Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

My husband made a couple of warming huts for the really cold days around here. 

He cut a plastic barrel in half, then cut a round hole on the the top and a door opening on the side. The hole is big enough to fit a heat lamp that has a "cage" over it. There is a gap between the solid part of the fixture and the edge of the hole to allow excess heat to escape. The heat lamp is held in place with plastic tie wraps (the white things sticking straight up). And although they aren't really visible, there are small holes drilled in the top to let heat escape. I didn't actually measure it, but the top of the barrel comes to about the bottom of my knee.

We tested it a lot to make sure it didn't get too hot. Not only do I not want to overheat goats, but I also don't want to burn the barn down. When I set it up I put a small amount of straw on the floor and then a towel on that to keep the kids from pushing straw into a pile which might bring it too close to the light. 

The plastic barrel was left in the barn by previous owners and the label says that it originally contained liquid hand soap. We have neighbours who have offered us more barrels if we want them. They have a cattle ranch and something they need for their cattle comes in the plastic barrels.

There is a loop on the top of the heat lamp that we're going to run a rope from the rafters to so that it can't be knocked over. 

The next time we make some I think we'll just make one hut per barrel and make it taller to keep the heat lamp a bit further from the floor. The current high works okay, but I'd like it taller for my peace of mind.

(And yes, the doe in the picture is overweight. I didn't realize how bad it was until she only had one kid.)

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cute idea!
This is a great idea! If you access to more of those barrels, you could just cut them in half and make the little door, but keep the top/bottom intact. The body heat of a couple kids in there could keep it nice and toasty. Then you'd have them with and without the lamp and could use whichever you needed based upon the weather and condition of the kids.
I like that idea a lot!
  These barrels are the most handy thing especially when you get them free! We use them for water, hay feeder, compost, storage…goats/dogs/chickens… didn’t think to make warming huts. Thanks for sharing!
What great ideas! Where do you get them?

Christina said:
These barrels are the most handy thing especially when you get them free! We use them for water, hay feeder, compost, storage…goats/dogs/chickens… didn’t think to make warming huts. Thanks for sharing!

This is a great idea!  Wish I had thought about it for baby chicks last year (usually give them to a setting hen but had too many, long story).  I'm thinking I'll do this for the goat barn even without babies if only for my own peace of mind that my kids won't get too cold when the temperature dips.  I pick up food-grade barrels for rain barrels at a local business (Yoshida) so already have some on hand.  I have cut the sides off some and used them for small raised bed sides (rectangular) as well as round sections for individual plant raised beds.

Again, great idea!  Thank you so much for sharing.

 

I have looked at this before. awesome - You used a light bulb didnt you?  I can imagine how nice and warm it is in there. ^^

GloryBee Honey is here in town - they sell their barrels (only food grade stuffs were in them) for $15 each (55 gallon).

I got them for rain water collection one year - then realized in Eugene OR - in the summer months when you need the water - it doesnt rain. ^^  Which is wonderful! two months rain free. lol 

So glad this has resurfaced. Just my kind of thing and I am going to start a major search for barrels now. I could really use a lot of them. We can also cut them length wise and put them on wood stands for water troughs. Or of course you could cut them for round watering barrels without a stand if you prefer. I just love this stuff.

Im glad this popped up. I am going to make one just need to know what size heat bulb you all are using? I saw one at the hardware store that was 250 watts is that excessive?

I also saw online - you can use the 55 gallon barrels for potatoes - I am going to convert one of my rain barrels for this use.
 
Margaret Langley said:

So glad this has resurfaced. Just my kind of thing and I am going to start a major search for barrels now. I could really use a lot of them. We can also cut them length wise and put them on wood stands for water troughs. Or of course you could cut them for round watering barrels without a stand if you prefer. I just love this stuff.

Oh, Melissa, do be forward-thinking about the potatoes in the rain barrels.  The first year, I used the straw as instructed which didn't work out too well.  The second year, I used all dirt - harvest time I was digging anyway as there was no way I was tipping over a 50-gallon barrel two-thirds full of dirt!  (And it's harder to dig potatoes out of a barrel than out of the ground!) If I were to use barrels again, I would cut out the bottom to lift off the barrel at harvest time.  Some things are far better in theory than in practice.  In subsequent years, I chose instead to use blocks to build up the soil as the potatoes grew.  You can also use a "planter box" using the four corners (2x4 or 4x4) and fastening (with screws) 1x4 or 1x6 boards on the outside and building up as the potatoes grow; at harvest time, remove them from the top down as you want to use the potatoes and have fresh potatoes for months. It also gives you total control over how large the area is, a raised bed in its ultimate form.<g>

Also, Melissa, you mentioned Glory Bee for barrels.  Do they have anything with a removable lid, like pickle barrels?  I get vinegar and soy barrels from Yoshida near PDX airport but would love to have something with a removable/replaceable lid that isn't metal which is what their tomato sauce is in.  I would even be willing to drive to Eugene to get them if they have them (in more predictable weather than we are having right now).

Jess, the size of the bulb would depend on how far above the animals it will be.  Do take care to not have the wattage high enough that it will overheat; it's amazing how much heat they will put out for the area in the hut.  Mine is 250 watts but was at least a foot above the top.

Another use for the barrels is to cut out the end and lay it on its side.  They love to get inside them and climb on them.  First I braced one, but Ginger was having so much fun on the unbraced one trying to balance (and ignoring the other one) that I left them unbraced.  I have one inside now and they take turns sleeping in their "cave" with the two younger ones usually sharing it leaving mom to "guard the door."

Or you can cut them in half and use them bottom to bottom for a waterer on a stand.  I actually planted my chocolate peppermint in one like that, good harvest height and no way for it to "creep" out of the container.

Margaret Langley said:

So glad this has resurfaced. Just my kind of thing and I am going to start a major search for barrels now. I could really use a lot of them. We can also cut them length wise and put them on wood stands for water troughs. Or of course you could cut them for round watering barrels without a stand if you prefer. I just love this stuff.

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