Prep for Winter

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by MellonFriend, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. MellonFriend

    MellonFriend Well-Known Member

    I have a few questions regarding the prep for winter. I have been feeding both my does and my bucks alfalfa/orchard grass twice a day, about a flake each group (I have two bucks and two does, if you don't know). My question is, will I be able to continue to feed them only twice a day when there is no more forage left in the winter? Or will I need to provide them free choice hay? My bucks right now really aren't getting any forage and they seem to be doing great on twice a day hay.

    My second question is regarding the deep litter method. When would I start allowing the bedding to build up instead of removing it? I also over the summer have been adopting @NigerianDwarfOwner707 's method of not bedding and only having a litter box. What is done in winter with this method? Anything different?
     
  2. NigerianDwarfOwner707

    NigerianDwarfOwner707 Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2018
    East Coast, USA
    Hey there! Or should I say, HAY there!!!

    So for starters, in the winter, free choice hay.

    Since your bucks already aren’t really getting much forage, chances are they shouldn’t be eating too much more hay than they already are (simply because I’m sure they aren’t acting starving to you), and I’ve found goats tend to take as much hay as the need and not splurge just cause.

    So with my method, of a litter box, it does change a bit. It really depends on the layout of your barn so a photo could help but I’ll share a couple options.

    First things first, your goats WILL pee wherever there is the new area of bedding, so don’t expect them to only use their one litter box.

    I have always kept my litter box and then section out a different cozy corner of my barn for deep bedding. My litter box stays where it is and is only pine shavings. Then my sleeping area which is the deep bedding area gets a good layer of shavings and an even thicker layer of straw. This space doesn’t have to be too large, it’s best when it acts as more of a nest, which will encourage your goats to stay closer to one another. So you can choose a nice corner and do so.

    As for cleaning that, I don’t do “deep” bedding because that technique you don’t really clean. I still clean it daily, sweep the straw to the side and replace the shavings below (the urine goes through the straw and soaks into the shavings) and any poops just get swept up on the top of the straw. If I notice any wet spots of straw I’ll sweep that out too and add more. Still daily cleaning just like the litter box.

    Anyway, in the end you’re left with a litter box and a cozy corner. They still tend to pee in the litter box most of the time. Mine didn’t even use their cozy spot except for the coldest nights below 0.
     

  3. NigerianDwarfOwner707

    NigerianDwarfOwner707 Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2018
    East Coast, USA
    Here’s an example of last winter when we didn’t even have a full barn. It was a semi-indoor run in with a dirt floor. For the winter, we built a smaller 4x6 shed to go in the corner.

    Their actual litter box was outside of this small house, though still in the covered space. In the shed is where I did my technique for bedding, and you can see a bit of it here in this picture. Very small space.

    IMG_7512.jpg

    Now even more interesting, this winter I’m planning on bedding this ledge/step in my new barn.

    IMG_5144.jpg
     
  4. MellonFriend

    MellonFriend Well-Known Member

    So are you saying that the bucks might not need free choice in the winter? I'm not sure what you mean by this.

    @goathiker You do the "bedding pack" method am I right? How do you deal with winter with your method?
     
  5. NigerianDwarfOwner707

    NigerianDwarfOwner707 Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2018
    East Coast, USA
    No, I’m saying that you should give them free choice, but not to worry about them eating you out of your wallet because they are gonna want so much, because they probably won’t take too much more than they are already eating now.
     
    toth boer goats and MellonFriend like this.
  6. MellonFriend

    MellonFriend Well-Known Member

    Ahh. I get it. :)
     
    toth boer goats likes this.
  7. Mini Oberhasli Owner

    Mini Oberhasli Owner New Member

    8
    Sep 26, 2020
    Central Wisconsin
    When do you all start your deep litter for the winter? What temperatures do you start? Also, do you keep the same deep litter pack in all winter until the temperatures go above freezing?
     
  8. NigerianDwarfOwner707

    NigerianDwarfOwner707 Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2018
    East Coast, USA
    Temps 40 or below.

    I don’t use “deep litter.” I make a bedded area (not their full barn) with a layer of shavings on the bottom and a thick poofy layer of straw on top. I’ve only ever seen them use this with temps 12F or below, so that’s why I don’t do deep bedding everywhere because they rarely need it. I spot clean it, sweep the poop, then shush the straw to the side and replace the shavings underneath where they peed on them. Add more shavings and put the straw back on top, and then add more straw. After a few days I like to make it fresh again. It’s not “deep bedding” it’s just a warm cozy bed.
     
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  9. Mini Oberhasli Owner

    Mini Oberhasli Owner New Member

    8
    Sep 26, 2020
    Central Wisconsin
    Ok thanks :)
     
  10. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I start in November and I clean it out monthly if weather permits. But plenty of people just leave and clean out in spring. You have to figure out what works best for you.