Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan For Beginners

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan:


The breeding and raising of domestic sheep are called as Sheep Farming. It is a part of animal husbandry practices. The principle of raising the sheep is for their wool, meat, and milk. The sheep can be reared in regions with temperate climates. The housing and security is a primary requirement for the sheep. The herders construct fencing, housing, shearing sheds, etc. and also have to provide many other facilities such as feed, water, transport and pest control.

The major source of income is by selling the lambs and the wool. The herders can select the sheep according to the region and market conditions. The male sheep is known as Ram and the female sheep is known as Ewe. There are both positive and negative effects of raising the sheep on a farm such as public, health, social equity and growth of the economy. The share of livestock farming to the GDP is 33% and it is increasing gradually. The sheep are capable of tolerating prolonged period of drought and semi – starved conditions. They are less susceptible to extreme climate and parasites.


  • In the initial stage the capital for the business is very low.
  • In the sheep farming the cost of labour is very low.
  • There is a good increase in cattle strength due to good reproduction ability of sheep, which develops the sheep farming business.
  • As they eat any plants there is no requirement of fodder specifically.
  • Low food requirement, but produces high-quality of wool and meat.
  • Products of sheep are wool, meat and milk are obtained.
  • The rural employment possibility is high in sheep farming because of no qualification constraints.


Like any other shelter plan and design, the shed for sheep also has some specification for its construction. Considering and planning the whole farm with high accuracy is an essential factor for success. In the design of sheep shed we plan how to design the shed for the adult sheep and the lamb as well. Generally, the sheep do not require elaborated housing facility, but the herders should provide minimum provisions for the sheep so that it increases the productivity and also protects the sheep from varying weather conditions. Sometimes temporary shelters are made for their use in the winter and monsoon climates.

The sheds of sheep should be designed such that they are spacious, ventilating, dry, elevated, easy transportation availability and should also be strong to bear with adverse climates.

Entrance:  The sheep entering into the shed should have plenty of room. The opening should be wider than a narrow one as the flock of sheep will be entering into the shed. The shed which is built newly, they should be constructed off the ground leading a ramp to the entrance, which should be 2.4 to 3 m wide which rapidly fills the shed area. The ramp can also be replaced by the steps. The steps are more preferable than the ramp in the rainy season as the ramp gets slippery it may be problematic for the sheep and shed workers as well.

There are three types of ramps which are used in the construction of the shed:

  • Curved ramps.
  • Ramps which run along the shed side, it turns a right angle into the shed.
  • Ramps at right angles to the shed wall leading to the entrance.

The ramp for walking would be easy for the herder when sheep run from the shed. For the entrance of the sheep the sliding doors are more suitable for the shed at the entrance. The top of the shed are also made with doors which are weather proof as these types of entry doors help with lighting and ventilation.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Holding pen:

  • Filling pens: The pens which are adjacent to the catching pens they are called as filling pens. The sheep move into the catching pens from the filling pens only. It is better to work in much better filling pens which area designed.

The sheep which are full with wool on the body are 44-48 sheep are found in the filling pens.

Catching pens: While considering the design and construction the catching pens are easy for penning up with sheep. Catching pen can hold 22-24 sheep in it.

  • Back – Fill Catching pen: The back-fill catching pens have a wide entrance gate of 1.2 m. The conventional back filling gates are usually 2.1 m wide and 3 m deep.
  • Modified back – fill Catching pen: The problems of back fill catching pen can be overcome by the modified-fill catching pen.
  • Front – fill Catching pen: The width of the slide swing gate is 1.2 m it can be moved by using the front corner of the catching pen.
  • Combined catching / Filling pens: This system is a combination of both the filling and catching of pens. The rear section is filled with original pen and the lift swing gate is raised and swung back to its earlier position.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Grating:

The grating floor is used in shearing shed area as it allows all the sheep dropping passes through it.

  • Timber grating: Generally the grating is made with the timber of around 40 mm x 30 mm hardwood battens. For the pine grating, 40 mm x 35 mm batten is required.
  • Metal mesh grating: The alternative to the timber is the metal mesh grating. The noise levels would be high when we use the metal mesh for grating the floor.
  • Polypropylene grating: grating is done with hard-wearing polypropylene in the pen area. The grating is suitable when we have a high load-bearing structure and modular interlocking system.


Site location: The location of the sheep shed should be in an elevated, well drained site with facilities. The open side of three – sided shelter should be facing the south as it is away from the prevailing winds. It should be easy for accessing the material like grains, hay, straw and manure from the barn. The location should be facilitated with water and electricity.

Sheep type Dirt space Open Shed Confined Dirt floor Confined Slatted floor
Ewe (female sheep) 20 8 8 8-10
Ewe with lambs 25 12 12 10-12
Ram 20 8 8 14-20
Feeder lamb 15-20 6 6 4-6

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Space required: The space which is required can be less when slatted floors are used in the construction of the sheep shed. When we are confining a building, we should have spacing in such a position that each and every sheep should have its own space as ewe breed needs 12-16 sq ft of pen space. The lamb needs 16- 25 sq ft of the space. The ewe with its lambs needs 16-20 sq ft of space. Feeder lambs need 8-10 square feet of the land.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Water spacing requirement: In group pen the troughs should have 600 mm above the level of water, to avoid the soiling. Even the water troughs can also be arranged out-side the pens this helps the breeder not to clean the shed regularly as keeping water in troughs inside the shed may damage the bedding. The water should be changed regularly and there should be fresh water filled for the sheep.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Feeding time: The fodder in a shed should be designed in such a way that the every meal would be easy for the each sheep. The meal which is consumed by sheep takes 10-15 minutes. The only solution for reducing the work load is by sheltering all the ewes under one roof.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Bedding: By bedding dry fodder, reduces the amount of straws and the time spent on bedding by offering slats, But some of us do not have all these options. So, by having longer pens with lesser divisions can reduce the time spent on the bedding. Within the pen the obstacles should be reduced.

Cleaning out: The sheep shed should be designed in such a way that tractors can enter straight into the shed of the pens which helps for easy clean out. This reduces practical work in the pens. In the central part of the pen, we should reduce the obstacles like water troughs, walk through troughs, ring feeders and racks.

Air Inlet: As there should be some inlet for the air. The roof should be designed with air inlet. The depth above the ewes should be 1.5 m of the full length of shed. The gaps can be 25 – 50 mm and the lath thickness is 25 mm.

Air Outlet: The outlet of the air is installed in such a way that with raised sheeting it makes good outlet for the sheep. The roof apex has full length of the open ridge for an outlet.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Individual pen location and design: The individual pens are located on one side or they are located in the entrance of the shed. The individual pens should also be located under the same roof of the group pens.

A 1 individual pen contains 6 ewes and the lamb.  The length and width should be 1.5 m x 1.5 m and it should be designed compactly. These are made using steel hurdles which are easy for cleaning and can be opened and assembled back easily.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Passageway height and design: The strewed bed house has the passageway floor 150-200 mm higher than the pen floor so that ewes can still feed on the passageway.       

The design of passageway should be in such way that the tractor can also come from one side and exit from the other side.

Hot water & paper tissues: For the breeder it is not easy to put the hands in the cold water in winter. There should be a ready supply of hot water for cleaning hands or for cleaning other equipment.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Gates:

As the sheep has ease of running here and there, a gate should be made so that they have some restrictions to move. The gate should be wide enough and easy to operate. The width should be more as the flock of sheep pass through it. The gate design depends on the internal design of the shed. There are many types of gates which are used in the shed. They are:

  • Lift swing gate: The gate is lifted while using it. They are raised and also lowered on the gate post. This can be constructed between two pens it has wide space where there would be a good flow of the sheep from both the pens.
  • Slide swing gate: This gate is a sliding gate. The frame is mounted in a pivoting stirrup where the action of sliding can be done. By using this stirrup the gates also swing with the action of sliding. The width of the gate is 2.5 m.
  • Tip swing gate: The tip swing gate has pivot hinge on which the gate operates and the gate also swings with the pivot. The width of the gate is of up to 1.8 m


  • Natural light: The light which is natural is good as it doesn’t harm the environment.
  • Artificial light: The artificial light produces heat and also consumption of power will be higher.

Ventilation: For fresh air good ventilation is required as it improves the working atmosphere in hot weather conditions. By adequate ventilation the condensation will also be reduced.

Painting: By using bright colours the sheep may get excited. So the internal paintings should be pastel colours. And also the pastel colours improve the light efficiency effectively 60- 70%.

Shed temperature:  The internal temperature of the shed can be influenced by the material which is used for the construction of the roof. If it is aluminium, steel or some other metal it can get heated easily. The temperature in the shed can be reduced when the roof is constructed with wood material or asbestos.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Board design:

Generally the board is designed and built in two main types; they are Centre-board and Across-board.

  • Center – board: The center board is used for both the shearing and shed works. The work of the center board is to catch the sheep which is behind the shearing stand and drag the sheep onto the board.
  • Across – the – board: The across-the-boards function is to catch the sheep for the shearing. The sheep is caught from the opposite pen of the shearing stand.
  • The raised shearing board: This simplifies the work of the Shearer and selects the perfect wool for marketing. The width of the raised board should be 750 mm to 850 mm.
  • The curved shearing board: It carries the wool fleece of the sheep which is heavy and moves the sheared wool to the wool table or press

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – The Shearing stand:

  • Dimensions: the dimension of the shearing stand ensures the favourable working conditions to the shearers. The large dimension is applied to the big sheep farms.
  • Shearing units: As technology increased the electric units use in shearing the sheep.
  • Shearer’s equipment: There are equipment like Oilcan, Screwdriver and comb brush. For storing equipment and personal items there should be a shelf or recessed box.
  • Distance between stands: Under the Pastoral industry award 1524 mm which is the minimum distance between the shearing stands.

Flooring: The shearing board floor is painted with linseed oil or with Tung oil. The floor doesn’t get greasy, which makes sweeping easier, but it gets the Shearer slippery.

The partition between the board and the pen:  There will be a partition between board and sheep pens. At least there will be a height of 1.5 m. The noise will be less if we use wood partition rather than the steel one.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Let-go systems:

  • Chutes: The chutes can be constructed with timber products and galvanized with steel sheet. The chute opens forward with 150 mm with a drop of 100 mm the sheep can be released easily; the chutes are curved.
  • Tipping chutes: the sheep are lined in for the grating in the tipping chutes.
  • Returns Races: The internal races are popular when in the cooler climates. The exit doors should be planned carefully. The sheared sheep are entered into the return race for grating.
  • External portholes: After the shearing the sheep are sent directly out from here.

Sheep Shed Design and Construction Plan – Counting-out systems:  As it is difficult for counting the sheep when there are large flocks. The counting machines are also designed and constructed in the shed.

Meal bin: The labour is reduced by enclosing meal bin by reducing the need of handling and cleaning up.  The meal bins should be vermin and weather proof.

Doors: The sliding doors should be fitted so that the single person cannot move the door that is at least 2.2 mm high.  This will be a security for not entering the sheep shed without permission.

Shade: There should be shade in the shelter so that they can have rest on-a-sunny day.

Read : Sheep Farming Business.

Read: Goat Farming Cost and Profit.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here