Setting up shop.

Discussion in 'Goats' started by MelissaW, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Hi all! Can I pick your brains please? We are currently setting up shop to bring in a pair of dairy goat doelings in the spring. I already posted about pasture management, but I have so many other questions!

    First, can goats be turned out around a shallow pond? It is probably only 4' at the deepest spot. Knowing that they are intelligent, can I assume that they will be safe and not get into it? The bank is gently sloped, so it's not the kind of thing one could slip into.

    Also, we are converting an outbuilding that is 16x24. It formerly housed a backhoe, so, while well made and weather tight, it is really just a box with packed gravel floor. I want to have a large stall, a small stall for birthing or kids, and a milking/feed room area. What kind of flooring do you recommend? How high should the windows be?

    Can I turn them out in the same area as my chickens, or is it best to separate them?

    Thanks so much for any advice you can offer! Your tips will really help us to set up a functional area with less mistakes!
     
  2. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,241
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    northcentral MN
    My goats spent the summer on my fish farm without any problems. They even got a taste for cattails. They did erode the banks in their pastures though so next year I will set up the pasture on the flat area instead of on the dikes.
     

  3. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Thanks! That's good to know. The pond lies in the space between the barn and the back pasture, so if I can just have the area around the pond fenced in, I can avoid having to lead them from the front pasture to the back. There are certainly plenty of cattails for them to enjoy!
     
  4. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

    Messages:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Lexington Texas area
    Goats hate getting wet, so unless some unforeseen freak accident occurs, they won't get in there and drown. Sometimes, some of my chickens get in with my goats, but I don't like it. They are dirty and goats are clean. Chickens will scratch in the feeders and if you are unfortuante enough to have a goat come up with CL (the abcess disease which is devastating to your herd) the chickens can spread around the puss that leaks out contaminaing other goats and spreading the disease all over your farm...the CL stays in the dirt for up to or over 10 years....BTW, get goats from a herd that has blood test negative for CL and CAE, another goat diesease, do your homework)

    In Texas and the south, goats only need a three sided open tin shed to protect them from the weather. We use hay for bedding over the sand that is our "dirt" here in our area. i don't know much about your climate or conditions.

    Keep asking questions and researching. You're doing great. :)
     
  5. TexCountryWoman

    TexCountryWoman Gig'em

    Messages:
    1,198
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Location:
    Lexington Texas area
    Oh, and if you want to invest money, or are able too, a milkroom should have cement floor and a drain in the center for hygeine purposes. Running water, a sink...there are plans on the internet if you seardh around...it depends on how much you want to invest, how convient you want things, how serious you are going to get into this. Make sure you know what you are up against before you invest too much....are you really going to stick with it? Also, a door going in for the goats and another leading out. Makes it easier in the long run as when goats are hungry at milking time and have full udders the can be VERY pushy and determined about coming and going through that one door, becomes VERY aggravating and annoying, doing that day after day, month after month. Easier to have two doors, an in and an out.

    Perhaps you could visit a dairy and see their set up and then copy it in some way, in a scaled down version.

    Goats are jumpers, climbers, escape artist...they are not like horses or cattle, if you have windows, they will find a way to get out unless they are covered with fencing or something. :)
     
  6. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Thanks, Diane, for the GREAT advice! I will definately keep the chickens in a separate yard. My husband said I could have whatever I want for flooring. What if I have concrete put in the milking area and leave the stalls gravel? Do you think I should put dirt over the gravel to make it softer, or will the bedding be enough? There is a hydrant right outside the barn, and it already has electricity. I'd love to have a sink, but that might be asking a bit too much! Poor hubby IS being an angel about it, so I don't want to make the poor man crazy! :)
     
  7. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

    Messages:
    4,570
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    As far as flooring goes, if you've already got gravel down, you could just deep bed, or you could put down a layer of stone dust first (that's what a lot of horse stalls are done with around here). I would think that dirt would turn to mud in short order, so I wouldn't go that route.

    My stalls are dirt floor (combined with old cow patties) so I am putting rubber "patio stones" down, as I get them cleaned out. We got about 250 of them free - about 19" square, couple inches thick - so I might as well make good use of them. :) I use deep bedding, just keep adding a layer as necessary - not often, as they drop a lot of hay, so I just spread that around.

    I take the milk straight into the house and use the sink there, so I don't know that I'd use a sink in the barn. I do have running water, although I've been watering out of the rainbarrel lately - first our well was dry, now after a major (biblical proportions!) rainfall, the well-water is distinctly murky.

    My barn already had boxstalls built for horses, so I went with what I have. There are four stalls in the main barn. One has a moveable divider (broodmare stall?) so I can make it into one big stall - it also has a door into a fifth stall in the front of the barn. That came in handy when I was separating kids at night - just shooed them through the door and closed it at night. Of the other two stalls - one is for the bucks and the other is my milk room, with feed barrels, shelving for "stuff" and the milkstand. If necessary, I could make that into another stall, and move the milking equipment into the front of the barn. In my last barn, my stall partitions were made of old wooden pallets wired into whatever configuration I needed. Flexibility is good!
     
  8. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    641
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
    Location:
    Central Indiana
    Do you have white tail deer around? You'll have to be watchful of Meningeal worm. It causes a huge problem if your goats get it and it is spread from deer to snails and slugs and then to the goats. Without treatment, goats will die from these worms. A local breeder is trying the Safegard block that you can put out and she is leaving it out from August until the first or second hard frost. This is supposed to help combat this worm. I think I just lost a goat to this and she has had three cases of it. It isn't really that uncommon. Do some research on it so you know what to look for. I'd buy the safeguard block during those months, since you probably have deer and the water is breeding grounds for snails, etc. Otherwise, I wouldn't be worried about the pond. Good luck to you!!
     
  9. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Pook's Hollow, your "patio stones" sound like an awesome find! The rock dust is a good idea. They sell it here to put under pavers, and I know it's reasonably priced.

    Milk n Honey, we do have whitetails. Lots of them! Thank you so much for the warning. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your goat. This safegaurd block, is it some sort of mineral block for the deer, or does it treat the pond? This is good information. I'd rather hear everything (even the bad things) now instead of finding out about it later and panicking.
     
  10. frogdog

    frogdog Guest

    I know all the "books" say that every type of critter should ideally be kept separate from everything else, but "ideally" is not always the same as real life. The previous owner of my property's GF had planned on getting a horse, so the entire perimeter was done in woven no-climb horse fencing. There was no cross-fencing (fine by me, I can set it up to meet my needs). The chickens use the garden shed to sleep in and lay and the sheep/goats have a cattle panel hoop shelter to go into when it's raining. There is a smaller hoop shelter with ends and a door on it, that's currently where the milking stand is (the only chicken-free zone) Everyone is pretty much free to go wherever they want. Sometimes a chicken will perch atop a goat and sometimes a goat will step on a chicken's foot. I can't guarantee that nobody will catch something from somebody else, but I wouldn't be able to guarantee that even if each species was contained in it's own little box, either. To be "safe", you'd have to sterilize your shoes after tending the chickens before you stepped foot into the goat yard and vice versa. Not gonna happen.

    Liz