Goat stall maintenance

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This is our second year doin the "goat thing". We love em and have 6 new kids. I have a new barn(it's 16x32 so my "real" farm neighbors call it a shed!) I was igorant on many aspects of barn use so looking back would have built things a bit different. It has level concrete floor and no drains. We have allowed the straw bedding to accumlate for months at a time and then gone through the hassle of digging, forking and shoveling up 3-7 wagon loads of stuff depending on the size of the stall. Goats aren't the brightest critters either so a lot of the hay they are yanking out of the feeder falls to the floor and they seem to waste a lot so that adds to the accumulation.

Please stop laughing and give me some basic advice on lime, this sweet PDZ stuff, amount of straw(bedding). Also, does this bedding we clean out make good fertilizer/mulch? should it be composted? how long?

I have just started perusing these forums and seems like a lot of knowledgable folks contribute. I got books but books ain't always as good as expereince. Thanks loads!

-- Paul (pbray@tds.net), March 26, 2001


Hi Paul,

My experience is with horses (I do have 1 goat) but manure is manure. I use Sweet PDZ because it is less caustic than lime. I also use sawdust or pine shavings rather than straw, except in the foaling or kidding stalls. I use straw in the foaling/kidding stalls because sawdust and shavings are much more likely to cause infection in the mare/doe, and cause respiratory problems in the foal/kid.

I do compost my muckings for a year. You may be able to do it sooner but that amount of time seems to break it down nicely for me. I only have the one goat and I feed her with a hay bag hang on the side of the stall, it keeps the hay up out of the muck. The horse's hay is fed right on the stall floor because they shouldn't reach up to eat.

I hope that helps.

Stacy Rohan in Windsor, NY

-- Stacy Rohan (KincoraFarm@aol.com), March 26, 2001.

You simply must build a better mouse trap! Hay feeders for goats must be made with some idea of how smart goats truly are! First during good weather get the hay out of the barns. We have fence line feeders called coffins. They are simply 8 by 4 foot boxes, with very short legs, that sit on our side of the fence. The goats reach through the cattle panel fencing into the box, the box has a roof/lid that opens to put two bails of hay into, and closes to shed rain. Obviously the goats side of the box is open to the fence. We do have 1 by 4's running near the bottom of the goats side of the box to hold the hay in also. This way any waste is eaisly pitchforked on the fenceline into the compost pile. You might want to go to web sites of folks with goats, not to look at the goats but to look at their setups. We deeply bed the stalls with shavings in November, keeping hay picked up, and completely cleaning stalls down to sand in spring. Then a simple raking each weekend keeps things clean. I would get the cement out of my stalls. I simply could not afford to clean down to the cement and keep adding shavings as often as would be needed in our area to keep the parasites and flies down. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), March 26, 2001.

We have Angoara goats. The section used by the goats is 16 x 20. We put 7 bale of wood shaving on the floor. Whatever hay the goats drop on the floor is spread around. The barn is completely cleaned once a month in the warm months and every other in the cold months. The material is mixed with the barn cleaning from our chickens and alpacas. The compost is heated to about 165 degrees and is ready in 3 to 6 months. We produce about 25 cubic yards per year.

-- David in NH (grayfoxfarm@mcttelecom.com), March 26, 2001.

Allmost forgot. We use granular lime on the the barn floor after cleaning. We use the same lime for the chickens to eat instead of oyster shells. And also spread it on the alpaca barn floor for them to roll in.

-- David in NH (grayfoxfarm@mcttelecom.com), March 26, 2001.


Vickie's post just reminded me of how we made an inexpensive coffin type feeder. I happened to take the garbage to the dumpster at the end of the road. i noticed a refrigator crate, wooden there, so i told hubby who then took it home and made a feeder out of it after he disinfected it. By the way, it was from our loacal air condition and refrigation neighbor. Never know what good stuff you'll find at the dumpsters. LOL:):)

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), March 26, 2001.

Just pile the soiled hay up at one corner of your garden,dampening it as you add to the pile.Turn the pile about once a month re-wetting each time.It takes about 6 month to make finished compost due to the high straw/hay content but it's great for the garden.If you are an avid gardener you may find yourself encouraging your goats to waste more hay.

-- JT (gone2seed@hotmail.com), March 26, 2001.

I also have a concrete floor in my barn, Paul. The "loafing" area for my 6 to 12 or so goats is 10x24. I use cedar shavings for bedding which around here are fairly cheap. Sometime around Nov. 1st. or so when the flies are gone, I just let the shavings build up for a warm manure pack and just add wood ashes from my woodstove to "sweeten" it occasionally. And there will always be waste hay from goats to add to the bedding! I clean it out completely in the spring, use a mild bleach solution on the concrete floor, then add fresh shavings when dry. During the fly and parasite months I clean out the Loafing pen once a week which keeps the fly population way down. I also use Q-Mist auto sprayers which I highly recommend! The results of cleaning my pen this way is a nonexistent parasite environment! No worm problems either. When I clean my pen in the spring, it composts til October, then it then gets tilled into the garden. Good luck with your goats, and I really don't think anyone is laughing at you!!!

-- Marcia (HrMr@webtv.net), March 26, 2001.

Hey, I'm definately not laughing! Stall cleaning gets to be a real hassle. I have a similar situation to yours - concrete floors, no drains. My barn used to be a dairy cow maternity ward/calf barn, and my goats are in the north end, which is about 1/5 of the space. Nice wide doors to get in and out with the wheelbarrow but there lies the problem....due to some physical problems, cleaning out a 12x28' stall by hand every weekend is a real killer. I always have to get dh to help as I cannot manage on my own. Now the other end of the barn has 2 huge barn doors on the east and west sides, big enough to drive the tractor through. It's used as a garage for an extra truck we have, but the truck is going to be demoted to a shed so I can have the space for my goats. I will be able to use the tractor to clean the stall out, with only minimal shoveling by hand on the edges where the tractor can't reach. I'll build a feeder all along one wall where it will be out of the way.

Best feeder arrangement I've come up with is one with at least a 6" or so bottom lip, and then 2x4s placed horizontally with just enough spacing for the goats to be able to squeeze their head through between the 2x4 and the bottom lip of the feeder. I had a keyhole type feeder previously, and somehow they still managed to waste a lot of hay. The feeder I have now keeps waste to a minimum. Also, I make a habit of daily picking up any hay that does hit the floor (before it gets fouled) and feeding it to my horses. This cuts down on the stall mess a lot.

I do feed outside as much as possible, which helps greatly in keeping the stall clean, but during winter, there's just no way to avoid having the goats indoors a lot.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), March 28, 2001.

Composting is good, but if your hay doesn't contain too many seeds, you can put the stall cleanings right on the garden beds in the fall. By spring, they're "sheet" composted and ready to plant. In the spring, I either put down another layer on a bed I won't plant that season, or make a new bed. I clean the stall twice a year, and use straw for bedding because the pellets fall down into the straw leaving clean bedding on top for the does. Allowing chickens to have access to the stall keeps extra grain and seeds cleaned up pretty well, and their scratching helps fluff up and break down the straw.

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@seedlaw.com), March 28, 2001.

Hey Paul, Just this week I lost 5 pounds cleaning out my goat stalls and getting ready for kids due next week. I throw my manure ( made up of softwood shavings, spoiled hay and droppings) accumulated from last December directly in the garden, cover with a black plastic tarp for 6 weeks, then till in the garden. I also feed outside as much as possible during the summer. As for the waste hay, at least in their stalls in the winter it keeps piling up and keeps their stalls relatively dry, so I save $$ by not having to buy shavings. Once the stalls are clean, I mix 1 cup bleach to 5 gallons water and spray down the concrete floor and wood walls. Once dry (usually the next day) I spread about 4 inches of fresh shavings and my children have "stall duty" weekly for the summer. As a reward they get fresh milk and a variety of cheeses. Enjoy your goats and best of luck.

-- Dan Vachon (dbvachon@yahoo.com), March 31, 2001.

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