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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Oh, Rachel. I am so sorry about the frozen pipes.  As you know, our forecast is not to be up to freezing until at least Tuesday and then only barely during the day.  If your goats are like mine, even with warm water they are not drinking much.  Hopefully, their water will stay clean and it will be enough for them until our unseasonal weather passes.  Mine are funny in that this cold spell as soon as I open the door, they run outside into the sunshine and then stay out for a while browsing.   I want to unplug the heat lamp when they do that but it does provide a bit of heat in the surrounding area which will "hold" for later or at least help it not take as long to get the chill off.  It sure is nice to see them fluffy during this cold spell, not like before.  I wish you pipes that thaw quickly and are unbroken.

Rachel Whetzel said:

I live in Oregon like Glenna, and am experiencing the cold snap here as well. My goat barn is serving the goats well. It's just a portable car port with a tarp roof and sides. The indoor bottom 1/2 of the walls have been enforced with plywood panels, and the middle of one side is completely open. I moved their water into the barn, and put it under one of my heat lamps in the kidding pen to keep it from freezing. Our pipes just froze though, so I don't know what I'll do to get them more water. I have a feeling they'll stay frozen for a couple days.

it is surprising how much warm/hot water goats will drink. My boys presently, are waiting for me to bring out the hot water - then they drink like there is no tomorrow (when the bucket was filled to the brim).

Chaverah Farm said:

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

Over the weekend it was 30 below here in southern oregon. I have never seen it this cold before and they said it hasnt happened in 40 yrs.  I was running around putting dog coats on everyone and throughing straw like crazy. They did snuggle up together and got through. I was bringing warm water out and that helped to put warm in the tummy but GEES!!!!! Thank God for the shelters and jackets!!!!!!!

We hit records here at 2 degrees in Eugene. 10 straight days of subfreezing temps. I put a heat lamp up finally..... and wanted sweaters! On my to do list for must haves. Glad all faired well - cold - but well.

Rachel,

 

Thaank you for responding!  I'll check under their tails as soon as I get home!  They change so much after they eat and in the morning when they first get up.

 

How often do you feed yours?  And how much at a time?  Mine always seem ravenous.  Their treats are mostly cabbage leaves, rose hips and a few pieces of dog kibble.  If the temps are really going to be low (>-20) I also give them a T of grain.

 

My barn is insulated like our homes and I'm afraid that it is too toight; should I be leaving window or small door open even at the low temps?

 

Again, thanks for any of your experience shared.

 

Barb
 
Rachel Whetzel said:

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. ;)

The area you want to check is the bald patch just above the anus. :) I feed mine once a day, and they are always looking for more. lol I would definitely open up a window to ventilate!!

Dear Deborah,

 

Thank you so much for your reply, I  guess my barn is too well insulated--it's like our homes and the two vents must not be enough, as you suggested.  I do have a window that I can open a bit or a lot, guess I must figure that out by the frost level.  Our low temps last for about 5 or 6 months so we tried to protect them from the cold--it's a confusing balance.  I guess they are hardier that I thought.

 

Right now I'm heaating the barn, an 8 X 10, to try to dry out the wood that is wet from the frost; hopefully I'll figure it out before either of my girls get sick.

 

Thanks, again,

 

Barb
 
Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

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!

30 BELOW!?! Wow!! Where in Southern Oregon are you? That's a 40 some degrees lower than we got, and I thought we were cold in Canyonville.



Margie McCoy at River Dance Farm said:

Over the weekend it was 30 below here in southern oregon. I have never seen it this cold before and they said it hasnt happened in 40 yrs.  I was running around putting dog coats on everyone and throughing straw like crazy. They did snuggle up together and got through. I was bringing warm water out and that helped to put warm in the tummy but GEES!!!!! Thank God for the shelters and jackets!!!!!!!

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