Newbie needs answers

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by creaturesall, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. creaturesall

    creaturesall Member

    288
    Oct 26, 2007
    Langdon, AB Canada
    :oops:

    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.
     
  2. enjoytheride

    enjoytheride New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Humboldt Co Ca
    Til somone more experienced in that cold of weather-
    I would never use a heater for healthy adclt goats- once you start heating, you may find they can not deal with the cold so well. They should fuzz up fine- fainters are Tennessee goats and it can get cold in some parts of Tennesse. Sick or young goats might need some extra warmth.
    The hay diet is good (brome being the same as brougham?) if they can't hold their weight with hay, then adding grain in cautious amounts is ok but the alfalfa mix will give them lots of calories- just change over slowly.. They will need a mineral mix with more than selenium/salt. There are lots of good goat loose mineral mixs- the ones for sheep will not have the copper goats need so if it for sheep or both sheep and goats, it will not work long term for goats.
    If you bed deeply and their house doesn't have drafts, they should do ok- I wouldn't ever use a kerosine heater and am highly cautious with heat lamps too.
    Make sure they have all the ice free water they want though. Putting some warm water out for them a couple of times a day will be appreciated.
    Watch any wiring you have around goaties- they nibble on things.
    The "odd man out" symdrome is a problem for everyone- I usually try to make an easily escapable seperate place for the picked on one.
    Everything?
    Welcome hope you have great fun with your goaties- I have horses too but enjoy the goats even more.

    PS I forgot, like horse, goats get warmth from the activity of their stomach so hay helps keep them warm too.
     

  3. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Welcome to the GoatSpot! :D

    It sounds like you are already doing a great job with them.

    1) You shouldn't have to heat it. As long as it is free of drafts they will stay fine. You still want it to be well ventilated, though. Goats need air.

    2) In the winter I reccomend they get free choice hay, or at least a couple of flakes each a day. Hay really helps them keep warm more than anything. If there will be lots of smow outside (which I assume there will be :wink: ) you might do best with an inside hay feeder. I have one inside the shed for my three goats and one outside, for when it is nice out. I fill the inside one at night when the weather is good, or also in the morning when it is bad. I put hay outside only in the morning in good weather because otherwise they leave it overnight and it gets dew on it, then they don't eat it... picky goats!

    Also, you might want to start giving them each about a cup of grain a day to help keep their condition during winter.

    3) How big is their shed? I shovel paths for my goats in the snow... only a little path to the gate then clear a bigger spot for them by the outside hay racks... otherwise they won't come out. They are okay with the cold (though our temps don't get as cold as yours!) as long as they have access to shelter. I think excercise, at least being able to strech their legs, is important.

    4) Drafts are what you most want to keep out. They should be okay with an open door if the shelter stays draft-free. My boys have the option to go in or stay out whenever they want. Heat isn't the biggest issue, as I don't think just shutting the door will help all that much. Remember you still need ventilation if the door is shut. Another thing to consider is predators. If there are lots of predators around it might be wisest to keep the goats locked up at night.

    5) It should be enough to just lock them in. But she still might be stuck outside during the day... you might want to invest in a big doghouse. That way, just in case the others keep her out, she has a sheltered place to go.

    6) Again, how big is the shed. My boys like to snuggle together. I wouldn't make separate stalls for each of them, but I'm not sure how it would work. MAybe someone else can help you on that.

    7) I don't have horned goats, so the only advice I can give is to not grab them. That will make them use them on you more. I know of someone who taped a piece of hose over both horns. It kept them from getting stuck in the fence and got rid of sharp edges, but the goats looked pretty funny! Personally I think they will be fine, just don't grab the horns or ever let them boss you around with them.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of goats! We'd love to see pictures of your girls!
     
  4. Rockytopsis

    Rockytopsis New Member

    164
    Oct 5, 2007
    Well the others have answered all your questions and I agree with them, especially the part about no heat in the barn. Deep beding and no drafts should do fine. You might want to use the heaters that go in the water though, as goats will drink the water better in the winter if it is not icy cold.

    To answer the question of the horns, my advise it to get used to them. LOL Most goats do not mean to use them against their owners. All ours have horns, one of them looks like a small long horn steer hers are so huge. Just remind your visitors to keep a eye out for them. Thats what I do.

    I looked around the site you posted and all your goats are very pretty. I really liked the 2 white ones.
     
  5. getchagoat (Julie)

    getchagoat (Julie) Guest

    603
    Oct 5, 2007
    Welcome!

    You are doing a good job with your girls...and so many girls and you are the only male. Poor man. :)

    I agree, no heat in the barn, just watch for drafts and put the deep bedding. If the shed isn't permanently attached to the ground already, face it away from the wind.

    Definitely work the goat up to the alfalfa, giving a little more every few days. It is very rich. The protein is as much as a good grain.

    If you run a de-icer to your water, be sure to run the cord through conduit, otherwise the goats might chew the wires. Ours LOVE wires!

    As far as exercise, when it's cold, but not horribly cold, they'll like the cooler weather and play, much like the horses do when it gets around 30 degrees. As for the colder temps, I'd do the shoveling thing as mentioned.

    If you don't have a guard animal, I'd lock them in at night, as long as there's ventilation. Fainters are easy prey. Of course, with your bully situation, the shed needs to be big enough they don't pound each other.

    Rockytop is dead on about the horns. They aren't that big a deal.

    Again, welcome!!
     
  6. Rockytopsis

    Rockytopsis New Member

    164
    Oct 5, 2007
    [​IMG]

    Thought I would post a picture of Byllie Girl here, she is Boer/Sannan and a wonderfull goat, but she takes a wide path when she walks through anywhere LOL
     
  7. fritzie

    fritzie New Member

    751
    Oct 6, 2007
    TENN
    having lived in maine where it gets pretty cold i would say that as long as the opening is so the wind isn't going in & the snow they should be fine. they will build up there coat to accomadate the weather. i would try to make a place that the one that they pick on can get to. some times just a short wall for her to go behind works. plus you can put a hay rack in each section so she can get hay. other than that i agree with what every one else said. i would never but a heater in the barn with them especially kerosene or any thing with an open flame.
    as to the vet i would ask about cd&t shots & fecal check or worming.
     
  8. PACE

    PACE New Member

    404
    Oct 8, 2007
    Mass
    Rockytopsis, what awesome horns!!!
     
  9. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    WELCOME! Here in western PA it doesn't get THAT cold...but all my minis adjust their winter coat accordingly. I definately would not heat your shed..you run the risk of catastrophe as well as sick goats. My little barn is as draft free as possible and the ventilation they need to prevent respiratory problems is up under the eaves. Lots of hay...and mind you goats are "Hay Burners" as my hubby calls them...they seem to waste more than anything! But thats a plus to you as they will use it for bedding. I seldom have water buckets that freeze solid..usually only an inch or so, easy enough to break and fill with warm water. Minerals that are specific to goats would be best...a mineral block with added copper should suffice. And it's great that you have a "goat literate" vet handy! The most commonly used vaccine for goats is CD/T...your vet will know this...as well as to do a fecal and worm them if neccessary. Mine do ok in the snow..its funny to see a pregnant mini in 4-6 inches of snow..not only do their bellies hit it but so does their udders! Then I have to make sure their teats aren't frost bit! Mine are usually locked in on cold winter nights and I do have 3 does with horns and 1 without...not an issue with me and baldy does hold her own...I just had hubby make them a bench that they do everything but sleep on and baldy Binky will hide under it if the other 3 get too agressive. So maybe depending on the size of your shelter a short wall for the odd one out to hide behind or even as suggested before..a large dog box for her to go into.
     
  10. redneck_acres

    redneck_acres New Member

    Oct 17, 2007
    Idaho
    If using a heat lamp you want it far enough off the ground that the goats cannot get to it. We lost a barn and the kid crop one year from a heat lamp fire.
     
  11. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    seems like your questions were covered

    You are doing a good job with them I am sure.


    I will just say WELCOME to The Goat Spot
     
  12. alyssa_romine

    alyssa_romine Breaking Dawn Ranch

    Oct 4, 2007
    arkansas
    I just wanted to welcome you to The Goat Spot. I was going to say what everyone else did.
     
  13. creaturesall

    creaturesall Member

    288
    Oct 26, 2007
    Langdon, AB Canada
    Thanks sooo much!!

    I really appreciate the warm welcome and sage advice. Last night, with temps around +20F I chose, rightly or wrongly, to close the 'exit door' to the girl's shed. My reasons were two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to find out if the combined body heat from 3 small year-olds would be enough to keep their water from freezing. Closing their small door helped trap whatever heat they were able to generate. Well, their water did, in fact, remain thawed... so, that's a good thing. Secondly, I wanted to see if forcibly confining them would encourage them to play nice. Obviously, no one could get 'kicked out' in the cold if their door remain closed. Well, this morning at 5:30 or so, I looked in on 'em with a small treat and all seemed well. None seemed under stress, all were in close proximity and, most telling, when I opened their exit, all choses to remain indoors for the next 1.5 hrs or so, even though their exit to the outside world remained accessible. So, I will try building on tha again this evening and see what tomorrow brings.

    Next on the agenda is to build a feeder. I have been looking at all sorts of concepts and ideas on this and other boards and believe I will put together a wall mounted manger, approx 6' wide by 30" high. In profile, it will be triangular or hooper-like with the wider opening (perhaps 18") at the top tapering down to 6" or so at the bottom. The front side, from which they will feed, will be 4" sq wire mesh and they can each find their own spot from which to pull hay. Many designs I've seen encourage putting the feeder at such a height as the goats will be forced to stand with their front feet on a ledge in order to reach their munchies. Not sure the why of that but I will go with the flow and make it so.

    So again, a big thank you!! :p If anyone sees a way in which I might improve upon this feeder design, I'd appreciate hearing about it. Everything I do re: the 3 ladies is done so based on an equal equal mix of hope and ignorance.
     
  14. alyssa_romine

    alyssa_romine Breaking Dawn Ranch

    Oct 4, 2007
    arkansas
    Your plan sounds fine. Yes, keeping them in at night is fine. I do that too if I find that they are shivering the night before. Mine have been in the barn only at night for the last 2 days. You are doing a fine job with your girls.
     
  15. creaturesall

    creaturesall Member

    288
    Oct 26, 2007
    Langdon, AB Canada
    Thanks Alyssa. Today is totally a washout because I have to (get to?) go to a wedding, so I can't start construction on the feeder. And I REALLY want to start construction of that feeder. And next week, I need to get going on the next issue of creaturesall Life does get in the way, doesn't it?

    I'll keep you posted 'til I hear a collective, "Gawd... I wish he would just shut up already!")
     
  16. creaturesall

    creaturesall Member

    288
    Oct 26, 2007
    Langdon, AB Canada
    Thanks Alyssa. Today is totally a washout because I have to (get to?) go to a wedding, so I can't start construction on the feeder. And I REALLY want to start construction of that feeder. And next week, I need to get going on the next issue of creaturesall Life does get in the way, doesn't it?

    I'll keep you posted 'til I hear a collective, "Gawd... I wish he would just shut up already!"
     
  17. alyssa_romine

    alyssa_romine Breaking Dawn Ranch

    Oct 4, 2007
    arkansas
    We won't say that...we enjoy hearing other people's experiences and opinions and what goes on with their goats.
     
  18. enjoytheride

    enjoytheride New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Humboldt Co Ca
    Well hardly anyone has told me to "shut up" (at least in so many words.) There are two reasons I see for having a feeder raised so they have to step on a ledge to eat- one is that it keeps their little poops out of the feeder and two it seems to make them less likely to grab a huge mouthful, lift their head up and let it dribble out on the ground. Of course once on the ground, it is unlikely they will eat it althoug if the feed is on the ground they will eat it till it's messed on or stepped on.
     
  19. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    NJ
    per the locking in at night:

    Sounds like a good plan especially since the one tends to get pushed out.

    At night they tend to be more docile to one another but if the one thinks she is threatened then she will easily just leave or not even try ot get in. If forced together they usually get along.

    Oh and chat all you want :D
     
  20. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Ya won't hear that here...the majority of us are polite...at least we try to be! lol . The hay racks being placed that way help alot in keeping hay dust out of the goaties eyes...thus preventing infections such as "pinkeye" And it seems to save on hay a bit. Good luck! "BTW...you sounded like MY hubby when he "has" to do something he doesn't want to do!! :p