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Old 11-25-2010, 03:53 AM   #1
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How do goats do in cold weather. We are having our first freeze this weekend - my goats are in an enclosed barn - will that be sufficient?

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Old 11-25-2010, 04:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: cold weather

Goats can handle cold quite well if they have a dry and draft-free place to go. Goats can get dehydrated easily in cold weather. So if you don't have a bucket heater provide warm water at least 3x a day and they will drink it!. Also, hay at all times during cold temps.


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Old 11-25-2010, 04:08 AM   #3
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You likely, like me, need to bed your barn. The floor of our barns are simply way to damp this time of year to make the girls lay in them with no cover...it will chill them. Mine being early bred I am not taking a chance. Running to go get straw on Friday. I am not going to bed the whole barn, just lay a pile in the corner for the girls to dig and nest in...shavings for the kids. My plants also will get covered in straw or pine needles. Vicki


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Old 11-25-2010, 04:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: cold weather

I have been running water out 4 x a day. I get straight hot water from the tap, a jug of vinager, and fill the barrel 1/2full and haul it out there. They seem to drink the water more with the vinager in it.
We began today at 6 degrees. It got to 28. Last I looked it was around 18 degrees. We are suppose to get another storm front coming through tonight and through tomorrowwe can expect more cold temps. Our goat houses are bedded well with straw. Hay racks are full with rich green alfalfa and grass hay 24/7.


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Old 11-25-2010, 06:25 AM   #5
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Default Re: cold weather

You Texans kill me with the cold weather ;-)

Here's my forecast for tonight -
Mostly clear, with a low around -18. Wind chill values between -30 and -36. North wind around 8 mph.

My goats don't even have an enclosed barn! We are completely open to the south. As long as they have somewhere dry to get out of the wind, they do just fine. Our HIGH temp today was 1 degree above zero.


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Old 11-25-2010, 01:05 PM   #6
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Where the cold gets us is this goofy Texas weather. Cool and dry to 90% humidity the next day, like today it is going to be 83 degrees here with a drop to the upper 30's by Friday morning then probably about 30 here by Saturday morning. YO YO weather is bad for any animals. What we try to do is provide a place where the goats can "weather out" the drastic changes in our temps and humidity levels without catching pneumonia by doing things to try and keep their body temps as level as possible. Having barns where they can get out of the rain and wind and putting down hay for them to lay on instead of damp ground is essential down here. Going from 83 degrees with a south breeze changing to 30 MPH winds from the North bringing rain and then in a matter of a couple hours cold temps. Wouldn't be so bad if it would get cold and stay cold one could adapt to that, but summer one day and winter the next even chills me to the bone. With this summer time weather we have had for about 3 days the girls are actally shedding. Not good this time of year. Bundle up Tracy and use chapstick :-) Brrrr....


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Old 11-25-2010, 01:46 PM   #7
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Wow, I thought we were cold in VA! My goats seem to dislike the cold, especially with wind. But, we spend a lot of the year hear hot and humid. Their "barn" right now, is bedded about 1.5 feet deep with hay over dirt. We deep bed but I'm not sure that will work with a cement or wooden floor. We tried it last year in a wooden floored shed and then the garage with cement and I guess there just wasn't enough good bacteria in those floors to make it work. The floors needed cleaning very, very often. They were wet and they smelled really bad.

The main shed this year is just a 12x14 or so old pig pen and they spread the hay around everywhere. They are fed grass hay in this stall and waste a lot, creating a nice and deep bed. It's actually cheaper than straw. I can sit or lay on it and do not get wet or dirty unless they just pooped and it hasn't fell through to the bottom yet. It'll probably take me a week to clean it in the spring. This stupid thing is open on the north side, but has a hill and trees in front of it so doesn't get too bad of wind. It will get partially closed in soon. They always have at least one open side or large doorway, plus there are "vents" at the top to hopefully prevent foul air from hanging around. I think the worst thing about winter is confining the goats in barns without good ventilation. You should be able to sit down on their floor any time and not be overcome with fumes or get wet or feel cold.

Three enclosed sides should be fine. I would not confine them unless a blizzard or really horrible weather hits and even then only if the snow or rain is blowing into the barn making the bedding wet. They really are tough as long as they can get out of the wind and rain and have somewhere nice and cozy to lay down. If they get up wet or smelling like pee, they are NOT comfortable.

In south texas you might not want bedding so deep all the time. Straw or hay is a great insulator and they will use it as such.


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Old 11-25-2010, 02:46 PM   #8
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Tracy, I agree - we are wussy about cold, but Christine is right - our predicted high today is 86 degrees, falling to early morning low tomorrow of 28.. This time of year, we run the AC for a few days, then the heater, then the AC, then open the doors & windows, then the heater, and on & on until a few days in January, when we have winter.

Thanks, Vicki, I know whatever you & Christine are doing will be fine for me, too. My one Alpine is showing her baby bumps, so I don't want her to suffer any discomfort. Maybe I should put her and the doeling in together so they will have each other for body warmth.


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Old 11-25-2010, 03:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: cold weather

We are bedding too and my barn is also open to south for ventilation but is not drafty.

Tracy, I do believe it is about adjustment, both people and critters. When we lived in Maine the cold did not bother me and I made fun of my Texan in laws having cold front with the 50's, ha ! Now with the fluctuating temperatures, it's a whole different thing. Some of our goats have nice thick coats, some look like they were just shaved and will keep only thin coat on. I see adult animals transported from the north down here and they don't do well in our summers, I assume it would be similar transitioning goats adjusted to this weather up north.

The houses here are not built for subzero temps, nor do the folks here know how to drive in bad winter weather so it's always a major chaos when bad weather hits. Up north, you know it's coming and we were always prepared, be it source of heat, stocked up food and , of course, warm clothing and good boots Here it always catches me off guard and in Oklahoma the weather change can be so sudden, I left the Fair grounds in my T-shirt and got home 2 hours later to frozen pipes.

Part of me misses living up north though, the snow blanket, the long winters and anticipation of spring. I even miss my snow shovel !


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Old 11-25-2010, 03:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: cold weather

We can get pretty extreme weather her in the Rockies, but at least we don't get that extreme humidity. The weather can go from the thirties or forties one day to subzero a day or two later. Our weather patterns usually start out with above freezing temps with sun to rain, snow and then subzero. It's also not at all unusual here to get 30-40 degree variances between day and night all year long. My goats do not have barns they can be locked in. They have shelters to protect them from the elements, but always have access to the outside. I prefer they pee outdoors. We put down pine shavings and top that with straw. The goats spend much of their time cuddling in their goat houses when the weather is particularly nasty, but can be seen sleeping outdoors on the hay near their feeders on subzero nights if there is no wind or snow. I put stock tank heaters in their water for constant access to water. It uses more electicity for those heaters in winter, but then the freezer in my garages uses much less.


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