goats in winter

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Gideon's War, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. Gideon's War

    Gideon's War Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking to get some boers this fall and was wondering how they handle the winter weather? I live in NW Indiana so weather can get down to 0 or colder sometimes. I have a fenced in pastures as well as woods. Will a wind break be sufficent or should I look to keep them in the barn? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. goatmarm

    goatmarm Well-Known Member

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  3. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    I agree, build a shelter then let the manure build up during the winter. The composting will cause heat that keeps them warm. Just make sure you add either wood chips and/or straw/or hay on top each week to keep it dry. I use a combination of wood pellets and left over hay. It's a pain to clean at the end of the season but well worth it. (I will sometimes take out some before the season ends)
     
  4. dbarjacres

    dbarjacres Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I heavily disagree on letting the manure/hay build up. It's dirty and stinks and is a pain in the rear come spring to clean out! We are in Northern Wisconsin. We've had goats for 3 full winters. First winter, we used that hay building up method people say is great, never again. last two winters we've used pine shavings (chopped straw or sawdust would work too) in a 12x12 stall area - they were only allowed to come in here when very nasty as I'd put hay in the wall racks then - and I'd clean it out once a week. A lot easier! Cleaner too. If the temps were above 10 and no precip. or windchill, the goats would live in 8 ft. diameter Polydome calf hutches which we left the bedding build up in as we can just move the hutch in spring and scoop it up with the tractor. We'd use straw in those. Otherwise they ate hay in a rack outdoors. They'd lay in the sun every day around the rack. Never had a shivering goat. First two winters we had fainters or boers, last fall we went to all Nigerians and mini manchas
     
  5. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    I read something, I think in one of Joel Salatin's books, about keeping cattle overwinter in a haying shed and small yard. They'd throw grain down every once in a while and then run a manure spreader through with sawdust or woodchips or whatever. When the cows went back to pasture in spring, they'd buy a pig or two and pen them in the shed where the cows had been. The pigs would turn the whole pile digging around for that grain that was sown over the winter. Seemed like a good idea. I think they cleaned the shed out with a front end loader on the tractor when the pigs had dug up the whole pile.
     
  6. glidergurl03

    glidergurl03 Well-Known Member

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    Northern MN, here, eh? ;-) No problems w/ any goats up here. You gotta make sure any long eared goats can get out of the cold so they don't freeze their ears, but my neighbors boers have had no problem. They have a quanset hut and a shed to go in, but they're rarely in it. Same with my Nigerians and pygmys...they prefer to be out playing in the cold I think :)
     
  7. goatkid

    goatkid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Boers do very well during the winter. We live in Montana and mine even sleep outdoors on frigid winter nights when all the dairy goats are inside. I do make sure all the goats have warm, dry goat houses.
     
  8. GoatLove

    GoatLove Well-Known Member

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    I live in Maryland and this will be my 3rd winter with my goats. I would suggest building some type of shelter, at least a shelter with 3 sides. Goats are really tough and if they have adequate shelter, they will be fine. Here is a pic of their goat house............
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    If your barn stinks from built up manure you just need to add lime. It will control the odor and help absorb the ammonia. Put down a thick layer of lime and then your bedding. When you start to smell it again repeat the process. It helps speed the composting process. Using pelletized instead of powdered lime will help with the dust
     
  10. goatmarm

    goatmarm Well-Known Member

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  11. Gideon's War

    Gideon's War Well-Known Member

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    What about larger herds? When you have 15-20+ of them? Just wondering.
     
  12. crystalniche

    crystalniche Well-Known Member

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    When we had our goats we built a 3 1/2 sided shelter for them using "donated" stockage fencing. We simply put up the fencing on 3 sides with a solid plywood roof then on the 4th (1/2) side we used another section of the fencing. We made a solid gate that went up about 4 feet tall so we could close them in if necessary. This was built under the big Maples so was shaded and protected. If we got really bad weather we used a tarp over the opening above the gate. If I remember right we also had a section of wire fencing on top of that gate to keep them inside, it was a long time ago. Inside was a thick layer of shavings with straw on top. We hung the water buckets for them and used a hay feeder plus a bucket for grain. Worked out really well, no shivering goats. I love goats but unfortunately our neighbor doesn't.
     
  13. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    A wind-break isn't sufficient. They need something with a roof too. Wet goats plus a breeze = sick goats. If they don't have a place to get out of the snow or rain, you'll have pneumonia on your hands in a hurry. I don't think a full barn is necessary, but at least a three-sided shelter with a roof definitely is.