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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am new here, first post.

I am looking at getting a few goats, specifically mini dairy breed ND. Maybe Mini Nubian's.

I may be a little old fashioned, but do goats HAVE to have shelter? I mean, in the wild, the best thing a goat would find is a tree, some brush, maybe a rock to sit behind, in a cold winter. I do understand we want to make our animal friends comfortable, but, I keep reading, that goats don't like rain so they HAVE to have shelter. My cows don't love the rain, but they're fine without, they may stand near a tree, but they still get wet and cold and do just fine. What is it about goats that makes them rely so heavily on humans to provide shelter for them? If they go without shelter sometimes, are they going to die from rain or a little dusting of snow?

Not trying to be blunt or brash about the livelihood our goat friends, but I also want to know what makes a goat so incapable of taking a little bit of rain or cold weather?
 

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Hello, I am new here, first post.

I am looking at getting a few goats, specifically mini dairy breed ND. Maybe Mini Nubian's.

I may be a little old fashioned, but do goats HAVE to have shelter? I mean, in the wild, the best thing a goat would find is a tree, some brush, maybe a rock to sit behind, in a cold winter. I do understand we want to make our animal friends comfortable, but, I keep reading, that goats don't like rain so they HAVE to have shelter. My cows don't love the rain, but they're fine without, they may stand near a tree, but they still get wet and cold and do just fine. What is it about goats that makes them rely so heavily on humans to provide shelter for them? If they go without shelter sometimes, are they going to die from rain or a little dusting of snow?

Not trying to be blunt or brash about the livelihood our goat friends, but I also want to know what makes a goat so incapable of taking a little bit of rain or cold weather?
I think a lot of it can depend on your weather specifically. But your right goats don't have huts in the wild but they do have shelter whether it be a thickit of brush or an over hanging rock ledge all animals will find a way to protect them self from undesirable weather. Fact is most of us don't have an adequate types of land or vegetation to provide natural shelters. And domestic animals do not have the same nature instincts their wild counterparts have. So yes a shelter of some sort is necessary, and having a shelter that is easy for you and them to access makes it easier on everyone in the event you need to treat one.

But by all means if you have a large rock formation, or a canopy of trees or brush that keep an area dry shaded and somewhat wind proof that you would prefer them to use that's great. Most people don't have those things on their property. Or can't access those areas incase an animal where sick or hurt. Also some prefer to have an evening area to secure their animals do to predators.

Certain times of the year my goats don't use their hut. But they don't have tree cover so they do rely on the shade of their shelter, and they don't mind a light rain while grazing but they do prefer dry ground for resting. During good weather they prefer to sleep in the field, but once the rain gets heavy they want some where dry to stay.
 

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You asked if they will die from rain or a little dusting of snow. The answer is that yes they can. It doesn’t snow here so I’m not sure about that, but a storm came through about a month ago and my goats did not have a shelter. My most healthiest and oldest doeling caught a upper respiratory infection from the rain. That quickly turned into pneumonia. It killed her in less then a day after she stopped eating. I did everything I could for her.
It doesn’t matter how primitive the shelter is, as long as it keeps them warm during the winter and dry during storms, then it might just save one of your goat’s life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think a lot of it can depend on your weather specifically. But your right goats don't have huts in the wild but they do have shelter whether it be a thickit of brush or an over hanging rock ledge all animals will find a way to protect them self from undesirable weather. Fact is most of us don't have an adequate types of land or vegetation to provide natural shelters. And domestic animals do not have the same nature instincts their wild counterparts have. So yes a shelter of some sort is necessary, and having a shelter that is easy for you and them to access makes it easier on everyone in the event you need to treat one.

But by all means if you have a large rock formation, or a canopy of trees or brush that keep an area dry shaded and somewhat wind proof that you would prefer them to use that's great. Most people don't have those things on their property. Or can't access those areas incase an animal where sick or hurt. Also some prefer to have an evening area to secure their animals do to predators.

Certain times of the year my goats don't use their hut. But they don't have tree cover so they do rely on the shade of their shelter, and they don't mind a light rain while grazing but they do prefer dry ground for resting. During good weather they prefer to sleep in the field, but once the rain gets heavy they want some where dry to stay.
So, to put that simply, at night, and during inclement weather, they need shelter, but if a brief spring rain comes through they're probably fine so long as they don't have prolonged periods of wet and or cold and windy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You asked if they will die from rain or a little dusting of snow. The answer is that yes they can. It doesn't snow here so I'm not sure about that, but a storm came through about a month ago and my goats did not have a shelter. My most healthiest and oldest doeling caught a upper respiratory infection from the rain. That quickly turned into pneumonia. It killed her in less then a day after she stopped eating. I did everything I could for her.
It doesn't matter how primitive the shelter is, as long as it keeps them warm during the winter and dry during storms, then it might just save one of your goat's life.
Wow! I had no idea that rain could do that. Signing up for this forum has already paid off! Sorry to hear about your doeling. But I appreciate the information and real life example.
 

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So, to put that simply, at night, and during inclement weather, they need shelter, but if a brief spring rain comes through they're probably fine so long as they don't have prolonged periods of wet and or cold and windy?
Yes that is what I do. I leave them out in the pasture most of the time. I check the weather often. If it's going to rain then I'll put them in the shelter. One thing is though, my goats (I raise Boers) are very intolerant to the cold. It gets in the 20s here occasionally and those time I have to put them in the shelter with lots of straw and warm water. If one starts shaking very badly then he/she will get a coat. Never snows here though, just gets cold and windy.
 

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The realistic thing here is, they are domesticated, so we must care for they need shelter.

I ask you this, when the weather is cold or nasty out, do you stay out in it?
I believe you would say no, especially if you have a home to go into to get warm, as you have that choice. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The realistic thing here is, they are domesticated, so we must care for they need shelter.

I ask you this, when the weather is cold or nasty out, do you stay out in it?
I believe you would say no, especially if you have a home to go into to get warm, as you have that choice. ;)
I catch your drift, but I have opposable thumbs, so making a shelter is my specialty. Goats don't naturally have the ability to shelter with anything more than what they're given. But I get that they are domesticated so, there is some responsibility on the human to provide certain things for them! Thank you.
 

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So, to put that simply, at night, and during inclement weather, they need shelter, but if a brief spring rain comes through they're probably fine so long as they don't have prolonged periods of wet and or cold and windy?
Yes they would probably be just fine with a light rain, most might even be perfectly comfortable with it. But what is a light rain to a goat? I know i don't like to just stand around an any type of rain if I don't have too. Sure it might be nice for a moment but that's about it.

As with just about all animals and people a cold draft and wet skin of probably the worst thing in the world when it come to staying healthy, can we say pneumonia? But heat it's also bad too, my goats need a shelter more for shade in the summer then they do from the rain in the winter, but different areas different weather. A shelter doesn't need to maintain the same temperatures we are use to keeping our homes. A shelter just needs to provide a roof to keep the water out a few sides to reduce the wind chill, and maybe a ground covering (or raised flooring) so that water doesn't flood their area. We started with an a-frame hut until a storm last year turned it into a kite, i know a lot of people in my area that use lean-to style shelters. It doesn't have to be a huge barn or anything like that. Just a place they can go to get out of the weather if they want too.
 

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Also not having ground that is dry can lead to them getting hoof rot if they have to stand in wet for too long. That’s our main struggle in Florida. We have their hay under the shelter too, they don’t like to eat hay after it’s been wet.
 

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The majority of these goat breeds are imported from extremely arid and dry climates. They have been domesticated and therefore rely on humans.

It’s no secret that most prefer dry, arid climates where they have little precipitation and only need shelter from the sun. For example, Boers, Savannas, and Kalahari Reds were all developed from the wild goats in South Africa. Nigerian Dwarves were developed in West Africa. The majority of the United States is simply not comparable to Africa.

Now, animals such as Mountain Goats (bit of a misnomer, they aren’t technically goats at all) and Ibexes who experience cold weather have the protection of mountains, caves, and deep forests. Therefore, if they were stuck in the middle of Ohio without any shelter, it’s doubtful they would thrive as well as they do in their natural habitat.
 

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In Africa and I mean our drier desert areas and our more arid areas goats are bred for meat. Those farmers havd 4000 5000 head to care for. Just like you, they are of opinion that natural shelter is better. For us with 2 to 40 head, it is better with shelter.
Domesticated goats are susceptable to illnesses and pests and wild animals because they have lost the instinct to survive any other way.
Rather provide the shelter than have excessive vet bills.
Just my 50 cents worth
 

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Listen, goats are total princesses. Emotionally, they hate rain, and most are scared of snow.

Physically, "wet goats are sick goats" rain, drafts, these can all cause colds, pneumonia, etc.

They need shelter and they need good shelter.

They are really fragile animals, SURPRISINGLY fragile.

A 3 sided shelter is rarely enough, a good shed is best.

However, one plus, they tolerate heat well, and they tolerate cold temperatures well. You don't need serious insulation etc. It's just the elements they have to be shielded from.
 

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I'm going to echo the "yes they need shelter" camp.

Additionally, if you've ever owned goats you know they HATE rain and getting wet. My horses love to stand out in a downpour. My sheep don't seem to mind one way or another. My ducks love it. But as soon as it begins to even sprinkle, my goats yell and run for cover. I would never expect them to just tough it out in the rain with no shelter, and I live in a mild area of sunny California. And I have dwarf dairy goats ;)
 

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I would say the strength of shelter depends on where you live. We have one three sided shelter, one shelter that is just like a car canopy, and another that is almost completely enclosed. They are in different pens. All of them work fine for our Florida weather except hurricanes. Hurricanes equal going into the garage. However if you have snow or freezing cold temperatures I would say you need at least a three sided shelter.
 

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When I first started with goats I was right there with you (just I didn’t have any goat friends to tell me differently). My cows also have trees, heck even my horses do. But once that first rain came I learned real fast that they are the cats of livestock. I don’t think it’s really even the rain that will make them sick, it’s the hatred that leads to stress which lowers their immune system that ends up making a sick goat (unless we are talking seriously harsh weather here, I’m a Cali girl so I have no concept of harsh winters lol) I honestly do not know anyone that does not have shelter for their goats and I know a lot of people that their goats are 100% livestock and nothing more. At the very least they have a 3 sided shelter
 

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Ok in comparison to goats in the wild, this is what I tell my buyers that try to compare

Nigerian Dwarfs are obviously from west Africa/Nigeria. Some parts are tropical, yes, but goats arent from tropical places. Like Tanya said, Arid. They are hooved animals, and they usually don't do super well in the wet weather. That said, you are in Virginia. A very different place from the "wild" goats you are referring to. Now the goats you are looking into buying, obviously, they weren't pulled from the wild, and neither were any of their close lineages. That means, they have never survived in the "wild" and they have depended on people to make their habitat as livable as can be for decades, even centuries. So yes, they need shelter.

Usually if one of my newbie buyers asks if they need shelter or something along those lines, I tell them I can't sell to them until they do research. Goats are very high maintenance to keep healthy, you can't just throw them out in a pasture and expect them to thrive.
 
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