Smaller dry lots are better than medium size lots that allow some grass to grow but gets eaten down close. I prefer to dry lot with daily turn out to pasture. Then if the pasture is needs rest, you can rest it. Rotational is nice, but logistically more difficult in terms of fencing. I'm not sure size. I eyeball it.
I've heard the figure that for each adult goat you have you need a half acre. Therefore, since I have only ten acres, if I feel I'm getting close to my limit, I start to offer some hay in the morning before turning them out to pasture so that they won't require so much nor be tempted to crop too close to the ground. We typically will have about 9 adult goats at a given time and about a half dozen babies being raised up (the rest are sold shortly after birth). That leaves plenty of pasture for the calf we normally pasture-raise for beef.
~ADGA lamanchas in NE Ohio~
raised on CAE and coccidia prevention
with a homesteading focus
I don't think there is any one right answer. I have half an acre of wettish land next door and it will feed 7 dry goats without any supplementation all summer. During winter or in dry lot situations Feeder space and sleeping space needs to be adequate but otherwise I think goats can do pretty well in a limited space. I don't think anyone would argue that more space is better but we each have our own unique situations. I have found that a foot of feeder space and about 20-25 sq ft of barn area per goat works for me. The barn space is pretty important here where we can have snow 5 months out of the year..but even at this amount when the goats actually sleep they all huddle together and most of the space is unused, so its more for when they are milling around in bad weather.
Edited to add that of course my goats have pens.. as well as barns. I make them as large as I can afford. We live on a total of 5 acres but right now only about a third of it is fenced. And during winter they are confined to a limited area around the barn.
Halo-M Nubians www.halogoats.com
If all you are wanting is an exercise lot, than smaller is better....what Angie was saying. If you allow a small pasture for your goats and they are mowing the grass down, they are just consuming all the eggs and larvae and re-infesting themselves over and over. Putting them into another pasture that has grass above the puddle height of the area, and taking them off of it before they once again eat it down, is the only thing that will work...along with fecals, copper bolusing and making sure their stress level is super low, especially nutritional stress. Otherwise you simply can't break the cycle of parasites. Goats a browsers, they eat with their heads up, underbrush and small forestry are the best thing you can do for your goats....barring that, dry lots are healthier.
North of Houston Texas www.Nubiansoaps.com retail, wholesale and naked for you to wrap and resell.
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Mine are dry lotted with fairly regular access to woodland browse. We have no grass. For us it is partially out of necessity- we built our house in the middle of the woods on a property with ZERO fencing, so everything is from scratch. But I have found dry lotting works really well and we will continue to utilize it even as we get additional acreage fenced in.
Nicki Smith Smithurmonds Dairy Goats
ADGA LaManchas Hand Crafted Goat Milk Soap North Georgia www.smithurmonds.com
I'm like queen of the dry lot. Except for 4 years, everyplace I have had goats has been on a small bit of property so they had the stalls in the barn and an outside area. The biggest outside area they had was probably 200' X 50'. Like Vicki mentioned, keeping track of/testing for worms, cocci and such is of prime importance, especially in the warmer months when we have a ton of rain and everything is muddy.
As for browse or grazing, I do bring home fallen limbs for them to munch on when I find it, and I will let areas of my lawn grow wild so I can bring them arm fulls of grass and weeds during the summer. Needless to say I have to feed hay 365 days a year.
DragonLair Farm in Central Maine. Nubian, Lamancha and Oberhasli dairy goats, 3 horses, 10 dogs, 2 cats, 5 Guinea fowl and not sure how many chickens.
How do you keep goat droppings under control ? Do you sweep stalls/barns out daily? My 3 goats have a three sided shelter and a fairly large grassy area but we find that they stay in the exact same spots day after day so the goat poop always falls in the same place!
We have 3-sided shelters. They get thoroughly cleaned out a few times a year. We only bring them in the barn to kid or if someone is sick. So those stalls are already clean and we clean them out after they leave.