Facilities for Small-Scale Goat Farms

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Facilities for small-scale goat farmsSUSAN SCHOENIAN (Shy-n-n) Sheep & Goat SpecialistUniversity of Maryland Extensionsschoen@umd.edu www.sheepandgoat.com

Facility needs on a goat farmContainmentShelter FeedingWateringKiddingFeed storageAnimal handlingManure handlingMortality disposalHarvestHauling

Containment: fencing needsThere are many options, many materials.PerimeterInterior / cross

Pens and corrals

Perimeter fencesIf it wont hold water, it wont hold goats.High-tensile, electricMulti-strand 5-7 strands, 40-46 inches high12.5 gauge smooth wireProper wire spacinge.g. 6-5-5-8-10Good charger (energizer)Low impedanceMinimum of 5000 voltsMain, solar/batteryWell-groundedMinimum 3 ground rodsWell-bracedStrong cornersAll hot or hot/coldNeed to keep fence lines clean

Perimeter fencesIf it wont hold water, it wont hold goats.American (woven) wire $$$Horizontal wires with vertical staysOpenings small enough (2 x 6 in) to keep heads out or large enough (6 x 6 in) to allow horned goats to get heads out.Barbed wires at top and bottom of fence.Electric off-set wire to keep goats away from fence.Trip wire for predator control.

HT Electric vs. Woven WireHT ElectricLess expensiveConstruction: $0.89/footOwnership: $0.12/foot/year(Iowa State University, 2012)Easier to installFewer fence postsPhysiological barrierAnimals need to be trainedElectric can go offNeed to keep fence lines clean25 year life expectancyWoven WireMore expensiveConstruction: $1.93/footOwnership: $0.33/foot/year(Iowa State University, 2012)Harder to installMore fence postsPhysical barrierPeace of mindGoats can get heads stuck20 year life expectancy

Perimeter fencesIf it wont hold water, it wont hold goats.Other $10-12 strand barbed wire fence with wire stays.Can add electric wires to barbed wire.Can add electric wires or wire mesh to board fences.

More expensive fencing can be used for smaller enclosures $$$$.

Interior fencing cross fencingTo subdivide pastures and have different pastures for different classes of animalsPermanent subdivisionsMulti-strand, HT electricAmerican (woven) wireTemporary subdivisions or pasturesElectric HT wire Smooth wire PolywireRopeTapeElectric netting

Pens and corralsNeedsAll producersQuarantine penSick penHandling areaOther needs depend upon management systemBarn lotsFeeding areasKidding pens, individual and groupBuck housing

MaterialsMulti-strand, HT, non-electricAmerican (woven) wireBoardStock panelsMetal gates

Construction needs to be stronger and taller than fencing.

Containment: housing and shelterCLOSEDOPEN


Closed (or confinement) housingPROSProtection from inclement weatherCold weather housing for kidding.Housed animals have lower nutrient requirements.Easier to monitor animals.Place to store feed and equipment.Comfort for people.Reduced laborCONSMore expensiveAir quality VentilationManure build-up

Open housingPROSLess expensiveBetter air qualityMore exerciseLess manure build-upCONSLess protectionHigher nutritional requirementsLess convenience for peopleMore labor

Many ways to provide shelter and/or shade for goatsEnough room for all goats to stand consider dynamics of herdBarnsShedsThree sided sheltersPoly domesPort-a-hutsCarportShade clothHomemadeHay wagonsNaturalTreesWindbreaks

Space requirements for sheep and goats (Sq. feet)HousingDirt lotOpen shedConfinement (dirt floor)Confinement(slatted floors)Bred doe208-1012-168-10Doe with kids251216-2010-12Buck208-1020-3014-20Kid15-2068-104-6

Source: Midwest Plan Service (sheep, 1994)


Many options for feeder: considerationsAppropriate for type of feedAppropriate for type and number of goatsConsideration for hornsSafeMinimize feed wastageProhibit feed spoilageAmple feed storageAmple feeder spaceEasy to cleanLabor considerationsCostHomemade vs. purchased

Feeder space requirements for goatsFeedersBuckDry doeDoes with kidsKidsLimit-fed12 in.16-20 in.16-20 in.12 in.Self-fed6 in.8-12 in.6-8 in.2-4 in.Creep2 inches per kid

Feed storage Needs depend upon size of operation and feeding program.Feed storage gives flexibility in feeding program. Allows bulk purchases for lower prices.Offers protection during emergencies.Protects your investment: hay deteriorates rapidly in quality if it is not stored properly.Feed needs protected from animals: birds, rodents, and cats.Doesnt take many animals to justify some investment in feed storage.

Watering systems for goats1-4 gallons per goat per dayNeeds varySize of operationAvailability of well and surface waterProximity of barn and pastures to waterGrazing planLaborCostMany options and materialsManual buckets, troughs, hosesAutomatic water lines, bowls, nipples, pump, gravity fill, tanksCost share may be available from NRCS to assist with development of watering systems for grazing systems.

Handling goatsHow (and where) will you perform these tasks?Ear tagging and micro-chippingWeighingHoof trimming, soakingMilking, shearing, slaughteringVaccinatingTreatmentsBody condition scoringFAMACHA scoringDewormingLoading onto truck or trailerOther?

Handling goatsFew animalsCan handle animals individually with a collar or halter.Bigger herdWorking system is recommended.Gathering penChuteRestraining deviceScaleLoading rampCan catch and handle animals in a small pen.Small herd

Restraintmanual halter milk stand - work platform head gate - tilt (turn) table

Manure managementManure production varies with breed and feeding levels 5% of body weight50 lbs. of manure per day per 1000 lbs. of live goatDesign facilities with manure removal in mind.Dont have to remove frequently as long as top is dry; there is value to having a manure pack.Proper storage (if stored)0.8 cubic feet per day per 1000 lbs. of live goatControl runoff, flies, and odorBe in compliance with any nutrient management regulations.In residential areas, handle manure properly to avoid problems with neighbors.

Dead animal disposal Where theres livestock, theres dead stock!Also need to dispose of afterbirth, slaughter wastes, and other waste products from goats.Need to be in compliance with any state, county and local regulations.Need to be concerned about:Run-off: need to protect well and surface waterOdor and fly controlDisease prevention: prevent spread of diseases, e.g. abortion, scrapie, sheep measles.Wildlife: dont want to attract wildlife, especially predators.Methods of disposalOn-site composting (preferred)On-site burialIncinerationRenderingLandfillLeaving it for nature to decompose

Hauling goatsAll livestock producers need to have a way to haul their animals.To the vetTo the fairTo the livestock auctionTo the slaughterhouseTo other farms/ranchesOptionsRacks for truckPull behind trailerFriend with truck or trailerCommercial hauler

Dog crates and the back of SUVs are only useful for hauling an animal or two and smaller animals.Dont need a 20-foot trailer for 2 goats.

Thank you for your attention. Questions? Comments?SUSAN SCHOENIANSheep & Goat SpecialistUniversity of Maryland Extensionsschoen@umd.eduwww.sheepandgoat.com

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