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Stables and Animal Shelters

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 18 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Stables And Animal Shelters

Sheds and other garden buildings for storage can be simple structures but if you're going to start keeping animals then you need to build shelters that can keep them warm and safe. We're not really talking about hutches for rodents but more the sort of animals that you might keep in a small-holding or a paddock.

There are many books available that have detailed plans of animal shelters to build but we'll run through some of the basics here. Of course, you can buy all sorts of different animal shelters too, you don’t have to build your own.

Basics for Poultry Sheds

Poultry such as ducks, chickens and turkeys need a safe haven for the night. Make sure that their grazing area is secure with fences and chicken wire to a height of around five feet. The shelter can be an old shed but you should insulate the floor and draught proof the walls. You need to add places for the birds to perch on and if you're keeping them for eggs, nesting boxes too.

In terms of space, hens will need a minimum of one square foot per bird in the shelter, not including the additional space for nesting boxes (one for each pair of birds). The run should allow at least a square yard for each bird. Ducks, geese and turkeys will need different amounts of space so make sure you have enough to go round before buying your poultry.

Hints and Tips for Poultry Housing

Try to make the house and run movable because the poultry will dig up the ground so if you can move it every couple of weeks the ground will have a chance to recover.

It's also a good idea to raise a poultry house above the ground, even if it's only a few inches. Their food will attract mice and rates and doing this makes it harder for them to get into the shelter and easier to spot the damage if they do.

Larger Stables and Shelters

Shelter for larger animals such as ponies, horses, goats and donkeys need to be more substantial. A concrete base is advisable rather than a wooden floor, which the constant washing and mucking out would quickly rot through.

For a sizeable stable you may even need to put a drain in the middle and slant the floors towards it. Otherwise put a slight gradient in the concrete base leaning toward the door and sweep the muck and water out through the door. Horses and ponies will need separate pens but goats need a bunk to sleep, this keeps them off the cold floor at night.

Walls and Doors

Often the lower portion of the wall will be of block or concrete rather than wood too, to resist the odd kick and keep then animals warmer. On the other hand there are plenty of stables available that you can erect yourself that don't have any concrete sections, the walls are all made of wood.

Classic stable doors with a separately opening top half will allow the animals to get ample air and sun, and will allow them to see what's going on. With goats though make sure that the opening is higher up to stop them clambering out.

Consider a DIY Kit

If you're going the DIY route a stable block is a considerable job, which can be made easier by buying the shelter in kit form. Converting a shed into a stable probably isn't worthwhile unless it's a shelter for a small goat but even then you might need somewhere else to bed it down for the night in the colder months.

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