Now that we have the goats out in electrically fenced paddocks each day we want to provide them a little area to get out of the hot sun, or cold rain. Goats are susceptible to pneumonia and dairy animals in particular can be adversely affected by extreme heat (lower milk production, etc). So on Sunday we took a couple hours and built them a little shelter/shade shack.
Building the Shelter
Two cattle panels - 4’ x 16’
Enough tarp to cover it - Ours was 12’ x 16’
5 - 2x4x8’s, treated
Approx 24 3” exterior screws (although I don’t remember exactly)
a bunch of zip ties
Take two 2x4’s and saw off skids on both ends. We just measured a hypotenuse of about 6 inches or so, doesn’t need to be too technical. This will make it easier to move around. I rounded the skids with an extra couple passes with the saw.
Take Two cattle panels (4’ by 16’). Lay them out so that the 16’ long sides overlap by two or three panels (depending on how long you made the skids).
Line up the 2x4’s with the skids along the outer edges. Attach the panels to the skids with the fencing nails.
Now you can stand it up. Take two 2x4’s and put them across the front and back and screw them in for support.
With the other 2x4 saw off some braces for between the corners. I think we did 12” long on the top and then cut 45 degrees to make it fit in the corners. Screw those in.
Now that it’s up and braced you can put the tarp on.
Before you put the tarp on it’s a good idea to put duct tape over the sharp edges on the cattle panel so you don’t poke holes in the tarp.
We put the tarp over and then zip-tied it to the frame through the pre-existing stake holes.
If you want to tow it you can drill some holes and put a rope through the skids. We attached some hooks along the interior and just had a rope that clipped on and off so we could detach it and keep the goats from eating it.
After that you have a great portable shelter.
BUT, Don’t Put It With the Goats
Sorry to say, but your shelter is not good for goats. At least not our goats. Parking a lawn tractor or a motorcycle under it? Yes. A Miata, maybe. Shade for pigs? I don't know yet. Dogs? Yes. Cows? Maybe a couple calves. Goats? Not ours.
On the first full day with the shelter in their paddock the goats were enjoying it. Some walked in and around it. Some sat under it. The dogs definitely enjoyed the shade. All was well. Then around 4pm our doeling, Sabine, decided she wanted a better view of the farm. So she climbed up it. How? I have no idea. I just looked out the window and there she was. Goat balancing act, slowly rocking back and forth. About 8 ft in the air, mind you. Then her brother got jealous, so he too somehow scaled the slippery tarp all the way to the top. Oh, but what about their yearling half-sister? Shouldn’t she be able to have a little fun? Oh wait, she’s not 30lbs, she’s more like 80. Front paws up. Side collapsing. Kids on top. They run off the roof toward the collapsing side, thus putting more weight on it. In an instant you have three goats on top of a tarp/cattle panel/2x4 pancake.
Did I say pancake? What would a pancake be without something on top? Maybe some blueberries and maple syrup? Oh wait, that's not...