Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I'm wondering if those of you who have Nigerians in cold climates could help me out with some winterizing advice?  I've added some pictures of my barn to my photos so you can see what it looks like now.  The goats share a fairly large indoor space.  Right now I have a few areas  with straw/hay on them, but the rest of the floor is bare cement.  I like it this way as I can sweep up berries from the bare floor once or twice a day, and I don't use so much straw.  I'm wondering if I'll have to cover the entire floor for warmth this winter.  What else would you experienced cold weather goat owners suggest?  Thanks!

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You didn't say how cold it gets in your area, but I'm in Illinois, and typical winter temperatures for us are somewhere between 20 degrees Fahrenheit and five or ten below zero. We always keep straw on the floor of the barn because the goats stay cleaner that way. If the berries can't fall into the straw, then the goats wind up with poop between their toes, which is gross when they get on the milk stand. If the urine isn't soaked up by the straw, then you can wind up with some really nasty udders and possibly mastitis if a doe is laying in the wrong place when someone else pees. In winter, they do need the straw for warmth. Also, in winter, we do not muck out the barn regularly. Instead, we just add a little clean straw to the top every few days -- basically whenever we start seeing goat berries. The decomposition of the poop and straw creates warmth. We have separate kidding pens that are totally clean, and covered with clean straw for each individual doe when she kids.
Here are the images of your barn so people can find them easily...

 

Thank you!  That is helpful.

I'm in Northern Minnesota, and it gets down to 20 below at least a few times per winter, and as far as 40 below (though that's slightly unusual).  "Normal" temps for Jan./Feb. would be hovering around zero, give or take 15 degrees.  That probably doesn't help very much, or else totally freaks you out - but that's Minnesota!  Oh, and also the really cold weather can last for a looonnngg 5 months.

 

You definitely need deep bedding in those temperatures, which is what I described above where you don't muck out during the winter. If you have electricity in your barn, you'll also want heated buckets or a heater for your water trough. I hope you didn't breed anyone to kid during those cold months. It is NOT fun!

Thanks, Deborah. :)  I didn't breed anyone yet.  I'm waiting until December for May kids (at least that's my hope).  We're working on the electricity.  I very much hope to have it by the end of this month, or at the latest next.  Please, Mr. Electrician, keep your word this time!

I guess I have another question...Will the goats just stay in all winter, or do I leave the door open during the day?  Or, only on "warm" days?

Thanks, all!

I let the goats out every day during winter unless it's snowing. Fresh air is important. If you don't have any kind of a wind break in your pasture, you might not let them out on super cold or windy days, but it sounds like they just go in and out of your barn at will, so they can come and go as they please, and the open door will help with fresh air even if they stay inside.
Awesome!  Thanks.  This is helping me feel more confident about the coming cold.
I also do a deep bedding method in the winter. We also have a igloo in the barn and two of my goats like to go in it. Thank God our winters aren't as bad as Northern Minnesota.
Winter is here!  I guess we had this discussion just in time.  I'm hoping that it doesn't stick around just yet, but we had 30 degrees and frost this A.M.   I...am...NOT...ready.  I'd better find a way to embrace this soon.

Does anyone know of a  perfect heated water bucket for the winter?  I'm concerned about cords and burns?

 

when looking for heated water buckets most stores that sell equine supplies have the best. I do not use heated buckets but I do use the black rubber buckets that are somewhat flexible it is easier to knock out the ice. because I change water at least 2 times daily and find they enjoy fouling thier water heated doesn't fit in my barn. Remeber goats wont drink fouled water.

on Bedding I use sawdust from a local mill about 20 a truck load. and in the winter I will throw down straw on top of it to help retain heat. Usually the goats will pick through the hay and what they don't eat they will use as bedding. You have cement floors that not only hold the cold but can be pretty rough on the goats. udders will leak while they sleep and if it freezes to the goat it can cause some seriouse problems . A freind had a cow freeze to her floor one day lots of warm water got her off but now she always coats the floor in the winter with bedding. when it comes to nigerians I have found that those inexpensive totes in the dollar stores you can cut a hole in one end (with a hot knife) and turn upside down for the little ones helps with drafts and gives them a safe place to sleep.

I spoke to my husband and he said you can keep the runway free of bedding but definitly want to bed down the stalls for the winter. your barn is real tight so freezing water should not be a huge problem but hard plastic will crack and metal tubs can be real difficult to keep from freezing.

Have fun working on buttning up for the winter had a frost last night and the whole heard is in season so it is getting that time of year again lol

Deb

Dancing Dragon Goats

Does it help to have things for them to get on, off the floor, like pallets with wood on top so they can actually sleep on a raised area or spools inside the barn for this?

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