How to Turn a Run-In Shed into a Long-Term Horse Shelter
Left outdoors for most of the day, horses and other livestock require effective shelter once the sun becomes too overbearing or rain starts to fall. Horse owners and farmers with livestock on their properties are advised, then, to set up run-in sheds for temporary shelter.
When it comes to constructing a run-in shed, two options essentially exist: purchase all wood and metal components separately and draw up blueprints to create the shelter, or order a kit. Time, construction, and cost wise, the latter proves to be a better option, offering all components to construct a sturdy, open shed that provides shade and shelter from the elements.
Although kit formats vary, many consist of the following components: a structural or galvanized steel frame, a polyethylene cover that encloses at least two sides, supplies for anchoring and securing the shelter, and rollup doors.
Because of protective properties, run-in sheds have potential to become long-term horse shelters, ones that keep the animals dry and offer them a place to sleep. Nevertheless, if the temporary shelter is going to transition into something more permanent, modifications must be made.
As horse shelters must be safe, clean, and dry, structures must not be placed in areas that flood. If the run-in shed is located in such a space now, move it to higher ground or any outdoor area less prone to floods.
While retailers carry kits in various sizes, some just large enough for a single animal and others for the entire team of horses, be sure your shelter can accommodate long-term sheltering needs. With horses, each animal requires roughly 100 square feet – enough to stand up, lie down, and move around. Make sure the roof is high enough, so that animals don't hit their heads, and doors adequately wide.
Size, as well, doesn't solely pertain to your animals. If you plan to clean up with a tractor bucket, make sure the interior has enough space for equipment to pass through.
The open design of most run-in sheds isn't sufficient enough to contain one or more animals. While it does allow for ventilation, at least one of the open ends must be closed.
If a run-in shed kit provides rollup doors or end panels, install them. If not, end panels can be purchased separately, while a gate can be added to the other side to fully keep the horses in.
As you install both components, make sure the interior of the shelter is free of sharp edges and exposed nails or screws, which may potentially injure your animals.
Along with walls and gates, consider adding an eaves trough, or rain gutter, near the entrance. Particularly important in winter, this part prevents ice from forming near the opening.
Flooring goes hand in hand with cleaning and comfort, and must be taken into consideration for long-term shelters. Concrete, brick, and stone paving offer surfaces that are easily brushed and washed down; on the other hand, dirt tends to be more comfortable for your horses' legs but, for cleanliness reasons, will need to be cleared every few years. Before your animals permanently move in, decide on the flooring material and add it below the horse shelter.
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