These are a few pictures of our goat barn, with some pointers on construction planning. Because of the large numbers of photos, this page will take quite a while to load. . .please be patient!
This view shows that the building, which is an attachment to
another barn, is built on poles
on a sloping area. This provides a nice protected lounging area for the
does. On the "near"
side is a deck area where the feeders are located. Inside are some
delivery stalls and the
milking area. If possible use aluminum roofing, which is now hard to
Somewhat blurry shot of the girls watching for something to
They have a nice place to eat that is out of the rain. There
is water readily available. On
the deck is a trace mineral salt block holder. The ramp has small
boards attached for an
easy foothold. The gate is handy for letting them out into a larger
pasture and for
unloading hay and grain. The floor of the whole building is made of 2 x
6 tongue and
groove material. On the deck we sawed slots (about 3/8") for the urine
to run through.
On each of the walls is a
hanging feeder, basically made of 2 x 4's. There is heavy wire
hog paneling in the front of each to hold the hay in. The top of each
is anchored to the
vertical studs with large bolts in such a manner that the bottom can be
pulled away from
the wall, allowing the uneaten hay to fall out on the floor for easy
cleaning. The ends
of the feeders, being triangular, should be completely covered with
plywood or other material
so they cannot get their heads stuck in them. (I have a better picture
of this type of
feeder which will be added later.)
The next two pictures are of a
simple milkstand, constructed mostly of 2 x 2's. It looks
somewhat flimsy, but has lasted us 30 years. It needs to be of a height
that is comfortable for you (ours is 16 inches). The feed dish is a
plywood box that holds a regular 2" deep cake pan that can be removed
for cleaning. The box itself can drop down out of the way for worming
or other doctoring efforts at the front end. This design needs to be
modified a little to
allow for horned animals, which have to do quite a bit of contorting to
get their heads in. For plans, click
An inverted 5 gallon bucket (with padding) works fairly well
as a stool. The surface of the
stand is covered with rubber trailer matting, but you have to be
careful to get the kind that is rather smooth so that spilled milk can
be cleaned up.
A small generic multipurpose barn where we frequently put the
weaning and occasionally put some yearlings. Usually have a few sheep
If you are cramped for space you can make a milk stand that
folds out of the way.
This shows the folding milkstand with the head restraint
separated. Behind that you can see how the hanging feeders can be
pulled out from the bottom for easy cleaning.
Another view of the hanging milkstand.
This is an example of how NOT to build a
feeder and the interesting ways that goats can show you how they're
always smarter than you are!
Another little pointer: Place a diagonal board (plywood) on
the bottom sill against the wall to keep berries from collecting in
this hard-to-clean spot.
In some geographical areas it is just not possible to keep newborns warm enough without adding some form of supplemental heat source. For goat owners this is usually accomplished by means of the simple "heat lamp."
The heat lamp should be placed in such a manner that the babies (and mother) can get out from under it if it is placed too low and therefore generating too much heat. It is also important to maintain a level temperature. Some people make the mistake of turning the lamp on just at night, forgetting that it can get cold during the daytime. In this case the babies are very warm at night and then get chilled during the day, with pneumonia being a common result.
The most important thing about heat lamps is the risk of fire. Many, many barns (along with the animals in them) have been destroyed because of an incorrectly supported heat lamp. Occasionally, the lamp is placed too close to bedding or other flammable materials. More often, the fire results from the lamp falling onto the floor and directly igniting the hay. Never hang the heat lamp only by means of the clamp provided. Always add a second means of support, such as strong wire. We prefer to hang the lamp from the ceiling with strong baling or tie wire. It may take multiple wires to cause the beam to shine at the proper angle to warm the babies. Also, never hang the lamp by means of a single wire. Always use a second one as insurance. Never use twine as the support mechanism.
Don't use a heat lamp on babies that have not been thoroughly dried off. Take the time to wipe them dry.If the babies are extremely chilled, they can be immersed in warm water and then dried before putting under the lamp. If the entire baby except for the head is put in a plastic bag before being immersed, then there is much less drying to do. But no wet babies under the lamp.
The following link shows what can happen if the heat lamp is not properly suspended: Barn fireFencing
For fencing goats, we use standard field fence 36 - 42" in height. Actually, the higher the better and there certainly would be nothing wrong going to 48". The lowest part along the ground receives a cover of chicken wire 12 - 18" high. This is really the only way to keep babies from visiting the neighbors. On top we run two strands of heavy duty barb wire about 2" apart and pulled very tight. This is important for keeping predators out as well as keeping goats in. From these pictures you will see that a 2 x 4 is lashed to the inside of metal T-posts and nailed to the wood poles about 24" above the ground. This provides them something to stand on as they reach over the fence, which they very much like to do. Wood and metal posts alternate, about 10 feet apart. If you use 20 foot 2 x 4's, then the ends can be firmly nailed to the wooden posts.
The best fencing for goats is called "Non-climb" fencing. It is more expensive than standard field fencing. But for heavy-use areas and for buck pens, it is well worth the added cost. The wires are spaced 2" by 4" and are heavy and woven (don't buy the cheap variant, it won't last at all!) for maximum strength. Buy it in the 4 foot height.
The following pictures have been graciously provided by The Carrington's Goat Farm of Craig, Montana.
This is a view of the new all-purpose barn. Note how well-planned the layout is.
And from another view.
And now with the goats added.
A separate area for the buck, as recommended above.
A very nicely designed indoor feeder. This is a simple, yet thoughtful variation on the old keyhole feeder. With this design make sure you have planned enough spaces for future acquisitions or make the "head board" removable so that it can be easily modified.
Another view of the same.
And the girls try it out; but you can tell right away that they know which room the feed is kept in!.
A milk stand is essential in every goat barn. This one is of
simple design, yet sturdy. Note the good placement of the grain dish.
One should consider putting smooth trailer matting or some type of
floor covering on the base so that can be easily cleaned. Sooner or
later there will be some "spilled milk."
. . .and this is what makes it all worth while! Aren't they