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How to Build Animal Housing: 60 Plans for Coops, Hutches, Barns, Sheds, Pens, Nestboxes, Feeders, Stanchions, and Much More [Paperback]

Carol Ekarius
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 32.95
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Book Description

May 1 2004
Cows and horses, donkeys and mules, sheep and goats, pigs and fowl, even llamas are living on small farms and in backyard barnyards throughout the United States. But how and where are these critters being housed?

Author Carol Ekarius knows. In How to Build Animal Housing, she provides dozens of plans--with illustrated, step-by-step instructions--for species-specific shelters that are well ventilated, safe, appropriate for the animals, appealing, convenient, and a solid value for their owners.

The book is essential reading for anyone interested in animal health and welfare. It includes complete plans and step-by-step, illustrated instructions for sheds, coops, hutches, multipurpose barns, and economical easy-to-build windbreaks and shade structures. Ekarius covers new high-tech, portable structures made of plastics and fabrics, such as hoop houses and hen spas, as well as more traditional alternatives, such as straw-bale structures. Always practical, she enumerates the advantages and disadvantages of ready-to-build kits and modular barnyard buildings and includes designs for watering systems, feeders, chutes, stanchions, and more--the essentials that help owners keep their animals healthy and happy.

Ekarius wisely emphasizes the importance of careful planning, choosing an appropriate housing site, and complying with local zoning regulations; pest control, basic housing maintenance, and insurance costs are also discussed. Real-world advice from farmers and veterinarians on the types of housing and facilities animals like best enliven the text throughout.

How to Build Animal Housing is the most comprehensive and useful guide of its kind. For small-scale farmers, hobby farmers, do-it-yourselfers, and animal lovers, this book is indispensable.

Frequently Bought Together

How to Build Animal Housing: 60 Plans for Coops, Hutches, Barns, Sheds, Pens, Nestboxes, Feeders, Stanchions, and Much More + Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens: 3rd Edition + Storey's Guide to Raising Pigs: 3rd Edition
Price For All Three: CDN$ 52.55

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Product Details

Product Description


“Whether you are building a movable horse shelter on skids or a chicken coop or a traditional gambrel barn, the multitude of plans in this book can give you information to work with.” – American Quarter Horse Journal

“A well illustrated guide to building portable shelters, stables large and small, barns of all sizes and types, shade structures, backyard pens… [A] great buy.” – American Small Farm (2004)

“Carol Ekarius, a farmer herself, has compiled some excellent plans for coops, hutches, barns, sheds, pens, nest boxes, feeders, stanchions, and much more.  This book is extremely well illustrated with line drawings and construction call outs for all projects.” – American Small Farm (2007)

“A broad and well-rounded overview of what’s needed in the way of animal shelter, with a practiced ete toward planning and budgeting.” – Back Home

“Containing 60 plans for coops, hutches, barns, sheds, pens, nest boxes, stanchions and much more, this is a great book for building projects. …This is the place to start if you need some buildings, sheds, or barns.” – Small Farm Today

About the Author

Carol Ekarius is the co-author of The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook and the author of several books, including Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep (with Paula Simmons), Small-Scale Livestock Farming, Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds, and  Storey’s Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle, and Pigs. She lives in the mountains of Colorado where her four-legged and winged family keeps her busy. 

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm Very Happy to Have this on my Bookshelf April 20 2010
I'm still reading this recently purchased book; however, I wanted to provide a review already, because I think it's just perfect for beginners like myself, and even more knowledgeable folks would find the plans useful. Our family is trying at the moment to decide which animals we will keep, and of course, their housing is the biggest related decision. This book offers such a great overview to choosing and actually building animal housing, including specific detailed plans, so that after reading this book, it would be really difficult to *not* understand what's involved!

The main contents of the book are:
Part I. Prerequisites
1) Shelter
2) Planning
3) Structure, Design & Function)
Part II. Plans
1) Small & Portable Housing Projects
2) Windbreaks & Shade Shelters
3) Barns & Stables
4) Odds & Ends
Part III. Construction
1) Before you begin
2) Basic Construction
3) Final Steps

I can see that this will be a good ongoing reference on my shelf, and that I will come back to it for many years to come as we establish and eventually add more animals to our small farm.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Coop book July 18 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Would have liked to see more ideas on how to build different chicken coops.Others wise this book and a lot of different barns and coops.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great book to have on the farmer's shelf June 23 2013
I have had this book a while and it has lots of ideas that I can use around the farm. I have chickens, ducks, sheep and a rabbit. There are a ton of plans in this book that I can use, and have used. Some get me thinking on how to modify them to fit my needs, but it is well laid out, great graphics and easy to find what you need. All-in-all, a great reference book for both new and seasoned farmers.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars some good thoughts and ideas Oct. 27 2011
By L.E.
I am pretty middle of the line on the book. It has lots of pictures and ideas of things that you can build to house livestock. I bought it for goat housing ideas, not alot about that except some building say things like "or could be used for goats" Nothing about the book really caught my eye to make me think that "this is great".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
171 of 174 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for a first-timer... Dec 29 2004
By Keeperofthehorses - Published on
I purchased this book and quickly found that it is basically a catalog of plans that are available free online from USDA and others. The web links for the plans are printed right in the back. If you spend some time surfing, you'll find much of the useful information (and more) without purchasing the book.

There is helpful information in the planning section, and some basic tools and methods to get started. It would also be a helpful book for those newly transplanted city-folks to read prior to jumping into raising livestock.

If you have experience with livestock or construction, you can find all you need online. If you are planning your first projects, this will be helpful.
106 of 110 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The plans included didn't meet my needs Oct. 10 2005
By L. Williams - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was hoping for a book of plans that included small, simple to build shelters for just a few goats and chickens. The plans included were large and the building instructions were not detailed enough for beginners to do themselves (without a seperate how-to-book). If I could have looked through it first, I would not have bought it.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of everything, not enough details on any specific group of live-stock July 24 2007
By " Anti Microchip " - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book on how to build satisfactory chicken and duck housing. This book has a couple of plans for chicken coops, but not enough to buy the book. Why did I give it four stars then? Because the book is designed to give you building plans for various types of live-stock (pigs, hourses, cows, chickens, goats, rabbits, and others). The book does give you 60 plans like it says it does, but there is never more than 2 and at the most three on any specific animal.

This book does have a lot of good information in it beyond the housing plans. It has minimal spacing for your animals, safety and health of your animals, plus it has lots of good pieces of advice throughout the book that has been picked up over 30 plus years. If your like me and are looking to build housing for a specific type of live stock then this is probably not the best book for you (for chickens I would suggest "Poultry House Construction" by Michael Roberts). However, if your looking to build housing for various breeds of live-stock then this book would be a wise purchase. However, a materials list would have been nice (not enough books give them).
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing July 16 2007
By Kristin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a bit disappointed to find the plans in this book are USDA plans from the 1970s and were not in my view very creative or innovating or interesting. The rabbit house was just a shed of small cages, aimed at someone raising rabbits for food, I suppose, and not in any way pleasant for the rabbits.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Important details left out. Aug. 7 2007
By Charles - Published on
This is a great book for ideas. It falls very short on important details.

This book is about building animal shelters, but none of these plans
have a listing of the parts needed. This is doubly important because
these are complicated plans. I would like to build the rabbit house,
but now I am having to approximate what I need. The author needs to
remember that someone wanting to use this book might live 20 miles away
from the hardware store.
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