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Wanted: cheap, portable shade for animals that won't blow away

 
Ann Torrence
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It's the hottest, driest month for us, and our trees need to grow and make shade for the animals! Until then, I need more ideas for portable shade that won't blow away in our unpredictable but predictably fierce winds. Most of our animals go into temporary day paddocks but return to pens at night, so the shade system needs to be something one person can move.

What's working for you guys?
 
Jami McBride
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Hi Ann,
I had to figure this issue out also. . . .

I researched metal fitting prices and found a couple of places to buy 3-way and 4-way fittings. The local home-box stores did not carry these, but they do have metal 90, 45d and Ts.

For a small frame (one person can move) you will need 6, 3-way fittings. I ordered the size to fit over 2" rigid conduit piping, but you can use 1" also. This I got from home depot, and they will cut it for you. I would buy 10' conduit pipe and have it cut into 3rds (40"ea). These were my leg heights. Next I would have the 10' pipe cut into 5' pieces for the two-side bars and the ridge pole - running front to back. I buy 3/4" self tapping metal screws - slide the pipe into the fitting and secure with screws. You can also drill holes and use bolts, washers and nuts but I didn't.

Now stand under the frame and with your hands over-head lift the ridge pole in the center and walk to the location of choice.

Cover with either treated canvas or plastic tarps. Use washers with your screws, stretch the tarp/canvas and secure with screw+washer.

I've also made larger ones for the sheep and alpaca. 8'x10' the same way - just cut the piping accordingly. I make these the same height and the alpacas just go in and out at the point. These larger ones my daughter and I move together one on each side pole.

To secure them from wind - I attach 2x3s or 2x4s on each side, from front leg to back with bolts. And hang small sacks of sand over these bracing bars (sm bag sand for kiddy sand boxes).
You could buy feet for your poles and then use tent stakes though the holes in them, but this just didn't work well for my situation (hard clay and rock). I've also considered buying elbow fittings and running pipping on the ground from front leg to back on both sides, but with my heavy rain It's easier to keep things up off the ground. Your situation may vary.

You need to decide if you don't want your animals going through the sides or not, if no then tarp the sides to the ground or use wire to block them off. Otherwise the animals will be whacking the wood, pulling the legs out of alinement, etc. With a visual block they only enter and exit out the front, or front and back if you leave those both open.

I use a small frame over my dairy cow's water to shade it 24/7, and a large one for shade in my garden area where I currently have two sows and 14 piglets.

You can also take them apart for storage or transporting.

Easy to assemble and move - the hardest part was getting a reasonable price for the fittings. Because 3 & 4-way fittings are specifically used to make pole canopies they are usually priced much higher than the other 'standard' size fittings.

I'll snap a few pics and post them later.



 
Dillon Nichols
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I was totally going to say 'plant a tree!', but you've done that already! 'Plant a faster-growing tree' is probably not much more helpful...

If the number of paddocks isn't too huge, you might consider cheap nonportable shade instead. What I've done previously for sheep is use a corner of the paddock, whack in a fencepost to make a square or rectangle with the existing fence, add a frame by connecting the tops with 2x4s or roundwood posts, and tarp over this with a *very* taut tarp to prevent it flailing itself to death in wind.


 
R Scott
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This is an ongoing problem for many I know. Most resort to heavy things that need a tractor or pickup to move them. Best one I saw had the mineral feeders and water tank included as ballast so at least the weight was useful.

Jami has a good answer for a few small animals, not sure how to scale for bigger or more animals and still be person portable.
 
Rick English
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Idea that may work, but can't say that I have tried it...

What if you steal the square foot gardening trellis frame, and put something like landscape cloth on it?

Here is a page with lots of photos and instruction for how to make the trellis:
http://petitefarmstead.com/2013/06/indestructible-diy-tomato-trellis/

The materials should be cheap and commonly available, and should be no problem for a single person to move as many of them as you want.

I think the big thing would be to use landscape fabric or something similar that would still allow the wind to flow throw it to some degree so it doesn't become a sail.
 
Ann Torrence
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Jami, yes please on the pictures, I'm having a bit of trouble visualizing the geometry of the ridge line. But I like the concept/materials/portability factor. And that I can do it myself.

We could also throw some spare roofing metal over top and weight it down with a rock, at least for the poultry. Tarps barely last a season here.

 
Jessica Padgham
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Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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My husband came up with a DIY version of three way fittings for conduit. I wanted a two row version of the tomato trellis to stand up better in the wind since I wasn't attaching it to a raised bed at the time. It was cheap because we had the wood and the loop straps already.

IMG_20150629_092527319 by mrsgalihad, on Flickr

IMG_20150629_092509636 by mrsgalihad, on Flickr
 
Jami McBride
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Okay Ann I haven't gotten around to taking pictures yet, but here is a drawing I edited to work that may help you picture things for now.

This mock-up is not to scale, but just an example. Note the yellow 3-way fittings, the small grey lines connecting the front to back legs representing the wood stabilizers. You can always cut these legs again and insert T fittings to run more pipe in stead of the wood, but it's more weight, more cutting. Again, there are lots of ways to do this but I wanted as solid and light as possible. I first started with PVC (toxic) and found that just isn't sturdy enough for this purpose. The pink bar is to represent the ridge pole.

Tarps don't last long. Cheap ones just one season as mentioned, better ones two years. Good canvas can last up to 8 + or more years. But they are all lighter and easier to work with over a solid roofing material. So again it's your call.

Note the 6 (3-way) fittings -
shelter1.gif
[Thumbnail for shelter1.gif]
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Here are some fittings examples - 3-way, 90 degree elbow, etc.

The last image is of the elbow that you could use to run a piece of pipe from front leg to back along the ground. Then secure this pipe to the ground for wind.

Just so you know - because these canopies do not have solid walls they do not catch wind that badly. To help with this make sure your canopy is facing the direction of the wind, and at the upper part of the back side for any wind to pass-though.

shelter2.jpg
[Thumbnail for shelter2.jpg]
shelter3.jpg
[Thumbnail for shelter3.jpg]
shelter4.gif
[Thumbnail for shelter4.gif]
 
Ann Torrence
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Jami,

That picture explained it! I was imagining a cube and not a house shape. Tarps on a peaked roof, metal on a flat roof
Shopping is going to commence!
 
Jami McBride
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Location: PNW Oregon
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Yes, I forgot to mention 'high peak' fittings which is what I buy, with a 120 degree angle for rain or snow run off. I live in the PNW after all

Here is one place I found good prices, at least it will give you an idea http://www.tarps.com/fittings2.htm
And I buy high Peak/Pitch which also gives you a nice peak at the center for larger animals/people or to hang water or hay feeders from.

Also, no pipe is standardized - that is to say chain link fence pipe is sized different from rigid conduit pipe, and it's more expensive. Most canopy fittings are sized for conduit pipe, or they will give you a choice. But do make contact with any company before purchasing to make sure what your getting will work with your pipe and it's size. Some fittings sites make this clear and some assume you know so shop wisely. Wait to buy and cut your pipes until after your fittings have arrived, and take them with you.

And check creigslist for people offering old carport canopies. I believe they use 2" pipes, and will save you money over buying all new fittings.

If you want to construct a shelter with a flat roof then you wouldn't want 3 or 4-way fittings, you would want crosses +s, Ts and 90s. And you could then toss metal roofing on top, but watch those edges as they can be sharp! Put it on skids and you can remove the roofing and drag to a new location.

And you can look into hoop houses - they can be lighter and sturdy when combined with some metal pipes. Think hybrid....
You build a base of pipe like this |__|__|__| so you have continuous pipes in a rectangle on the ground, and ones running up every 4-6' on both sides. Then in the pipes open at the sides - install PVC pipe and bend over to the other side and stick it down into that open pipe. This lifts your hoop off the ground giving you and your animals some head room. Next run some lath at the ridge line and screw into each bent PVC to keep them all spaced and connected perfectly. To move you remove the PVC pipes, and drag the base. Then put it back together. This style would not work well for my very uneven and hilly ground, but it would be another option on flatter farms.

 
Jami McBride
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Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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One more thing -

With the 2" pipe canopy-fittings I use a 2x4 metal bracket.
I screw this into the 2" pipes facing inside the legs, and then cut and slide my 2x4 or 2x3 into it. Remember to screw the wood onto the bracket also. This makes adding wood members in-line (between the legs) much easier.

Below is pictured what I use for the larger shelters and pipes.
1.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1.jpg]
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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