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Tarp Sheep Shelter

 
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Still developing my house on my 5 acres, but I plan on doing rotational grazing and have been brain storming lightweight sheep shelters so I can easily move them from pasture to pasture so I don't have a sacrifice pasture unless it's necessary(big rainfall).  Has anyone used a heavy duty waterproof tarp as a way of creating a semi-permanent sheep shelter to block wind/sun.  It seems like it would be an inexpensive option that would allow me to easily move it from pasture to pasture, so long as the tarp didn't wear out too quickly.  
 
pollinator
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The thing with lightweight shelters to me is that you can go with something like a hardcore homemade carport tent, but you'll be dealing with guylines all over.

You could theoretically use a giant tarp to make a pop-up tent shape, but you'd need internal framework and guylines to hold it down in any wind.

Or are you thinking of something heavier-duty than something that could be described as a tent?

-CK
 
pioneer
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I think you could do it fairly easily if you made a hoop-house type structure from cattle panels or conduit secured to a simple base made with skids so you could drag it from place to place easily.  There are many youtube videos that show various ways to make hoop-houses and that structure should lend enough support to your tarp to make it last.
 
pollinator
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If you have two or more pastures with a shared fence, you could do one shelter for both and just close or open the appropriate gate. That way you don't have to worry about moving anything, or tarps blowing away. The ideal would be four pastures in a square, the shelter on the shared corner.

If you're set on the tarp shelter, you could have a permanent frame on either side of the fence and just flip the tarp over to the other side when you move the sheep

I'd opt for whatever creates the least work when you're moving the animals.
 
pollinator
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I've done tarp-covered cattle panel structures for goats and for chickens (also those Costco carports -- the tarps lasted longer on those, but not by much).  The nubbins on the wire -- from drips when it was galvanized -- will rub holes in the tarps fairly quickly unless you have almost no wind.  Also, goats, at least, like to jump on things, and that includes their shelters.  They mashed the cattle panel structures down fairly quickly and I had to add center supports.  Of course, those were needed for snow load anyway.

I don't think I would try to use them for portable shelters unless you have a tractor to pull them around, but rather than tarps, I would put corrugated metal on them.

Kathleen
 
pollinator
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I've built a number of cattle panel-tarp shelters, both mobile and those fixed to field fences, the largest being a 11 foot wide,  22 foot long, 12 foot high structure I can store 15 round hay bales in.  Around here, a blue tarp lasts less than 6 months  and a silver tarp less that a year.  A way to greatly increase the longevity of your tarps is to wait until the tarp is approaching the end of its life when it is covered with the little square cracks in its surface, then coat it with the elastomeric 7 or 10 year white roof coating they sell at Lowes.  I have a grey tarp covering my chicken coop that has been in place for 10 years now that I just now recoated when the original coating was starting to wear off.
 
Carson Albright
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I was thinking essentially a pop up tent,it's disheartening to hear they don't last much longer than 6 months to a year.  I hadn't thought of making a shelter that encompasses both sides of the fence, that might be something to play with.  I would still need to make 2, but that would make things easier in terms of not having to move them.  

Anyone have any other movable shelter ideas?  I would ideally like something light enough that I could move without machinery(because I won't own any) but provide enough shelter for about 6 sheep.  I've thought about buying multiple water barrels and cutting them in half.  It'd be more trips, but still able to move them on my own.  
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Mike Turner wrote:I've built a number of cattle panel-tarp shelters, both mobile and those fixed to field fences, the largest being a 11 foot wide,  22 foot long, 12 foot high structure I can store 15 round hay bales in.  Around here, a blue tarp lasts less than 6 months  and a silver tarp less that a year.  A way to greatly increase the longevity of your tarps is to wait until the tarp is approaching the end of its life when it is covered with the little square cracks in its surface, then coat it with the elastomeric 7 or 10 year white roof coating they sell at Lowes.  I have a grey tarp covering my chicken coop that has been in place for 10 years now that I just now recoated when the original coating was starting to wear off.



That is good advice on the roof coating.  Thanks.

Kathleen
 
Mike Turner
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One of my mobile cattle panel-tarp shelters uses a 8'x10'  base of 2x4's and 2 cattle panels.  At one end are mounted two 8" lawnmower wheels. When I want to move it, I lift up the other end with a hand truck and pull or push it to the new location.
 
Carson Albright
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I really like that idea, I may steal it from you, thanks!
 
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Here in the high mountains in Colorado, I've been using a hoop shelter for summer grazing months for my Icelandic sheep for several years. Two cattle panel pieces wired together w/ poly tarp. I have to drag it out to the new pasture each time I move the flock; drive in 4 corner T-posts and some metal rebar stakes placed along each side to keep it all up. The tarp was a heavy duty hay tarp and lasted 3 summers. It's heavy and has been a beast to drag around through grassy pasture (my morgan mare does the hauling), though the setting-up only takes me about 15 mins each move.

But...the tarp is decrepit now and the cattle panels got very bent during a heavy, early fall storm last Oct. Andm given my penchant to use more natural/biodegradable materials, my thoughts are turning toward the idea of a canvas tent instead with semi-permanent aspen frames set up in the 4 places I have been placing the portable shelter through the summer season. Kind of along the lines of the "Glamping Tents" that are being used for human guest businesses in wilderness settings.

I am planning to buy raw canvas, sew the tent and wax or oil it. Just trying to work out the design details of constructing the aspen frames (sturdy enough but also movable if I want to place them differently and avoid repeated pressure of the sheep on the same ground too many times/too long of times so their presence doesn't destroy the forage underneath the shelters. Would be nice if they could be skidded along by horse power.


 
Yeah. What he said. Totally. Wait. What? Sorry, I was looking at this tiny ad:
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