Preventing drafts in cold weather

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by Sara S, Oct 25, 2020.

  1. Sara S

    Sara S New Member

    12
    Jul 19, 2020
    Newton, IA
    I live in Iowa and winter has come early (it's been cold, snowy, rainy, and windy all week). It's my first winter with my goat babies and I'm getting confused by the things I'm reading online for prepping the barn for winter.

    I'm including pics of the inside of the barn. Here are my questions:
    1. I know it's bad to have drafts, but how do I given them access to get outside without leaving the door open, which then creates a draft?
    2. I close the doors completely at night to prevent predators, but have been leaving one or two of the windows open for ventilation. Is that enough ventilation?
    3. Should I put some sort of insulation behind the plywood 'walls' and if so, what kind would be safest?
    4. My boys have barely gone outside this week because of the weather. I'm worried about them not getting enough exercise or getting bored. Should I just let them be where they want to be and not worry about it? Should I put some sort of toy in the barn for them?
    5. Anything you see missing inside the barn that should be there for them?

    Thank you for your help! I'm such a newbie and just want to keep them safe and healthy.

    Barn Door Inside.jpg Barn Inside Window.jpg Barn Inside Walls.jpg Barn Inside Feeder.jpg
     
  2. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nice setup. You can close it up at night without leaving a window open. I close my goats up every night and there is plenty of ventilation. Don't stress over it. If you see a problem, make a change.
     
    Iluvlilly!, MadHouse, Sfgwife and 2 others like this.

  3. NigerianDwarfOwner707

    NigerianDwarfOwner707 Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2018
    East Coast, USA
    I would say that having just the bottom door open is going to create more harmful drafts then if you just closed it all together or left it completely open.
     
    Iluvlilly! and Sara S like this.
  4. goatblessings

    goatblessings Fair-Haven Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    As long as there is a place in the pen away from the draft they will be fine. They will probably snuggle in a corner if cold. I agree on keeping the door shut at night.
     
    Damfino, Iluvlilly!, MadHouse and 2 others like this.
  5. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
  6. Moers kiko boars

    Moers kiko boars Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    Oklahoma
    Beautiful barn! Wow...very nice. As long as they can get out of the cold direct wind, stay dry..and have fresh air..they will be fine. The straw looks nice and deep..nice walls to block wind. I think they will do great!
    I lock mine up at night. Just to keep predators from coming into the warmth.
     
    Damfino, Iluvlilly!, MadHouse and 3 others like this.
  7. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    They do look very cold in that one photo. What are the temps you're having? Are they boney over the hips or spine?

    You could add a plastic doghouse inside for them to hide in and trap body heat even closer
     
  8. Sara S

    Sara S New Member

    12
    Jul 19, 2020
    Newton, IA
    It's been getting down into the 20's the past few nights and highs in the 30's. Later this week it is supposed to be sunny and in the 40's and 50's, so that will be a nice reprieve.
    From what I've read, it seems like they are shaped properly. I can feel their spine and hips, but not overly boney. They have nice barrel sides and have been growing really soft fur coats. They were just born in May and June, so this is a first winter for them and they just don't want to be outside. It's going to be a LONG winter if they don't start to venture out :(

    Thank you for the idea of the plastic doghouse!
     
  9. happybleats

    happybleats Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Gustine Texas
    We use small dog houses that only the babies can fit..dont want mom getting in there and squishing babies. We often use just the roof part. Lots of bedding. Kids know automatically to squeeze in. They stay nice and toasty
     
  10. fivemoremiles

    fivemoremiles Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    western montana
    I live in Montana last night it was -2F. winds of 10 to 20 MPH.
    remember there is a difference between a draft and ventilation.
    in your barn if you feel air movement that is a draft.
    to prevent drafts place a solid fence about 2 ft out side the door to block the wind from coming directly in the door. then in the door i hang plastic fridge doors strips they are about 8 inches wide.
    you still have to worry about proper ventilation. If you have condensation on the inside walls or roof you have inadequate ventilation. High humidity can cause pneumonia. i have no glass windows i use wind block on the windows this lets air in but not drafts.
    goats do fine in cold weather if they are dry and well fed
     
  11. GodsGarden

    GodsGarden Active Member

    432
    Feb 6, 2015
    Colorado
    Cute little ones.
    1. ..I given them access to get outside without leaving the door open, which then creates a draft? You can hang something across the door, I've seen people use rubber mats or something similar, with a cut in the middle that they can slip in and out. You have a half door which is nice. I have a full door which I just open, no thing to help cover the space, when it is warm enough out. Warm enough out is hard to explain, not blowing snow or really windy and at least 5 degrees, 10 degrees is better. If it is those then they don't come out anyway.

    2. I close the doors completely at night to prevent predators, but have been leaving one or two of the windows open for ventilation. Is that enough ventilation? I'd close the windows at night and keep the door closed like you are. As someone said you can keep an eye out for condensation and then correct from there. Most barns I've seen have some cracks or areas were air gets in so it isn't that big of a worry. And you are opening the door to get in and leaving it open during the day so that circulates air so it is only for the night.

    3. Should I put some sort of insulation behind the plywood 'walls' and if so, what kind would be safest? That is up to you. We only have insulation on the wind hitting side on our barn, though I would like it to be nicer. I don't know about safest, one mice can't chew would be a good option though.

    4. My boys have barely gone outside this week because of the weather. I'm worried about them not getting enough exercise or getting bored. Should I just let them be where they want to be and not worry about it? Should I put some sort of toy in the barn for them? You can certainly get them toys or something to jump up on. I've been wanting to get my goats some toys for long winter days they are stuck in. They have a horse ball and a some blocks to jump on. It is amazing what games goats can get too with something to jump on. If they aren't going outside then maybe they are cold. For only two goats their inside space seems pretty big for them so they might not feel the need to go outside. They do look a little cold in the picture. You can try and take them for a walk for exercise and show them outside isn't that bad. Getting them a light blanket is also an option. Some goats take a bit to make winter fur or don't do it well. If cold comes fast then they might not have all their winter fur yet so it might get better as they get older. Some of my babies didn't do well making winter fur their first winter and I would blanket them when it got cold. Goat Coat shop makes good blankets or Jeffers has some cheap good options. 20 deg, if you are talking Fahrenheit, isn't that cold for goats and I would only blanket if they got cold for one of the above reasons.

    5. Anything you see missing inside the barn that should be there for them? Looks like a nice barn to me, :) Nice bedding, nice light, food, water. The only thing I can think of is, do they have a loose mineral or kelp? I can't see what is in the one feeder. Oh, and when they get taller you might consider covering the outlet and cord. Goats are good at chewing.

    Wow, that was long. Hope my rambling helps, :) Let us know if you need anymore help or have anymore questions.
     
    Sara S likes this.
  12. Sara S

    Sara S New Member

    12
    Jul 19, 2020
    Newton, IA
    Thank you so, so much for answering all of my questions! This is so helpful. There are actually 3 goats, but I think only two were in the picture. They haven't been shivering at all and their little bellies feel warm, but I was wondering if the space might be too big for them to stay warm. As far as toys, we built a climbing thing with spools for them outside, they have a tunnel, and a ball to play with....and they aren't interested in ANY of it. I thought goats were super playful, but these three seem to be only interested in eating, lol! Oh, and yes...there is loose mineral in the little black feeder next to the salt block :)
     
    Moers kiko boars likes this.
  13. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Igloo dog houses or even a wooden box inside, helps keep them warmer. I have 3' square wooden boxes that they play on and the little ones go into. For smaller goats, they are great in the winter. They were made for newborns to get sleep in, but very sturdy as everyone plays on them. (they are attached to the wall with a 2 by 4 and screws.)

    My buck pen has an opening at one end that I put a heavy rubber flap over. They can go in and out, but it blocks the direct wind.

    You have a very nice looking barn!
     
    Moers kiko boars and Sara S like this.
  14. GodsGarden

    GodsGarden Active Member

    432
    Feb 6, 2015
    Colorado
    Wow! My goats sound like kids from the middle ages or something. "Yeah, we got some logs and a few rocks."

    Maybe your kids need some time to get used to the new toys, I don't know how long you've had them. Goats seem to like to play in bursts and when I'm not around the little stinkers. Sometimes I stand outside the pen and then they'll get to playing. I'm such a distraction. lol Or if I start running and jumping that will get them going, sometimes. They could be focused on gaining weight and going through a growth spurt.

    I've seen the wooden boxes too. Goats can go under and over, playing or sleeping. Help keep warm and happy. And people use them to increase space for inside areas were there are lots of goats as it can act like little 'apartment' areas for the goats. :)