Winter can get real dangerous for animals and to keep them safe and warm we must make sure they have what they need to stay warm. Naturally, out in the wild, they have all they need to take care of them selves but as farm animals, they are limited to what they have access to.
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As goats roam the fields and mountains in their natural habitat, they have the grasses and other plants growing that they can eat to keep their rumens working and warming them from the inside. If it's too cold, they will find a cave or something they can hide in to stay dry and out of the wind. Goats will also grow a thick hide for the winter that will add additional protection to keep them nice and warm.
Goats Winter Shelter
When it gets below zero, a couple of things must be done to give the farm goats access to what they need to have to take care of themselves. One is a dry place they can hide from the wind and rain. A simple 3-wall-and-a-roof shelter with plenty of dry hay on the floor will be perfect. If it gets below -30 you should hang a blanket or something to cover the opening to keep the wind from coming in and keep some of the heat generated by the goats from their body heat inside.
Plenty Of Dry Hay
The second thing the farm goats will need to keep themselves warm in the winter is plenty of dry hay. Goats have a chamber in their stomach called rumen, when goats eat, their food goes there and as a part of the digestion process it ferments in the rumen. The fermentation produces heat, which keeps them warm in the winter weather. The best food that provides the most efficient warmth is dry hay. They will chew and chew on it and keep themselves warm all night, even in very cold temperatures. As long as they stay out of the wind that is, so make sure they have a good shelter to hide in.
As a treat for the goats, just like we would enjoy a nice hot cup of hot chocolate, provide them plenty of really warm water. In the freezing temperatures, the water will cool down fast so let them drink it while it is still warm so their body temperature does not drop trying to warm up the water they are drinking.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind. If you are feeding them grain, make sure to provide plenty of dry hay for them in the afternoon so they can load up on it for the night. Another thing is never use heat lamps in the shelters and barns if you are not there watching them. There has been countless barn fires from animals tipping the heater and it's on fire before you can say "goat". And the last tip is when all else fails, get them a goat coat!
Well, that's it for today. I hope you enjoyed this important discussion. Feel free to copy/paste this link and email it to anybody you know that might be able to use this info.
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Until next time,
Fellow Goats Raising Enthusiast