I got myself into a bit of a pickle. Our goat herd grew from 2 to 6 in a single day. My beautific A-frame goat shelter just can’t handle that much goaty goodness. It’s pretty heavy, anyway. Even if we add wooden skis to the bottom, I doubt I’ll enjoy pulling it from paddock to paddock.
Back to the drawing board. What is bigger than my A-frame, light enough to be moved, and easy enough to build in a couple days? The short version: A lightweight goat tunnel design by Mountain Hollow Farm. Now, before we get to the photos, let me just say that I jumped into this without knowing how portable / mobile this design would actually be.
I’d done some research on mobile goat shelters, but most of what I found was more “portable” than what I’d call “mobile”. The difference being (at least to me) that “portable” isn’t permanent, but it takes some effort to relocate. Semi-permanent, you might say. Mobile implies wheels or skis or at least very easy relocation.
That is… not what I built.
It WAS easy to build, so there’s that. I think it will stand up to the goats fairly well, barring a few replacements of twine or tarps.
You can get the details at Mountain Hollow Farm’s blog.
Quick Goat Tunnel Tips & Pics
When laying out your goat panels, keep in mind that 2x4s aren’t always straight. You may end up with slight warping of shape once the tunnel is erected.
I positioned the tunnel so that the tarp covered walls would block the primary winds. In our hollow, winds usually follow the contour of the hills and so flows North/South.
I did not measure before hammering my T-Posts into the ground. This led to a slightly less than squared shape.
The 2x4s I chose appear to have been slightly bowed, which increases the undesired non-vertical shape on the left side.
If it looks like I was drunk when I attached the tarp, it only looks that way. I attached it closer to ground on the North side because the strong cold winds were blowing through the pasture from that direction. The southern winds will be warmer, so more air in the tunnel isn’t such a bad thing.
I should have attached the tarp upside down, so that the lighter colored / shinier side faced up. I plan to fix that in the next few days. There’s no reason to heat up the tunnel as Spring comes on full swing.
I had purchased some feeder troughs and boxes before building the tunnel, and only half of them have hooks small enough to hang on the goat panel squares. If I could go back in time, I would double up on the ones that fit so all the troughs are off the ground. I still may do so once I find another use for the others.
As you can see, the shelter was built on an incline, which may or may not be a problem during the rainy season. we’ll play it by ear.
If you switch shelters, it’s probably best to remove the old shelter from sight as the goats could be tempted to run for it during a thunderstorm.