Bedding and other minor questions

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by Lawanda, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. Lawanda

    Lawanda New Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    West Virginia
    I think this is in the right place. I have so many questions I want to ask someone. But I hate to keep bugging the lady who sold me my goats so much, so I will bug you all with these little things, if ya don't mind. :)

    1. About bedding, what is the best thing to use in their pens? I am using sawdust (or wood shavings you may call them) from my dh's plainer/saws. Free! :) So far it has been oak. This is ok right? Bella will sneeze when I first put it in there, so I hope it isn't hurting her!

    2. How often do I really need to clean the pens? I try to clean them all out when they get damp, because our pens are pretty makeshift for now, under our deck with a tarp over top. The goaties stay pretty dry, but the corners get damp. I have been averaging cleaning the pens completely out about once a week. Is that enough?

    3. Do they need a lot of hay when we leave them in the pen, and is it bad for them to leave them in there for several days? (We've basically had to as it has been raining nearly every day)

    4. How much water should they be drinking? Hopey (adult) doesn't seem to drink as much as Bella (nearly 5 mo)... But she pees plenty :)

    I think that is all I got right now. If anyone has time to answer such trivial questions, I would appreciate it. I won't feel so silly for asking if you do answer my questions! ;)
  2. ksacres

    ksacres New Member

    Oct 30, 2007
    San Antonio Texas
    1. I would switch to clean straw or "shavings". Sawdust, is well, dusty! And you don't want to court respiratory problems.

    2. Depends on how you want your management system to be. We use a "built up" system, where we just pile clean bedding on top of the dirty when it starts looking ucky/wet. It seals in the smell, and generates heat in the winter. We clean it thoroughly in late spring/early summer (and let me tell you, when you start in on that pile the SMELL!! LOL), and then start over.

    3. Our does are almost completely dry lotted/penned. We feed free choice hay, so they always have something to munch, and when the grass comes up, we go for "grazing walks" every day or at least every other day. So, again, it depends on your management system. There are many "right" ways to care for goats.

    4. Every goat is different, if they are eating well, not acting mopey, etc, I wouldn't worry too much about a variance. Now, if they were drinking and all the sudden they stop, *then* I would worry.

    Try not to worry too much :) Everybody was a newbie at one point, and most of us still have questions now and again.

  3. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    Hey that is what we are here for. ASK AWAY.

    1. I do shavings on the bottom and straw on the top. (the shavings do not come out of my Cashmere goats fleeces very easy). But I use the shaving on the bottom to soak up the pee. I do this at shows. As for the barn i do just straw. It really is a personal choice.

    2. As for how often. It really depends on how long they are in the barn. My goats do not go in the barn at all in the summer unless it is raining, they after it is done they are out side. (goats hate to get wet). What I tell my 4Her is get on your hands and knee's, at the goats level, and if it smells like pee and is strong and ammonia smelling it needs changed. That is one way they get a upper respiratory infection, from the ammonia.

    3. Goat need to have free choice hay am much as you can give them. Beings they are ruminants they burn the feed faster then single chamber animals. SO give them what you can. Now are you locking them in a pen while it rains? If you can just leave the pen open and they will go in and get away from the rain. really no need to lock them up unless there are predators out there. They will stay in the barn and out of the rain.

    4. How much water? Good Question. They will drink more of course when it is hot then they do when it is cooler. If they are peeing I would think they are fine. If you are worried, give them a bucket of fresh water and one with a electrolyte in it like even Gatorade. They love it. The key is to make sure it is fresh. The ydo not like dirty water.

    Please never feel silly about asking any question no matter how silly it is to you. I am sure it is something that we have all asked before or wondered about.
  4. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    questions are very important to ask.

    when you say "pen" I am assuming their shelter is what you are talking about. All my goats stay in their barn when it rains so thats perfectly normal. if they dont have the choice to get out when ti does happen to break from rain even for a short bit then I would give them that opportunity to stretch and get some fresh air - even if it is only for 15 min.

    As to the bedding - I clean it out as needed. Once November rolls around I dont clean it out till spring - allows for warmth during the cold months.

    I feed hay twice a day - morning and night. Sometimes if i go out mid day I might throw a bit in their feeder to hush them up when I leave - they think that when they see me they should be fed - yes i am perpetuating this by actually giving in ..... but it is important that they dont get anoying to any in the neighborhood.

    I dont really moniter water consumption per goat as I have to many but I will say that whenever I fill it my 1 year old dry doe ALWAYS has to taste it and drinks quite a bit at times. She is my best water drinker. I empty their buckets twice a day so they get fresh water - they are more likely to drink if it is fresh and clean then stagnant and since i want them to produce milk they need to drink the water.
  5. liz

    liz Active Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Bedding here is usually wood shavings and whatever hay they waste thrown on top, sawdust is a bit dusty for their lungs. I do a major cleanout of both sheds in the spring, my does have clean swept wood floors through the summer and early fall, come winter though I let the bedding pile up til around January and clean out the underside, and let it build up again til late March.
    Hay in the am and pm, sometimes in the afternoon as well especially if they cannot get out to browse, if no browse at all then I fill racks and baskets for freechoice eating.
    Water, well with 6 does I fill up a 4 gallon and a 2 gallon bucket 2 x a day, usually with the 2nd fill over half is gone. With the 3 bucks a 4 gallon bucket is also filled 2x a day, but most times I'm dumping icky water becauyse they pee on their beards and then those icky beards go in the water bucket when they drink..ewww!
  6. Lawanda

    Lawanda New Member

    Jun 11, 2009
    West Virginia
    This has been so helpful! I am not worried about her water intake, but I just wondered why the baby would be drinking more than the adult!

    Our bedding is not actual "dust" it is more like shavings, but I call it sawdust :)
    So I guess I am cleaning it enough!!! Whew! We are hoping to get some fencing in July so they can be out more. Right now they only get out when we have time to tie them out and watch them. Kevin, my dh, has been cutting small trees and laying them in there for them to much on as well :)