How Do Barn Curtains Work in Farms?


A barn is the most essential structure in your farm after your general household. It not only shelters your animals but can also serve as a store for your valuables. A barn curtain is a crucial part of the construction materials, but its purpose determines its likely establishment.

Any farmer would know that a barn curtain is among the most versatile and cost-effective ways of regulating temperature and ventilation in an agricultural setup. It is like an artificial, rigid wall that protects your animals from harsh outdoor conditions.

Barn curtains work in drop-down or roll-up systems operated manually or powered by motors. Some systems offer both options, but each has its benefits.

Here is a complete guide on how a burn curtain works.

Drop-down Barn Curtains

The drop-down method allows the barn curtain to “drop-down,” allowing ventilation into the enclosure. It is common in greenhouses, poultry, and calf barns. It is a simple and effective system that controls the air inflow and offers ventilation without exposing your livestock to the risks of drafts. Rather, the incoming air mixes with the warmer air near the ceiling.

The drop-down curtain works with a pulley and winches that require some hardware pieces to build. You can lower these curtains using a hand winch with a mounting bracket. It has a cable running up the barn’s side and connected to the winch. It moves down the other side by threading into a pulley in each opening. In addition, it has a counterweight that maintains all the tension on the cable.

Components of a Drop-Down Barn Curtain

While barn curtains work almost similarly and serve similar purposes, some are easier to operate than others. For example, the manual and the electric curtain systems. Additionally, it would help to consider factors like material quality and colour. Transparent or translucent curtains lower energy costs by allowing maximum natural light into the barn.

Here are the different components of a roll-down barn curtain:

The Cables

A cable connected to the hand winch helps drop and raise the curtain as it runs up one side and drops on the side through pulleys. Experts recommend 1/8 inches or 3/16 inches diameter for heavy-weight curtains with large openings. A 7/19 length is suitable for flexibility and strength.

Moreover, you need a cable length equal to your curtain length plus four curtain heights. You may also need an extra pulley to hang the counterweight for curtains with over four feet of width.

Fastening Strips

Fastening strips secure the curtain top to the barn. Check the lower end of your curtain for the hem where you should insert the conduits. An end of each 10-inch-rods swags or 2.5 inches, resulting in strong, overlapping connections. Insert fabric clips over the inserted tubes at about four-foot intervals so the conduit does not spin within the hem.

The Poly Rope

A 3/16” diameter poly rope attached to the installation’s exterior prevents the curtain from billowing. Fixing the rope in a zigzag pattern through the 2-foot-apart closed-eye hooks is advisable. Again, it would be best to pull this rope firm and tight and conduct regular maintenance to keep it tight.

While these parts and guidelines apply to many drop-down barn curtains, the measurements and some components may vary. So, it would help to ask the professionals during installation for any unique additions to how your barn curtain works.

Roll-up Barn Curtains

Roll-up curtains are typical in greenhouses, high tunnels, pack barns, and free stall barns, as they allow natural ventilation and lighting inside the structures. The configuration of this curtain works with a crank system and conduit. It also requires a wire mesh to keep the livestock away from the curtain and prevent the wind from blowing the curtain into the barn.

You can opt for the electric or manual roll-up curtain systems. Both work with a rolling machine, motor-powered or manually operated. The manual type works by pulling the rolling machine chains that spin the rolling pipes to drop or lift the curtain cloth. It has stable, easy-to-operate features.

On the other hand, the electric type works with a single electric motor. With only a button switch, you have the roll-up curtain working.

Components of a Roll-up Curtain System

The roll-up curtain has various components complementing each other to enable straightforward functioning.

The Rolling Pipes

They are galvanized pipes fixed to the curtain cloth using clips. Adaptors connect them to make wide rolling curtains, thus covering the entire side wall of your barn.

Wind Ropes and Wind Pipes

The wind ropes and pipes hold the wide curtain cloth in place in case of strong winds or extreme pressure inside the structure. While windpipes are costly but heavy-duty, versatile, and can withstand the strongest winds.

You can install them about 4 to 5 meters apart on the exterior of your barn curtain. They are a must-have if your area is prone to strong winds. Wind ropes are the simpler and more economical solution. They are water, UV, and windproof, making them versatile and ideal for year-round use.

Wire Mesh

A bird-proof wire mesh is necessary for an open-side wall structure. It would help to install it with the barn curtain to support the curtain cloth. The mesh can be plastic or steel. Plastic is economical, but steel is more durable.