Do Goats Need Special Bedding?

Bedtime is the best time, even for goats. When it comes to bedtime for goats, do they need any sort of special bedding?

Goats do not need special bedding, but they do need special shelters. Be sure to keep them in a three-sided enclosure entirely free of mold and to consistently give the goats fresh hay. Be sure to also keep in mind the goat you are working with; each goat thrives differently based on breed and age.

We will first talk about the most typical bedding and shelter options for goats. Next, we will be discussing particular needs to certain ages and breeds of goats while they sleep. After this, we will talk about how to clean a goat barn and the process that goes into accomplishing that.

Typical Bedding For Goats:

Hay/StrawHay and straw bedding can drain waste better (so cleaning weekly is a bit easier). It is also less absorbent so the material will last longer.Goats like to eat hay and straw, which means you will have to keep an eye to be sure the bedding is still there.
PinePine naturally smells better than other beddingPine is more absorbent than hay or straw
Wood ShavingsIt is easy to buy and replace wood shavings (as you can find them for free or at a major discount at most stores). Wood shavings are more absorbent than pine, and they are proven to be a little more prone to mold than other materials (so you will need to check on it more).
PelletsPellets come in tight packages and are easy to store, which makes the cleaning process easier. Pellets are also relatively cheap!Pellets are more absorbent than pine, and also can cause slight mold at times as well.
Concrete (With Rubber Mats)Concrete makes cleaning pens very simple, all you will need to do is spray it out of the pen, check for mold, and you are all set!Goats don’t really like sleeping on rubber mats (which is understandable) so they tend to make a ruckus and be extremely uncomfortable.


Best Shelters For Goats

The best shelters for goats…

  • Have three-sided indoor shelter, shed, or barns.
  • Give protection from weather conditions and predators
  • Provide separate shelters for pregnant goats and kids that are apart from the other goats, but give some sort of company so the goat doesn’t become depressed.
  • Allow 15 square feet of bedding space and 25 feet of outdoor pasture next to the shelter per goat (According to the American Dairy Goat Foundation). Even though you can get away with that amount of space, goats definitely prefer a pasture of 250 feet or more, so it is smarter to plan on a bigger space than anything.
  • Goats like it if you rotate where they go indoors and outdoors.
  • The shelter is cost-effective, easy to manage, and very durable. Source

Here are the top types of shelters for goats and a little bit about each of them.

  • Hoop Houses: Hoop houses is a shelter that uses piping and tarps to create a simple, tent-like space. The houses are very easy to install and you can move them a lot easier than a shed or a barn. These houses aren’t the most durable for extreme climates but work well for beginner goat owners. These shelters cost around $200-2,000.
  • Three-Sided Shelter: Many prefer the three-sided shelter because it is more durable than a hoop house, but not as big as a barn. Some use extra scrap wood or pallets to make it more cost-effective. The price for these shelters ranges from a few dollars (with excess materials on hand) to a few thousand dollars.
  • Barns: Barns are definitely the most durable option, but not the most cost-effective option for your goats. Depending on the material and how big your barn is, it can cost you $4,000 to $30,000 on average for barns specifically designed for goat herds. The typical barn on the market goes for about $47,500. Source

Special Conditions For Goats

Each and every goat needs a dry environment with good ventilation. Some breeds though should receive additional special living conditions, such as:

Kid Goats: These enclosures should be specifically predator-proof, as kid goats are more vulnerable to attacks. It is recommended that the flooring choices be layered with concrete or clay for security. Some even put a guard donkey or llama at night with them just in case predators come. The walls should at least be 4 to 6 feet tall, and the roofing should be higher at around 6 to 8 feet.

Dwarf Goats: Be sure to provide at least 8 to 10 feet for each goat in the enclosure.

Dairy Goats: If you are to keep the milking stations within their shelter, they must be cleaned consistently. Make the milking area accessible for the goats and for yourself to get to and clean often.

Goats In Cold Climates: If your goats are living in a cold environment, be sure to include a door in your enclosure. Clean the barn more regularly and avoid any type of wooden flooring, as the ammonia from the goat’s urine can make the animals sick.


How To Clean A Goat Barn

Things You Will Need: Barn shovel, a large wheelbarrow, stall freshener, and pine bedding.

This process will take roughly around 30 minutes to do and should be done weekly.

  1. In the daytime, usher your goats outside to an outdoor pen. Take out anything that is not apart of the shelter; such as goat toys, furniture, etc.
  2. Using your barn shovel, start scooping out all the extra hay shavings and excess dirt and feces from around the barn. Be sure to check for any signs of mold or irregularities.
  3. Sprinkle stall freshener all around the shelter, focusing on spots affected by goats the most. You can also substitute stall freshener lime wash if you need a more powerful chemical-based effect, you will just need to wait a few minutes before going onto Step 4.
  4. Reapply fresh goat hay and put back any furniture you took out
  5. Usher the goats back in! Source

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