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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok..enough of this weather :grit: We were staying ahead of the game until this morning. I don't know how cold it got last night...maybe 7 below. We have been in a "blizzard warning" for the last 48 hours. This morning when I went out Gretta was shivering. The temp was at 0 degrees in the barn. She and Frankie & Flossie were in their hut, which is insulated and full of discarded hay. They came out to eat some alfalfa pellets that I gave to them and that's when I noticed Gretta looked stressed and was shivering. So I immediately did what I do best (freak out) and had my dh start up this big old heat blower. This heater is really mostly a waste in a big, uninsulated metal barn with an open door for the horses to come in and out. We got everything settled with hay/water/cleaning and the goats went back in their hut. I gave them some alfalfa hay to munch on in there and they have access to all the grass hay they want. We shut the horses in. The temp in the barn got up to 10. We shut the heater off. Gretta looked better and stopped shivering.
But I'm scared for tonight...they are forecasting 17 below...which around here means more like 20-25 below. That is without the windchill..but everyone is out of the wind. I do have a shed that is heated and insulated that I could move the goats to...that's where they were last winter because the babies were just born. I keep the temp in there at 30-33 degrees for the cats. I don't know if I should do that or not...I don't want them in there for the rest of the winter and know it's unhealthy to jag them around with temperature...any thoughts/opinions would be appreciated :)
 

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I'm in South Texas, where it was 80 yesterday and will be freezing tomorrow. I know nothing about your incredible winters, BUT...... I'd move them. Seventeen below is amazing. How can ANYTHING live?
 

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With weather that cold, I'd put them in the warmer shed.
 

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We have also been dealing with the same bitterly cold weather. It got down to -26 a couple of nights ago. What I do when it is this cold is to make sure that you that everyone is bedded heavy with straw. I mean like at least 18 inches. That way - the goats can kind of burrow in and make a warm spot for themselves. Even if you have an opening to the shelter for the horses - is there anyway you could put up a tarp to cover part of it so you could block some of the wind coming in? I have also put insulated coats on my does when it is so cold. I don't know if that helps - but it makes me feel better. The goats are usually okay even in really cold temps as long as they can get out of the wind and are dry. I am really hoping for everyone's sake that it warms up soon. (it is -14 without the wind chill here right now!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We have also been dealing with the same bitterly cold weather. It got down to -26 a couple of nights ago. What I do when it is this cold is to make sure that you that everyone is bedded heavy with straw. I mean like at least 18 inches. That way - the goats can kind of burrow in and make a warm spot for themselves. Even if you have an opening to the shelter for the horses - is there anyway you could put up a tarp to cover part of it so you could block some of the wind coming in? I have also put insulated coats on my does when it is so cold. I don't know if that helps - but it makes me feel better. The goats are usually okay even in really cold temps as long as they can get out of the wind and are dry. I am really hoping for everyone's sake that it warms up soon. (it is -14 without the wind chill here right now!)
They have about a foot of bedding...I'll add more. The opening to the barn has those plastic strip "curtains" to help block the wind...it's the size of a regular door. It's "supposed" to start getting a little warmer tomorrow...I'm just really worried about tonight. One minute I'm thinking just move them into the heated shed...the next minute I'm thinking...they'll be fine. UGH! I know I'm going to move them...I might as well get it over with and be done with it. :eek:
eta...right now I have the little door to the barn completely closed with the horses locked inside...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ack!!! I don't have any straw. And I'm trapped. I didn't know that! :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How about if I add shavings to the hay then....I have a ton of that
 

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When all else fails, CLOTHES! I had to put a sweat shirt on my Coffee last winter with a vest on over it to stop her shivering. Poke holes around the "waist", and thread a length of baling twine through as a "belt" and tie with a bow on her back.

It got her through the night!
 

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oh, also, you could hang a brooder lamp over their area for "basking" if you have electric to the shed.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Your goats are acclimated and if you start moving them in and out of heated (or warmer) buildings, you could actually cause problems. Give them extra hay, bring out some hot water and close their building up.
We're at sub-zero's too (about -15 when I went out this morning) and my goats were shivering a little but stopped after eating their breakfast. I'm going to lay some straw down on top of their pallets in their shed this afternoon and lock the doors tonight.
I hang rugs over their doors and it blocks more of the wind than strips will.
I don't want to mess up their acclimation...that's why I'm trying to use restraint. I got the other shed set up for them and that caused a "tif" between me and dh...I don't have any straw. Just hay and shavings...
How bad is it if a goat is shivering. She is totally fine now. But that shiver this morning upset me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
But really...is it messing with their acclimation if I keep the temp in the shed at 30 degrees...that is still below freezing.
 

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I agree with Jordan. Sometimes my buck shivers. I worry about him a little bit because he has no-one to share body heat with. But he is always fine. I take warm water out 1x a day to warm them up and get them hydrated. Just give them extra hay to eat, it ferments in their gut and creates heat. If you have more than one goat they will snuggle up together and keep warm. Only ones I worry about are babies. They haven't built up the tolerance (or wooly coats) yet.
 

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But really...is it messing with their acclimation if I keep the temp in the shed at 30 degrees...that is still below freezing.
Keep in mind that the 30 degree shed is 45 degrees + warmer than outside! So yes, that will mess them up! If your goat has stopped shivering, stop worrying. Lay down whatever you have available and call it good. The old hay and shavings will work fine.
Keep the hay and hot water coming, close their door during the night and they should be just fine.
Lois
 

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It got down to -25 last night and my goats got through it just fine. They cuddle up with each other to share body warmth. I make sure they have plenty of hay and feed extra alfalfa pellets to keep their rumens full. I never have put healthy adult goats in a heated area in winter. I also do not close their sleeping quarters off too much. If they don't get enough air circulation, ammonia can build up and cause pneumonia faster than the cold can.
 

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Its wicked out here. Everyone is out in a three sided shelter with a car canopy butted up to it.
So long as they are dry they should be ok. A layer of hay over the shavings will be fine too.
 

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Most healthy goats can do fine if they are dry and out of the wind. When the weather drops to subzero temps., lots of hay, lots of lofty bedding like straw, a warm buddy to cuddle, and even a warm drink of water helps supplement. Sometimes a caged heat lamp is in order, sometimes a goat coat. I prefer not to bring a goat in unless it's ill, just for the concerns you mentioned.

All this said, if Gretta is shivering, she is telling you she is already having trouble. Keep an eye on her and if she starts to shiver again or looks stressed or loses weight or shows any other negative change, I'd move her. Yes, even moving to a 30F-degree room can mess with her, so go easy when you move her back outside.

Is there a way you can make a smaller area within their hut that might build and trap heat better (like a large "Dogloo")? Or is their hut already really small (with a low ceiling)?

We've been below zero for most of the last couple of weeks. This AM it has fluctuated between 0.5F (above) to -7F (below). The goats are all toasty, though, even without straw, at about 20F above the outdoor ambient temperature. The barn is uninsulated but the main walls are 2" x 6" so it's a bit better than just plywood. It's weird going in there and just feeling their body heat!
 

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You've already got good advice on adding more bedding, keeping hay and hot water in front of them, and possibly putting coats on at least the one who was shivering. If it's any comfort. the only goats I've ever lost to the cold, even in Alaska at seventy below with wind chill making it closer to one hundred below, were a buck in rut (peeing on himself -- wet and extreme cold are not a good combination) and newborn kids that we put back out in the barn too soon. Should have kept them in until the extreme cold weather broke. (Probably would have had them in the house for a couple of months, though!)

Kathleen
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just added a bunch of shavings and stuffed more hay into the hut. All three are acting fine, eating and drinking the warm water with acv I brought out. I do have the other shed ready for them if needed but really want to avoid it. Right now the horse door is open because the horses needed some fresh air and running around (quite a show!) I'll go out later and bring them in, if they're not in already, and lock them in so all doors will be shut. Hey! a plow just went by! Anyhoo...here are some pics
Here is the hut right after dh built it...it's insulated on all four sides
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b...M2bloyYg9vPgY/cC/f=0/ps=50/r=0/rx=550/ry=400/
Here is Frankie...you can see their hut now in the background
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b...M2bloyYg9vPgY/cC/f=0/ps=50/r=0/rx=550/ry=400/
Gretta & Flossie eating alfalfa...Frankie was more interested in standing on my toes
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b...M2bloyYg9vPgY/cC/f=0/ps=50/r=0/rx=550/ry=400/
The sun came out!
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b...M2bloyYg9vPgY/cC/f=0/ps=50/r=0/rx=550/ry=400/
Spencer & Joey getting some fresh air
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b...M2bloyYg9vPgY/cC/f=0/ps=50/r=0/rx=550/ry=400/
Poor DH putting up with all my indecision and obsessions
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b...M2bloyYg9vPgY/cC/f=0/ps=50/r=0/rx=550/ry=400/
 

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Minelson that last one got me to giggling too much.
 
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