DIY Hoop House Field Shelter Structure Plan
How to Make an Easy and Portable Goat Shelter
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A hoop house field shelter is ideal for those who utilize their herd to clear brush and land at a location away from the main barn. The goat shelter is meant to protect the team from the warm sun and rain while giving them a place to call home as they forage for vegetation.
Homesteading on a two-acre mountainside property has taught us a few things, and the first is the constant maintenance required to keep invasive salmonberry and blackberry under control. There are no better organic means for clearing the nuisance vegetation than goats. Between spring and early fall, our small tribe moves around the perimeter of the property, foraging and clearing land. Depending on the area they are working, they often stay in the field a few days at a time, requiring not only shelter from the elements but also a place to return to nightly.
A goat shelter is also ideal for those who practice rotational grazing. Much like requiring shelter for land clearing, a goat herd also requires shelter as they are out on the pasture.
Because the field shelter is moved regularly, we sought to build one which was light enough to be moved by hand or with the assistance of our quad. Not to mention, it needed to withstand the abuse from the naughtiest of our goats who seeks to destroy everything.
Constructing the Hoop House Field Shelter
This plan can be modified to fit the size of your herd; feel free to make it as large as you need it to be. However, the larger you make it, the more difficult it will be to move. It is best to construct multiple field shelters versus one large one.
One other tip, utilize any type of material you have on hand. Consider the plan mentioned below to be an outline, create a hoop house field shelter to meet your needs.
- Two (4’x8’) concrete reinforcement mesh panels, or three (4’x8’) cattle panels
- Six (2”x4”) boards, 8’ in length
- 3” wood screws, one small box
- 1½” wood screws, one pound
- 20 ¾” fender washers
- Two dozen 3” tie wire strips, or two dozen medium-length zip ties
- wire cutters bolt cutters
- impact screw gun with a Phillips-head driver
- One large tarp, or one roll 12’x28’ 6-mil Visqueen
- From the 2”x4” lumber, cut four 4’ pieces, four 3’ pieces, two 5’ pieces, one 4’x9” piece.
The plan for this hoop house field shelter was to create a design that was simple enough for anyone to construct it, from the experienced carpenter to the novice goat keeper. In addition, minimal tools are required to construct this easy to build goat shelter.
The frame will be constructed using the pre-cut 2”x4” lumber and the 3” screws.
- Assemble the two sides by screwing the pre-cut 4’ pieces (horizontally) to the pre-cut 3’ pieces (vertically) using 3” wood screws.
- Next, on the backside, connect the two side frames together using the two 5’ 2″x4”s.
The Top Support
The materials needed to create the top support are wire panels, tie wire or zip ties, and wire cutters.
- Using wire cutters, snip 3” tie wire strips.
- Lay the wire panels end to end to create a 16’ piece.
- Next overlap the wire panels together by one row, securing the row together using tie wire strips or zip ties every four inches.
Assembling the Run
The next section required for the goat shelter is to assemble the run. Gather the following materials: 1½” wood screws, ¾” fender washers, and bolt cutters.
- With the wood frame assembled and standing, bend the wire panels over the frame.
- Secure the wire panel to the frame using the 1½” wood screws and fender washers every two feet.
The Back Panel
The back panel is necessary to prevent rain or snow from entering the hoop house field shelter from the backside.
- Stand the third wire panel up on the backside.
- Secure the wire panel using the 1½” wood screws and fender washers every two feet.
- Using the bolt cutters cut the top to the shape of the arch.
- Secure the back to the side using tie wire or zip ties.
Applying the Cover
The type of material used for the cover can be a tarp, 6-mil Visqueen plastic, or any material which forms over the arch frame tightly. A cover flapping in the wind can startle the herd, discouraging them from seeking shelter in this DIY hoop house field shelter.
- Lay the tarp or Visqueen over the fully assembled structure. Keep in mind, the Visqueen can be cut to fit the shape of the frame.
- To keep the material taut, fold the corners in, and roll any extra material around the ends of the frame. Secure the tarp or Visqueen with wire tie or zip ties every two feet.
For locations with heavy snowfall, make sure to support the roof. This can be achieved by constructing ridge support running a 2×4 front to back, supported diagonally off the vertical side frame.
A Movable Goat Shelter
This hoop house field shelter can easily be made into a movable shelter. The size and type of wheels needed will depend on the terrain it is being used on.
Ann Accetta-Scott’s Hoop House Field Shelter plan is also included in the book 50 Do-It-Yourself Projects for Keeping Goats, by Janet Garman (Skyhorse Publishing, April 2020). The book is available in the Countryside Bookstore.
Originally published in the September/October 2020 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.