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Goatherd
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Proud new goat owner here, humbly offering a synopsis of my housing efforts over the last few weeks.

I bought my first 2 goats about 1 month ago: 6 month old twin sister pygmy/Nigerian mixes (mostly pygmy). My initial plan was to use the cave behind my house as their shelter, unaltered (aside from a door to block wind, as the cave is open on both ends).

Within the first few days I realized that the cave wasn't completely water/damp proofed, and that it could get pretty drafty (even with a door preventing it from becoming a 'full-blown' wind-tunnel). So I modified a tall work bench with siding and a roof (fashioned from dry-erase board) to keep them warm/dry. They weren't too fond of it, as it was a little tight for 2 goats (even young pygmies) and too close to the ground (they prefer to hang out on the higher shelves in the cave). They spent more time slipping and sliding on the dry-erase board roof than inside of the shelter.

So last week I moved the shelter and elevated it, to make more room in the goat-cave as well as to make it more appealing to their lofty housing preferences. I simply moved it to the periphery of the cave and stacked rocks under the feet of the table, raising it about 1 foot off of the ground. They were intrigued, but I was not happy with appearance or the stability provided by the stacked-rock foundation so I made plans to renovate.

Next I mounted the table/shelter on 4x4s, so that it was elevated a few more feet off of the ground. I also replaced the dry-erase board roof with shingled plywood, added scrap wood siding to improve aesthetic appeal, and installed a hay feeder inside. I thought my work was done, as they were much more keen on using the elevated shelter (now on level with their favorite cave ledge). However yesterday morning when I checked on them before sunrise, to see if they were sheltering from the 30 degree weather in their new loft, I found that Wynona (the herd queen) had claimed the penthouse for herself and left her sister Fiona to sleep out on the cold cave ledge.

I simply won't stand for goat-sleep disparities, so I quickly went to work on adding a bottom level to the goat chalet. After a few hours of work, both Wynona and Fiona now have there own water-proof and draft-free sleeping lofts (so no fighting over who gets to stay dry and warm). Hopefully the bottom level's sheltering benefits will outweigh it's lower elevation relative to their old sleeping ledge. Now they only have to fight over who gets the top bunk!

To prevent goat liquids from seeping down onto whichever goat ultimately claims the lower level (I assume Fiona), I installed a rubber mat in the floor (underneath the straw bedding) that can be easily removed daily and cleaned. I also put one in the lower level to prevent the plywood floor from absorbing goat moisture.

The front walls on both levels lift up to facilitate easy access and cleaning, and both levels have gaps in the siding (as well as under the rafters up top) to allow for ventilation.

So far Fiona & Wynona seem very happy with their new abode, dubbed the Goat Chalet. Aside from eventually adding a few bells & whistles (indoor water trough, latches, etc.), I think my work is done! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the upstairs pee-proofing I did will keep the lower level dry (only prospective modification I foresee).

Although the lofts only provide about 8 sqft of space per level/goat, the rest of the cave provides decent shelter from wind/rain and plenty of room. During heavy rain water seeps in and runs down the walls/celing, but only drips in a few places and slowly. So I really only expect them to NEED their lofts during extreme cold, exteme wind, extreme rain..during which time I think they can put up with 8sqft. The rest of the time they'll have the entirety of the cave to shelter in during average rain/wind.

Below are pictures showing the evolution of the Goat-Cave and Goat-Chalet. The link above the pictures is to an album that I created shortly after building their first-phase shelter, to provide you a better idea of the overall cave setup.



Initial shelter setup:
 

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Goat Crazy!
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Wow...That's amazing!!!!!!! I can't show it to MY goats; I might end up with a mutiny!!!!
 
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