already worried about winter

Discussion in 'Goats' started by newhampshiregir, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. newhampshiregir

    newhampshiregir New Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    wakefield new hampshire
    I've only had my goats (oberhasli/ alpine) for a couple of weeks and so far so good. We've been working on fencing, but now I'm starting to worry about our barn. I know goats need good ventilation and clean bedding so they don't breath in amonia. Our goats spend all day outside and I do a clean sweep of the barn each day so right now it's not a problem but I'm worried about this winter. For one thing, what is the difference between drafts and ventilation? we have a really old barn and I'm sure the wind goes right through it, is that bad or good? As for the bedding, we have concrete floors so I want to let the bedding build up this winter to give them some warmth but wont the amonia also build up?
  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 24, 2003
    I'm in Maine with a newish barn with dirt floor that I let build up...only clean twice a year but we drain well....I let the scatterered hay build up mostly but you can buy shavings by the bale or 18 cord truckload cheaper if you have room. Another thing I do by the end of Dec, is to put dog houses in the barn...just half sheets of chipboard angled out to the floor and tacked with piece of 2*4 and screws....usually 2 will snuggle up under one "house". And dont be afraid to let them out when its cold....sunshine is very important even at 10 below.

    I also bring hot water with vinegar, molasses or orange juice (about 1 c to 3 gal.) in the winter to encourage them to drink up while its warm and before it freezes. Goats are quite hardy, its really the babies that cold weather affects....I wait until Nov. to breed because temps are closer to 40 by April.

    My biggest concern this winter is the price of hay and grain :grit: Not to mention gas and oil!

  3. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    A draft you feel blowing right on you. Ventilation is a cross breeze above you. So what I would do in your barn is tighten things up to a little above goat height - taking into account the height the bedding will build up. The cracks and whatnot above goat level will allow moisture to move out and keep things dry.

    I also have concrete floors in my barn. When I get a hint of ammonia I throw another bale of straw out. Every day or so I kneel down in the bedding - if it's damp at all I toss out more straw. I end up tossing down a bale of straw every week or so, along with whatever hay they waste. I have found that straw holds up better than hay for bedding. It sounds gross, but the urine, poop, and broken down straw at the bottom of the bedding will start to compost and provide heat for the goats along with a cushy place they can nestle into.

    It doesn't get nearly as cold here as it does where you live so I don't provide any kind of special insulation. When it gets into the single digits I find pairs of goats curled up together in the same nest, so they do help to keep each other warm. I keep hay in front of them 24/7 so they always have something to munch on (the fermenting action in their rumens keeps them warm), and I also take out buckets of hot gatorade so they drink up while it's warm.
  4. Macruari

    Macruari Macruari

    Sep 10, 2005
    New Hampshire
    We are in New Hampshire also and relatively new to the game. We had 2 goats last winter and even after reading the books and hearing from other owners I was concerned because of the cold. They did fine. My husband let the hay build up and the two of them did fine keeping themselves warm. We built them a stall of hay bales so they could nibble and it provided some insulation. The door is kept open during the day so they could wander out in the snow when it was sunny. And like the others have said, they get warm water to drink. So good luck.