First off, a big Canadian hello to each and all! I am ashamed to say that my very first post brings with it an abundance of questions and a dearth of advice. If I have inadvertently posted in the wrong thread, please forgive and feel free to move it.
To set the record straight, I am a long-time publisher and a short-time goat guy. Rather than bore you with the details re: how a publisher and 3 fainters came to be house partners, (you can find those details on my web site http://www.creaturesall.com) I will just boldly reveal my ignorance re: all things goat. Any help/advice will be both appreciated and taken to heart.
1) In the area of Canada were I, my 2 dogs (all female), 3 horses (all female), 3 Fainters (all female) and 1 wife (also, all female) reside, winters get cold and the snow can get deep. I have built a goat shed and insulated it against the elements. Question # 1 is, should I heat it? If so, what method is most efficient and safest? I have a new kerosene space heater and the shed is vented. Would that be a good option or should I run electricity?
2) They have good brougham grass pasture right now and I am supplementing that with a Selenenium/salt mix as well as baking soda (both free choice). I have purchased several bales of 50% alfalfa/50% brouham grass for the winter. Question # 2 , Should I build them a feeder outside or inside their shed? Does it make any difference?
3) With temperatures often dropping to -10 degrees F and lower(sometimes to -40F), how do they get any exercise during the winter? Is it important they exercise?
4) Should I close their door overnight in order to trap in heat or is that a bad idea? Do they need to go outside at any time overnight?
5) One of the larger of the 3 goats seems to bully the other two, especially when it comes to staying in the shed. This morning, with temps well below freezing, I found the 2 larger in the shed and the smallest sleeping on the grass by the entrance. Is there a way to make sure all 3 can stay indoors? Is it enough to just lock 'em in?
6) I just have one large common area in the shed? Would I be wise to break that up into stalls? Would that allow each their own spot and thereby see the smaller didn't get butted out?
7) I got these 3 about a month ago, and they are all pets, with no other purpose or challenge in life but to enjoy themselves and stay healthy. They are all a year old, give or take, and they are all horned. What can I do to minimize the damage they can do with those sharp and ever growing horns, to each other or to visitors?
8) The vet drops by Monday of next week for an introduction to the goats and to help me make sure all are healthy going into the winter. Any questions or concerns I should make sure I point out to her? She is very 'goat savvy' as she travels the world lecturing on goat in vitro fertilization. (It is only through the blessing of 'spellchek' I was even able to communicate what it is she lectures on).
Soooo... that's about it for now. It may not look like it but I did use the search function to try to find answers on my own. These are the questions I couldn't track down an answer for. Thanks in advance. I'll try to contribute some as the goats, hopefully, grow up and I, hopefully, wisen up.