Your Guide to Housing Sheep

Posted on June 23rd, 2014

There is some dispute between farmers over whether sheep require housing or not. Some believe that it is more natural to keep sheep outdoors; however severe cold winters can be fatal for sheep, which can be costly for farmers, plus the lambing survival success rate seems to be more successful for those who have access to lambing sheds.

Sheep Shelter

Sheep shelters vary between very simplistic shelters and more elaborate sheep housing. The housing that your farm requires depends on the climate and the lambing season. Simple housing options are better for mild weather, whereas more complicated structures are required where harsher weather is experienced.

Your Options

There are a variety of different choices when it comes to sheep housing; you can choose between pole buildings, traditional barns, and metal buildings – the latter provides sheep and essential equipment with the best quality of protection.

Sheep Shelter Location 

When placing sheep shelters they should always be erected in well-drained sites; it is recommended that livestock housing is placed on elevated sites. To make life easier for you, ensure that the building is easily accessible for deliveries. If you are looking for a simple shelter with an open side, ensure that the open part faces away from the prevailing wind.


Closed barns and sheep shelters need to be naturally well ventillated. Sheep are suseptable to respiratory problems such as pneumonia; many sheep suffer from this because of poorly ventilated barns. At RE Buildings, we are committed to providing livestock housing of the highest possible quality, because we understand how much your farm matters to you. Sheep prefer colder surroundings as opposed to a heated environment.

Space Requirements:

When it comes to lambing, it is imperative that sheep have a dry area that is free from wind and drafts. A ewe will require a living space that measures between 12 to 16 square feet. Pregnant sheep require quite a bit of space measuring between 16 – 25 square feet.

It is important for sheep to have access to a large pasture of grass for exercise and feeding. Sheep who spend more time outside are less likely to suffer respiratory problems. A ewe will need a space of around 16-20 square feet in group housing with her lambs.

Bedding requirements

When keeping sheep inside, it is is important that sheep have dry bedding such as straw and hay. This will help to keep them comfortable, which is extremely important for pregnant ewes. Straw is commonly used as bedding for all kinds of livestock housing; it is easy to handle, especially when it comes to cleaning out the shelter.

The Importance of Shade

Sheep are more at risk from excessive heat rather than rain, this is why it is important to have some form of shade in the fields in which they are kept. In snowy winters, sheep can graze through around 12 inches of snow, however constant icy weather can be fatal for sheep.

Sheep can actually be kept in total confinement, as they are a very adaptable creature; this also takes away predatorial risk. It also prevents over-grazing and enhances the security of your animals. However, keeping sheep outside is the most natural option. A balance between outside space and shelter is the best option for all livestock animals.

RE Buildings are specialist providers of agricultural buildings for all livestock breeds and species. If you would like any more information or advice in regards to housing for animals, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our knowledgeable team who will be more than happy to provide you with the advice that you need. Call 01524 792247 or send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Read what our customers say

It pays to do your research and go with a company with the right history, knowledge and expertise in the farm building industry. R.E. Buildings have proved we made the right choice.

Andrew Hill, Sludge Hall Farm, Leicester

I approached R.E. Buildings because of the high quality of their farm buildings. They have been very helpful and demonstrated professionalism on all aspects of the project. We have subsequently forwarded a further nine buildings.

Andre Vrona, Rutland, Leicester

R.E. Buildings are very knowledgeable, helpful and accommodating to suit individual needs. No job is too small or big for them. My new building has met all my requirements and expectations, is value for money, and well worth investment.

Mick Holt, Goosnargh, Lancashire

R.E Buildings have provided us an excellent service. We would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.

Mike, Stainmore Railway Company