cold weather

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by linbee, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. linbee

    linbee New Member

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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?

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
     
  2. nightskyfarm

    nightskyfarm New Member

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    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.
     

  3. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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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
     
  4. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    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.
     
  5. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho New Member

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    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.
     
  6. Cotton Eyed Does

    Cotton Eyed Does New Member

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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....
     
  7. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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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.
     
  8. linbee

    linbee New Member

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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.
     
  9. prairie nights

    prairie nights New Member

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    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 !
     
  10. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    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.
     
  11. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho New Member

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    We get the fluctuating weather too -- we'll be back up in the 30's next week, and heck, you never know- we might be -50 the week after. Spring is the worst for us -- trying to get ready for the shows, and we may be going from the 20's to the 70's in a single day.

    I don't worry about them unless they are wet -- like the idiot doelings that stood outside their shed during the last big storm <sigh>

    Jana, you are more than welcome to come spend some time with my snow shovel :)
     
  12. Cotton Eyed Does

    Cotton Eyed Does New Member

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    I remembered how awed I was when Tracy posted a picture of her Alpines who dug a spot to lay down in the snow. That just looked so cold. Cambrell would just die if she had to lay in snow. :lol

    Our oldest daughter is snow boarding in Colorado this Thanksgiving and she is enjoying some snow for a change. I love snow and really miss it. It used to snow every winter, usually in January early Feb. in East Texas. Now it is just such a rare occasion if it happens to snow.
     
  13. adillenal

    adillenal New Member

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    Well, the "cold front" has hit and the wind is awful. But my goaties have a nice loafing shed. No enclosed barn for them and they do just fine. Will put out a roll of coastal hay to supplement their sudan in the hay feeder. No rain and thground in their shed is dry.

    The doelings have a roof with a wall on the North side and a wooden fence on the South side that blocks the wind. They look like they have bedding since they are so messy with their sudan but it is actually a wood floor under it. They actually prefer laying on the North side of the wall for some reason with no roof except when it rains.
     
  14. buckrun

    buckrun New Member

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    You can all have a good turkey day laugh on me! 70 last night for a low if you can call that low in November - 76 midday- 26 tonight.
    I waited until the wind started howling and the plastic was stiff as a board from the cold to try and cover my veggies. You can picture it I am sure and I won't reiterate the litany of curses that accompanied my mostly ridiculous attempts. But.......I persevered and will be glad when this little bit of pretend winter turns back into Gulf influence and fresh spinach and broccoli grace the table in Dec and Jan. I caved on the lettuce and fed it to the chickens lock stock and barrel. Gotta love living halfway between tropical and arctic since it is one thing one day and the other the next!
     
  15. LMonty

    LMonty New Member

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    chilly here today, nope let me restate that-darn COLD!! at about 35 degrees, supposed to be in the 20s tonight. BRRRR...... Darn big plastic water bucket sprung a leak, so getting a new one is a priority today.
     
  16. MF-Alpines

    MF-Alpines New Member

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    I have to say, I am always worried about the cold, too. It's 22 degrees with winds of 20+ mph. The wind is brutal here for much of the winter. Only having goats for a year, I never know what is the right thing to do. Last year, I kept my does in the barn most of time. It was brutally cold. But then, they did not get much exercise which I really believe did not help my doe who had a hard kidding last year. They all have good, thick coats on them, especially the little girls. They have 3-sided lean-to shelters outside that face south. We have an enclosed barn that I put them into at night. This morning I didn't let them out as it just seemed too cold.

    What to do? It befuddles me.
     
  17. Cotton Eyed Does

    Cotton Eyed Does New Member

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    Yeh, it blew through here at 4:50. The wind started earlier than that but within about 10 minutes it dropped 15 degrees. We had just come back in the house from feeding the baby calves a bottle. I had on a sleeveless shirt and capris. Walked back outside a few minutes later and nearly froze. Had to change to sweats and a coat. :D I can tell those weather guys that it is really going to have to work at it to get up to the 50's today. I think they have miscalculated that. :really It feels colder now than it did when we got up this morning. Poor goats. They had what hair they've got all puffed out.
     
  18. Caprine Beings

    Caprine Beings New Member

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    We are looking at round two. Suppose to start around 4 today. I had the most enjoyable 40 degree morning with the goaties:) They were in much more agreeable moods this morning and I got hugs and loves from all, instead of the stuffed goats in the barn looking at me like its my fault.
    Tam
     
  19. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho New Member

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    Cindy, I can tell you from experience that if you don't keep those pregnant does moving around, you'll have a lot more kidding problems.
    That's why my water tank is outside the barn, and I deliberately keep it out there so they have to move SOME whether they like it or not. We dig out their path every day. Now if it is an honest -40 or -50, I'd offer them some hot water in the barn ;-)

    It's 11 degrees and sunny today, though we do have a cool wind -- but the girls are all outside in the sun and meandering around.

    Tracy
     
  20. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

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    Tracy, I can relate to you about the early shows. Our goat club puts on our show in June. It can still get down to the 30's at night with some days in the 50's or 60's. The does only get dairy clips and the kids just get trimmed around the tail, escutcheon and hooves. My goats do just fine with hair to keep them warm. My bigest concern right now is Rose. She had a nasty case or ringworm about a month ago and still has small bare spots on her sides. I'm hoping the cold doesn't damage that bare skin and that the hair grows back.