Cattle-Panel-and-Tarp Shelters
By Gwen Ingram

 Despite our best intentions, life frequently gets in the way and we end up with too many tasks and not enough time to do them all.  If more shelter for your llamas is one of the important projects that's getting the squeeze, or if you'll need a shelter only temporarily, here's an idea that can really save time, money, and effort in most climates.  All of the materials can be reused for other shelters or for other projects around the farm.


You need two to four cattle panels, 16 feet by 54 inches high (use two panels for a single-llama shlter; three or four will provide cover for four to six compatible llamas).

Tarps for the cover:

  • for a two-panel shelter, two plastic tarps, 12x12 or 12x14.

  • for a three-panel shelter, two tarps 12x16 or 14x16.

  • for a four-panel shelter, two tarps 12x20, 14x20 or 16x20.

Posts or logs to anchor:

  • for a two-panel shelter, two 8-foot posts.

  • for a three-panel shelter, two 12-foot logs.

  • for a four-panel shelter, four 8-foot posts.

To connect it all:

Two pieces of half-inch rebar about 18-24 inches long per post or log; bailing twine (add some ball bungees if you want to get fancy); and fencing staples.

For tools, be sure you have a hammer, a drill with 9/16-inch bit sledge and your trusty pocketknife.




First, you need to get those awkward cattle panels home.  If you have a roof rack on your truck or van and the rack is less than 12 feet long, you can first lash a couple of 12-foot 2x4s on either side to provide support for the wiggly panels.  Then place the panels on top, extending tem two feet beyond the 2x4s both back and front.  Strap them down securely; don't forget your red flagging!


If you have an open pickup, you can tuck the ends of the panels in the bed, allowing the panels to end in a are.  Secure with rope for safety (Figure 1).

Next, bring your posts or logs to a source of electricity (yes, you could use a cordless drill, but the large-diameter holes are pretty taxing on even the best batteries - why make more work for yourself?).  Drill an angled hole in each end as shown (Figure 2).


Select a site if you haven't already.  It should be relatively flat and level with - or higher than - the surrounding area so that water doesn't run through the shelter and defeat many of its advantages.  Now, take all the materials and tools out to your site.


Click over to Page 2