new goat home

lilmissgreenthumbFebruary 1, 2009

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping some goat experts out there can help me out a bit. I would really love to get a couple of Nubian goat for milking. I have an area 100 by 75 feet that I think would work well. It is a wooded area with lots of shalal and undergrowth, which I'm hoping the goats will clear. I would do it in sections, fencing off smaller area's with electric wire fencing.

As for shelter, I'm hoping to build a barn in a year or so, but would need something temporary in the mean time. I'm wondering what sorta things other people have used, and how big. I have seen online some structures that are open and made out of tarping for the roof. I'm wondering how well this would work. I live on Vancouver Island in Canada. The weather here is pretty mild (for Canada) temps around 2-7 at this time of year. It does rain a lot though, so would need something that would get them out of the rain and wind.

Thanks in adance,


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Congratulations on choosing such a wonderful animal! Are you getting kids or adults? We don't have milkers here but your questions certainly apply. Nubians I believe are a dual-purpose goat.

First be sure to destroy any poisonous plants. A good reference can be found here:
Maryland Ag has a good listing, too, I don't have the link handy though. Also be sure to acclimate them to the woods/browse slowly, particularly in the lush spring or if they have been fed strictly hay & grain. Couple hours a day & gradually increase the time.

Your shelter can be just about anything, as long as it provides shelter from the wind, rain, snow, sleet, sun and hopefully predators. It could be something like a large dollhouse, or a plastic barrel cut open & made into a U shape held open & one side closed. Many have used cattle panels folded into a U shape & held in shape at the bottom with 2x4's, then covered with tarps or plastic(be careful assembling these as the re-coil can be dangerous). Old pallets, plywood, or a xtra large oversized dog house from free-cycle work great, too. If you can get the shelter up off the ground all the better. We've used patio blocks in wet areas. Tarps & plastic can and most likely will be chewed, so secure all loose ends, and make tarps & plastic steep enough & high enough so they don't jump on it and rip it.

Being in Canada I would recommend a 4-sided shelter to prevent driving rain & snow, but some use only a 3-sided, I guess it depends on the size & your weather. Just remember a wet & cold goat is a sick goat.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 8:32PM
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I have built some pretty substantial goat shelters using pallets and they have worked well. I use 3-sided with the ability to partially cover the 4th side if the weather gets really bad. I found a good source of cover materials to be companies that make signs-especially if there is a warehouse nearby. They seem to throw out a lot of good building materials if there is even slight damage because their work has to be visually perfect. I have gotten some hard plastic sheets (good for the roof) and exterior-quality MDF (for the sides) from a local warehouse that was trashing them because they weren't perfect enough to sell to sign companies. If you are like us, however, you will start out with 2 or 3 goats and in a few years have 20, 30, or even 40 or more. Goats are such personable creatures, especially Nubians, although that breed can be a little more cantankerous than the Alpines and such. We have Nubians and Boers.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 2:24PM
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I have read that you can make a good goat house with straw bales. Even people houses are made with straw bales these days and they have a very good insulation value. I have also seen a chicken house made with straw bales. You might want to frame the outside with 2x4's to hold the roofing. However, straw can be expensive to buy if you don't grown your own.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 8:08AM
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We use calf domes/poly domes. They are stable, easy to move and are failry inexpensive. They will last forever. There's plenty of room for two adult does or one doe and her kids. If there are any dairies in your area see if you can get a used one from them. Tom

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 10:56AM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)

I like the calf domes. Filled with straw your goats would stay very comfortable. You would have to find a way to cover the door. Straw is a wonderful insulator. I line my goats stall with straw that I fluff every few days and they stay comfy.

Draft free and dry are very important.

I tried to make a section in a larger stall with bales of straw and it's a great idea except my goats kept knocking the bales over! So I partitioned the stall and filled it with straw.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 11:42AM
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