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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks - I've been keeping goats for the last three years, and have been doing rotational grazing that entire time. Basically, moving their pen once a week and not returning to the same spot for at least six weeks. This is the method I learned from my farming mentor, who's been doing rotational grazing for well over a decade

However, I'm about to move to a new house with a much smaller yard, and I'll have to switch to a stationary pen year round. I'm pretty unfamiliar with this management style, and I want to be as prepared as I can. I've been reading about a couple different management styles - one involving mulching the pen (I'm unsure of the frequency...) and the other involves mucking the pen (again, frequency uncertain).

I live in a pretty cold wet climate (rains 2/3 of the year, but no snow), and I'm concerned that if I am shoveling the pen I'll end up taking down the soil level and unintentionally creating a pond where the goats live. However, if I go the mulching route, I'm concerned about cost of mulch and/or knowing what kinds of trees are in the mulch (assuming goats will nibble on it and if poisonous, could be potentially harmful??), as well as how frequently to add layers.

I'm curious if anyone has advice on either of these options, or something else entirely that I may not be aware of. I want my girls to be happy at the new place, even though it will be a new management style for me.
 
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The best advice I can give is to choose very carefully where the new goat shelter & pen will be to avoid water issues. Don't set it at the toe of slope where water will be running on to the area, and don't set it in a low spot.

It would be best to strip the topsoil from the area and bring in a gravel product to provide dry footing and good drainage.

Adding gutters to move roof runoff away from their pen is very helpful as well.

I'm not familiar with the mulching method but I don't like to add any organics to animal pens. The use of hay, straw, wood chips, etc. all just eventually contributes to a mud issue even if it helps initially.
 

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You probably already know this, but keeping feed off the ground is very helpful in avoiding parasite issues. It's nice to provide at least one dry area, even if it's just a few pallets, where the goats can go outside of their shelter without standing in mud during the wet season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What is your definition of pen? Do you mean their shelter? Do you mean the entire area they will be living in? Does the pen include a shelter?
Good question! I currently have a couple large dogloos and a larger wooden shelter I've built for them to stay out of the rain. These shelters sit in the middle of their current pen, which is ~1250 sqft electric netting. My shelters have needed to be smaller and light weight so I could move them weekly by myself.

My electric fence isn't intended for long-term stationary use. But I'm hoping it will hold up for a while until I can invest in some cattle panels for a more durable long-term stationary fence.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You probably already know this, but keeping feed off the ground is very helpful in avoiding parasite issues. It's nice to provide at least one dry area, even if it's just a few pallets, where the goats can go outside of their shelter without standing in mud during the wet season.
Yes! Thank you! One of my first steps is to set up a manger for them. Doesn't really work with my current system, because I can't hang anything off my electric fence netting. But I figure I can stick some posts in the ground and mount a feeder on there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The best advice I can give is to choose very carefully where the new goat shelter & pen will be to avoid water issues. Don't set it at the toe of slope where water will be running on to the area, and don't set it in a low spot.

It would be best to strip the topsoil from the area and bring in a gravel product to provide dry footing and good drainage.

Adding gutters to move roof runoff away from their pen is very helpful as well.

I'm not familiar with the mulching method but I don't like to add any organics to animal pens. The use of hay, straw, wood chips, etc. all just eventually contributes to a mud issue even if it helps initially.
Really helpful, thanks so much for the tips! I hadn't thought about gravel as an option. I'm starting to feel really sad for my girls, who are so used to having grass/greenery in their pen all the time. I was hoping they'd get at least one more week of it at the new place before I had to start covering it. But I can see how gravel would be really helpful for drainage and for their hooves.
 
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