Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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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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When I used a heat lamp last winter I kept it so they could stand under it if they wanted and wouldn't get burned.  So I got my tallest goat and measured from their.  I also made sure it was tightly secure so if they were to bump it, it wouldn't move.  Sounds too cold for me.  I live in Colorado and we hit 70 degrees today! Crazy Colorado weather...  Good luck I hope your babies can get warm tonight!  I know others also use small dog houses they could climb into to gather up body heat to stay warmer.  I don't know what kind of setup you have, but you may try something like that also.  Good luck :0)

Keep your lamp at least 3' from the ground.  Also, do you have any tarp with silver on the backside? Or can you get one? Lining the stall you're heating with that will help reflect the heat back into the stall. If you have any kennels, you could use them, and if it were me, I'd cover the tops with more hay or straw to add insulation. Just some ideas! 

Feeding freely hay  --  the digestion activity of the gut is warming.   

Last spring with kids to keep warm, we had a big cargo trunk (lid was taken off) turned-on its side.  A deep dog bed fit it perfectly and on the cold nights I got up every 4-6 hrs. and heated in the microwave 2 of these:  

ThermiPaq Therapeutic Hot & Cold Pad, X-Large

(the product holds a ceramic material- it makes for a pliable pack)  I placed them under two thick bath towels.  The kids were always cozy warm laying on them. 

I just wish I had a slab of soapstone :  ) to heat up on the woodstove

Sandra Hess, CPM

Heartland Mdwifery

Fresno, Ohio

Hej from Sweden!
We are having a second winter here in Sweden after a white Chrisas
then a thaw that melted it all. Now we are experiencing very low temperature
again. We have both Nigerian and Pygmy goats.
Just before winter hits we clean out all the stalls in our stable
so that as the winter moves in, they start to build clean
warm beds. We let the beds in each box get nice and
deep for added warmth during the cold winter months.
All our goats have grown real thick winter coats.
We have had temps hovering around -21 with wind.
Every morning that I go in, I am really pleased to
see everyone all comfy "still in bed".

We have had babies born during the winter months
and we use strip heat lamps from the ceiling. Sometimes
we have a bit older doelings or bucklings during cold months.
They get warm jackets which helps along with
a warm bed of straw and a warm mommy to snuggle.

This year no babies so no heat lamps.
If you have shivering goats,maybe their coats
aren't thick enough. Add lots of straw to their sleeping
areas. It will help.
Good luck keeping your goats warm.

I use very deep straw.  My girls like to hang out togather in the deepest corner, away from exterior walls of the good barn.  If I have kids, they'd be in a play pen in the corner of my milkroom at night until they were a week or two old, then I'd have old baby shirts and cut up socks and sleeves on them as pj's.  I just nip of the end of old work socks from DH for their head, and cut holes for the legs, leaving the rear end and any potential poopy or damp areas bare.....

I cannot imagine such weather, being from Alabama, but I would put some old sweatshirts or sweaters or the like on them. I would also feed them a little corn. Corn is considered a HOT food, that builds up body heat through the digestion process. Bad in the south in summer, so surely good in the north in winter. I don't know how smart or safe it would be but being as I am a big ninny about cold weather I swear I would try to figure out a way to use an electric blanket to warm them. I need to work on this one. There has to be some way to safely do this. I have always used heating pads for my small animals and now that I have thought about it I am determined to figure out a way to use an electric blanket to where it will warm them but can't be chewed etc.

Just found a post on my farm fb page with cold water tips. One really interesting one was...if you are worried about frostbite you can put a thin coat of vaseline on their ears and also on the chickens combs and feet! Just thought I would share that, sounded practical!

Heat lamps are ok, but make CERTAIN that they are secured. Don't hang them by their cord & also make sure it can NOT rest against the wall boards or other surfaces. I'm not the most experienced here, but have sometimes used heat lamps for my chickens. I just know you have to be careful. A good friend watched her barn burn down last night... they think it was possibly caused by a heat lamp. Please be safe!

Thanks for the advice everyone. I just went out for the third time tonight and thay are all curled up together under the light. No more shivering and everyone looked happy. The light seemed to work great so it will have a permanent place in the stall for the next few weeks. I've been bringing a bucket of hot water out with me and 2.5 gallons was frozen in less then 3 hours. WOW it's cold.

I too, have been very worried about my pet goaties. Thanks for all of this reassurance. I live in central NJ and our evening temps have been in the teens and single digits which is very cold for us. I've got a basic barn, thin wood, (not insulated) with straw over a dirt floor and open ventilation along the ceiling. We do have two igloos for our two goats with heating pads inside. Only one goat is using the igloo, however. Today, I'm going to put a treat in the other igloo to see if Iris will go inside. During the day, I'm putting their "blankets" on, which they hate, but I can't stand to see them shivering. They have plenty of hay available and we have the electric bucket to keep the water from freezing. I don't think they are drinking much, however. Today I am going to explore buying a heat lamp but I'm afraid I'll burn the barn down. I guess if you keep it at the right distance from the straw you are ok? If anyone has a link to cold weather info for barnyard animals, I would appreciate your reference. Thanks and good luck to all in the deep freeze. I know there are many with goats who live north of the mid-atlantic states. Your perspective is much appreciated.

I'm in upstate New York, and it was minus 11 last night. It's expected to be colder tonight. I have been sweeping all their uneaten hay (yes, there is plenty of that!) into their favorite sleeping place and letting it build up. I just pick out the poop and damp hay twice a day. (They have a 12 x 12 stall - why, oh why must they pee on their bedding?) They have a heated water bucket and a huge rack of hay. The past two mornings, they have been snuggled up together in their hay bed, happily chewing their cuds and not very interested in getting up for breakfast. I was worried because the outer tips of their fur is wet or even frosty, but when I dig my fingers in, they feel warm and dry next to their skin. The only time they shiver is on the milkstand, although there is a space heater in the separate room in the barn where I milk them. I kept the door to the barn closed yesterday and today, and will probably keep it closed tomorrow, too, to keep out any breeze. They are not very happy about that, but it's a very big stall for three little goats, so I think they have adequate fresh air coming through the vents up near the roof.  I'm too nervous to use a heat lamp because I'm not confident in my ability to hang it in a way that they couldn't pull on the cord. Does anyone else experience the damp outer fur when it's really cold like this?

Frost will build up on all fur but that of a wolverine.  Its typical on frosty nights.  I don't trust the heaters either, and my barn was built in 1876 and is historic, so I'm very very careful!  I just pile in the straw, be sure there is enough food (hay), and I use a heated water bucket for them.

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