Converting shipping containers continues to grow in popularity, and recently we were asked about using them for temporary farm shelters and horse stables. With some proper consideration and modification work, the end product can be a great asset and provide years of use. As opposed to permanent structures, the conversions can be inexpensive, mobile, and very sturdy.
Before we get started, the ideal container would be a high cube, 9'6” tall. A standard, 8'6” tall container would work for a smaller horse, but a taller horse might have problems. Also, it's important to consider adequate ventilation. Without airflow, the air can quickly become stale and condensation can build.
Portable Container Stable/Farm Shelter
The actual conversion work can be performed by a local builder, mill work shop, or if you have welding and general construction skills you could even do it yourself and save on the costs associated with the conversion. Most farm and ranch stores can supply all of the necessary components to build the container stable.
The ideal animal shelter will have both entry and exit doors. Shipping containers are only 8' wide, so there's little room for large animals to turn around. The standard end doors can be used for the exit, and a matching size door can be cut at any point on either side of the container. Once the door is cut, the appropriate gate can be hinged and welded into the door jamb to help keep the animals in place. The cut out piece from the door can be repurposed into a hinged awning to provide protection from the rain, snow, or sleet.
The installed flooring is designed to hold weight, and the weight of most animals won't be a problem. It's a good idea to keep a layer of sawdust on the floor to aid in the clean-up of any animal "discharge".
Storage space isn't advised on a 20' container, but if you convert a 40' container into a stable or shelter there could be enough room to wall off an area for storing supplies. Depending on the available services, a window may be required to provide light that doesn't require electricity, and if water is available a sink could be included.
A standard container requires a step up of 6-8 inches. While this shouldn't be a problem for most animals it is still advised to build a sturdy ramp to prevent the animals from tripping as they enter the unit. With regards to a foundation, depending on how long the container will be in place and the composition/compaction of the ground there are several different ways to address the foundation. If the unit is only going to be at the location for a few weeks, or even a few months, simple blocks could be used to make sure the container sits level. Rail road ties may not be the best option as animals would be required to step up the extra height to enter the unit.
As seasons change and crops are rotated, it may be necessary to periodically relocate the container shelter. Moving a shipping container with a tilt bed trailer is the ideal option because getting a fork lift into a pasture or grazing area might not be possible.
Building a stable or animal shelter is a great idea if you are looking to create an inexpensive, durable, mobile solution for your farm or ranch. Shipping containers can be found in just about any area of the United States, and if they're not local they can be trucked in.
If you need help finding a shipping container to convert to a stable or animal shelter, ContainerAuction.com can help to point you in the right direction. Our sellers have new and used shipping container for sale in the United States, Canada, and most other parts of the world. Feel free to contact them, or our staff, for all of your shipping container needs.