Goat Sheds

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Meat goats require only minimum shelter -- natural shade and windbreaks are adequate except in cold, windy weather when a simple shed would likely improve performance, especially if early kidding is practiced. About five square feet per adult goat is adequate; front eave height on the shed may be 6-8 feet sloping to 4-6 feet for winter usage. For summer shading, higher roofs would be more beneficial. A catch lot and simple working chute for sorting and handling is less stressful on goats and owner alike. Hay can be fed on clean sod or offered in bunks or racks or ringed round bales; unringed round bales may sometimes tilt and cripple or kill goats. Trough space for feeding ground feeds to adult goats should provide about 9-12"/head. Troughs must be constructed to keep the goats from walking or defecating in them in order to reduce wasteage and parasite contamination; they should also be easy to clean.

Kidding during the cold months may be necessary to target special holiday kid markets or to facilitate year round kidding schedules. If so, the use of kidding pens (jugs), approximately 4' x 4', under sheds or in barns, will usually improve kid survival and early doe and kid performance. In this system, does are placed in the jugs 1-5 days prior to expected kidding or just after kidding in an adjacent area and the pair remains therein for 3-5 days post-kidding. Thereafter, they can be grouped, 10-15 pairs to a larger pen with shed, for 10-14 days before returning to pasture (with shedding as needed). If at all possible, do not change feeds just prior to or during jugging or for a few days thereafter. This will reduce stress and improve milk flow and kid survival.

Jugging in warm months is not necessary and the total labor saved will usually offset any inconvenience concerning special handling of individual problem goats. Kidding difficulties do occur and successful owners do assist as necessary, even on pasture. The incidence of dystocia is usually below 5%; veterinary charges may exceed the value of the animal(s) involved