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A large group of sheep standing in an open sided sheep shed installed by Fowler and Gilbert

What to consider when designing a sheep shed

When designing your new sheep shed or considering lambing indoors there is a lot to consider, in this article we look at the different considerations we advise when designing sheep sheds.


Principle design

Lambing survival rates are most successful when born in indoors, however some farmers may dispute the most natural way is outdoors. There is no ‘best’ option when it comes to how you face lambing, every farmer is different.

With the unpredictable weather conditions surrounding lambing time, we note why a lambing shed could be beneficial to your farming enterprise. At Fowler & Gibert we are passionate about herd health, safe working practices and your return on your investments for your hard-earned money.


We look at the benefits of lambing indoors with a multi-purpose building, also with the advantages of having a building all year round.


Indoor lambing benefits

  • Reduced mortality rates
  • Protection from outdoor threats such as dog attacks and foxes
  • Ease of adoptions and bonding
  • Reduced chance of mismothering
  • Less feed costs (sheep who lamb outdoors tend to eat more to maintain their body condition and use more energy to keep warm)
  • Easy to handle for dipping, medicating and adding colostrum feeds.
  • More viable to monitor, many farmers will use a camera system.


Location of a lambing shed

When siting a new building we look at considerations in to where to put it and why.

  • Situating the lambing shed where it remains accessible will ease the dealing of any emergencies.
  • Consider fresh water and electricity points.
  • Other buildings situated close by may cause a wind tunnel effect.
  • Safe working practices to keep animals and staff safe.
  • Consider what other purposes you will use the building for when not being used for lambing and how it will fit into your day-to-day activities and productivity.
  • Direction of the building


Accessibility of the sheep shed

Initial building designs carefully considered can reduce labour costs and resources. With planning and considerations will aid your return on investments and daily logistics.

  • Consider pen layouts, ease to manoeuvre for emergencies, clean bedding, and reduce mis-mothering.
  • Cleaning and wash-down of building


Building design

There are many elements to consider when designing your lambing shed. To maximise your outputs, we look at considerations to utilise the building throughout the remainder of the year when the building is not being used for lambing purposes. We aim to create a dry environment to reduce risk of pneumonia and aid flock management.

Walls in a lambing shed would usually be animal height, we would recommend 1.2m – 1.5m high concrete panels, this will ensure the ewes are free from drafts, thus reducing the risk of becoming cold and hypothermic.

Adequate ventilation using Yorkshire boarding cladding or ventilated box profile sheets, will ensure the circulation of fresh air, with a ventilated ridge to remove the stale air lessening the stack effect.

Using roof lights in your building with allow natural lighting to disperse throughout and reduced electricity costs, although you may want to consider installation of lights to assist with nighttime lambing.

Check if there are any planning restrictions within your area, we would always advise speaking to your local authorities before erecting a building to seek the relevant permissions. We work alongside an array of planning consultants, speak to one of our team.


Are you looking to future proof your sheep building?

Consider what your future use may be for the building, and future proof as best as you can. At the point of building design, we can tailor make the building ready to take future installation of PV solar panels and mezzanine floors.


Floors and drainage

Doors and access, ensure the building has sufficient access for machinery and personnel. We would always recommend 2 points of entry/exit in a steel framed building in case of emergencies.


Want to discuss your sheep shed?

Fowler & Gilbert Ltd are one of the UK’s leading independent suppliers of bespoke steel frame buildings and we fabricate all of our steelworks on site at our factory in Market Drayton.

We supply bespoke steel frame buildings to clients for Agricultural, Equestrian, Industrial and Commercial buildings – get in touch or request a quote to see how we can help you with your sheep shed project.


Take a look at one of our sheep sheds in use during lambing