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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be our first winter with goats. We are in Michigan. I noticed today a couple of my does shivering and have been wondering what if any "special care" goats need during winter. The goats have 24/7 access to a barn that is mostly open on one end. That was always more than enough for our sheep & cows. I've heard some goat people make it sound like that is enough (besides free choice hay & possible grain supplementation). I went to another farm that was covering almost every possible nook & cranny with plywood. I would be worried about shutting up a barn too tightly. I know that is asking for pneumonia with sheep. But today when I saw the does shivering I wondered if it was because they just haven't made their winter coats fully yet or if I need to be doing something else. I will say that they were voluntarily outside when I saw then shivering so at least at that moment it was due to their shelter. Thanks for any responses!
 

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If you have flip floppy weather right now they probably don’t have their winter coats just yet. As mentioned nice deep bedding will help so much. Make sure it’s dry and try and keep it as dry as you can. Nice full bellies also help keep them warm. Depending on how you are feeding them, bumping them up on roughage sure won’t hurt on keeping them warm plus they do burn a lot of calories when it’s cold. I know a lot of people in more colder areas will start to introduce some grain when it starts getting cold. I think that’s more to help with keeping body condition.
You do not want it fully enclosed all the time. You can block some of that nice fresh air at cold times like at night but you are right, totally sealed tight is a recipe for pneumonia.
But if they have decent body condition and nice deep bedding they will start to grow that coat in and adjust to the cold.
 

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I personally have some heat lamps in the barn for our goats, just in case it gets super cold. But all the above is correct, deep bedding and plenty of fresh hay and water. We use heated water buckets so the water doesn’t freeze as well, so far has been very helpful. All our goats have been doing great so far, no shivering.

Good luck!
 

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I agree with the others. I close the windows each night and the upper dutch door portion when it's really bad out, but for the most part, my girls like to sleep outside in the winter. They have a nice thick coat, get plenty of hay, and have handled the last 3 winters just fine. I do have a heated bucket that I use and need to get out and take down today. I also have mats in the barn area, to help keep their feet dry.
 

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I agree with all the above.

One thought I had is to put a few dog houses in the barn for them to go in if they get too cold - that would really help "trap" their body heat for extra warmth.

How old are your does?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with all the above.

One thought I had is to put a few dog houses in the barn for them to go in if they get too cold - that would really help "trap" their body heat for extra warmth.

How old are your does?
I have 9 does ranging from 3 years to 5 months. The dog houses is a great idea!
 
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