Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Our forecast this week is for 30 and even 40 BELOW zero... And that is BEFORE wind chill. The wind is supposed to gust from 44 up to 75 mph. Yikes! I am planning to put all my chickens in with my goats and to put the bucks and does in the same small "barn" with a slatted wall between them. Does that sound warm enough? There is no electricity in the barn, but I can run an extension cord to a heat lamp. Just concerned about fire danger. Plus I wouldn't be surprised if the power goes out with that kind of wind.

The other option would be to put them in our addition, but it is more of a storage room attached to the house. It has a sub floor and the room is not goat-proof, so they would have to be in kennels. There is a wood stove in there so it could be kept warm.

This is supposed to last from tomorrow night until probably Fri., so I want to have a foolproof plan. Any suggestions?

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Wow! I hope Marin chimes in. I know she's had to deal with temps like that before. The worst it's ever been here is about 15 below zero. If you have any little boxes that the goats can go into together, that can help to conserve their body heat. We have little "caves" or a dog crate without the door on it for kids after we turn off the heat lamp a day or two after they're born. They learn really quickly to go in there with their siblings to stay warm.

I think you may actually be getting the same weather system we're about to get:-) Although I know Livingston is well away from the US/Canada border, our farm is about an hour drive directly north of the Montana border.

Having all the goats in the same small barn should be fine. Last winter was a very bad one around here, lots of storms, cold and windy. We have ours in a very large, open barn that isn't well sealed. We had straw bales around and they'd huddle close together and close to the straw bales for warmth. We did have some goats that got a little bit of frost bite on the very tips of their ears, but I think your barn would hold the heat better than ours. In all honesty I don't think our barn holds any heat, it just helps block the wind and keeps the snow off of everyone.
I wouldn't bother with the heat lamp. The only thing you might want electricity for would be heated water buckets. We have found that ours drink very, very little water when it gets incredibly cold out.

And like Deborah said, if you have some boxes or kennels that the goats could huddle together in while they're in the barn they might appreciate that. A little extra hay to keep their systems going and producing heat won't hurt either.

We've found that they're really, really hardy little goats. Hope this helps!

Sounds good, how about a few containers of very hot water like milk containers with maybe a towel around them. How many goats are you talking about? If less than a dozen they should be fine with the extra warmth as well as the heat lamp. Just put it high enough that no ones hits their hears on it. Should be fine. At least that is what I have done

Where are you located? Do they have straw bedding?

Donna.

Hi, I'm up in Fairbanks, Alaska and this is my first winter with my two Nigerians--and I have SO many quedstions and am so glad to find this site!

 

So far, we've been in the -20's and -30's.  I do have a small heater in my new barn which is very well insulated.  My son is in the process of building a well insulated box for them--up a ramp, and over the heater.  The temp is staying around 10F inside and they no not like to take walks if it's below-10F.  Since they are pets I have time to "baby" them and wonder if anyone has ever made coats or head warmers for their goats, as it seems that they need exercise during the winter.

 

If we were to loose power, I think (I'd just bring them inside on the laundry room floor that can be washed up!  It is so good to hear that others are doing well at cold temps.

 

Another big question is how to know how much hay to feed.  My two look like blimps during lthe day and slim down some at night; I can feel their backbones and ribs, so don't know how to judge their proper weight.

 

I keep their water thawed with a submersible heater and they seem to drink a lot.

 

Lastly, how much humidity is a problem for them??  The windows are so frosted over with all their breathing even though I have two vent holes, one up and one down.

 

Thanks for any helpful remarks. 

 

Barb

 

PS  I only get e-mail at the library so mi8ght be late responding to you!

Permalink Reply by Barbara Jean Rondine 4 minutes ago                Delete

<p>So far, we've been in the -20's and -30's. I do have a small heater in my new barn which is very well insulated. My son is in the process of building a well insulated box for them--up a ramp, and over the heater. The temp is staying around 10F inside and they no not like to take walks if it's below-10F. Since they are pets I have time to "baby" them and wonder if anyone has ever made coats or head warmers for their goats, as it seems that they need exercise during the winter.</p> <p> </p>
<p>If we were to loose power, I think (I'd just bring them inside on the laundry room floor that can be washed up! It is so good to hear that others are doing well at cold temps.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Another big question is how to know how much hay to feed. My two look like blimps during lthe day and slim down some at night; I can feel their backbones and ribs, so don't know how to judge their proper weight.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I keep their water thawed with a submersible heater and they seem to drink a lot.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Lastly, how much humidity is a problem for them?? The windows are so frosted over with all their breathing even though I have two vent holes, one up and one down.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Thanks for any helpful remarks. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Barb</p>
<p> </p>
<p>PS I only get e-mail at the library so mi8ght be late responding to you!</p>" _setvalueurl="http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/forum/comment/update?id=4125126%3AComment%3A122890" _emptydescriptionerrormessage="Please write something for your reply.">

Hi, I'm up in Fairbanks, Alaska and this is my first winter with my two Nigerians--and I have SO many quedstions and am so glad to find this site!

So far, we've been in the -20's and -30's.  I do have a small heater in my new barn which is very well insulated.  My son is in the process of building a well insulated box for them--up a ramp, and over the heater.  The temp is staying around 10F inside and they no not like to take walks if it's below-10F.  Since they are pets I have time to "baby" them and wonder if anyone has ever made coats or head warmers for their goats, as it seems that they need exercise during the winter.

If we were to loose power, I think (I'd just bring them inside on the laundry room floor that can be washed up!  It is so good to hear that others are doing well at cold temps.

Another big question is how to know how much hay to feed.  My two look like blimps during lthe day and slim down some at night; I can feel their backbones and ribs, so don't know how to judge their proper weight.

I keep their water thawed with a submersible heater and they seem to drink a lot.

Lastly, how much humidity is a problem for them??  The windows are so frosted over with all their breathing even though I have two vent holes, one up and one down.

Thanks for any helpful remarks.

Barb

Goat housing should be well ventilated so that ammonia doesn't build up. Pneumonia is the second-leading cause of death in goats, and it's generally caused by being kept in buildings that have poor air circulation. If you have windows fogging up, that's definitely a sign of poor ventilation. Is there a window on the side of the building that is away from the prevailing wind that you could crack open a little? For example, we usually have winds blowing from the north, so our chicken house has windows on the south side that we keep open all the time. Our barns have ridge vents across the top of the roof.

Barbara Jean Rondine said:

Lastly, how much humidity is a problem for them??  The windows are so frosted over with all their breathing even though I have two vent holes, one up and one down.

 

 

Barb

 

PS  I only get e-mail at the library so mi8ght be late responding to you!

RE your goat's weight:

Check the under sides of their tails. If they are firm, and no bones are showing, they are just right. If you can see their bones and the underside looks more like a rat's tail (skinny) they are underweight. If their tail undersides look like fat sausages, they get too many treats. ;)

Hi. We live in northern Maine. -30 or below in the winter with impressive wind chill. We have an infra red heater hung in the goat stall and they sit under it like little hens. In the worst of the winter we sometimes have a little heater going at night as well. They LOVE warm water in the cold weather.

We are expecting the same system here in Wyoming. Still warm now but the winds are up to 70+ with cold coming tomorrow. Your goats will be fine with deep bedding and a dry, wind proof barn. I would resist the urge to put up heat lamps. Unless you have a lamp for each of them they will try to crowd around just one. Never put out heat lamps for bucks. I tried this before and they had it on the ground in the morning with the straw smoking!

I would be worried more about the chickens, their combs will freeze unless they have a rose comb. You might want to have kennels ready in your storage area, just in case....

I have kidded in December before in my metal barn that is uninsulated. The babies are the only ones that get the heat lamp and everyone has been just fine. They are truly hardy animals.

Thanks everyone for all the ideas!  

I don't have straw bales, but we bought two bags of wood shavings and filled the area with them.  It's about a foot deep.  Is straw warmer?  They tend to eat the straw and then it's gone, so I prefer the shavings.

We also sealed up the cracks where the wind was blowing snow in.  I will see if I can locate a kennel they can snuggle in too.  We're talking about 4 adult goats and 4 jr goats, but three are on one side (boys) and 5 are on the other side (girls)  They just have wood slats between them.  

If I can avoid bringing them into the actual house I will because I don't want them to adjust to the warmth, right?  

The does have been out in zero degree weather already this winter with just a three sided shelter, so hopefully that hardened them off...

I think you will be fine with the shavings. Let them snuggle together without the kennel, they will be warmer against one another. I like the warm water idea as well. As a rule I keep a little extra weight on my does and they do really well.

Just think of all of those livestock out on the open plains....they are made to withstand the cold! :)   Stay warm Chaverah Farm.

Thank you, Amy!  We will probably do the warm water... we are keeping a bucket inside and rotating it as it freezes.

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