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Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by goatshows, Oct 27, 2011.
How cold is too cold for goats to handle? at what temp do you put coats on your goats?
I raise full size dairy goats, I am no expert.
This is just what I will be doing-
If it is freezing (less than 32) I will only let then out for 2-4 hrs (or whenever they have no more interest in the outdoors). If its warmer they will have access to the outside.
If its colder than 20 during the day I won't let them out, unless they have been inside for a while of which they might only be out long enough for me to clean out.
I don't plan on using coats. I am going to make some kid coats off of 2 lamb fleeces and one that I will be getting soon (table food). I will use leather string to tie it around them if it is still cold in Feb (when my does will kid). That way the little kids could stay warm with minimal use of a heat lamp.
It's not so much the cold as it is the wind and wet cold that they can't handle.....you really don't want to use coats on adults unless they are sick or have hair loss.....use extra bedding for them to really snuggle down in......I do use a heat lamp once it starts getting down into the low 20's, but you have have to really take precautions and safety measures as they can be really dangerous.
Also hot water...my guys love hot water when it's cold.....I give them a bucket of hot water before bed time and then again first thing in the morning!
Mine never get coats they are not locked in. They do just fine with the cold weather here. We get snow and cold but it rarely goes down into the teens for too long.
Last year I had kids in March and there were lots of days with snow on the ground. This year I will be having kids starting end of Feb so I am expecting snow. I have barn stalls this time and will use coats on kids if needed.
Living in Alabama, I doubt it will be cold enough to require coats for the goats but do appreciate the hot water tip. I assume that when you are speaking of hot water, you are talking about right out of the tab, correct?
Being that goats do not like water, how do they fare with snow? It does occasionally snow here and need to know if they can be let out to eat (the feeder is not in their pen) or should I make plans to feed them differently on snow days?
I haven't used coats. It gets pretty cold her in Jan/Feb with wind out of the north...from Canada. Their pen is mostly covered altho some snow if the wind is blowing will get in on the north side. They have plenty of bedding, a x-lg dog igloo and little niches they can crawl into. My kids were born in June this year so it was warm. Next year kids might be born in April/May, so still warm enough I think. Plus they will be cuddled up against moms.
It can get as low as -30 here and I have heard it has gotten as low as -45. If it gets that low, I will just make sure they have hay and that all the wind blocks are in place!
Like others have already mentioned, they need dry bedding. In winter I keep top dressing heavily.
They have a 3 sided shelter with a car canopy over that to extend the space. The hay rack is underneath.
When it snows or gets freezing they do just fine.
I have a friend in eastern Wa that goes out during the snow & the snowdrifts move, they will stand up & shake off the snow. They are Boers.
cold is relative to whats the normal temp - if it drops like 40 degrees and they arent ready then thats "to cold" but that temp could then also be normal come a couple months when their bodies are ready for it. I only put a coat on my goats once when a I had a doe in February just fully shed out her winter coat and then her outer coat as well! So she was going bald in 30degree weather!!
Mine have a barn to go into, I have wind breaks over the goat size doors and they come in and out as they please. The only coats on goats here are when the kids decide to arrive in single digit temps, Mama's have their own draft free stalls, I get babies thoroughly dry then put sweaters on them for their first few days...when the temps are up in the 20's through the day, sweaters are off and kids learn to acclimate to temps. Deep dry bedding is a must for cold winter months. Adults soak up as much sun through the day as weather allows and if it's windy and snowy they are inside.
Our temps get down to -20, a couple weeks each winter. We do not put coats on our goats. We offer wind free goat sheds, bedded down heavily with straw. Last Feb, when we kidded, the temps were below zero the entire time. The kidding sheds have heat lamps. As other people have said, it's not so much the cold that bothers them....it's wind, rain, snow.
I just open the barn door and if they are too cold they go in the barn....rarely gets in teens here but has some nights, but always warms back up into 30-40s...we get snow but our goats usually play in it a little then rest in barn ...no coats as long as it isn't a sudden cold then I think its ok if its gradually getting colder I think its ok..as long as they can get out of it if they want
I'm in Maine with a Nubian and a Nigerian. They can run into their South-facing stall whenever they like, so no coats here unless someone gets ill.
I've never put coats on my girls, but I did provide them with a heat lamp last winter. It was 23 below zero which is unusually cold for us. They did fine, but as most people have said, they are used to winter and freezing temps and have a warm barn to be in when the wind kicks up.
It is also typically pretty sunny here regardless of temp, unless it is actively snowing, so the girls usually just hunker down in the sunny parts of the pen and warm up that way.
I live in Alberta Canada where it's not unusual to get to -40 and I find as long as there is a draft free place for them to get to and they have hay infront of them 24/7 they do just fine. I also give hot water to them in the winter not because they need it but because they seem to drink more water if it's warm instead of cold.
We just had our first snow here on the front range of Colorado and it's been down into the teens at night. I was definitely worried that my 2 Nigerians would be cold since it's still pretty early in the season for those cold of temperatures. I have a 3 sided shelter. In the back we built a hay loft which also provides an area with a lower ceiling and therefore more warmth. They have a couple straw bales to sleep on top of and to also block the wind out of the west. And, they have lots of deep straw too. Since it was so cold so early, I also hung some moving blankets to the front of the shelter. It's so cute to see them peek out from behind the blankets. In the morning a bring them warm water and open the blankets up. The opening to the shelter is placed perfectly facing the warm winter sun (thanks to the previous property owner who obviously know what he was doing). So the girls can sunbathe out of the wind ... although they seem pretty adventureous and are out in the snow and browsing on all the downed tree limbs. They seem pretty hardy and happy.