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Are you trying to corral those goats into a pen? With so many goat pen ideas out there, it’s tough to find which one is right for you.
Goat pens can range from full, sturdy, large shelters to moveable smaller separated areas. There are a wide variety to choose from that can be super expensive to almost free with spare materials that you have around. Choosing the right pen or shelter for your herd will depend on size, budget, weather and predators.
So, let’s dive in to how to decide what type of goat pen is right for you as well as several different options so that you can choose the perfect setup for your herd.
Goat Pen Ideas
There’s an old saying that goes, “If it can’t hold water, it can’t hold a goat!”. Basically, goats are escape-artists, which is why a goat pen needs to be built correctly.
Why Do You Need One?
All goats need some type of shelter or pen. It provides them with a safe spot to go so that they can relax.
They will need a spot to get out of the weather – from the blazing sun to the rain (they HATE getting wet) to high winds – you don’t want your herd exposed to all of the changing conditions outside at all times.
Most of the time, your goats will spend a lot of time out grazing in their fenced area. However, they like to go into some type of shelter at night to sleep. They also like to use their shelter to get away from inclement weather.
Additionally, they need safety from predators. Goats are a prey animal and can be injured or killed by a wide variety of predators from stray dogs to coyotes. Of course adding in a Livestock Guard Dog like a Karakachan and good solid goat fencing helps also. It is also still good to provide your goats with a sturdy shelter they can go to when in need of safety.
Shelters also give your goats a place to rest. Rather it be just sleeping or if they are close to kidding time or even injured, having a place to lay around that is safe creates a good sense of security for your goats.
Types of Shelters and Pens
There are two main types of shelters or pens for your goats. Within each type there is a wide variety of different ideas you can use for your herd.
This type is basically any bigger, larger and sturdy shelter for your goats. These are used to house an entire herd all together.
These are usually used for everyday shelters where your herd stays regularly. They can range from super expensive and elaborate to fairly cheap and simple.
If you have a lot of bad weather or a super large herd, you probably want to consider one of the shelters that is bigger and more sturdy since they will likely be spending more time there. However, if you have a smaller herd, lots of pasture, low predator load and/or fairly nice weather you make think about some of the less elaborate, smaller shelters as your herd is likely to spend less of their time in them.
Here are several Solid Shelter Examples.
Of course, probably the first thing you imagine when you think of a goat pen or shelter is a traditional barn. This is a four sided, well built solid structure with a door that can close it up totally when you want.
Three Sided Lean To
Similar to a Traditional Barn, but less elaborate and has an open front (so, only three enclosed sides). Three sided lean to’s are a little easier to put together than a whole barn. They can be scaled down to not be as tall and as large, especially if you have a mini breed like Nigerian Dwarf Goats.
It is important when you are building a lean to, that you think about which way your wind typically blows and then position the open side NOT facing the wind. This will help to keep your herd warm and dry during inclement weather.
Do you have a bunch of pallets lying around? You may want to consider building a goat shelter out of them. You can follow this tutorial on how to make a quick goat shelter out of pallets. This works super well and isn’t too expensive.
The pallets provide pretty sturdy walls for your goats and the cattle panel and tarp over top provides a good shelter from weather. You can also put a front on it either with more pallets or a cattle panel if your herd needs a little more security from predators.
This shelter is also awesome, because you can fairly easily add to it if you end up needing more room. However, one draw back is that tarps just don’t last forever. Make sure you get a high quality one, but if you are using it for a long period of time, be prepared that it will need to be replaced somewhat often.
If you want a shelter that is a little smaller than the one above, here’s a different take on the goat pallet shelter. This shelter will help keep your goats safe. It is sturdy, but not too big. Essentially it is a three sided lean to, pallet style.
If you want a tall pallet shelter with a solid roof, try using a carport. We have also used pallets to turn half of a carport into a full goat stall. We just drove t-posts and sat the pallets down on them like pegs.
You have to measure how wide each pallet is and then drive your t-posts in the proper spots. You can then use a piece of cattle panel as the entry door, or you can use a pallet – plug it over one tpost, but not over the second and you can swing it open and closed like a door.
We like pallets for goat pen ideas because they are so readily available for free or cheap and make building really easy. You don’t have to do as much exact measuring and engineering as when building from scratch. And using pallets, you can easily add or subtract space from your shelter just by removing or adding pallets.
If you prefer traditional lumber, any of these plans can work with just a little tweaking.
Moveable Pens and Stalls
The second main type of goat shelter or pen that you should consider are moveable pens and stalls. Now, in some herds you may need both a solid shelter and moveable pens. Or, you may need multiple moveable pens as they can play the role of both primary shelter and area to separate a goat or goats from the rest of the herd.
For example, if you are introducing a new goat to your herd, you need to quarantine the goat for a period of time to be sure they are clear of any communicable diseases. In a case like this, it is good to have a moveable pen or shelter that you can house that goat in during quarantine period.
Similarly, during kidding season, you will likely want kidding pens set up for when your does go into labor and a day or so after so that they can bond with their kids safely and stress free. And if you have dairy goats and will be milking your goats, you will also want a separate stall area to put them in during milking time.
Using moveable pens as your goats primary shelter also has some benefits. You can easily rotate them into different pasture areas. And, it is WAY easier to clean them out if you can simply move them and then scoop the used bedding up to dispose of it.
However, one disadvantage of smaller, moveable pens is that they aren’t always as sturdy and safe.
Here are some examples of moveable pen and stall ideas.
Cattle panels are easy to put up, move around and change configurations of. You can either use cattle panels as an individual pen area or you can use them to separate an area out in your bigger solid shelter.
We use pallets to divide up areas in our bigger shelter for kidding time. This way we can add more sections or remove them quickly as we need. All you need is a few pallets and a few t-posts.
Dog House or Igloo
If you only have a few goats, you can also use a pre-manufactured dog house or dog igloo as a primary shelter. This is only a good idea if your herd is small (make sure to offer enough shelters for them to all have space). Also, make sure that your weather isn’t super bad for long periods of time otherwise, your goats may not have enough space to move around if they are staying in these smaller shelters for a lot of time.
However, these are relatively budget friendly, they are easy to move and you don’t have to build anything. So, they are really great if you need a flexible and cost effective option for your goat shelters.
We have repurposed portable chicken crates into moveable goat pens. This is great to add in to pasture areas where you don’t have access to your main shelter. Or, if you need to separate a goat to it’s own area for a while. They could also easily be used as something similar to a three sided lean to.
They are basically solid fencing with a small wooden base and a support on the top. When we use them for the goat shelters, we turn them on their side and add plastic roofing or plywood at a slant to the top. It is also good if you can put a little siding on them instead of the fence if they will be more permanent – we simply put ours up against out pallet fence which works great to prevent rain and wind from blowing in.
Customizable Metal Pens
If you want something a little more sturdy than cattle panels or pallets for a goat stall area in your shelter, try out this customizable goat pen. You can easily adjust the plans to fit your needs a little better.
Building a goat pen on your own may be easier than you thought. When you own a farm, you can never have “too” many goat pen ideas to choose from.
What do goats need in their pen?
They need access to food, water, minerals and baking soda. If there is room, they also like to have things to climb on like benches.
How big should a goat pen be?
Size depends on how big your goats are, what type of goats, how many you have and how long they spend in their shelter. In general, standard breed goats need a minimum of 20sq feet per goat and mini breed around 10sq ft.
Should goats be locked up at night?
This depends on the safety of your area. If you have a high predator load and no guard dogs, then you should definitely lock them up at night for protection.
Do goats need a shelter?
Yes, all goats need a shelter of some type. It can be elaborate or simple, as long as it provides protection from weather and predators as well as gives them a place to rest.
For more on raising goats