There are many different types of shelters for many different types of animals and many shelters that are able to house different types of animals, so the question is where to start. When deciding on a shelter for your animal, the first consideration is the size of the animal. Of course, the larger the animal, the larger the shelter needs to be. Then think to the future a little bit… how many animals, of the same species or other, do you want this shelter to provide for?
If you plan for a big farm with lots of large or medium animals, you may want to go ahead a build the barn of your dreams. After all, it is actually less expensive in the long run to build a shelter right the first time instead of always having to improve upon it or later having to completely rebuild it because it is not big enough.
If that is not an option, or you are not planning on having a lot of animals in one spot, the options are endless. You can build it as small as a small dog house, or as big as that perfect barn. You can build it out of something as simple as tarps or as elaborate as bricks… decisions, decisions.
We have built several different types of shelters on our property.
The first permanent shelter was an attachment to our barn for our chickens. We dared to call this a chicken coop but it is more of a lean to shelter with a hard roof. This area has gone through many revamps and updates from learning that chicken wire does not keep in chickens, to realizing that we did not build it big enough for how many birds we expected it to hold and having to make an extension yard.
The next permanent shelter was actually originally a carport meant to house our vehicles… but they have never sheltered there. As soon as we brought it home, we divided it in half with a fence to put in some goats. The other side has gone from storing tools, hay, animal food, and everything else that could be put in there to now housing our rabbits and our baby poultry so they are easier to care for. The side originally meant for the goats has also gone through some changes as we added smaller hardwire as we learned that baby goats are more skilled as escape artists than their mothers.
We have also discovered a way of making shelters that are permanent and movable. By using some wood, cattle panels, and tarps, you can build a structure that is both stable and mobile. However, this only works if you make sure the proportions are right. We built one that was too tall and too narrow and it ended in disaster. When it fell over due to wind and goats pushing on it, all of the wood busted because it was stressed too much.
Some of our failed shelters include a makeshift lean-to, made out of leftover concrete bricks and chicken wire, thrown together with a tarp over it to house our first chickens. Every time one of them (or more likely a handful) got out, we had to find how they got out and try to seal it… again. This definitely taught us a lesson in being prepared for the animals that we were bringing in… or so we thought.
The first time we brought home goats, it was a surprise to us, so we used some old roof tin and some bricks to house them temporarily… until they started jumping up onto it to get out of their fenced area.
We have also found out that tarps are only a good idea if a) it is not going to rain or b) you have figured out just the right angle to not collect water but still provide enough shelter to the animal. Trying to dump water from a full tarp is not easy and not worth it if the animal won’t stand under it because they are getting wet anyway.
Anyway, the point is, when the shelter is well thought out, it is worth the money put into it in peace of mind and stability. If, however, the shelter is thrown together as quick as you can as a last m
inute thought, you will probably be combating different problems that arise as well as constantly trying to repair the shelter so that it is still does the job that you want it to without falling on top of your animal.
- Animals On The Homestead
- Feeding Your Animals
- Containment For Your Animal
- Have We Thought of Everything Yet?
- Choosing Your Next Best Friend