Goats do need shelter - they
hate the rain, and snow. I am not saying they cannot live out in the
wilderness, they can, but if you are raising goats and do not have enough
land or wooded area for them to find shelter, such as under cedar trees, then it
is wise to give them some type of shelter from the elements.
A good example of goats
living out in the wild happened when we gave two does to our
local 4-H youth for the fair. They worked with them every night, but the goats
were on the wild side. They eventually made their great
escape, and the boys were unable to catch them. When they
did find them, one of the does had been eaten by an animal, and the
other doe lived with a herd of deer - that goat is still with them (as
far as we know), and when the deer jump a fence, and the goat cannot jump
that high of a fence, the deer stop and wait until she can find a
place to get through, and they head out together. This is a good comparison
between a goat and a deer.
Another example of a goat
living with no shelter was a goat running loose at a summer trailer park,
and they were going to shoot her since they were opening for the summer
season. Of course Jim said he would try to catch her and bring her
home. They went out to the trailer park, and the only reason she was
there was because she had a kid, and it offered some protection from the
weather. She had also been running wild - she survived, but was so
thin. He caught her, brought her home, and and we knew she could jump
the fence at any time and take off, but she has stayed with the herd and has become
the matriarch of the group and is quite bossy, but throws such color in
her kids I hate to get rid of her.
Jim has built shelters for
our goats as you can see by the pictures, these shelters were built when we
had only six goats. Now we have 25 or more does we
also have a quonset which is 12' x 20', but most of the time, I don't
care how cold it is outside, they lay out in the open. Only when it is
snowing or raining do they venture to the quonset or small buildings. We have
also used hog sheds which we purchased at farm auctions, and Jim has revamped them
with a floor, tin walls approximately 3 foot and attaching the hog shed to the
reinforced 3 foot of tin. By doing this you get additional height and a much
studier building. You can make a decent shelter out of most anything
that will give protection on three sides from the weather. We can move these
buildings easily by installing an ibolt in the center of the roof area, and moving
them with the tractor.
We did use a wooden floor
in our buildings, but typically a dirt floor is used. With any floor,
wooden or dirt, they need to be cleaned periodically to prevent the build-up of
ammonia or other toxic fumes. Bedding can be clean straw or low quality
hay. A concrete floor is easy to clean and disinfect, but this type of
flooring is usually put in a barn, not small buildings.
The ideal situation is to build a barn specifically for your goats, something we
have yet to accomplish, but we are working on.