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Hello All,

So very happy I found this Goat Spot! New goat owner here....and how do you ask a question, you do not know to ask...other then read, a lot of peoples questions! :) We live in Washington State, 7 acres. Our 7 month old twin Oberhasli wethered goats, did great this past summer/fall. Vet checks, all good. Now that it is winter, and below 40 most days in the high 20's at night...with lots of hungary predators at night. We have been locking them up in their 14 x 14 barn, with good ventilation and lots of straw with heat lamps=out of reach high in the ceiling. Reading a few posts, not many lock theirs up at night. We do, just because of the predators, mountain lions and bears and others. As soon as it warms up, we will let them out in their "fenced in patio" from their barn, with the doors opened. Question is with the temps so low, should we not be locking them in their barn? Suppose to get in the teens this weekend. Yes cleaned daily. Plenty of fresh warm water, baking soda, and alfalfa mix (per Vet..good choice for the area) They are not much bigger than our GSD's. They currently sleep in their own corner of the straw, not cuddled together. Jackets on them when the day temps are too low and or snowing or raining. What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong....Love our twins, but do not want them to be dinner for a lion. Thank you in advance for your suggestions. We are feeding 3 x per day, where they get about 1/2 a flake each a day. Grown locally. Enough? Not enough. Not sure of weight of bails, nor how many flakes per bail, but I can call and find out. Most everything but evergreen trees are dormant here. Some evergreens they chew on and some they do not. Again, Thank you in advance Godspeed to the love of Goats!
 

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Welcome to the forum! :hello:

I lock my goats in at night so as long as they have adequate ventilation they should be just fine.;) I can't imagine what it's like to have mountain lions. :eek: I have a perimeter fence and guardian dogs and no mountain lions and I still lock mine up.

As far as their being cold, they are probably just fine with lows being in the twenties even without a heat lamp and coats. My goats do well even in those temps without a lamp. You may want to look into the deep litter method if warmth is something you are worried about. Basically the idea is that you actually just add fresh bedding on top of the dirty so that the lower soiled layers break down and produce heat in the process. Warm water on cold nights is important too. I also like to give extra hay on cold nights to get their rumen really working. The rumen produces a ton of internal heat.

It's no longer recommended to put out baking soda free choice. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate and goats actually produce that themselves in their saliva. It can actually screw up their rumen ph if left for them to use. It should only be offered in the event of a rumen upset or if they got into a lot of feed or something they weren't used to eating.

Do you have free choice loose minerals out for them? That is very important.

As far as how much they are eating, if they don't really have anything to eat in their pasture, hay should be fed free choice.

One last thing I want to bring up since you have wethers, is do you now anything about Urinary Calculi? That is another important thing to know about when keeping wethers.

Hopefully, I haven't written too much for you. ;)
 

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Welcome from Texas!
It sounds like you're doing a great job with your twin boys.
I also lock mine up at night, we have coyotes by the bucket load around here and a few bobcats,so yes, for your area you're absolutely right to make sure they're safe.
I use heat lamps on frigid nights but until recently I haven't needed to because this is Texas not Montana or Maine lol.
I agree 100% with @Mellonfriend they don't need the baking soda in fact, it's really not good for wethers at all.
Do you add ammonium chloride to your feed? Wethers need it to help prevent urinary calculi.
Hay should be available at all times especially if it's cold along with clean water.
What type of loose minerals do you use? It also should be out for them to eat as they want it.
It's great having you here and I can't wait to see pictures of your boys...
Everyone here at TGS loves goat pictures and I promise, everyone will tell you they're as cute as you think they are :)
 

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Hi and welcome to The Goat Spot. What and how much are you feeding them 3 times per day. Please don't give baking soda free choice to the goats. They make there own bicarbonate and recent research has show giving baking soda free choice long term could cause problems with the goats ability to continue processing their own. The more hay you give them to eat during cold weather actually helps them create warmth from the inside out. Currently, I am putting out hay twice a day, morning and early evening, 3 flakes total for 2 goats. Didn't notice a mention of offering free choice loose minerals for them, it's important for goats to have as much or as least of loose minerals they desire each and every day. As stated above, Urinary Calculi can happen in weathered goats and they need a specific type of feeding regimen consisting of calcium and phosphorous at a 2.1 ratio. Please read as much as you can find on the feeding requirements for weathers to help you be able to calculate what and how to keep these ratios in balance for them.
 

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Welcome to the forum!! All good advice on Baking soda..( can actually contribute to UC) and would actually not put jackets on them. They can't fluff up their own coat which will keep them warm. Locking up in a well ventilated space is fine. We dont have many big cat issues here in Central Texas to worry about. But definitely understand the need to protect the little men!

We would love pictures!!
 

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Welcome to TGS! You've come to a great place for advice! I've learned a ton from the wonderful people here and I'm sure you will too!
I also lock my goats up at night. I live in a semi-rural neighborhood and we don't have a lot of predators but we do have the occasional coyote and frequently have stray dogs roaming around. Goats are prey animals and I feel better locking them up so I know they are as safe as I can get them.
I keep my goat's hay feeder full at all times. We also keep goat minerals out all the time so they have free-choice of that whenever they need. Clean water at all times! We don't clean out the barn more than once a month or so, but we do try to layer straw down so that it's always a little fresh.
I've noticed now that it's colder my goats have gotten fluffier fur so they seem to manage the temperatures well.
 

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I see this post is 2 months old, but I will offer what I have learned anyway, just in case. I absolutely lock my girls up every night. The barn has lots of ventilation. You really need that. And temps in the teens are just fine for goats that have slowly be acclimated to them. In the fall you do this by not giving any additional heat or goat coats....you allow them to grow a natural thick winter coat that will keep them much warmer that a coat. The only time I supplement heat is when summer temps are warm and a freak ice storm with temps in the teens hits out of nowhere with no time for the goats to transition. Or.....when babies are born durning cold nights. Locking goats in a fairly closed building in the summer can cause heat problems too. I have several large high velocity fans in the barn and it makes a world of difference. Make sure the shed or barn....if it is enclosed.....has enough windows with hardware cloth covering the opening to let heat escape.
 
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