Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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I am expecting my first batch of kids in 7 weeks and I'm getting together everything I need for the birth. I'm wondering if I need a heat lamp. I live in northern California(near San Francisco)and the temperature is usually between 58 and 70 year round but a rare cold snap can bring it below freezing.

I'm worried about a heat lamp being a fire hazard.

  How cold is too cold for newborn kiddys?

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I'm hitchhiking on an old thread again to post another version of a warming hut that just appeared in my facebook feed.  Though I will continue to do what I have been doing, this looks like a do-able and safe solution.

Life can change in a minute with a barn fire. This weekend my goat barn, with my new mama’s, babies and pregnant does caught fire, I suspect due to a heat lamp I forgot to unplug from when the weather was sub zero.  All my babies were gone, my mama’s suffered sever smoke inhalation, some were burned slightly and all but one died horribly within a day when their lungs shut down.  One is still holding on, thanks to our vet, but is trying to battle pneumonia due to heat exposure and smoke inhalation.  Her back leg is injured, possibly burned, the vet said to leave it be till we get her pneumonia under control.  She’s on penicillin and a steroid for inflammation.  He’s not a goat vet, I’m the only client with goats he’s treated, but he’s been good to us and his office is just down the road from our ranch.  My lone mama, Marigold, lost her herd mates and twin babies. My buck, along with my wether, were safely in the pasture away from my girls. Truly we are still in shock having never experienced a fire before. My husband left for work Saturday morning and I jumped in the shower only to have my dog immediately start parking wildly and then my power went off. I jumped out, dried quickly and looked out my closest window to see billows of smoke rising from the metal roof of my goat barn that lies 8 feet from our shop and an arms throw from my back porch, with a dozen or more firefighters and 3 fire trucks surrounding my little barn.  I threw on some clothes and ran out bare food past everyone nod swung open the closed barn door. A firefighter rushed over, closed the door and said they’d gotten my animals out.... no, just the mama’s who where in shock, singed, and some burned all staring off into space, no babies, no chickens that were in the back behind my goats. I’m heart broken and feel the heavy weight of responsibility for this. If I could turn back the clock I would not even buy a heat lamp. It’s sub zero in the winter but insulation in my new barn will be worth it’s weight in lives it may save... broken hearted but lesson learned!

Oh my goodness Susan! I am devastated reading through this. I can't imagine what you must be feeling. I wish I could give you a giant hug!

Thank you so very much for sharing this with us. I am in Texas, and we just had a huge winter storm. We kid in winter here because we have lots of problems with internal parasites, and I saw so many people talking about putting heat lamps in their barns. A barn at the end of my road actually caught fire and burned to the ground overnight. They are so very dangerous, and hearing stories like this brings that danger to reality for people.

I sure hope that Marigold pulls through. Please keep us posted on her progress.


I just saw your email about this. I am so sorry!!! I personally know others who have also had this happen, and it is devastating. That's how I got introduced to the Premier1 heat lamps. We have almost had a fire with the metal ones they sell at the farm stores -- one fire would have been in our basement when we were brooding chicks, and the other would have been with our baby goats and mamas in the barn. Luckily in both cases, someone walked in when the fire was still smoldering, and we could easily extinguish it. 

I know you're hurting right now, but I want to mention this while I'm thinking about it, so I hope you don't think I'm insensitive. Insulating your barn is not the answer. It might prevent fires, but you'll trade it for lung problems, such as pneumonia, in your goats. A barn must be ventilated (but not drafty) to allow ammonia and humidity to escape. Our human noses are not sensitive enough to be able to smell ammonia because it can cause damage to your goat's lungs.  If you have sub-zero temps, you will have to have something to keep kids warm when they are first born. I'd be happy to help you brainstorm ideas in the future.

Sending you a big hug!!!

Thank you for your kind words and advice on figuring out how to avoid such a heartbreak in the future. I don’t want to ever experience that again. Marigold is much better tonight, her breathing is finally not rattling, she’s not foaming at the mouth and much more alert and eating/drinking well this evening,

I would not bring them inside the house.  Mom is already undergoing enough stress from kidding without adding to it by moving her out of her familiar territory.  If they are well protected from wind and rain, they should be fine.  They will all snuggle up to each other.

Cherissa Woudenberg said:

This year I'm especially cautious because California is having one of the driest winters ever documented. I'll probably bring the mama and kids inside the house, unless Rachel friend's "fool proof" system is as fool proof as those quote marks suggest. :)

Thank you all for the info!! and any further suggestions to come. :D 

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