The fashion for organic products, different from what we see on store shelves, is gaining momentum. Now it is prestigious to make purchases not in markets, and through the Internet from small farms with a responsible approach to the environment.
And if you try to produce something from this category yourself, for example, cheese? An excellent raw material for it is goat’s milk, the fat content is close to cow’s, but it is much easier to keep the «trifle».
Goat’s milk is not as fatty as sheep’s milk, so you can drink it yourself. Moreover, it is believed that goat’s milk is healthier, if not for a few exceptions and a specific flavor.
In general, you have decided to get a goat and are looking for suitable housing for it. What is important for a beginner breeder to know:
- for the summer keeping of goats, a paddock is enough for shelter from precipitation and a place for grazing, always with grass 🙂
- the optimum temperature for keeping goats in winter ranges from +100From to +200FROM
- in winter, a goat needs hay harvested in the middle of summer, when the grass is “in its very juice”, this dry food will provide it with important trace elements;
- one hay in the winter is not enough, it is necessary to make a supply of thin branches with leaves from the summer, young wood is also extremely useful;
- you can’t get by with dry food in the winter, because part of the garden should be sown with turnips in the spring, which is difficult to buy in winter;
- if you have spoiled winter varieties of apples, then at first you can feed the goat with them;
- for bedding on the floor, straw is more suitable, which does not absorb goat waste.
From the above, it follows that the goat pen must be insulated so that even in severe frosts the water does not freeze in it.
In addition, you will need a place to store hay and straw, however, this product can also be stored in haystacks covered with an awning.
To store «juicy» products, you will also need a cellar.
Let’s say you already have a hayloft and a cellar, you can start designing a goat’s rue. There are no restrictions on the joint keeping of goats with other animals, therefore, if there is a barn, it is possible to equip stalls for goats in it.
However, if you still decide to build a separate goat house, then it is important to determine the number of goats. To do this, a little digression into the physiology of this interesting animal.
NUANCE. A simple outbred «nurse» gives about 2-3 liters of milk in the summer and somewhat less in winter. In order for the amount of milk to please you, the goat must bring kids once a year. Most often, the mating process occurs at the end of autumn, less often in spring (this is how the goat herself decides 🙂 A potential “father” can be invited by an announcement from the nearest surrounding villages.
From this moment until the birth (this is two months), the goat cannot be milked so that the body recovers and gets rest. After the birth, for another three months, the mother will take care of the babies, and you will get only the leftovers, which are pumped without fail.
As a result, winter and the beginning of spring will definitely not please you with home-made cheeses. So if you really start, then at least two goats.
A thoroughbred dairy goat can “make happy” the owners with a milk yield of up to 4-6 liters.
On average, goats live up to 15-18 years, but the period of economic use is 7-9 years.
GOAT HOUSE WITH OWN HANDS
So, you have already decided on the number of goats and started planning. In the goat’s house, space is allocated for:
- paddocks for adult goats (permanently operated),
- for kids (occupied periodically),
- milking corral (with amenities for hygiene and cleanliness of the process),
- goat pen (if the herd is large).
goats — very sociable animals, but each has its own character. Therefore, the ideal option would be to group goats “by character” and weight category: calm in one stall, cocky in another, but so that there is no superiority in strength among the militant individuals. It doesn’t work, settle the bully separately.
Corrals inside the goat house are made at the rate of 2.5 m2 for one female. In case of great constraint, dimensions of 1.8×2 m for two individuals are allowed.
Single stalls have the following parameters: 80 cm wide and 2.5-2.8 m long, so that the animal has the opportunity to «warm up».
The height of the boards is 130 cm.
Windows are made at a height of at least 150 cm and a size of 40×60 cm above each stall.
Kids are kept in a separate compartment, with dimensions close to 1.5×2 m. Here everything should be clean, dry and without drafts.
When the kids grow up, the corral is washed and disinfected. The rest of the time it can be used as an infirmary for goats that require special care.
For milking, they allocate a place in which it will be convenient for both you and the goat. There should be access to warm water, a shelf for soap, a hook for a towel, a table with a washable surface on which you can put a clean bucket for milk.
During the procedure, the female usually eats, so access to the feeder should be free. It is better to fix the head of the animal so that it does not butt.
In the photo at the top right: there is a groove in the lower bar, a through hole in the upper one, through which a wooden rod was passed, fixing the head.
A goat cannot be kept in a common stall and walked in a common pen, otherwise you will not be able to control the moment of mating and smoothly lead the goat to stop milk selection during pregnancy.
For a male, a stall of the same parameters as a single one, however, with a height of 150 cm, and the walls must be strong and without the slightest holes, so as not to awaken instincts ahead of time.
The goat’s window and exit to grazing should be separate.
Given the characteristics of this stall, ventilation must be provided in it.
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE STALL
Beds for goats are made exclusively of wood, at a height of 30 cm from the floor and above, it is possible in several tiers, but so that the goats can climb on them.
The floors are equipped with a mandatory slope towards the gutter. As for the material, concrete is also possible, but with a mandatory boardwalk — goats do not tolerate the combination of dampness and cold, and concrete is a rather moisture-intensive and cold material.
The doors of the corral are single or double, but in any case they are wide enough.
Feeders (nurseries) are placed at a height of 50-60 cm, this is for hay and dry food. A box is made in the wall (see photo above), a bucket of water or a bowl of root crops is placed in it.
In narrow stalls it will be better if the manger is outside the stall (a hole is made in the wall for the head), then a box can be made from below.
All doors, doors, windows in the barn should open outward, so that in case of an emergency, nothing would interfere with an emergency evacuation.
One important point: the hole through which the old bedding will be thrown out, in the old fashioned way they do it in the wall and close the door. If you choose this option, then let it be of sufficient size so that you can freely wield a shovel in it. Please note that in cold weather, the door tends to freeze and not open or swell and not close.
Perhaps the best option would be to remove the waste on a wheelbarrow through a door of sufficient width.
PAD FOR GRAZING
A walking platform on the street is equipped on the south side at the rate of 2-4 m2 for one individual. The fence must be strong enough.
In summer, goats are walked on a leash if it is grazing without a fence. In this case, the pegs should be periodically rearranged so that the animals have enough grass.
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