimes used in the case of straw-free stalls . If the functional areas are combined and littered, it is a deep litter barn, with the strawless variant the entire floor is provided with gaps.

Both straw and slatted floors have advantages and disadvantages. Straw housing is more expensive and labor-intensive for large stocks, but it is more species-appropriate. The economic advantage of slatted floors comes into play particularly with large stocks. However, since large quantities of liquid manure are also generated, this fertilizer has to be applied to the fields using a liquid manure tank or reused.

Piglet production

In piglet production there is the breeding and waiting pens where the sows are inseminated or covered by the boar . The sow is kept individually in the crate or in groups in loose pens. In the farrowing house , the sow lies in a farrowing pen where the sow can either farrow freely or which is equipped with a farrowing cage and a place that is usually heated with red light lamps to meet its heat requirements. The sows can drink from nipple drinkers and the feed is made available mechanically or distributed by hand.


Boxing in a horse stable

In Germany, the box stall predominates as a form of keeping. In a box stall , the animals stand in individual boxes and some have a run. The group can be kept in collection boxes or pens . A distinction is also made here between warm and cold barn or single and multi-room barn. The outside climate prevails in a cold stable, which is preferable from the point of view of disease prevention. Playpens are usually provided with an outlet (also paddock ) and built as an open-front stall . In a multi-room barn, the functional areas of eating, lying and walking are separated. Tethering of horses in stands is only permitted in Germany in exceptional cases ( circus ) or temporarily. In the past, workhorses were mainly kept in this way in agriculture, since stabling them in the stands saved space and labor. Since the animals were regularly moved extensively, physical damage and vices were rare - in contrast to today's riding horse, which is often only moved an hour a day.


In the case of poultry farming , the shape of the house also depends heavily on the direction of use.

Broiler poultry


Fattened poultry include chickens (also: broilers ), turkeys and, economically less important, geese , ducks , pigeons , ostriches and quails . The chicken and turkey houses do not differ much. The animals are either kept in closed stalls with forced ventilation or in stalls with free ventilation (see cross ventilation ). The latter are called natural stables or Louisiana stables. The floor is not paved here and is strewn with a 35 cm thick layer of chopped straw or soft wood shavings. The feed and water supply facilities are installed in the longitudinal direction and are pulled up after the end of the mast so that the stable can be cleaned. The closed stable is solidly built, usually with darkened windows and can be heated and cooled. When heating, either the entire room is heated or the so-called chick rings only selectively. Open or closed gas emitters or heating cannons are used. Cooling is either done with so-called cooling pads , in which water evaporates here, or with so-called spray cooling, in which fine water droplets are generated by high-pressure systems and evaporate. The lighting in Germany must be at least 20 lux , the emergency lighting 2 lux. In new buildings, the incidence area for daylight must be at least 3% of the stable area. The use of blue-green light is said to calm the animals and reduce cannibalism .

In turkey fattening , perches, bales of straw or raised levels can be set up as structural elements in the barn. This is desirable from the point of view of animal welfare (typical resting behavior, activity material); from a work-related point of view, the solution must be well thought out. The animals must also not be too heavy, otherwise they can develop ulcers and defects in the chest area on the perches.

Laying hens

When keeping laying hens, a distinction is made between cage housing , aviary housing , floor housing and free-range housing . In the European Union, a regulation regulates the requirements for stalls (Council Directive 99/74 / EC of July 19, 1999 laying down minimum requirements for the protection of laying hens). In Germany, this regulation was not adopted 1: 1, but with the laying hen regulation the requirements were tightened.

Sheep and goats

The individual keeping of sheep and goats in farm stalls is seldom done, and these are tied up with chains. The advantages are low space requirements and good individual support. However, the disadvantages (lack of exercise, lack of environmental stimuli) predominate, so that this form of husbandry is to be rejected from an animal welfare point of view. Group keeping takes place in the box stall with plenty of space and group sizes of up to five animals. The development of the lambs is advantageous, the increased workload is disadvantageous. It is seen as problematic in loose housing that the goats can experience disputes resulting in injury. The feed is offered in a trough (for concentrated feed and juice feed ) and a hay rack (for hay ). Drinking basins secure the water supply. Larger herds are mainly kept in the playpen. The functional areas of eating, lying and running can be combined, then one speaks of a one- room playpen . In the two-room free stall , the feeding area is raised and not littered . The lying area can be fully or partially equipped with grates, where there are no grids, straw can be sprinkled on the wooden or concrete floor . The feed is usually supplied at the feed fence , which can consist of different shapes. The water supply is like in a box stall or with long troughs. Movable gates can be used to subdivide the stable space, so that certain groups can be kept separate (e.g. lactating and non-lactating animals).

Outbuilding and storage building

In general, the feed is stored close to the barn, ideally in separate rooms so that the air in the barn is not polluted with dusty material and moisture from the barn cannot spoil the feed. In older peasant stables, the feed and litter is often stored in the attic above the animals. It is easier to transport and throw down to the required places from above, and on the other hand it also contributes to thermal insulation .

View into the former cattle shed of a farm in Goppeln near Dresden. The stable, built in 1768, has been used as a stable gallery for art exhibitions since 2005.

In the case of large animal populations, an office space is useful, where all the necessary work can be done directly. Another room is to be provided for work equipment.

When keeping pigs with large herds, it is particularly important to separate the barn from the outside area in order to prevent the entry of pathogens. One also speaks of the black and white principle . There is a special room ( called a sluice ) where you change from "normal" clothes to stable clothes. Everyone who wants to enter the stable has to go through there.

Use of older stable buildings

Sheepfold in the Lüneburg Heath
Sheepfold in the Wildeshauser Geest . Typical regional feature: the boulder walls

Due to the economic structural change , which has led to a steady decline in the number of people employed in agriculture and the number of farms in Europe for over two hundred years, a large part of the existing stable buildings is no longer required for the purposes of animal husbandry. The general question is what should be done with these buildings, i. H. whether they can and should be torn down or whether they should remain standing (and put to a new use).

Monument protection

Some older stables are also architectural monuments and (as such) sights that are protected from demolition. Examples are sheep stables in Lower Saxony, which can often be found on the edge of larger heather areas and in which heather sheep are or have been housed as a rule . The duty to preserve the stables associated with monument protection is justified in the “Framework Concept for the Extension of the Lüneburg Heath” with the fact that “[h] historic town centers, heather churches and farmhouses, sheep stables and boulder walls [...] [bear witness to] the past and [...] [shape] the image of many communities ”.

Many outside stables for sheep near the heather in northern Germany have a standardized appearance: on relatively low side walls rests a roof with thatch or rye straw , which also covers the upper part of the front. The entrance gate takes up a large part of the front. The remaining areas on the front and back of the sheep pen consist partly of half-timbered and partly wooden walls. There is a particularly high density of traditional-type sheep stalls in the Lüneburg Heath and in the Wildeshauser Geest .

All over Germany, old stables are listed , regardless of how they are used today. Many are in farm museums after they demolished and faithfully re- erected were.

Examples of stables under monument protection

Future scenarios

For the future of stables in the Alpine region , four scenarios were developed for the exhibition "The stable that is no longer used" ( Dornbirn , Samedan and Meran 2011–2012):

Example for scenario 2: Stable in the South Tyrolean Museum of Folklore in Dietenheim ( South Tyrol )
  1. The stable landscape as a “metro alpine area” , which develops as a twin of the metropolitan area as a result of the centers reaching around. The “Metro-Alpinraum” is characterized by maximum development, “monotonous settlement mush” and highly efficient infrastructures and services for leisure and tourism. The stable survives as “brightly made-up prostitutes” in the form of selected specimens that “serve as a shell for fun, gastronomy and lifestyle”.
  2. A development of the rural regions to "alpine parks" , which represent a counterpart to the metropolises as recreation, leisure and retreat areas. The former agricultural buildings become nostalgic vehicles as simple "broom bars" on the wayside, as huts for holidays or as a museum.
  3. An “alpine existence” in which the stable can maintain its function as a location-based production facility in the service of organic farming . It shows that its existence can be combined with home in the sense of preserving tradition .
  4. A final transition back to the nature of the stalls that are no longer in use. This would be the scenario of the “Alpine death room” , in which the stable represents the memento mori of a traditional building type.
Old pigsty

See also


  • Reiner Brunsch, Otto Kaufmann, Thomas Lüpfert: Keeping cattle in loose stalls . Ulmer, Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-8001-4533-2 .
  • Jens Marten: keeping horses . AID, Bonn 1996. (AID, volume 1309)
  • Dietbert Arnold: Pferdewirtprüfung [Bd.1] stable climate. BOD, Norderstedt 2009, ISBN 978-3-8370-9960-7 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Stall  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Stables  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. as a comprehensive term for the z. Some buildings for hay, grain and cattle are isolated , Schweizerisches Idiotikon , Volume 11
  2. ^ Deutscher Verband für Landschaftspflege eV: Figures on grazing in Germany .
  3. Michael Koch: Traditional work with horses. Ulmer, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-8001-7383-2 , p. 20 f.
  4. on the peculiarities of sheep breeding and keeping, in particular the difference between courtyard stables and outdoor stables, see Scheunenviertel and more working group: The sheep stables in hülsen ( memento of the original from November 26, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Nina M. Keil u. a .: loose housing for small goat herds. Simple and cost-effective conversion solutions. ( Memento of the original from March 10, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: ART reports. 727 (2010). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. ^ Biological protection community Hunte-Weser-Ems: The Lethe-Heide
  7. Lüneburg Heath Nature Park: Framework concept for expanding the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park. Abstract ( Memento of the original from July 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 838 kB), April 20, 2006, p. 8. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. ^ Open-air museum on the Kiekeberg: Sheepfold from Wesel .
  9. Section “Sheepfold Route. Around Handeloh ”, in: Lüneburg Heath Nature Park: Riding in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park - day tours - ( Memento of the original from February 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 2.0 MB), p. 7. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Bernd Rothmann: The Schafkobseite .
  11. Architecture magazine: Rural vacancies ( Memento of the original from January 20, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /