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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, wondering how many square feet inside of a mini barn is recommended per full-size vs. pygmy goat? Other relevant info - we're in upstate NY so cooold winters, but goats will have free access to ~1/3 of an acre (11,000 square feet) from dawn to dusk, just closed up in the mini barn for the night for protection. And while we're at it, is it the same indoor size recommendation for sheep? alpacas? potbelly pigs? Thank you!
 

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I have 5 goats in a 15x25 area. At most I would keep 6 and would actually prefer 4. My goats are locked up at night. If we have bad winter conditions I will also keep the door closed. I have 4 small hay racks. If you are going to lock them up, you want plenty of space for them to eat and get away from each other. You also don't want overcrowding. So that 8 ft per animal is very reasonable.
 

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My two goats lock up pen is a 10X10 chainlink dog run that's covered with a tarp and vapour barrier plastic. Inside is a Dog house that both comfortably sleep in. They did great over winter.
I also have gotten rid of my chickens so I have my two kids in a 8X12 Coop and an 8 X12 run. Plus goat yards built for each set up.
This winter everyone will be in the 8X12 Coop/Shed. I have small mix breed goats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have 5 goats in a 15x25 area. At most I would keep 6 and would actually prefer 4. My goats are locked up at night. If we have bad winter conditions I will also keep the door closed. I have 4 small hay racks. If you are going to lock them up, you want plenty of space for them to eat and get away from each other. You also don't want overcrowding. So that 8 ft per animal is very reasonable.
That's helpful, thank you. Oh I think the 8 foot seemed a bit "too" reasonable lol...I was wondering if it should be more like 10-15! Can I ask what hay racks you use/recommend?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My two goats lock up pen is a 10X10 chainlink dog run that's covered with a tarp and vapour barrier plastic. Inside is a Dog house that both comfortably sleep in. They did great over winter.
I also have gotten rid of my chickens so I have my two kids in a 8X12 Coop and an 8 X12 run. Plus goat yards built for each set up.
This winter everyone will be in the 8X12 Coop/Shed. I have small mix breed goats.
Thanks for sharing, sounds like a great set-up. Do you think if our goats have full access dawn to dusk of 11,000 fenced square feet (~3 acres) and are only locked in at night inside of a 10X16 mini barn (e.g., cupola, roof vents), I could safely have around 8-12 of them in the barn for this period of time? Would stalls be recommended or just let them roam free in there?
 

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I have 5 goats in a 15x25 area. At most I would keep 6 and would actually prefer 4. My goats are locked up at night. If we have bad winter conditions I will also keep the door closed. I have 4 small hay racks. If you are going to lock them up, you want plenty of space for them to eat and get away from each other. You also don't want overcrowding. So that 8 ft per animal is very reasonable.
I think it was 8 SQUARE feet per animal in that article @ksalvagno ! Which is not enough! But 8'x8' would be.

@Dylann - I had done a lot of the same research you are doing, and all those published square footage numbers are way too low in my opinion. They don't account for the herd pecking order, bullies, or brutal herd queens. I think Karen is saying for her herd, being locked inside, 60+ square feet per animal is what works. I have to agree with this. I have a 16'x32' portion of my barn for the does with nearly 16 feet of hay rack. Damned if I could lock more than 8 does in there without a brawl. I hardly ever lock them in, they always have access to at minimum a "dry lot" area of approx. 20'x32'. Overcrowding is the #1 cause of health issues in backyard barnyards, so be generous, and have less animals than you think. In my opinion, 12 goats in an 10x16 barn is WAY too many for any period of time being locked up. The constant stress of trying to maintain herd order without the option to get away will wear on them. There is a super great article that I'll try to find for you.

The best advice for outfitting a new barn is to plan for raised sleeping platforms to increase the square footage vertically. This really helps the goats.
 

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I think the reason why there are so many different dimensions as recommended is because there are many different factors. For the goats that are basically living in doors are going to need more room then the ones that are only living there part time.
I have 6 12X20 car ports for my goats and I’m cutting down on my numbers but I have had up to 70 full sized goats and their kids......please don’t make me do math on how many square feet that is per goat lol but I have very mild winters so they only go in at night to sleep and when it’s raining, we only average 18” a year in rain so they are out WAY more then in. I also dont have feeders in their shelters which it’s the feeders that cause my bullies to be winches. So I can definitely get away with less room then someone that lives where these is very harsh winters
 

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Also in the equation - - are you planning to breed? Will this barn also house your hay? With this set up, you will need to feed hay year round, also separate STRONG pen for your buck and his friend, kidding pens, etc.......I would - if possible look at other farms around you that have goats to see what is required. Also, you will go through a lot of bedding to keep the area clean with that many in a small space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Also in the equation - - are you planning to breed? Will this barn also house your hay? With this set up, you will need to feed hay year round, also separate STRONG pen for your buck and his friend, kidding pens, etc.......I would - if possible look at other farms around you that have goats to see what is required. Also, you will go through a lot of bedding to keep the area clean with that many in a small space.
Hello! Thanks for the additional questions. No plans on breeding or milking of any kind, solely wethers and ewes for rescues (farm sanctuary). We have a completely different 16X16 shed outside of the fenced-in barnyard for all things animal re: hay, bedding, supplies, etc. And the actual 6' fenced-in barnyard is 100' X 110' so when not locked in at night, lots of room to roam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think the reason why there are so many different dimensions as recommended is because there are many different factors. For the goats that are basically living in doors are going to need more room then the ones that are only living there part time.
I have 6 12X20 car ports for my goats and I'm cutting down on my numbers but I have had up to 70 full sized goats and their kids......please don't make me do math on how many square feet that is per goat lol but I have very mild winters so they only go in at night to sleep and when it's raining, we only average 18" a year in rain so they are out WAY more then in. I also dont have feeders in their shelters which it's the feeders that cause my bullies to be winches. So I can definitely get away with less room then someone that lives where these is very harsh winters
I couldn't help it, I did the math (I think? lol) and it's about 20 square feet per sheep when you had 70. :) Sounds like a wonderful set-up!! Our winters are far from mild so will need to consider that too. We plan on keeping feeders outside the mini barn during spring, summer, and fall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think it was 8 SQUARE feet per animal in that article @ksalvagno ! Which is not enough! But 8'x8' would be.

@Dylann - I had done a lot of the same research you are doing, and all those published square footage numbers are way too low in my opinion. They don't account for the herd pecking order, bullies, or brutal herd queens. I think Karen is saying for her herd, being locked inside, 60+ square feet per animal is what works. I have to agree with this. I have a 16'x32' portion of my barn for the does with nearly 16 feet of hay rack. Damned if I could lock more than 8 does in there without a brawl. I hardly ever lock them in, they always have access to at minimum a "dry lot" area of approx. 20'x32'. Overcrowding is the #1 cause of health issues in backyard barnyards, so be generous, and have less animals than you think. In my opinion, 12 goats in an 10x16 barn is WAY too many for any period of time being locked up. The constant stress of trying to maintain herd order without the option to get away will wear on them. There is a super great article that I'll try to find for you.

The best advice for outfitting a new barn is to plan for raised sleeping platforms to increase the square footage vertically. This really helps the goats.
Thank you SO much for your thoughtful and helpful reply. I feel like we're all googling and reading the same sites, and thinking, "Can that possibly be right?" haha. We're looking more at pygmy goats so that may change the square feet some, but the last thing we would want to do is stress our fuzzy little friends. We're big animal rights advocates, and want to give them a lovely home. 12 goats in the barn, no more! Thinking perhaps 8-10 (max) depending on if they're pygmies and given the 6' fenced grassy barnyard they'll have access to from dusk to dawn is 120' X 100'. And all hay, bedding materials, etc. will be housed in a separate 16X16 shed outside of the fenced barnyard. LOVE the idea about raised sleeping platforms. Any concerns about housing goats and sheep together?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes! I was just reading about this last week, and the dangers of copper toxicity in sheep (particularly among hampshires, suffolks, and southdowns). Since sheep and goats can't have the same formulated feeds, what would you suggest since I plan on having sheep and goats together? How do I make sure they eat what is only for them?
 

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You would have to feed feed and minerals for sheep. Then supplement minerals for goats like copper and selenium.
 

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Thanks for sharing, sounds like a great set-up. Do you think if our goats have full access dawn to dusk of 11,000 fenced square feet (~3 acres) and are only locked in at night inside of a 10X16 mini barn (e.g., cupola, roof vents), I could safely have around 8-12 of them in the barn for this period of time? Would stalls be recommended or just let them roam free in there?
No. I honestly don't think having that many confined in that sized building would be good. If they could have a choice of going in and out would be a better solution. Maybe a doggy door that leads into a safe pen during lock up?
 
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