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My kids have hooves
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The temps in this area usually range in the 40s for highs during the day and the upper 20s or 30s at night. With this bitter cold front that's coming in, our night temps will be in the single digits.

Now I understand that for some of you that sounds quite balmy:) But for us, that's brutally cold, and my goats have never experienced temps that low. They're bedded in a stall in our "well-ventilated" barn, out of serious drafts, but the barn sure won't be any warmer than outside:(

What can I do to help them stay warm and healthy over the next few days? They have a low roofed, three sided shelter in their stall, bedded deeply with hay, and I bring out warm water to them. I do worry about two of them pushing out the third goat, so I thought about adding another warm spot for him to retreat to.

Anything else I should be doing?
 

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Your set up sounds a lot like mine...and it was -20 here this morning. I have a "mound" of hay in their stall along with the hut just in case one can't get into the hut (my goats acting strange post where Frankie was pretending to be a buck).
You might be surprised with the temp in the barn. Ours stays at least 10 degrees warmer than outside...this morning the outside, out of the wind, in the sun, said -19...inside was -4. That is the coldest it has been in the barn so far...this past week it's been staying around 5 to 10 degrees. This is an 40 X 70 uninsulated metal pole barn. BUT, I do make the horses stay in at night and they have a large water bucket with heated water that steams. So it's 3 goats, 2 horses, 10 chickens..2 heated water bowls and one large heated tub that all add warmth.
If it's a short term, unusual weather change...maybe you could put them in an insulated garage? Basement?
The only other thing is that Starsmom lost her doe to phnemonia and posted the vaccine that can be used to help prevent that...you could do that to be on the safe side.
 

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We had -30 F again this morning and more again tonight. My goats are fine in an open air shelter. Dry bedding and unlimited hay is all they need to stay warm. They all snuggle together in a big ball when it gets this cold.
 

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Fergusons Family Farm
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We are apparnetly supposed to hit -37C today. Lower tonight. (some people had -40C recorded on their vehicles)


My Goats are with the sheep, the sheep don't care about how cold it is at all.. As for the Goats...not so much. My little boer buck, he doesn't seem to worried but the Nubian girls...the princesses it seems!

So I brought everyone in the barn last night, made a nice warm beetpulp/bran mash for them. They enjoyed that. and it will get thier bellies warm.

As for bringing them everywhere else..Be careful getting them too warm, the reason being they will eventually have to go back outside. So unless it is going to turn warm outside. Its best just to leave them in the barn where its easier to adjust. I know with us. Its not going to be warm anytime soon, so I don't want to bring them in and get warm, and then through them back out in the cold. Its hard on them, could make them sick.

Good Luck with the cold!!!
Melissa
 

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I agree that body heat is the key for warmth. Here it's been single digits the last few days, on top of a generally way colder than normal winter. When I come into the doe barn in the mornings there are three groups all huddled together. It does help to have a smaller stall to better contain heat. These are the times I'm grateful for my smaller housing. And a nice deep cozy bedding. Plus a lot of hay to generate warmth.
What tends to hit goats more is a drastic drop in temp. If they are accustomed to the cold, no problema. Mine spend most of their time outside and they actually prefer to be standing out in 5 degrees rather than inside.
Tonight in my area supposed to be super windy and chills way below zero. A warmup this weekend - to the teens!!
 

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mostly LaManchas
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IMO, it is the quickly changing and out of norm weather that gets them. If they are used to cold, and it gets a bit colder, fine. But when they are used to mild, and it gets cold, then you need to give extra care. What we did for our cold snap last month is make sure they have lots of hay. It is digesting the hay that keeps them warm. And lots of dry straw to bed down in. Water would freeze in our stalls, but we have plenty of goats, so they snuggle even with the enemy, lol. What I have noticed since the cold let up is that there are a few with snotty noses. Act fine and all, but we are dealing with snotty. So watch them even when the cold lets up. Hope all goes well.
 

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My kids have hooves
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
IMO, it is the quickly changing and out of norm weather that gets them.
That's what worries me. They've never been really cold before, and certainly not for several days in a row. And Starsmom's post about her poor doe really got me worrying. I think I'll take out extra hot water and make them some oatmeal.

so they snuggle even with the enemy, lol
And that's my second worry. Butternut is such a dear boy but he's at the bottom of the pecking order:( He IS warm, though. Hope Tango and Peanut realize that. :D
 

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mostly LaManchas
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They will enjoy the oatmeal, but it is digesting the hay that keeps them warm.


For my fat horses, I switch to a "cheap" hay (grass instead of orchard/alfalfa mix) when we get a real cold snap. That way, they can eat all they want to stay warm, but not over-eat and get goofy. (would be 2 flakes good hay, but cold is 5 flakes cheap.) That way you are not trippling their nutrition level. Some might freak out about the rapid change of feed, but that is what we do. We have one old mare that has colicked before, and we try to keep her on similar feed. For goats I only worry about feed changes when starting to increase grain. (don't increase too rapidly)
 

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We had -30 F again this morning and more again tonight. My goats are fine in an open air shelter. Dry bedding and unlimited hay is all they need to stay warm. They all snuggle together in a big ball when it gets this cold.
Yup! me too. Our goats and sheep and even the chickens are all fine and have unlimited feed!

Keep the hay going and give them warm water and they can handle it quite well.
We have had a few that were shivering more than normal and we took their chill out with beet pulp, molasses, instant coffee, mixed with hot water.
After that they perked right up and did fine last night when you temp was -20 something and the windchill was -45.

This morning all are fine and our animals have very simple, small and open, shelters, no barns.

Only if us humans could endear so fine. The cold hurt to breath in! That's also with a scarf covering my face. Horrible nasty cold it is.
 

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My kids have hooves
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Beth, this is how much bedding I have in Gretta, Frankie & Flossie's hut...
Hey, thanks! A visual definitely helps:) I just came in from putting everybody to bed. The ducks and geese are all snuggled up, so they're fine.

I added a bunch of straw to the goats' stall and their house to about the same level you have in your picture. I also took them their usual hot water. Most days they're not all that interested in it, but I've kept bringing it any way. Tonight, they all stuck their heads in the bucket and drank so much I went back to the house for more!

So, they have straw galore, as much hay as they can stuff themselves with, and a nice, warm drink. I kissed everybody and told them to play nice and keep each other warm:)
 

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My kids have hooves
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, DH went out this morning and said they were a little sluggish. So I went out to check and they were cooold! Tango and Peanut were snuggled up together on a pile of straw and poor Brownie was curled up under the hay feeder alone:( Nobody went into their house, apparently.

I don't know if maybe I put too much straw in their house that they didn't want to go in. They've used it before:shrug:

Either way, they hopped up and went to have breakfast, none the worse for wear. We changed the setup for tonight to give them more options to cozy in. It's supposed to be 5° tonight...brutally cold for this area. Brr.
 

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Poor Brownie! :( They probably didn't go in to the house because you wanted them to go in. Tonight, tell them..."don't you DARE go into the house tonight! I just put this fresh nice straw in here and I don't want you to ruin it!...And leave Brownie alone!"
There, problem solved ;)
 
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