Sunday, March 2, 2008

A simple sheep shelter

A very nice lady who reads my wife's blog recently asked about simple, inexpensive, sheep facilities. Most of our facilities are for our comfort, not the sheep. Sheep do not need indoor barns with electric and running water. They need:

Grass (Hay in Winter)
Protection from predators (including the neighbor's dogs, coyotes, and bears)
A place to get out of the wind, and rain

The building here is not really a sheep shelter. My father and I built it years ago for pigs. My wife and I later learned about using pigs to compost sheep manure, so the building has been underutilized since. It was built on a weekend without working too hard. It is really just five poles in the ground and boards nailed for siding. This design needs no framing lumber, as the siding serves as the framing too. When we first built it, we used cheap rolled roofing. Later, I had enough metal roofing from the new roofing for our house to cover all the small outbuildings, so it got a metal roof. The use of rough cut lumber from a local sawmill also saves a lot of money. sometimes, you can buy up odd lots very cheap.

This building measures eight by eight and would hold 4-5 sheep.

I plan on cutting the poles off, putting it on skids, and moving it this summer. It might become a house for my Rouen ducks, another chicken coop, bachelor quarters for our ram, or even colony housing for our rabbits.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the explanation of the simple shed . as a native "Pennsy" girl,(outside of New Kensington, now transplanted to the remote coast of N.California)..I was glad to find your blog! I was planning toget two Katahdin& Black Dorper lambs...but I do not think I have enough acreage for pasturing them. only 1-6 or 1/8 of an acre is avail for weed eating, some grasses, mostly berry bush and dock, borage, buttercup, etc.

isn't this too small for 2 sheep who will weigh ~130 each when grown? I hear it os standard to have 1 acre for 2 sheep.or 1cow for food..and I only have 1/3 acre TOTAL lot, and part only is weedy, what is minimum lot size two sheep need for enough grazinig food?

The Midland Agrarian said...

Thank you for dropping by.

Around here 2 ewes on a quarter acre would be pretty tight with their lambs. If it were well drained, you could keep them on a sort of dry lot and feed hay most of the year. You can graze 4-5 ewes and their lambs per acre, but that assumes a cycle of grazing and allowing the grass to recover (Rotational Grazing) On continuous pasture (Grazing constantly through the growing season), maybe 2-3 per acre. Northern California may have greater grass growth. We get about 45 inches of precipitation here per year.

Hope this helps. Thanks for reading

Anonymous said...

I like the shelter. I am not very handy, but can drive a nail. My question is how are the rafters attched to the front and back walls. This would be perfect for my sheep to get out of the sun.

The Midland Agrarian said...

Hi Anonymous, the rafters rest on a single header made from a 2x4. Last year I made the building portable. there is a slide show about it here with more pictures.

Anonymous said...

After having to shear (wolly) sheep I changed to raising hairy sheep (Painted Desert Barbado) sheep which do not have to be sheared but they do need shelter when lambing in bad weather. I am presently making a sheep shelter from a 16x8 metal truck stock rack..attaching a wood frame from used lumber and covering it with sheets of tin.