How to: Build a Goat House Using Old Pallets

Posted on Oct 15, 2010 in DIY Projects, Urban Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Source: Starving the Monkeys


For those of you who have read Starving the Monkeys, you know that as we near a collapse of civilization, people will start using (and using up) materials and finished goods in unexpected and novel ways. The lowly material-handling pallet falls into this category. Reading through the homestead and preparedness literature, one often finds references to the use of pallets to construct useful things. For monkey starvers in particular, building things out of pallets is a great way to deny forage to suit-monkeys who demand their slice of our consumption pie.

We, like many others, enjoy using pallets for building material for several reasons. First, pallets are cheap. Each week, we get a half-dozen of them free from our local hardware store, saving the owner the cost of disposal. In urban areas, you might have to pay a couple of bucks each, but that is still cheap at the price. Next, pallets come in a variety of sizes and styles, and offer a lot of different materials for various construction projects. Third, the pallet scraps left over from such projects make great kindling, particularly since you wind up with a lot of splintered oak when using them. All of these qualities add up to great monkey-starving advantages. Plus, building on a pallet foundation allows easy transportation of the project using an off-road forklift.

We recently picked up a male (billy) Pygmy goat. While a little guy, he packs an important punch: siring Nubian females (nannies) to produce the Kinder breed. Kinders are excellent small-homestead dairy goats, having the disease and parasite-resistance of the Pygmy, and the milk production of the Nubians. But for Kinders, you need a Pygmy billy, and so we introduce you to George. We picked up George from an ad on Craig’s List for $30, complete with collar and bell. He was in reasonably good shape, and enjoyed the van ride home in a cardboard box. Once there, he promptly set to work eating saw briars. Day one, and he’s already providing positive delta Q!

But George needed a bachelor pad. Left to the nannies, he would disturb them constantly (“hey, ladies”), and wear all of his leisure suits threadbare. Accordingly, we need to house George away from the nannies, and so we decided to build him a little house out of scrap pallets. The finished house is shown to the right. As usual, we kind of got carried away with overkill. Once you get started on one of these projects, it’s hard to stop! This house features a roomy interior free of horn-snagging voids, hoof-friendly flooring, rustic shingled roof, ventilated walls, and a generous trapezoidal door with a medieval latch!

This project will make extensive use of pallets, which are great inexpensive building materials. If you aren’t familiar with the principles of pallet construction, take a moment to read through our pallet construction primer. Then, come back to this page to learn about the goat house.

As with all of our projects, the instructions we give here might be overly detailed. An old hand at construction will probably scoff at some of the primitive techniques used, and be able to derive all the necessary steps from the photo above right. However, our projects here are intended to be executed by anyone, even if they’ve never built anything in their entire life. If you’ve only ever experienced subdivision living, then take heart.

Ready? OK, so in the next section, learn about preparing materials for the pallet goat house.

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