DIY Horse & Livestock Shelters

Written by rebecca boardman
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DIY Horse & Livestock Shelters
Even an old barn can offer protection. (old barn image by Alexei Novikov from

Providing basic shelter for your horses and livestock does not have to be expensive or complicated. Simple tools and materials can be used to provide the necessities of shelter from the elements. Protection from wind, rain, cold and heat are easy to provide, and even with little experience, a person can put together an acceptable shelter for his animals. Knowing how to do this is an important tool in proper livestock management.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • 4-by-4 lumber
  • cement
  • tarp
  • nails
  • plywood
  • measuring tape
  • string
  • post hole digger
  • wooden stakes

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  1. 1

    Begin by choosing the location of your shelter. It needs to be dry and have good natural drainage. If you can place your shelter in the safety of trees or on the leeward side of inclement weather, that is a natural choice to help protect your animals.

  2. 2

    Mark your corner posts with the wooden stakes. You will need your tape measure to make sure your posts are equal lengths apart. A corner post should be placed every 12 feet for shelter stability.

  3. 3

    Dig your post holes for your corner posts. These need to be at least 18 inches deep, preferably 24 inches. Set your 4-by-4 posts in the holes and cement them in. They will need to set for at least 72 hours before you go on to the next step.

  4. 4

    Using your 2-by-4 lumber pieces, create a framework for your shelter by creating a ground board, middle board, and ceiling board attaching each 4-by-4 post to the next. When you finish with this step, you will have the skeleton of your shelter. Be sure and leave one side open for animals to come in and go out of the shelter.

  5. 5

    Nail your plywood to the frame you have created to build solid walls on three sides. The plywood can also be used for a roof, but you can also use a tarp for a cover. The main function of your simple roof is to provide basic shelter from sun and rain.

  6. 6

    Stretch your tarp across the framework you have created, and secure it using nails and additional 2-by-4s for added stability. If you choose to use plywood for a roof, you will need to make sure it is treated to resist water rot.

Tips and warnings

  • Write down all your measurements before purchasing your materials and calculate exactly how much lumber to buy. If you do enough preparation, you will make your job much easier.
  • Always use safety gloves when working with lumber.

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