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Hello,

So we are looking for ideas on a relatively cheap option for a goat shelter. We are brand new to the goat world, so we apologize we are lacking in terminology. We do live in Longmont, Co just outside Boulder on 4 acres. We eventually will want to build a permanent barn, but do not want to invest 100% until we are completely sure of this endevour. We've heard about people using 2x4 for structure then using metal roofing for the roof and siding. We live in Colorado and it can get PRETTY cold and we also live on the front range area, so we can get a lot of snow and wind. Also, we have A LOT of coyote activity, just lost 4 chickens a few days ago. We are planning to get a LGD here soon, but want to get it once we have the goats to help integrate/teach. So my thought would be to make sure we have some way to close in at night but is that possible without spending big $$?

Thanks for all the advice and guidance in advance!
 

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What kind of goats are you thinking of getting? If dairy, keep in mind you'll want somewhere to put the milkstand, away from the rest of the goats. You'll be going in and out often, so 'human sized' is necessary. :) If you have a place like a garage to milk, however, you can just walk to get the does to milk and keep them in smaller housing.

With boer goats, my all time favorite house is the buck house which I also used for does occasionally. It is a truck bed cap for a roof, and just a 2x4 frame with plywood walls. 2 goat-sized doors on the front. We left the walls 4' tall (uncut plywood sheet) which has kept our goats, at least, from standing on the top and falling through the roof. :p There is NO FLOOR. To clean, we take off the more delicate truck top and set on the ground... then we roll the building to a new spot and bed with straw. For our bucks, we clean it 2x per year. You'd want to clean/bed it more often with lactating boer does for example to reduce mastitis. Its not very big but could probably house 4 adult does. It house 2 bucks and a large wether fine, here. Or, a buck with several does to breed.

We also use the enclosed truck bed caps for shelters. They do like to dance on those though. We take cinderblocks to raise it up a bit (we have alpines which are tall) and a 2x8 or 2x10 across the front or similar and make a little barrier in the front to keep bedding in - otherwise our chickens go crazy and redistribute it around our yard, lol.Without freerange chickens, bedding stays in pretty well. Also pretty easy to clean because you can flip/lift the topper back off of the blocks and get in there. I use it in my kid pen or can house 2-3 does so long as they get along OK.

No matter what kind of goats you get, you'll want it easy to clean and you'll want a separate place to store feed/hay. - or at least a VERY VERY SECURE place to store feed. :) For dairies, it's easiest if the feed storage area is where you milk, because that's where you'll feed them and you'll go through more grain owning dairies than you will boers, most likely. You'll also want it pretty well ventilated - big open doors or windows that don't let precipitation in are best. :)
 

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Right now for my does, I just have a frame with metal roofing butted up against the wood fence and leaning against the back of our garage.

My buck lives in a large dog house.

But this year I have 4 (hopefully pregnant) does to overwinter. We have a canvas outfitter tent that has been in service for 30+ years. My husband was saying it's time to retire it and I suggested we use it for the goats. We'll build a wood frame to anchor the ropes to out of reach of goats.
 

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Depending on how many goats, you could get away with using one of those plastic calf hutches for their house. They are very re-saleable, so if you decide you don't want goats after getting them, they should be easy to sell.
 

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Over the years I have tried different things, started out with an 8x10 metal shed because it was already there on the property (it got very cold in winter and very hot in summer) then tried hoop houses first year worked ok second winter snow loads and naughty goats tore those down. Got to use an old barn at a place I was renting, hated it the barn was over 100 feet from house made caring for the goats during winter awful and it was BIG and drafty and freezing during winter....I finally got a building built for my girls (outta a tax refund) and it was money well spent IMO. It is one of those horse run-ins with tack room (tack room re-purposed as milking room), spent an extra 800 to have the breezeway added. Poor bucks are in the old 4x8 chicken house and have a large doghouse out there for the youngest boy. For them before winter I plan on building a quick building that I can move for easy cleaning, with these last couple of winters I will have to build tuff and warm OR add onto the chicken house, maybe a multi level thing hmmm brain is working now....
With your scenario and the predators you have I would defiantly consider something close to the house, a lot depends on what kinda of goats and what is the purpose. Just a few simple goats for weed eating, backpacking, fun pets, etc...
 

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Calf hutches are great for small temporary housing. Especially if you plan on pulling kids and raising separate for dairy - make great moveable kid houses (I like moving my kid pens to decrease worm/coccidia problems year to year). They are pretty easy to sanitize and could be used for isolation housing both for animals that need to be separated from the main herd (breeding pens), or incoming goats during a biosecurity isolation period.
 

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I agree on the calf huts (Unless you are super handy and have a free supply of lumber), you can't go wrong. They can't be used for a milk parlor, but it doesn't sound as if you are taking a leap into milking dairy goats. Even if you decide to build a barn later on, they make excellent portable field housing. As a shelter from wind and snow, they will always come in handy where you live. They can be a little pricey, but they are indestructible and are highly re-saleable. You might be able to find used ones that are a little cheaper from a dairy(just be sure to scrub them down well with bleach).

If you are handy and the goats are small, you might be able to upcycle a caged plastic IBC tote... One of these things... Use the cage for transport(enclosing the top a must!) and the container for a hutch. Has anyone here done this before? I couldn't find a picture on the internet but I know it must have been done!
 

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I got a free car shelter frame. Used one section, instead of legs its set down into a wall of pallets. The pallets go on 3 sides. Cover the entire thing with a tarp from Costco. I use an old tarp and staple it down on the pallets so that the 3 sides are breeze free.

Been using it for 3 years. Twice a year (maybe) I replace the tarp.
 

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Has anyone here done this before? I couldn't find a picture on the internet but I know it must have been done!
I've never seen pictures of that, but I have seen them recycled into feeders by setting them on frames to raise them up, and putting an A-frame of plywood in the part that houses the tote.
 

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We've heard about people using 2x4 for structure then using metal roofing for the roof and siding. We live in Colorado and it can get PRETTY cold and we also live on the front range area, so we can get a lot of snow and wind. Also, we have A LOT of coyote activity, just lost 4 chickens a few days ago. We are planning to get a LGD here soon, but want to get it once we have the goats to help integrate/teach. So my thought would be to make sure we have some way to close in at night but is that possible without spending big $$?
I live maybe 3 hours north of you, and 3 of my 5 shelters are 3-sided frames with tin attached. 2 face south, 1 faces east, and the girls do fine! I stop cleaning them about this time of year(manure pack decomposes and puts off heat), bed them fetlock deep before each storm, and use ag lime or Sweet PDZ to control ammonia between beddings.

As far as coyotes go, they would be more likely to go after the kids/younger animals that weigh less than 100 lbs than the does. At least, that has been my experience. My fences are all at least 5' high with hog panels attached to keep the coyotes from going under or through them, gates are the same way, and we nailed/screwed up tin on the west exterior fences to turn them into windbreaks. To close your shelter, I would think it should be a fairly simple matter of digging a trench and burying a 1 to 1 1/2" steel pipe or strip of heavy metal about 2" deep to prevent digging under, then wiring or attaching a cattle, combination panel, or a piece of field fence(smaller holes so your goats can't get their heads stuck if they have horns) across the front of the shed. You could even turn the field fence into a gate by attaching 1X2's on both sides of it. I hope this helps! :)
 

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I agree on the calf huts (Unless you are super handy and have a free supply of lumber), you can't go wrong. They can't be used for a milk parlor, but it doesn't sound as if you are taking a leap into milking dairy goats. Even if you decide to build a barn later on, they make excellent portable field housing. As a shelter from wind and snow, they will always come in handy where you live. They can be a little pricey, but they are indestructible and are highly re-saleable. You might be able to find used ones that are a little cheaper from a dairy(just be sure to scrub them down well with bleach).

If you are handy and the goats are small, you might be able to upcycle a caged plastic IBC tote... One of these things... Use the cage for transport(enclosing the top a must!) and the container for a hutch. Has anyone here done this before? I couldn't find a picture on the internet but I know it must have been done!
I use these for young kid housing. First, I used the cage off some to make hay feeders. The kids can get into the holes for a long time, so we used one with the cage still on and flipped it, cut the top (which was now the bottom) off and cut one of the holes out. Works, but I think I'd rather use the tank by itself and cut a door and the bottom. My husband figured the cage would help it stay in good shape.
 

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We have a warm, four-sided wooden shed for the winter and a three-sided metal one backed up to the fence for the fourth side for the summer with no floor and a roof that is separate from the rest of it and therefore much higher. I'll try to get pics of each soon. We use the winter one for all new mama goats.
 

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A 3 sided shed, open side facing south, with drainage away from the shed is all you need. Size? About 40 sq ft per goat. A pen made of livestock panels enclosing the area in front of the open side of the shed will keep goats in and dogs out (very important). About 150 sq ft per goat is ok for the pen. If your goats have horns or big scurs, avoid the livestock panels with big openings at the top, small openings at the bottom (the most commonly available ones, unfortunately). Otherwise, your goats will get their heads caught in the fence. I like the panels that have 4" openings, top to bottom. They are 5 ft high and 20 ft. long. They are really strong, and easy to build a fence with. A couple of wooden cable spools in the pen give the goats something to jump up on, just for fun and exercise, and to get out of the mud in wet weather.

I like having my hay storage area and my goat house in one building. I make a hole in the wall between the goat house and the hay area and put a feeder in the hay area where the goats can stick their heads thru the hole and eat. That way I (or the neighbors) don't have to go into the goat pen to feed them (and get mugged by greedy goats).






Make sure you consider how you are going to water the goats. Lugging buckets of water a long way, or running a long garden hose gets pretty miserable, especially in winter. A buried water line coming close to the pen, with a freeze proof yard hydrant is the way to go.

I've made it very easy to take care of my chickens and goats. That way it's easier on me, and also easier to get somebody else to take care of them so we can leave on trips sometimes and not be tied down.
 

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When we started out we built various smaller or small type wood houses & lean Too's.
Those worked great for years until we got more goats & more goats & just always needed more space.
We have a big barn now & have had additions for the goats added to both sides of that over the years but last year hubby & I built a new buck house out of pallets.
It's very sturdy & warm.
We used 2 pallets high all the way around, on each end they re 2 pallets deep & on the back 3 pallets wide. In the front we used 2 pallets wide so the door is the size of a pallet so easy to get a wheelbarrow in & out.
We used old metal a friend gave us for the roof & sloped it so the snow & rain would run off the back.
We deep bed in the winter for extra warmth.
Standing hay rack is out front of their building with a piece of wood attached to their building with hinges so it won't blow away & it keeps the snow & rain off the hay.

We then used OSB to cover all the walls.
Pallets are cheap or free here so your biggest expense would be the OSB.

Good fencing will keep the coyotes out or should hopefully as well as a LGD like you already mentioned.
 
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