for people who love the littlest dairy goats
I thought I'd share a little about how we've set up our barn for the goats for the winter. We have a 17m X 24m (~56' X 80') pole shelter. From what we can tell it was originally just a roof with no walls, possibly intended for hay storage, but at some point it was enclosed with plywood. Over time this plywood has deteriorated leaving gaps. We live on the Canadian Prairies and temperatures get pretty cold. The goats do just fine in our big breezy set-up.
The door that you see there is always open. It's south-facing and the wind rarely blows from that direction. Most of the light is coming in through open holes.
You can see that we've stacked straw bales against portions of the walls to try to cut down the drafts right at goat level. The goats have knocked some of them down. We also left some lying around randomly for the goats to lie beside as insulation.
The temperature recently was down to -35C (-31F), with a -45C (-49F) windchill (the windchill not being as big a factor in the barn). The goats were fine. They didn't do much except eat hay and drink a bit of water, but they didn't seem to suffer adversely. They're very tough little creatures. Obviously mine are acclimatized, and a goat that was suddenly transplanted from the Southern US to here at this time of year would likely not fair well, but overall they do pretty well in the cold.
We haven't been giving the does any grain. The bucks sometimes get a very small amount. They don't seem to have time to build their energy reserves back up after breeding season before it gets cold and they can get rather skinny. I balance out the concern about urinary stones with the concern about calorie requirements.
We also found out that our chickens do just fine in very low temperatures with no extra heating. Their coop is less drafty than the goat barn, but still ventilated. In previous years we've set-up a heat lamp for them but we decided to skip that this year.