Shelter for goats? Stalling?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by goatboat, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. goatboat

    goatboat New Member

    Let me say that I do have shelter for my goats out in the pasture.

    My questions is based on what a guy I talked to a long time ago before I ever got goats told me about goats. He said that goat NEED to be stalled EVERY night because they would get sick and die. His stalls he had were small and over crowded (he owned 70 goat or more most stalls were 3X4 with on average 2 goats per stall, some prego) and while he DID make an effort to keep the stalls clean, there was still very poo ridden and out in front was a mound of poop and pee that he threw hay over every day. His barn was stuffy and smelly and while I think he genuinely cared for his animals I don't think he had the time or man power to properly clean the stalls. Nor did he use bedding. He also did not have great pasture for so many goats as he only had 8 acres, bought in most of their forage. He had a huge worm problem he said, at time had no other idea what would cause it if he treated with wormers.

    Now, I provide shelter in forms of tarps and an old truck"topper", the goats use them from time to time, but I leave it free to come and go at their will. I don't make anyone go into stalls. I know most would say predators are the worst problem, not sickness, but I have 2 great pyrs out patroling 24/7 whom adore the goats, sheep and calves. I DO have plans of putting up a deep 3 sided shelter before we get into hard winter (I'm in FL, bad winter here is like a nice spring day up north, :) )

    Now, do you think what I provide is poor? I just seen how much he fought all those goats to go in at night and I just don't want to force them to do something they truely don't want too(when it's not medically needed). If a sick goat needed a stall I would gladly give it to them, I got a stall for just such purposes right on my front porch, with a roof and I always keep a few bags of bedding on hand just incase I need it.

    Do you think an animal out pastured 24/7 (assuming you have some kind of livestock guardian and some type of free choice shelter) is going to be healthier then the nightly stalled animal? Won't goats go in when they feel they need it (if their healthy of course)?

    My clydesdale has been pastured his entire life and never had any issues because of being pastured 24/7. Lots of horse people I've talked to think I'm a sinner because I don't put him in a stall at night.

    The way this guy talked was like I couldn't keep a goat alive a week with out a nightly draft free enviroment.

    What do you all think? I know some of you all stall your goats which I don't think is bad if you keep up on the stalls and not let them build up with poop. I just would rather them be were they choose and plus I'd rather spend the time with them them mucking their stalls. If you stall them together don't you worry about them butting each other? How big of stall do you consider acceptable per goat? I have 12X12 stalls, 2 of them, would this be okay for 7 goats?

    What's your opinion on stalling? Thanks!
  2. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    My 6 does have half of my 18x 16 barn as a "stall"...the door is always open and they do "go to bed" willingly, the same with my 3 boys..their "stall" is an "L" shape with a 8x4 leading to a 5x6, door is open to allow them to come in and out as they please. Only time does are in a smaller stall is when they kid and the doors to the barn are shut at night when winter temps are in the teens.

  3. myfainters

    myfainters New Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Lancaster, CA
    Regarding shelter for goats.... I see it as this, as long as they have ACCESS to a warm draft free area, be it a stall or even a large dog house with shavings or anything else that you might use you are giving proper care to your goat. Now the catch to that is how many shelters you have as some goats can be QUITE bossy. I have 3 different goats that will each stand or lay in the door way to their very own chosen shed (even though the shed is big enough to fit my entire herd if they would share LOL) so we have to make sure we also have extra dog houses and shelters scattered around when the weather gets bad otherwise the dominant does will take up the 3 big shelters and all the rest would be stuck out in the rain, wind and cold. :( SO as long as this is taken into account and planned for...then yes, it is perfectly fine to leave your goats out to pasture at night or during storms or bad weather. Same goes for the heat except in that case they need well ventilated areas with plenty of shade.
  4. goatboat

    goatboat New Member

    Thanks guys!

    I had a similar issue crop up just a few months ago. A breeder (whom I will not name) sold me some goats. I kept in contact with the breeder and even invited her over to my farm one evening. She seen my goats sleeping in the field and about had a heart attack (it was like 75-80 degrees that night) saying they'd be dead in the month and how if "they" had known I had no proper shelter "they" wouldn't have sold me my goats I bought.

    I was knocked off my rocker... I did have shelter and really? Does a goat need to locked in a stall with nice 75 degree weather at night? I'd figure it'd be hot for them at the temp. She made me feel really bad, and my father (whom is disabled) told me she chewed his ear off about how we weren't treating them right.

    If your in the market to sell any animals, it's one thing to advise them on care or to turn down a truely bad situation even, but I don't think it's good bussiness to chew out potential buyers over little things like a stall vs. free choice shelter.

    ...But, she just had a whole crap load of babies drop and needs them sold so they can get milk and is pushing me to buy them... Does this make sense to anyone? I treat my goats horrible, you wouldn't have sold me the ones I have now, but you want me to buy bottle babies from you so you can keep the milk to sell? Before she gave me a raft of poopy I was planning on buying 1 or 2 bottle babies, but after all that I decided against it. I won't buy ANYTHING from them now, they're too worried about every little thing and God forbid I do something different then they do. Plus a month ago bottle babies were going to be $40 a baby at 3 days(any sex) now their born she wants $50 and up. Does this make sense to quote 1 price then up it a month later?

    I've never delt with a crazier breeder before. I can understand that you don't want to sell a goat to a bad home and you want them to be cared for properly, which I can say my critters have basic shelter, never go hungry, I just bought $800 worth of medicines/supplies from jeffers last week and I will do everything in my power for my animals, I've been sleeping in the field since I can't stall my prego doe. The ironic thing was when I went to look a her goats she was planning on taking them to auction where I know with out a shadow of a doubt the meat men would be there and probably would have bought a few if not all which she was very persistant about not going for slaughter. When you go to an auction you don't get to say "not for meat".

    I just feel like just because I'm new to goats these kinds of people feel I'm incapable to care for a goat. I shouldn't be surpised, I delt with this when I got my first horse whom happened to be a stallion (and still is). It's really depressing though, instead of encouraging I feel like I'm being punished. I don't even want to ask them for advise any more since everytime I do I get a 2 hour lecture about how I'm doing wrong. I got some more goats and haven't even told her I got them because I don't want to deal with the drama (she doesn't want me to buy goats unless they come from her, but I don't want to inbreed and I am concerned about her ability to "know" who the father is) They have last springs bucklings still in the field and the older bucks have been just turned out for a week at a time in 1 big pasture with the whole herd. How can she tell who bred who with 80 goats? I mean, isn't it possible the buckings bred their mama's? She does have some registered does and 1 registered buck, how can she claim the babies are reg. if there are other bucklings and full grown bucks out there with them? I feel it's a shame because she just reg. the kids of the reg. mama's and I don't think she really knows who their daddy is, but she just puts down the reg. bucks name on their papers.

    Sorry for this off the wall rant, but it's flustrating dealing with people like this. I'd never sell an animal then give them this kind fuss. If I were that worried about my animals I'd put them in the freezer rather then sell them.
  5. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    We bought our first goats in April. We live in KY so we get a little bit of every kind of weather.
    We have had a really hot, dry summer and fall so far. We don't have our barn finished, but it will be in the next couple of weekends.
    Our barn is small, 16'x12' divided into 2 stalls. We are working on a run in on the side between the barn and the fence, it's 16' long and about 5' wide. Eventually it will be enclosed, and it does have a doorway at each end. Nothing fancy, but it will be a place for them to sleep, and that's also where I feed the girls.
    We are going to finish it up in the next couple of weekends, but it will be ready before the real cold/windy weather arrives.

    That said, our goats go in/out freely. No way would I ever stall them unless I think it's too nasty and they won't go inside. But my bunch seem to be smart enough to know when they can sleep outside, and when it's best to go inside.
    Right now they prefer sleeping in the grass near the barn, if it's cool they huddle together.

    IMO goats are no different than owning an out door dog. You make sure your dog has good shelter, food and water. If it gets really cold out, you make sure they have bedding, and the wind isn't blowing in on them.

    I still need to make a door for the back doorway in the run in, since our winter weather comes from the northwest, usually, I want to close it when it's nasty out to keep the wind from blowing in. I plan to use either a tarp or make a frame with scrap wood that I can pull down/close over the doorway on the front - just tall enough for the goats to come in and go out, so they aren't catching a draft.

    Another idea would be to use those plastic strips that they use on those walk in freezers. Not sure how expensive they are though, but I know people that use them and they work wonders...

    I know with my girls, being stalled even if the barn was 2x as big, my girls would get upset and fuss at each other. They are happiest when they can move freely.
  6. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    even last night I was out at my friends - she has multipul shelters for all her goats and not one was in the shelter -- the temps were like in the low 40's

    goats love to be outside -- actually stalling them can cause more problems then good especially in hot weather.

    Dont worry about what these people are telling you -- you seem to have a good head on your shoulders and who you buy from and how you handle your herd is YOUR decision not theirs. :hug:

    there are many ways to raise goats and only a few wrong ways. Wrong would be to not give shelter at all, to not feed or even care for them. Everything else is up for grabs on what works for each individual herd.
  7. Myakkagoater

    Myakkagoater New Member

    Apr 10, 2010
    As long as they are safe from predators.

  8. milkmaid

    milkmaid I'm not addicted - I'm in love!

    We live in north Alabama. Our Nigis got through their first winter fine with just doghouses for shelter. One doe kidded in January when it was below freezing and she and her kid flatly refused to stay in the doghouse. I was :hair: because we didn't have any better shelter. Checked on them several times that first night and every time he was curled up next to his mammy looking like a little fuzz ball. It was so cold that frost formed on his fur! But under the fur he was warm as toast when I felt him. He was none the worse; to this day he is very healthy. That's him in my avatar.
    On still nights that were below freezing the other goats would often sleep on the hay in their yard. If it were windy it would be a different matter.
    We really do need a better shelter now though, since the herd is growing. Also there are stray dogs around here. We're planning on building a barn.
  9. Busy Bee

    Busy Bee New Member

    Sep 17, 2010
    Northern Illinois
    I have noticed that every breeder has their own way of doing things. The first breeder I bought goats from only believes that goats should be locked up in stalls at night and when it is cold. I chose to raise them in shelters in their pens with feeding and watering them outside. We started with an A-frame shelter, and as the herd has grown we made shelters out of wooden shipping crates. My herd has been very healthy to date. The first breeder has told me many times that she wouldn't house them the way I do, but I feel my goats are healthy and safe. Right now we are in the process of building a couple of oak pallet stalls in our 12' x 26' tarp car port shelter for when the babies are due in March. I have three Does due and three shelters in the pens and feel that they might not share the shelters with the yearlings when the time comes so I will have a back up if needed. This is the first time I have more than two Does due to have babies so I am a little nervous on how it will work out.
    I have learned a lot from this web site and would like to thank all of you for your knowledge.
  10. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    I agree with the others.... :grouphug: :thumb:

    That is what... we are here for ...happy to help all.... :grouphug: :hug: :thumb:
  11. dixiegirl3179

    dixiegirl3179 Done lost her mind...

    Jan 20, 2010
    Middleburg, FL
    I think I know the breeder you are referring too. It sounds an awful lot like one I had an experience with last year. She was selling bottle baby dairy goats for around $40. I have always wanted nubians (I have some now), so I emailed her. I also called. She finally got back to me and we set up a day/time for me to come out (it was a little bit of a drive for me). We had talked about my set up and what I planned on doing with the babies. They were 8 week old nubians. I wanted a buck and doe. I told her that my pen is approximately 1/3 of an acre and I already had 2 nigerian cross does and I think I had my buck by then. She called me when I was on my way there to inform me of how cold it was going to be that night and asked me where I planned on keeping them. I told her I was going to keep them in the shed (not a shack, a brand new handi house shed with windows slightly opened for ventilation) in a playpen (i know now that they probably wouldn't have been contained in the pen) with a heat lamp. She told me that it wasn't good enough and she kept them in her house and that she didn't think I knew what I was doing and should probably just turn around and go home. Funny because she told me on a previous call that she had 40+ babies...I'd like to see 40 baby goats inside a house) I was dumbfounded. It was going to be cold that night, but not horribly so..probably just below freezing (30 degrees or so). She then sent me an email saying that she was sorry she couldn't sell to me and that I should educate myself some more and that my pen wasn't big enough to provide graze for all the goats I was going to have in there. Really? The pen is 150x100 (found out when they fenced it, that it's actually a little bigger than that like 165x110 or something), that's not big enough for 5 goats? It currently has 7 minis in it and they have PLENTY of room). Plus I had every intention of feeding hay. Anyway..I never wrote her back, but a few days later I bought 2 5 day old pygmy bottle babies and 1 3 day old nigerian bottle baby who stayed in the playpen in the shed under a heat lamp and did just fine. I so wanted to send her pictures of the babies warm and cozy in their shed and tell her to stick it. Ugh...people on here that live way up north don't keep their babies inside the house and certainly not when they're 8 weeks old and weaned. It just made me so I feel ya. Oh, and I live near you and my goats don't go in a stall or barn either. My bottle baby sleeps in a crate in the house if it's going to be really cold (for Florida lol) but the rest are out in their pen with a 12x20 open ended shelter to go inside.
  12. firelight27

    firelight27 Hopelessly Addicted

    Apr 24, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    Know it alls are so very irritating. I can understand if it is negative twenty or something outside. But that is just being ridiculous. I have seen some people do some seriously over the top things with animals though... My friend's dad just had puppies, and he absolutely INSISTS he has to not only take the three runts of the litter out by themselves to nurse on mom so they get enough to eat (I've watched them with siblings, they eat just fine) he also insists on syringe feeding them on top of that. I think he'll end up doing more harm than good, which is usually the case when people over do it with their animals.

    My goats have three sided shelters so that they are protected from strong winds or slanting rains. They have the option to go in and out and there is plenty of room inside for all of them. I think that this is all that is necessary. It never gets below probably 23 or so at the very coldest point of the year here and at that point they are enormous fluff balls that are perfectly capable of self insulating.

    The ONLY goats I will lock up in a stall or pen are very young kids if it is very cold. I will put a heat lamp over their pen to provide them extra warmth, and all of this is simply a precaution. I'm pretty sure they would be fine without it.

    And I really, really hate the ridiculous horse people (or non horse people) who insist you are "cruel" because you don't stall your horse in the winter or at least at night in the winter. They are freaking horses! They also have an enormous, three sided shelter to stand and eat in. Yet they choose to happily stand outside in snow fall and pouring rain. I honestly think that stalling a horse or a goat too much is hurting rather than helping. Not only are they exposed to a bunch of ammonia from all their pee being stuck in the same room with them (even if you clean twice a day, we all know they wait until right after you leave to poo and pee.) Also, they don't get the basic exercise they need without you taking them out and exercising them yourself and even if you take them out for awhile every day they don't get near as much exercise as if they were able to roam freely all day and night at on their own. Seriously, more leg and hoof problems crop up from horses being stalled all the time than I can even tell you about.
  13. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    I live in Michigan where the highs during the day have only been in the mid 20's for the past couple of weeks. The night time temps have been in the single digits with occasional below zero wind chills. Having said that--I NEVER force my goats to stay inside. The only exception I make is for does and their kids the first 2-3 days after birth to give them time to bond and the doe time to recover before going back in with the other goats. Usually by the 2nd day the doe is going stir crazy and about to bust out of the stall!

    Anyway, I have seen them resting and lounging around outside when it's in the 20's...they were not in distress and obviously were not uncomfortable. Goats are intelligent animals with the good sense to seek out shelter if they are too cold. Even very young kids are smart enough to look for and find the warmest and coziest places to rest if they need to.

    I think your set up sounds fine...goats don't need or desire anything fancy...especially in Florida! As long as they've got a roof and something to block the wind they should be content.
  14. Hush Hills Fainters

    Hush Hills Fainters New Member

    Oct 27, 2010
    Well I am new to the goat thing too, and we never force ours to stay in unless they are geeting ready to kid ( few more days) :stars: We are in Washington state in over a foot of snow right now. My very prego 4foot wide doe loves being in the snow. You sound like you know what you are doing....Don't seconds guess yourself so much. Some people are just set in there ways with things and no matter what you do. If ya have two legged kids, just think of all the nosense advice you get even from pure strangers (and you mother) on how to raise them... Goats are smart, they will seek the shelter you provide when they need it...You are a good goat Mommy :dance:
  15. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    I don't force mine to stay in and they are fine, we get everything here in central KY. Our temps have been under average the entire month. We should be in the 30s/40s and we've mostly been in the 10s/20s. And we've already had at least 50% of the snowfall that we typically see in a single season - just since Thanksgiving.
    My goats like to go out and browse in the sun, and at night they all go inside and huddle together to keep warm, espeically on the nights it's gotten down to the single digits.

    Right now I have a tarp going down across the front doorway to help keep the wind out. So anytime you can block off the top of the dorways and just allow enough room to get in/out it helps keep the wind and weather off of them :)
  16. fcnubian

    fcnubian New Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    I live in Indiana. We get cold weather, wind, ice, snow ect ect.
    My goats can come and go as they want. I don't lock them up at night. On cold nights I'll shut the barn door that I use to go in and out of and shut the windows. But their doors stay open. The only time I shut their doors is if we are suppose to have blowing snow, and that's to keep the snow from getting in their pens. That has only happened once this winter (so far). :)

    I like my barn being opened up, keeps the smell down and happier goats as they can choose whether they want to go in or out. Most stay inside though with the weather the way it is.
  17. fruittartcaprines

    fruittartcaprines New Member

    Mar 3, 2010
    I close mine up at night, but only because we have a LOT of predators, and they don't seem to mind coming in and snoozing in their stalls. If we didn't have so many predators I could see letting them out all the time - it's just not what we can do here!
  18. Marcus

    Marcus New Member

    Nov 19, 2010
    I have makeshift three sided "doghouse" type lean twos. The goats get territorial about their accomodations, but otherwise they seem to know what they need and stay out or in depending on the weather. As long as each goat has an option they seem to make good choices. If there is a really cold wind I might strategically pile hay bales to cut down drafts, but that's about all. The only exception to this is that I usually pull a few boards off the walls in summer to make sure that they get good ventilation in addition to shade.
  19. LaZyAcres

    LaZyAcres Junior Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    SE Wisconsin
    We live in SE Wisconsin, just close enough to Lake Michigan to get lake effect snow, but still be in the teens and dip below zero often enough to make me wonder why I even live here.

    My lucky girls have this newly renovated barn approx 12' x 60' (it was a mink shed and about 90 feet long), with the center being theirs and the ends being mine (hay, lawn tractors, etc). My favorite feature is the sliding side door access that I use to lock them in every night, moreso out of fear of coyotes than the weather. I just got some of that freezer plastic to eliminate door drafts, but have yet to adapt it.

    I agree that goats & horses should be allowed freewill access to outdoors the vast majority of the time.


    Attached Files:

  20. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    Love the barn Lazyacres! And that pic is stunning!

    Goats are smart enough to know when they need to be inside, but if you worry about predators, or even wind/snow then I see no reason why you can't lock them inside - it'll keep all the wind out :) If the doorway to our barn addition was anywhere else I"d be locking them inside with something covering the doorway as the weather is supposed to get nasty later tonight and tomorrow with a snow storm moving our way.