Post by sunshinestate on Jun 25, 2010 9:21:01 GMT -5
Hello, I am new to the site and new to goats. Started in January with our first 3 girls. Now we have 10 total. We have Nigerian Dwarfs, and we plan to breed and milk (waiting a year before trying this). Anyway, We would like to build simple, inexpensive shelters/safe night housing out in the pastures where the goats are during the day. RIght now we bring them in at night to horse stalls we converted to enclosed housing. These are great, but it takes a lot of time to round up goats and herd (sometimes carry) them in at night. Also, we could use the stalls for other things such as housing a sick goat, mama and baby, etc. I would appreciate photos of your housing for goats and any suggestions you have about what to do and what NOT to do. Thanks
Post by silverthorn on Jun 25, 2010 20:13:25 GMT -5
DO NOT do the following:
get a concrete/mat floor, instead, hard dirt is probably best because it absorbs urine, but is easily brushed clean of poo
use hay nets; your goats will die
DO the following:
use fencing that they can get their heads through, the smaller the squares the better, and if you can get a strand of electric across the center at around goat chest level, that is perfect, because the goats will not be able to stretch out the fence <----hard panels with small square fencing will make the electric unnecessary
use hay mangers that they cannot climb into or soil
make stalls hard to climb; places that are solid to about three feet high or more are ideal, and would also make it impossible for goat babies to escape
for completely enclosed spaces, try and give a 4x4 space per goat, (for Nigies, 3x3 is probably plenty), if they are going to stay inside for more then a few hours; 5x5 is good for a single birthing stall or nursing stall
for more then one milking stand, make it so the does can't bite each other and that there's enough room to move between them
make everything in a milking room as easy to clean as possible, like smooth walls that don't absorb water and a concrete/linoleum/wash mat floor
make milking rooms adjacent or have easy access to the room where you'll pasteurize/store/work with the milk; in this room, make everything easy to clean and with temperature controls
As to materials, a simple wooden frame of 2x4 with painted half inch plywood will do the trick. It only needs to be waterproof. If you have scrap steel, certainly put that to good use.
For 10 goats, an 8x8 three-sided shed would be sufficient for general every day use in a pasture, as long as it's not over 6 feet high. Generally. That's the bare minimum for a building they will be able to get out of whenever they want. 15 Boer goats crammed themselves into a 10x12 stall during a heavy rain, and they weren't harming each other, so I know it can be done.
Also be mindful of which direction your seasonal rains come from. Don't put doors or windows facing that direction.
I'll add more if it comes to mind.
"Poor God," Blackthorne said. "The stupidities He gets blamed for!" -Shogun, James Clavell
Post by sunshinestate on Jun 26, 2010 7:22:36 GMT -5
Wow, thanks for all the great info. That really helps me avoid some mistakes. I want to build a secure structure in the pasture where my boy goats stay during the day. The structure would be for them to go in at night and be safe and secure. So it would have to have doors that can be shut and of course ventilation of some sort. I just haven't figured out a simple design for this structure. Here in Florida we get some heavy rain in the summer, so I was thinking about building it up, off the ground and using a wood floor?????? Any other ideas. I would appreciate all the input I can get. Thanks
Dirt/sand floors are the best in my opinion. Hard floors can create issues with the legs including arthritis. Dirt floors provide better urine drainage and can always be refreshed by bringing in a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt or sand and spreading it around.
Split doors are also excellent for ventilation...just close the bottom half and leave the top open. You probably could get away with just a lower half door since it would be rare that you would need to close the top half. I only close the top half on ours when it is below zero degrees in the winter time. We have the door facing east since most of our wind and rain/snow comes out of the west here in Indiana.
I will see if I have some photos in Photobucket or somewhere of our barn that I can post. If you don't have other facilities for hay storage, you may also want to make the barn big enough to create an area the goats cannot access to store your hay for them so it is kept out of the weather.
I have tons that I am uploading to Photobucket showing more detail of the hay storage area, stall, feeders, etc. but have to go clean my barn right now! I'll try to post more later...remind me if I don't!
Hay/feed storage and milking area with view of door between stall and back of barn. There is chicken wire from the top of the wall to the ceiling to keep the poultry out of the hay as much as possible.
Post by sunshinestate on Jun 28, 2010 12:29:36 GMT -5
Thanks for all the photos. They are great and some very good ideas. My wish would be to have a facility in the goat pasture for the boys to go into at night and be locked and safe. Right now they have to come into the barn where we modified a horse stall. Sometimes they just want to play in the yard and not go into their night time quarters. That means we have to carry them in.
Another question about dirt floors for those who have responded. If we built a structure for them in the pasture for night time, would you just build up from the ground and not put any floor in (leave it on the ground)? What about raining and getting wet? Could we put in a wood floor that was up off the ground a few inches? It sounds like the size for three males could be about 8' x 10'. I would like it to be 6' high so I don't have to stoop over for cleaning. Maybe a shed roof, higher in front and sloping in back.
If you have good drainage and the area doesn't flood, just building on the ground would be fine. That is how we did it. When the stall floor gets really smelly, we just bring in fresh sand and spread a few inches on the floor. This also helps replace any sand taken out when the stall is cleaned.
All you need is a 3 sided shelter with a tube gate to keep them in. That's the simplest way I can explain it! Just be sure when you build your shelter to be aware of the wind because thats the direction snow and rain will blow!
Post by sunshinestate on Jun 30, 2010 7:40:36 GMT -5
Thanks again for your responses. Where I live in Florida we get summer storms (and sometimes hurricanes). How would I keep out the rain if the structure had an open/wire front? That's my dilemma, and if I close the whole thing in; I think there would be a ventilation problem???????
You could close it in, but have windows or half doors that could be closed only when needed. I open the back door of the barn during the day to also make sure that the barn gets aired out well and no fumes from the manure have a chance to build up. I close it at night due to raccoons, etc.
Our barn is 8x10 with a sloped roof. We used 4in boards vertically for the walls which lets the air circulate but doesn't let to much wind in. Our door has a three foot space above it that we covered with a peice of fencing. We worry about cougars around here, but maybe that is not an issue in your area. we have a dirt floor that we cover with straw and let build up in the winter. It does get damp in the winter and I have a couple of pallets with plywood on top that i put in there, they seem to appreciate it. A note on corrugated iron as roofing. If it rains and then warms up the water will condense on the roof and drip. As far as wood floors go I have a friend with a wood floor in one of her sheds. As far as I kow she has never had a problem. However, I don't think she locks her goats in at night.Her floor is made up of boards so there are little spaces between them that let the urine through.
Hi! I'm new to the board! Right now I have one Nubian doe. I also owned her doeling but she died. =( I'll be getting another one soon though.
Anyway, as far as facilities what about those premade sheds you can buy? Or the shed kits? They're really cute and if you are able to get them well-ventilated they don't seem like a bad idea, but I'm probably missing something. My girl is in a leaky lean-to right now and that's just not working. I'm looking for a cheap and secure alternative to this. I was also looking at a company called Clear Span. They make plastic housing as large as horse arenas and much smaller. But they don't come at a very nice price.