Are you looking for a place to allow your cattle, horses, and other livestock to find shelter without having to bring them back to the barn? The loafing shed is a great addition to your pasture. Whether you simply need a place for your livestock to rest and “loaf” or need some extra storage space for your tack, feed, or hay, a loafing shed is a practical and affordable solution. The health benefits, alone, are reason enough to invest in one.
What is a Loafing Shed?
A loafing shed is a three-sided shelter for your animals to get out of the sun, or provide protection from the wind, rain, or other inclement weather. Some are even built with runners on the bottom, so they can easily be moved around your pasture. This gives you greater flexibility in managing your pastures and ensuring that your livestock always has a place to go in the event of a storm, or simply an extra sunny day. Most loafing sheds have a single sloped roof, this allows the front of the building to be more exposed to the lovely sunshine, while still providing plenty of protection from the wind.
Why is it called a loafing shed?
The name, loafing shed, comes from the purpose of the shed. It is to provide a place for your cattle or horses to relax in, and find shelter from the elements. These buildings are sometimes called run-in sheds, and are essentially the same structure, with just a different name.
What is a Loafing Shed Used for?
A loafing shed is used to give your livestock shelter from the rain, wind, or sunshine while allowing them to still have unlimited and free access to the pasture. And while most people use them for their horses or cattle, portable loafing sheds can be used for whatever kind of animal you want. They also make great homes for goats, sheep, hogs, or even a simple shelter for some chickens.
Metal vs Wooden Loafing Sheds
There are different ways to build loafing sheds. One option is a simple metal loafing shed. All the components, including the framing, siding, and roofing, are made of metal. While this option is cheap and easy, there are some significant disadvantages. For example, not having solid wood kickboards inside your building can be a major health hazard for your livestock.
The more common, and arguably better, option is the wooden loafing shed. This means having your shelter framed with solid, pressure-treated lumber and finished with either traditional painted wood siding or metal siding and a quality metal roof. This is the perfect combination of durability, cost efficiency, and safety for your animals.
In the end, whether you choose a metal or wooden loafing shed, for the safety of your animals, it is important to have a solid kickboard inside your building.
What Direction Should a Loafing Shed Face?
The orientation of your portable loafing shed is pretty important. Having the opening of your building facing away from the prevailing wind in your area is the good place to start. In the United States, the general rule of thumb is to face your shed toward the southeast. This will provide the most protection against storms and wind, which most often come from the west and northwest. Having your building oriented in this way will also give your animals the benefit of the sunshine on those cold winter days.
What Is the Average Size Of a Loafing Shed?
A 10×18 or 12×24 loafing shed are both popular sizes, but exactly what size shelter you need will be determined by the number of animals you plan in this particular shelter. The height is usually 8 feet at the back, sloping up to approximately 10’ or 12’ at the front opening. A simple 10×18 loafing shed is easily sufficient for a single horse, or a 2-3 cattle. If you are planning on providing for more than 3-5 animals, then it is recommended to have a few smaller buildings, rather than one really large one.
Loafing Sheds Sizes for Horses
For horses, you will need approximately 80-120 square feet of space per horse for the first two horses. That would equate to approximately a 10×18 or 10×24 building. Each additional horse should have approximately 60 square feet. So for 3-4 horses, you will need a minimum of a 12×24 shed.
Loafing Sheds Sizes for Cattle
While cattle don’t require as much space as horses, you still want to give them enough room to easily lie down, stand up, and move around without excessively bumping into each other or the sides of your loafing shed. A good number to go by is 60 square feet of space for each cow and 100 square feet for each cow and calf. So for instance. If you have 4-5 cows, you will want to have a loafing shed that is approximately 12×24, or larger.
Is It Worth Buying a Loafing Shed?
By now, you're probably thinking. "This is great, but is a loafing shed worth it?" If you care about your animals, which we know you do, and you are looking for a sturdy yet affordable shelter option, then yes, investing in a quality run in shed is very much worth it. A well-built, correctly positioned run in shed will give your horses, cattle, or other animals not only a place to get out of the weather but a place they'll enjoy spending time in.
How Much Does a Loafing Shed Cost?
The general price range of a loafing shed is $4,000-$10,500. Prices will also depend on the size of the building you choose, as well as any extras you include. The cost of a 12x24 loafing shed usually starts at around $7,000. If you want to add a tack or feed room to your building, the price will be more in the $8,500-$9,000 range. A good starting point for loafing shed prices is between $27-$37 per square foot, which includes delivery*.
*We offer free delivery anywhere within 50 miles of our location.
Loafing Sheds with Storage
One of the most common add-ons to a loafing shed is a tack or feed room. This allows you to store some supplies, hay, or other feed close to your animals and eliminates the need to carry the feed all over your property every time it's chore time.
Wrapping It Up...
Are you ready to give your animals the loafing they deserve? Are you looking for a way to provide your animals with some shelter, but aren’t in the position to build a new barn? The loafing shed is the perfect alternative. By giving your animals a place to find shelter from the sun or inclement weather, you’ll have peace of mind, and your animals will love you for it.