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If you are a farmer or homesteader you know that sometimes things just need to get done. Sometimes you run out of time for fancy buildings. Sometimes money is an issue. But whatever the reason, if you find yourself in need of a shelter now, here is a way to make a quick, shelter out of pallets.

This is a relatively inexpensive project. The bulk of the structure is made from free, recycled, wooden pallets.  You will also need t-posts, cattle panels, a tarp and hardware- such as nails, bolts, screws, etc.

To make a 10′ x  10′ shelter you will need 9 pallets (the standard ones that are 48″ x 40″), 3 cattle panelsicon, 9 t-posts and a large tarp that is about 20 x 15 ft, depending on how far down the back of the shelter you want to go (We purchased this 16’x20′ heavy duty tarp). You can adjust the size by adding pallets and cattle panels. Just remember to overlap the panels a little for stability and keep in mind that cattle panels are 16ft long when you are setting up your shelter’s width.

You want to start by placing a t-post into the ground where you want one wall of your shelter to go. Pound it down until it’s about 4 ft tall and simply place a pallet over top. Place a second pallet next to the first and mark where the next t-post should be placed. Keep pounding in t-posts and placing pallets until you have reached your desired length. Once the pallets are in place come through with heavy duty screws or bolts to secure them to each other.

Next, measure out your width. You want a width of 10-12 ft. Once you have that marked start the second wall parallel to the first in the same manner. Once the 2 walls are constructed it is time to add the cattle panels. This is a 2 person job, so make sure you have help! We use fencing staples to secure the panels to the pallets.  For security, make sure you place the cattle panels at least 6-10 inches down on the pallets. Once the first panel is in place secure the second, making sure to overlap at least a couple of inches. You can use wire or zip ties to tie the cattle panels together.  Once the cattle panels are in place your can either lay the tarp if you are doing a 2-sided run in shelter or add more pallets along the back side to make a 3-sided shelter.

Depending on your climate, you may want to add siding to your shelter. If the slats of your pallets are far apart they will not protect your animals against wind, draft or slanting rain. You can purchase wood for siding, dismantle more pallets, or use any free, scrap wood you can find. We used old barn wood as siding on our shelter. You can also purchase a longer tarp and allow it to hang down further and act as a wind barrier.

Then you have the tricky job of stretching the tarp. You will probably need at least 2 people, and not very much wind to do this job. We use zip ties to secure the tarp to the cattle panel wire. And if you choose a tarp with grommets along the sides you can drill screws and washers on top and secure it directly to the wood pallets.

And that’s all there is too it! In our area the whole project cost right at around $100 for a 10 x 10 shelter. Cost will vary depending on where you live and how much of the materials you can get used. We have 2 of theses shelters on our property. The first one is over year and a half old and we are just now starting to see signs of wear on the tarp. It has serves as a kidding stall for our does and as a kid pen for the babies when we keep them away from their mothers overnight.


Pallets are a great, free resource. We have made all sorts of things on our homestead- hay feeders, compost bins and 3 shelters. Have you ever made anything out of recycled pallets?

© 2013 – 2016, Sarah R Toney. All rights reserved.


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