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What Type of Housing Do Goats Need?

There are some basic things to think about when considering what type of shelter you will provide for your goats:

  1. •Goats need basic housing to keep them dry (goats HATE to get wet) and to protect them from wind during the winter.
  3. •Do you have predetor issues? Coyotes, bear and fox can all be predators of goats, but the #1 killer of goats is roaming dogs. Its safest to lock up your goats at night. You will need something that locks up securely.
  5. •Goats do fine in the cold as long as they are protected from drafts and from being wet. The shelter needs to have good ventilation though, so resist the urge to completely wrap up their housing in the winter!
  7. •If you are in the process of planning and building your shelter, it is wise to have some sort of earthen floor. Something that will drain. Dirt, grass, gravel, covered with bedding are all fine. Concrete, wood, tile...etc, are not going to drain, will hold all the wetness and you will have to scoop out and replace bedding every 3-4 days or so. You don't have to do that if you have a floor that drains. :)
  9. •You can build a loft or shelves for the goats to jump up on to sleep on, just be sure there are no gaps that little hooves can get stuck in as they are jumping down
  11. •DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use heat lamps. EVERY YEAR I hear about many barn fires, with all animals DEAD due to using heat lamps. They are NOT safe and not needed! Don't risk it!
  13. •Plan for an area to feed them hay (should always be fed in a dry location, under cover) and where you will put water and minerals.
  15. •You may want to consider an area within the shelter that they can't get to where you will store some of your supplies. This is completely optional but can be convenient if where you'll be storing items needed for them would otherwise be far away.
  17. I STRONGLY suggest having some sort of "always on" baby monitor in your shelter. Audio only is perfectly fine. you can get an audio baby monitor at Walmart for $30. Goats are quiet animals, and if one starts screaming in the middle of the night, you will know something is very wrong! I keep a monitor in my barn, and the receiver in my bedroom. There have been many occassions where someone has been hanging by a foot, or head stuck or whatever that I heard them shrieking and was able to save them! Those situations would have been very different had I not found them until morning. The security cameras that you have to check through your phones aren't a good substitute. You need something that you will hear them when its unexpected, not just when your checking in. :)

My first goats were kept in a used wooden children's playhouse (8'x10'). I built shelves in it for them and a loft to sleep in. It was super cute but I soon found out the real downside was the wooden floor. Nothing drained! I thought putting in a vinyl floor would be somewhat better, but it didn't fix the problem of nothing draining. Everything had to be scooped out and replaced every 3-4 days or so. With an earth floor, that doesn't happen. Anyhow, the 8x10 playhouse was comfortable for up to around 8 Nigerian Dwarf goats (the loft really added to the space, and all but one were very young) My herd eventually outgrew the playhouse and had to move to the big barn. Really the key to a good shelter is going to be plenty of ventilation, but with protection from drafts and protection from the elements. A floor that drains just makes is MUCH easier on you. :)

Would you like to read more about Goats and Goat Care? Check out the Articles/Posts Index.

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I live on the side of a mountain with 65 goats and 4 dogs. I make 100% of my living from my homestead. My purpose is to "Inspire, Encourage & Empower".
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