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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so some of you know that I got my two goats this past summer and they were on death's doorstep...two 5 week-old Boer cross doelings named Butterscotch and Caramel. Thanks to this wonderful site and some specific members, the girls are healthy and happy 6 month-olds.

This is my first fall, and will be my first winter, owning goats. I know that eating certain leaves that have begun to change color is bad for them. So, my questions regarding fall weather are as follows:

1. Do I have to keep my babies in their goat shed until fall is over so they don't eat any leaves that have turned yellow, orange, or red?

2. Can they eat the dying/dried grasses and weeds in the yard? They have been eating it green all summer and up until now.

3. If they should be kept cooped up until fall is over and there is no danger of them eating turning leaves, how do I give them exercise?

Now for my winter questions.

1. Can I let my babies out into their pastures in the snow? We don't get a TON of snow (I live in central Virginia), but we do get some, usually from December until March...most of our snow falls in January and February.

2. If they can be let out in the snow, is it ok for them to eat anything they uncover from the snow? Like dead leaves and dried brush?

3. Is there any added nutrients they need during the colder months when there isn't any green pasture left? They have loose minerals, baking soda, hay, and water free choice at all times, unless they are in the pastures...then they just have water and whatever browse they eat. I let my girls out from noon until dark, which has been getting earlier every day...right now it's until about 6:30.

4. I have read that goats that get a chill can die. How in the world do I prevent that? Our temps can get in the teens...some rare times as low as single digits...in the winter. Are their coats warm enough to keep them from getting cold? Do I have to buy them sweaters for the winter (lol)? Do I have to heat their goat shed???

Sorry for all the questions, but I am not going to learn unless I ask, right?

Thanks a bunch!
 

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My girls eat the turning leaves as fast as they fall. Most leaves are fine but I just read that plum leaves can be toxic.

There isn't as much nutrition in the grass but still fine to eat. Just make sure they have minerals. You can feed them some alfalfa pellets or a little grain. I assume you have hay for them.

As long as their shelter is draft free and they can totally get out of the elements, they will be fine. You can put a thicker layer of straw down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The turning leaves they would have access to are chestnut oak, dogwood, tulip poplar, and white oak. There are some maples too...but since I can't tell the difference between a red maple and any other maple, and I've read that red maple can be highly toxic, I pick the leaves up and throw them in the woods.

As for grain, they each get a cup in the morning and a cup at night. They have hay at all times in their shed. The shed is draft free except at the top where the roof meets the wall...that's the ventilation, but the air does not hit them because it's too high.
 

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We have a whole lotta Maple trees, cannot really do anything about that, goat vet was out here last week or so and said, its the green leaves you really need to worry about, the dry one arent as potent....

Not sure how to avoid Snow-- its a reality here in winter so I probably just make sure they have a nice snug shed with lots of straw to bed down in and they can come out when its sunny for alittle R&R.....
 

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There is no problem with letting them out in the pasture during winter. I just open my door every day and they can come and go as they please. Fine to eat whatever they find under the snow. They may or may not eat it anyway.
 
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