Muddy goat pen management question

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by WillowGem, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. WillowGem

    WillowGem Love them goats!

    Aug 3, 2011
    When I got my boys this summer, their pen was nice and grassy.
    Now that summer's over, their pen is slowly turning into a muddy mess.

    I've been throwing the used straw from the barn into the muddy spots in the pen.
    Is this a good idea, or will it make things even messier in the long run? :confused:

    Any and all suggestions will be appreciated...since I'm such a newbie about this sort of thing! :help:
  2. LilBleatsFarm

    LilBleatsFarm Premier Colorado Nigerian Dwarf Breeder

    Jul 18, 2012
    I HATE having to clean up straw that's in the mud.

    When I do I find that there is lots of moisture under/within all that straw keeping a nice living area for worms/bugs.

    Maybe in winter it's not such a bad thing since the cold will kill off bugs. Then taking the tractor in to clean up could work.

    Not sure how to handle the mud. If it's because of elevation (water running that way). Maybe fill with dirt and make that area a little higher? Hard to say without seeing it.

  3. WillowGem

    WillowGem Love them goats!

    Aug 3, 2011
    Okay, that's what I was wondering.
    It does keep their hooves drier and cleaner, but I'd have to change it out every day...ugh! :rolleyes:
  4. LilBleatsFarm

    LilBleatsFarm Premier Colorado Nigerian Dwarf Breeder

    Jul 18, 2012
    maybe filling in with a clay type dirt that packs real well. like road base or something.
  5. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Do you want this to stay a grassy area?

    If not, you could always put down some type of small stone or limestone.
  6. WillowGem

    WillowGem Love them goats!

    Aug 3, 2011
    Thanks, Karen...I don't necessarily want it to stay grass, it would help alot with the parasite issues if it wasn't.
    I was thinking about something like gravel or limestone too, but I wonder how the goat berry clean up would be?
    Or would it mix with the stone and just dry up? :whatgoat:

    Anything we do probably won't happen until the spring, but it will give me some time to research into this further. :ponder:
  7. I won't use the straw however, because what I've found is aside from trying to clean it up, be it straw of hay it gets mold on it. I'm sure as winter hits I'll be in the same boat. My areas are too big to lay down gravel or anything, grass isn't an option as the cold kills it off. For me I'm thinking they have dry shelter, when it snows it'll keep the mud off and just be wet. In between however, I'm thinking I'm going to have to work on cleaning feet/toes to be sure they don't get (don't remember the technical name) mud scald.
  8. WillowGem

    WillowGem Love them goats!

    Aug 3, 2011
    That's probably what I'll do this winter too.

    After cleaning the barn yesterday, I raked up some of the straw in the pen and it was starting to compost.
    So I'll be cleaning all that up this weekend.
    I'm thinking it will end up being more bother than help. :(
  9. Stacykins

    Stacykins Goats of da UP

    Mar 27, 2012
    Escanaba, MI, U.S.
    I don't know if this will help, since it I did it for chickens, not goats. My chicken run had become a muddy, swampy mess every time it rained. They free range, so they aren't in the mud all the time, but I have to go through the run to get to their coop, and eggs!

    So I got a lot of wood chips, big thick wood chips, and spread them out over the entire run. Now, even if it rains, it isn't all yucky and gross. Not sure if goats would chew up the chips, though.
  10. HaleyD

    HaleyD Member

    Sep 12, 2012
    Central Texas
    I had this same problem at my old house- the goat pen started out as grass and turned into a muddy mess.
    I filled their pen in with sand and it worked great! And it didn't smell nearly as "goaty" (I was in a suburb and goats weren't supposed to be there so that was VERY important).

    As far as cleaning out the berries goes, I made a home made shovel. I wish I had a pic but I don't. It was a big flat metal shovel and I cut a large square out of the center and covered it with wire mesh so the sand would fall through but I could pick up the poop. Worked great!
  11. erisfae

    erisfae Goat Mama

    Sep 3, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    We had a real problem with mud in our pastures so, we found a local landscaping/tree-cutting company. They used to have to pay a landfill to be able to dump their truck loads of fresh, fine cut woodchips. Such a waste! Now, they drop them off at our ranch (free for both parties) and we use them build up the muddy areas. They're great! Sometimes, we have entire wheelbarrows full of little more than sawdust, which is amazing for absorption. We also haven't had to pay for Pine and Cedar shavings, for bedding, in more than a year, which is an amazing savings. It's one of the best arrangements we've ever made. :D
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  12. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I use #9 clean limestone and it works pretty well with poop cleanup. You will have to add more every so often. I add more about once every year to 2 years.
  13. WillowGem

    WillowGem Love them goats!

    Aug 3, 2011
    I decided to bite the bullet and clean the straw out of the pen today.

    On the way to dump the first load, the tractor got stuck on a HUGE ant hill. :eek:
    There's no way I can get it unstuck on my own, and hubby won't be home until late tonight.
    So now I have a big pile of yucky straw just sitting there...Grrrr! :mad:

    At least it's partially done...the pen actually smells much better too.
  14. fd123

    fd123 Senior Member

    May 29, 2012
    macon, Ga.
    :DNO WORRIES!! If your goats are anywhere near as aggravating as mine are..>> they will have that pile that you worked very hard on scattered back out everywhere in "NO TIME"!! lol..
  15. neubunny

    neubunny New Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Our barnyard isn't bad yet -- but with the pasture fence down for now and everyone kept close, I suspect it will be before long.

    Having struggled with worms/coccidia all summer -- any of these options likely to help with that --- right now I can shovel out the piles (alpacas) and berries (goats) -- but that is likely to get tough as winter settles in. I like the idea of sand (though it would be expensive to set up initially, sigh) and figure that would make it easy to rake out, but do you worry about worm eggs/larvae settling into the sand?
  16. amiandhergoats

    amiandhergoats Junior Member

    I am having the same issue. When we started the pen, it was grass over a thin layer of dirt, with shale below that. We live in the Hilltowns of upstate NY, and our whole property is shale. I think what happened is the build-up of hay and berries created more "dirt" and there is nowhere for the rain, which has been copious this year, to run off. It pools in front of the goat house and creates mud. We're slowly moving it downhill and considering installing a pvc pipe from the upper pen to allow the water to flow down the shale hill.

    We have built a moveable hay feeder that we shift from one end of the yard to the other. We rake as much as we can when we move it, so there is less hay build up.

    We tried laying gravel, but we would need a huge amount at this point, and I think building that area up prevents the water from flowing downhill.

    I have noticed an uptick in worms and coccidia this year, which we are constantly treating for, so I think it's worthwhile to treat the problem seriously.
  17. Maggie

    Maggie New Member

    Nov 5, 2010
    Floyd, Va
    We use screenings (or sometimes called filings) in the areas around the barn that are a bit low and get muddy. Its sort of a pain until it packs down well, driving a vehicle/lawn mower etc over it helps pack it down. Its easy to rake up goat berries on it and makes the barn area look nice and neat.
  18. animalfamily

    animalfamily New Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    The grass is always greener..........I guess the one thing you can say about the area I live in [Missouri], it's perfect for goats. Rocks, rocks, and more rocks. There is no end to the rocks. No problems with mud, just rocks!

    If baserock is an option it might work pretty well. It compacts over time almost like concrete. I'm not sure how hard it would be as far as clean up goes?

    ...fd123: How funny, have you ever tried to build a brush pile in your goats pen??
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  19. happyhogs

    happyhogs Member

    Oct 12, 2009
    I live in the UK where we are well known for our rain and just recently we have had half the country under water in some of the worst floods of recent years. I had an awful problem with the goats not being able to keep their feet dry and the pen being churned to a quagmire. I have now installed wooden pallets (the type used for delivery of large items from garden centres, DIY stores etc) and it has helped enormously. There is still a quagmire but the pallets sit on top of it and raise the goats' feet out of the mess.....preventing foot rot and leading to much happier goats!

    I have placed a tarpauline under the pallets and once a week I lift the pallet, drag the tarp out, covered in soggy, wet berries and empty it off onto the compost heap. I only have two pygmy goats so this works for me, it might be different for a larger herd but the principal of wooden pallets might be worth looking into still.....maybe they could be moved from one area of a larger pen to another and cleaned out underneath???
  20. nancy d

    nancy d Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    near Seattle
    ^ This ;)