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Very Cold Temps coming - ideas for keeping my goat warm!

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  • Very Cold Temps coming - ideas for keeping my goat warm!

    Not entirely really horse related, but.....

    Its going to drop to below zero farenheit here next week, and my horses live out with sheds and double blankets, they'll be fine. My pet goat has a big stall off the garage, that closes up tight with a big door, has a cement floor with rubber mats and lots of fluffy straw, but I'm worried about her freezing with no other body heat in there - any ideas to keep her a little warmer?

    She's got a good fluffy undercoat, but its never been this cold here, usually 20s in the winter. last year she had a different stall where I could put a little metal radiator heater in the space outside of it, and keep her water from freezing and the chill off, but I've opened the space up, and now I can't put it anywhere safely. There's a lightbulb up on the 8ft ceiling - would a heat bulb do anything at all?

    A blanket? Or would that just deflate her fluffy undercoat? She's my little baby, I'm honestly thinking of bedding up the mudroom with straw and covering up the french doors with a dog gate so she doesn't tear them down

    Any ideas? Any goat people out there? I know she's a cold weather swiss breed, but still, its gonna be COLD.

    Thanks very much!

  • #2
    I have a calf hutch filled very deeply with straw for my pygmies - seems to work well. I have three though - they huddle and keep each other warm. But to be honest, it has to be REALLY cold for them to go in there!


    • #3
      We used a heatlamp (with great reluctance, due to all of the fire warnings) set 18 inches behind a wire fence segment in the corner of their three sided shed when temps. dropped to -10 F here last month. Our three Saanens handled the cold well, though I have one milking doe that tends to lose weight in the winter. I REALLY don't want her getting cold, and would love to get her a blanket if we could.

      Pallets (with plywood on top, and deep straw on top of that) also help insulate our three from the cold ground.

      I did tell my husband that if the power (and the heat lamp) went out, we were bringing the goats into the kitchen. He reluctantly approved the plan, but it proved unnecessary.

      Now we just have to keep them from drowning - with flooding all around, all roads closed (truly, we are on an island with no escape), and no more goat grain (they are eating oatmeal, molasses, chicken scratch, soy lecethin and cooked rice!!) I really wish I had stocked up and thought ahead before this ridiculous winter weather hit.
      My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

      Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives


      • #4
        The deep litter method is the typical method of keeping these animals warm in the winter.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling


        • #5
          I would be very worried about fire using heaters and heat lamps with straw bedding. I know that people do it safely and that's a personal decision.

          I sometimes see my alpine goat shivering but there's not much I can do to help her. I tried a foal blanket one year, but she shrugged it off. She's a rescue and lived through a barn fire and does better each year she's with me. If your goat will keep a blanket on, it will at least prevent heat loss. If you decide to use one, get a very lightweight one that won't pack her coat. (I sometimes wonder if using a people parka would work. Put the legs through the sleeves and if possible, zip the jacket.)

          I think being out and about and being able to move around is a good thing for animals when it's cold. Keeps their blood circulating.

          My goats (the alpine and a pygmy) have a 12x12 stall, with rubber mats over concrete barn floor and about 8" of packed shavings. I don't have straw - which is the best I know - but I sacrifice hay for their beds. I have also put 1 or 2 whole square bales of hay in their stall for them to snuggle against when it's been below 0. Their stall is in the barn and 10' away from the door opening where the horses come and go. The goats have 24/7 access to the outdoors from their stall.


          • #6
            The chicken industry uses brooder lamps by the trillion - they have to have safety's built in? My friend has one which she uses for her dogs. Seems a good idea, but then I would worry about fire, too.
            Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


            • #7
              I put old sweatshirts on my two pet toggenburg goats. The live in a pasture with a little shed. I cut off the sleeves and the hem (if it is too long). For my wether, I had to make sure the sweatshirt was short enough (from neck to hem) to NOT cover his weeny I do this every winter and they don't mind at all. Not sure how much more it keeps them warm, but it makes me feel better. There have been times I have had a sickly goat and I put a couple of sweaters or sweatshirts on them.


              • #8
                I had a picture pop into my head reading your title.

                Could you find a down vest that would fit, then add leg straps with some webbing, if you have a sewing machine?

                It might keep the body core warmer without restricting movement.

                Just a thought....you don't have another goat that might EAT the vest off that one, do ya?
                "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James

                Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.


                • #9
                  You could bring her into bed with you. Will probably take five minutes before she makes you so mad that you can throw her back outside and you won't care if she is cold!
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home


                  • #10
                    How about an extra-large dog blanket?
                    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                    • #11
                      MY 3 do just fine with their little barn. As long as they're dry and can get out of the nasty weather they do OK in winter. We've had temps in the teens this winter and , just like the horses, they get thick coats and I just keep hay in front of them and make sure they have access to water. Today was 40, but the wind chill was probably in the teens and everybody was out in a sunny corner munching on hay. Maybe you need another goat?


                      • Original Poster

                        i DO need another goat, i lost her sister tragically last year, almost lost her too, (proving that just cause your grain room is horse proof, it is not goat proof)and i just don't feel like i can in good concience get another when i might not be able to cover an emergencies that might arise - i'm stretched thin this winter. i'm sure that won't matter and i'll have one soon though - animals tend to knock on my door and find me.

                        I think i'm going to try and get her a nice dog blanket, i love the vest idea though - something very chic and swiss, maybe moncler or victorinox! the fire hazard of a heater scares the hell out of me, and i didn't get a good nights sleep once when i used it a couple of nights last year.

                        I was planning on having the rest of the building converted to 2 stalls this winter so that body heat from the horses would have been plenty, but you know how it is - used it on a false alarm run to the veterinary hospital!

                        thanks very much for all the ideas, and if anyone has had experience with a heat bulb in an overhead socket doing ANYTHING for the temp, please do let me know!


                        • #13
                          http://www.ss4horses.com/product/solid_lambajams.html They make insulated ones too but I can't find one right now. Maybe it would fit even though she's a goat.

                          instructions for a goat coat


                          • #14
                            Deeply bed her area, and lower the roof to creat a small hutch.
                            A friend uses big dog blankets for her goats.


                            • #15
                              I have an infrared heater in my barn. These are safe for barn heaters and not prone to catching on fire or catching anything else on fire. They're also not real warm, but on a cold night, if you stand right underneath it, you can feel the warm rays. (It doesn't warm up the air or the room; it just radiates onto the object under it. My donkey is well aware of this, and often parks right under it. The horse doesn't seem to care.)
                              I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                              • #16
                                We have 2 huge nubians and one wears a foal blanket. The other is fat and grows a terrific coat so she doesn't need any help, even when it's brutally cold (-10). They live in a stall and love to sleep in hay which is pretty warm.

                                The foal blanket doesn't cover her butt, but we figure it keeps her chest and midsection warm so it helps.

                                When she's too hot, she takes it off.


                                • Original Poster

                                  So do most of you guys think that with a bunch of hay and a puffy dog coat, she'll be warm enough? Its going down to 0F now.


                                  • #18
                                    that's about all you can do. One winter during a cold snap (-20) our very old goat, who has since died, was on the verge of freezing to death. Found her leaning in a daze against the wall. Too cold to put a blanket on as she wasn't generating her own heat.

                                    We brought her (and the other 2 idiots b/c you can't separate 3 goats into 2 places) into the cellar where she was able to warm up. Once she did, she went back out to the barn with the foal blanket and was fine for the rest of that winter plus 2 more.

                                    Vet said we had to put her back out after she warmed up b/c otherwise she'd acclimate to the nice 50 degree cellar. She was pretty stoked to be next to the water heater for 24 hours.


                                    • #19
                                      We keep two blankets on our goats. Waterproof dog "turnout style" from Dover and a fleece liner (also dog) from Smartpak. It's about 10 out today.


                                      • #20