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Let's talk about Goats and how we keep them!

Discussion in 'Goats and Sheep' started by ECO FRIENDLY, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Jan 29, 2014
    ECO FRIENDLY

    ECO FRIENDLY Enjoys Recycling

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    Eco Friendly again!! Post a picture of your goat enclosure!!!
    I'd like to know how to go about keeping a goat within boundaries, and also, want to brainstorm off of other people's set ups...
    I've read goats are pretty resilient to temps, just need a roof and hay basically.

    Are goats friendly with Chickens? :eek:
     
  2. Jan 29, 2014
    Support

    Support Almost Self-Reliant Administrator

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  3. Jan 30, 2014
    Marianne

    Marianne Super Self-Sufficient

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    My goats are a blast! But you need more than one, they're very social.
    My hens hang out with the goats all the time. If one jumps on top of a goat, the goat just freezes until the chicken hops off.
    We just used straw bales with a plywood roof--under a pole barn-- for temporary shelter. We opened some areas for drafts in the summer. It was amazingly cool. I had no idea that we'd end up keeping them at the time. For winter, we tightened the bales up, made a turn at the opening with more bales and plywood. That helps to keep the cold wind out. We used pallets screwed together for 'walls' and then put the bales inside of that. Easy and fast to put together.
    We have a dirt floor with plenty of straw. Only 4 goats, so once a month we check the inside and add more dry straw with a bit of DE.
    Last spring when we tore down the bales to do a really good cleaning, we were pleasantly surprised that there was nothing but composting dirt under the straw bedding. Didn't smell at all! So we put the bales back with some ventilation cracks, added more straw and DE and called it done.

    We put up electric wire. They test it occasionally so you'll know when it's not working. We also have one goat that's quite an escape artist. We have seen him walking along the top board of a fence - 1x6....so that's 3/4". He didn't hesitate, either. :eek:)
     
  4. Jan 31, 2014
    Puck-Puck

    Puck-Puck Power Conserver

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    Good information from Marianne. I have a four-walled goat house that I can shut securely at night, as there are too many predators here to leave them in an open shelter. I have a four-foot wire fence which is fine to keep in Nigerian Dwarf goats, but before spring I will be increasing that to a six-foot fence to be safer against predators. I also have an outer, electrified bear fence. Inside the barn, a dirt floor works great. Make sure the goats have water available, as well as hay and loose minerals. Although goats and chickens get along, don't let the goats get in the chicken feed, it's not good for them...nor let the chickens poop in the goats' feed and water. Goats are great! Maybe check a Storey's Guide for more, good, detailed information if you're going to take the goat plunge.
     

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  5. Jan 31, 2014
    Puck-Puck

    Puck-Puck Power Conserver

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    I should say that in the photo above, that is clear plastic roofing in the middle of the roof, not a gaping hole! That allows light in, as there is no power to the goat house. I have since filled the venting space at the top of the wall with wire, to keep out birds and anything that could possibly climb or jump up.
     

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  6. Feb 1, 2014
    pinkfox

    pinkfox Super Self-Sufficient

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    goats are generally hard on fencing, not only climbing/jumping but they do tend to rub on the wire breaking welds. you also have to watch wire fence with horned goats.

    personally I have 4 strand electric, takes a couple good zaps but once they are trained most goat wont bother the fence...mine don't even bother testing it, ive had it unplugged for days dring a time I was having a break issue I couldn't find and they didn't even try it...
    I have some sections that are welded wire (along the garden fence) they were quickly wearing itdown so I added a single line of electric at hip/shoulder goat height and they haven't bothered the fence sine.

    in terms of housing they are typically hardy, they don't do well wet and they don't do well with drafts so generally a minimum of 3 sides and a roof...
    when I first got my goats I built a simple shelter out of pallets with a tin roof, now they sleep in one of those metal arrow sheds, the pig removed the doors so its essentially 3 sides.
    its dirt floor, I srinkle DE then a thick layer of straw, once a month a new layer of DE and straw...I clean it out completely at the beginning of spring and let it deep litter the rest of the year.

    they need acess to brows and a good quality hay, the more brush you have the less grain you need...

    keep CDT up to date, buy only from CL and CEA free herds and watch for worms.
     
  7. Feb 12, 2014
    HEChicken

    HEChicken Power Conserver

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    We don't have a goat enclosure per se. We have a 7-acre pasture that is fenced with field fence. I haven't had any issues with the goats going over the fence but they are Boers and I got them specifically because I'd heard they don't climb like some other breeds.

    The pasture already contained a run-in horses shelter from the previous people, but the east and west walls had been blown out by a wind storm before our time, so the run-in now has only a back wall and a roof. What we did for the winter was to create new east and west walls using stacked bales of hay, sandwiched between livestock panels. We created a smaller area, placing each of these walls well under the roof, instead of at the ends, so that the hay is better protected from the elements. The idea is that the sheep and goats can eat the hay right through the livestock panels. This has worked very well for us. The walls are 3 bales long (bales end to end) and 3 bales high, and cut the wind to nothing. In the back of the shelter it feels much warmer due to being out of the wind. Plus, hay gets pulled out and there is now a deep layer of hay bedding for them to lie in as well.

    I have found that the sheep don't care about the weather - they'll go out in ice and snow and rain. The goats do prefer to stay in the shelter if there is precipitation. That said, I've never seen them shivering - and we've had below 0 temperatures here on multiple occasions this winter.

    Below is not the greatest photo of it but gives some idea.
    100_0421.JPG
     
  8. Feb 12, 2014
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Sustainability Master

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    I've thought about doing hay walls before - so it's nice to know that it's working so well for you!
     
  9. Feb 12, 2014
    Marianne

    Marianne Super Self-Sufficient

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    Nice goat digs, everyone. I wish we had a proper barn sometimes, but when I see my neighbor mucking out her barn, I'm really glad that I don't! I would definitely want some translucent roof panels, too. They make a huge difference!
    Walt at Sugar Mtn used an E shape hay bale structure. Critters ate the middle 'leg' of the E first. I need to look up that link, but I'm pushed for time at the moment.
     
  10. Feb 20, 2014
    rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Almost Self-Reliant

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    Hi guys. Well, I've read that goats are desert makers and it does look like mine have made their pen a barren waste land, even though I have given them a much bigger area than they really require. So to fortify their diet, I give them a crate of hay to munch on, as well as goat rations and let them eat a bit of grain. I also walk around and bend down the bushes, so they can reach and eat the lagustrum leaves and branches. I avoid the oak, if they are pregnant because of it being an abortificiant.....so if the smaller one happens to be pregnant, I always tell myself to trim the oak, so she can't jump up and munch the leaves. I assume it wouldn't be so bad, so long as its not her only source of leaves and she gets other bushes and trees to eat on.
    From time to time, I do a clean up in the garden and give them whatever is going to be discarded for their consideration, which they appreciate. Mine seem to be afraid to wander too far from their comfort zone, so I really don't have to worry much about them. When I see they are loose and eating somewhere, I more rejoice that they are getting free food. I actually curse whatever scares them back in their pen. It doesn't take much to scare them either. Now I might not feel that way, if they'd make it to the asparagus bed or to the greens, but just to eat on some overgrown weeds around my hives.....I'm not going to do anything but say,"Please stay...please, please"
    Well, I can probably go on and on....they bed down in the barn, which they share with 4 poultry projects, which is connected to my primary coop of about 30 birds and I don't seem to have any problems, except when one of my geese chases one of the goats, or if one of my dogs comes in the barn with me and the goats try to hoof em. But there is one thing I want to share or ask...however I'll put it:
    I, of course, have several books on SS living and my sister just gave me a new one. In this particular book, I was reading last night about goats (I decided to just pick a subject and see what it said). Well, nothing really new for the vast majority of what I read and then I read that goats are one of the few dairy animals that can lactate without mating. Okay...this is a new piece of info that I have not read previously in any of my books; even books that I borrowed, specifically on goat farming. I won't say that I've read every Dairy Goat Journal, cover to cover because I fell behind when I was studying Basic Herbology, but I know I didn't read that it was possible to get them lactating, without breeding/kidding. So, I guess I want to know if any of you have read this or have first or second hand knowledge of this.
     

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