Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Quick question I’m putting a heat lamp on the goats tonight, but never used one before.

 

It is FREEZING here. We live on the top of a small mountain and our outside thermometer hovered around -7 or colder all day and that is not including the wind chill. Its expected to get as low as -25 tonight. When I just went out to check on everyone, my younger doe is already shivering. So I’m going to put a heat lamp in there stall tonight. Never used a heat bulb before. Does anyone have any suggestions. How high of the floor or bedding should it be act… I don’t want to burn down the shed but its this or have a sleep over in the living room and I don’t think my husband would be impressed with 3 goats on the hardwood floor overnight :)

I’ve just given them hot water, grain and plenty of hay not sure what else I can do to help keep them warm tonight. Any suggestions would be great

 

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Super, super excellent points, Rachel.  Just wanted to emphasize your point about how there are different types of  cold (and hot, for that matter).  My understanding is that New Mexico would have dry hot as well as dry cold.  There's a big difference between dry and cold, and the damp cold of a more humid climate.  If you're concerned about cold, take a look in the blog section.  Marin Waddell has posted photos and a description of what she does for her goats in the winter.  It's really interesting and fun to see.

Rachel Whetzel said:

Trish, Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats also originate from Africa...  I get the idea of the survival of the fittest, etc... but there are things about any domesticated breed (and these ARE a domesticated breed) that remove them from the "original" and some of those things create the necessity of stepping in to help them out.

Keep in mind, is that New Mexico's cold isn't the same as the cold in Maine. In fact, it's probably the closest to how the weather is in Africa. (and Maine is most certainly NOT) Things like humidity, etc. play into how much extra goats might need. Particularly in the situation with the OP, where the cold her goats would be experiencing was sudden, and not the "norm" for her area. That means her goats didn't have the chance to get acclimated before it hit. "Before humans interfered" is a loaded statement, IMO... because by nature of "interfering", we have put ourselves in a position to NEED to interfere! For one thing, we aren't all still living in Africa! These goats are NOT made to live in any landscape. Some land is not capable of sustaining a herd. (mineral deficiencies in the soils being a good example) and when we confine an animal to be forced to live in one spot, it's often necessary to supplement BECAUSE we aren't providing them with either an ideal environment, or what would be a "natural" environment for them.

Another example of why we humans need to step in, is in the area of birthing. Nigerians are one of the only goat breeds to regularly give birth to more than two kids, and who do not have a "season" which leads to births at all times of the year. Because of this, and the speed at which they deliver, often, third and fourth babies get neglected immediately after birth, because their mom's are still cleaning off the other kids. This can result in a kid freezing to death because it didn't get clean and dried fast enough, or suffocating because the sack didn't get cleaned off if it's nose soon enough. These are things that do not indicate an unhealthy kid, and that we humans created in the domestication of the breed. I think your friend has been lucky if she hasn't had losses.

Agreed, Thank You Rachel. I believe that you pretty well hit the nail on the head, as we might say down south.

Unfortunately we people sometimes fail to remember that what use to be natural is not the norm these days and therefor circumstances frequently require the use of un-natural handling. Although many of us are trying to create stronger herds by various practices, from more natural feeding programs, holistic medications, dam raising kids, just to mention a few. No matter what we do we are still dealing with breeding stock from many generations of selective breeding which is a far cry different than those that result from natural selection.

No matter how strong or healthy any of our herds are,they are not and will never be as strong and healthy as a wild (natural) herd would be. We all do things at time to HELP our herds along that would kill off the weaker ones in the wild. Every time we do, we weaken the herd, just a little. But who of us is going to NOT help them. NOT ME!

Big difference between temps of 20 and -20. It's been in the 70's around here, mostly, and the it drops way down ad bounces back up. Every time it drops I worry about a kid popping out. They can SOOO EASILY die, JUST from getting cold. So ADD ME TO THE LIST OF WORRIERS!



Rachel Whetzel said:

Trish, Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats also originate from Africa...  I get the idea of the survival of the fittest, etc... but there are things about any domesticated breed (and these ARE a domesticated breed) that remove them from the "original" and some of those things create the necessity of stepping in to help them out.

Keep in mind, is that New Mexico's cold isn't the same as the cold in Maine. In fact, it's probably the closest to how the weather is in Africa. (and Maine is most certainly NOT) Things like humidity, etc. play into how much extra goats might need. Particularly in the situation with the OP, where the cold her goats would be experiencing was sudden, and not the "norm" for her area. That means her goats didn't have the chance to get acclimated before it hit. "Before humans interfered" is a loaded statement, IMO... because by nature of "interfering", we have put ourselves in a position to NEED to interfere! For one thing, we aren't all still living in Africa! These goats are NOT made to live in any landscape. Some land is not capable of sustaining a herd. (mineral deficiencies in the soils being a good example) and when we confine an animal to be forced to live in one spot, it's often necessary to supplement BECAUSE we aren't providing them with either an ideal environment, or what would be a "natural" environment for them.

Another example of why we humans need to step in, is in the area of birthing. Nigerians are one of the only goat breeds to regularly give birth to more than two kids, and who do not have a "season" which leads to births at all times of the year. Because of this, and the speed at which they deliver, often, third and fourth babies get neglected immediately after birth, because their mom's are still cleaning off the other kids. This can result in a kid freezing to death because it didn't get clean and dried fast enough, or suffocating because the sack didn't get cleaned off if it's nose soon enough. These are things that do not indicate an unhealthy kid, and that we humans created in the domestication of the breed. I think your friend has been lucky if she hasn't had losses.

Also agree with the fresh air! I don't think I would ever want to lock mine inside unless they were about to kid or had little ones following them out. I believe that if given the opportunity to go in and out of good shelter they would do what is best for them. No matter how cold it is out, I believe that all of them would want to go get some fresh air if only for a few minutes at a time. I do, and I can't stand the cold! I also don't have a nice fur coat growing on me!

My barn is just a tarp carport that you can buy at Costco, so it's definitely not air tight, or even "snug"! lol I have one side with a large 10ft or so length that doesn't have a door.

Margaret Langley said:

Also agree with the fresh air! I don't think I would ever want to lock mine inside unless they were about to kid or had little ones following them out. I believe that if given the opportunity to go in and out of good shelter they would do what is best for them. No matter how cold it is out, I believe that all of them would want to go get some fresh air if only for a few minutes at a time. I do, and I can't stand the cold! I also don't have a nice fur coat growing on me!

Yes, humidity can play a huge roll in how hot and cold affect people/animals. That's why the weather always has the actual temp, and then the "feels like" temp.

Patty Meyer said:

Super, super excellent points, Rachel.  Just wanted to emphasize your point about how there are different types of  cold (and hot, for that matter).  My understanding is that New Mexico would have dry hot as well as dry cold.  There's a big difference between dry and cold, and the damp cold of a more humid climate.  If you're concerned about cold, take a look in the blog section.  Marin Waddell has posted photos and a description of what she does for her goats in the winter.  It's really interesting and fun to see.

Rachel Whetzel said:

Trish, Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats also originate from Africa...  I get the idea of the survival of the fittest, etc... but there are things about any domesticated breed (and these ARE a domesticated breed) that remove them from the "original" and some of those things create the necessity of stepping in to help them out.

Keep in mind, is that New Mexico's cold isn't the same as the cold in Maine. In fact, it's probably the closest to how the weather is in Africa. (and Maine is most certainly NOT) Things like humidity, etc. play into how much extra goats might need. Particularly in the situation with the OP, where the cold her goats would be experiencing was sudden, and not the "norm" for her area. That means her goats didn't have the chance to get acclimated before it hit. "Before humans interfered" is a loaded statement, IMO... because by nature of "interfering", we have put ourselves in a position to NEED to interfere! For one thing, we aren't all still living in Africa! These goats are NOT made to live in any landscape. Some land is not capable of sustaining a herd. (mineral deficiencies in the soils being a good example) and when we confine an animal to be forced to live in one spot, it's often necessary to supplement BECAUSE we aren't providing them with either an ideal environment, or what would be a "natural" environment for them.

Another example of why we humans need to step in, is in the area of birthing. Nigerians are one of the only goat breeds to regularly give birth to more than two kids, and who do not have a "season" which leads to births at all times of the year. Because of this, and the speed at which they deliver, often, third and fourth babies get neglected immediately after birth, because their mom's are still cleaning off the other kids. This can result in a kid freezing to death because it didn't get clean and dried fast enough, or suffocating because the sack didn't get cleaned off if it's nose soon enough. These are things that do not indicate an unhealthy kid, and that we humans created in the domestication of the breed. I think your friend has been lucky if she hasn't had losses.

oh yea Rachel, that's different. I meant in those real tightly sealed ones, some even insulted! The kind of barn I wish I had! lol! Then I would leave the door cracked open so they could go out, except at night, if I had predators of course!

Rachel Whetzel said:

My barn is just a tarp carport that you can buy at Costco, so it's definitely not air tight, or even "snug"! lol I have one side with a large 10ft or so length that doesn't have a door.

Margaret Langley said:

Also agree with the fresh air! I don't think I would ever want to lock mine inside unless they were about to kid or had little ones following them out. I believe that if given the opportunity to go in and out of good shelter they would do what is best for them. No matter how cold it is out, I believe that all of them would want to go get some fresh air if only for a few minutes at a time. I do, and I can't stand the cold! I also don't have a nice fur coat growing on me!

I would like to say thank you all for all the great comments and idea's to keep the goats warm...being in FL we only have to worry about it a couple of nights here and there, but worry I do as my goats are just not used to the cold either...we have had a very warm Jan with nights only being in the 50's until the last 2 nights where it we have had freeze warnings and with 5 day old babies it was a little bit of a concern.
I stuffed the house full of hay, hung a blanket over the open door/gate way and at 4.30am got up and ran the heat lamp for 30minutes to bring the temp up from 36degrees to 41degrees...before turning it off and coming back inside...at 6.45am it was 36degrees in their little house and no one was shivering...I opened up the door so they can come out when they want but turned the heatlamp back on...I can keep an eye on it from my backdoors...soon as the sun reaches that part of the yard I will turn of the lamp.

For my other two adult goats I stuffed their house with extra hay and drapped an old kiddies sleeping back over the opening....I took them a bucket of warm water and some treats at 4.30am.

Took this at 4.30am with my phone 

Yes Rachael we are a long way from Africa. Thanks Kelsie for sharing the picture they look pretty happy. I understand that its common practice up here for people to put heat lamp on there winter born babies, and while I’m sure it’s a little much for me to use one for my adult girls its worth it to me to feel confident that I have done everything reasonable to keep them healthy. I definitely agree with the interference of humans weakening the lines over the generations. but were hoping to breed for milk production not hardiness so that’s the price we pay. I also agree with the goats acclimating to there environment and temp, but really how much can an animal adapt to -20 degree temps. I’m not overly concerned with the zero degree weather but there are extremes in every environment. Thanks for all the good advise and info its been very helpful. Hopefully the worst of our weather is over for this year but we shall see.

Our sweet two week old triplets and one week old doeling are enjoying the outdoors immensely.  Although our strange Maine weather has been two days of forty and fifty degrees with rain today its back down to two degrees.  None of the animals have been stressed by it, the milk is flowing and the kids are doing the "boingk, boingk" that they do. Its crazy to see how they jump straight up. I am glad for the cold this year as it keeps all the bugs in the soil hopefully we'll have less insect volume this spring. 

"I also agree with the goats acclimating to there environment and temp, but really how much can an animal adapt to -20 degree temps."     

I observed our horses being very adaptable, even in damp SE Ohio (location in Appalachian Plateau)....we would get extended periods of low clouds, fog, drizzle, lots of low level moisture, fog could prevail (occasionally into the mid-afternoon) as moisture remained trapped underneath inversion.     The temps sometimes got into grand dancing swings.    But, focusing on the intense winter storm of 1994 (blizzard conditions.  we received 19-20" of snow, 55 mph wind) , Jan. 17-19,   -we received some biting cold:     "Temperatures in Columbus fell to 0 by midnight on the 17th and continued to drop throughout the next day. The NOON temperature on the 18th was -9 degrees, -13 by 7pm and -17 by midnight. The peak of the cold was reached at 6am January 19th when the temperature at Port Columbus dropped to 22 degrees below zero. This temperature was the lowest official temperature ever recorded in the city, beating out the 3 times that the city recorded -20 (1879, 1884, 1899)."

"Across the state, temperatures were 20-35 degrees below zero, and these extremely low readings were more widespread than in any other previous arctic outbreak on record, securing its place in history as the worst arctic outbreak of all time for Ohio.    Ohio's Coldest Readings January 18-19, 1994   was Logan: -37"   (25 miles from us; we recorded -35)       source: http://jbcmh81.wordpress.com/january-18-19-1994-ohios-greatest-arct...

At the time of this winter storm:  I had homemade hoop " Tunnels" (about  3.5' high) made of fencing and heavy mil plastic sheeting/ mulch haybale flakes. not heated.   During the '94 bitter cold, I  kept the hoops fully blanketed over 24hrs for a 8-9 day period & when  temps came up, I went back to having them uncovered during the day.  Our family continued having some fresh greens &  and the last week in January, we took a just-picked salad to a potluck.   greens (varieties of lettuce, kale, chard, parsley, beet greens)..so thin & low mass. wow.  But that is how it was with our horses and 35chickens/turkeys also  -   vitality and health.  Including the 2.5 - 3# bantams.  amazing. 

Pardon the length. I figure you won't read it if you don't want to :  )      

This week:

Our high temps from Jan. 28 -- Feb 1  read:  51, 66, 68, 38, 21 ( 21 degrees right now, 71% humidity, 10-15 wind)

   and low temps from Jan. 28 -- Feb 1 read:  31, 49, 38, 21, 9    (somebody told me we had -5)

So just on Wednesday we had 68!    today 21.    47 degree daytime temp difference!  Goats are doing great.  

I hear you both, Jess and Jan.  We have individual animals in specific climatic locations, etc.   and I am thankful  for the interesting conversation.  

Sandra Hess, CPM

Heartland Midwifery

Fresno, Ohio

Sweet photo!  It finally loaded, lol. 

Sandra Hess, CPM

Heartland Midwifery 

Fresno, Ohio

Kelsie Aman said:

I would like to say thank you all for all the great comments and idea's to keep the goats warm...being in FL we only have to worry about it a couple of nights here and there, but worry I do as my goats are just not used to the cold either...we have had a very warm Jan with nights only being in the 50's until the last 2 nights where it we have had freeze warnings and with 5 day old babies it was a little bit of a concern.
I stuffed the house full of hay, hung a blanket over the open door/gate way and at 4.30am got up and ran the heat lamp for 30minutes to bring the temp up from 36degrees to 41degrees...before turning it off and coming back inside...at 6.45am it was 36degrees in their little house and no one was shivering...I opened up the door so they can come out when they want but turned the heatlamp back on...I can keep an eye on it from my backdoors...soon as the sun reaches that part of the yard I will turn of the lamp.

For my other two adult goats I stuffed their house with extra hay and drapped an old kiddies sleeping back over the opening....I took them a bucket of warm water and some treats at 4.30am.


Sorry, not insulted...insulated!

Margaret Langley said:

oh yea Rachel, that's different. I meant in those real tightly sealed ones, some even insulted! The kind of barn I wish I had! lol! Then I would leave the door cracked open so they could go out, except at night, if I had predators of course!

Rachel Whetzel said:

My barn is just a tarp carport that you can buy at Costco, so it's definitely not air tight, or even "snug"! lol I have one side with a large 10ft or so length that doesn't have a door.

Margaret Langley said:

Also agree with the fresh air! I don't think I would ever want to lock mine inside unless they were about to kid or had little ones following them out. I believe that if given the opportunity to go in and out of good shelter they would do what is best for them. No matter how cold it is out, I believe that all of them would want to go get some fresh air if only for a few minutes at a time. I do, and I can't stand the cold! I also don't have a nice fur coat growing on me!

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