Goats in the Snow
Do Goats Like Snow
This year has been the biggest snowfall we have had here in Tennessee since I started raising goats. I didn't know how they would react, especially since the temperatures have been so cold. Normally we will have a few days in the teens and 20's, but then is goes back up to 30's, 40's, or even 50's. I think I was a little overprotective in this rough weather, but better safe than sorry!
Snow DayClick thumbnail to view full-size
My Goats Playing in the Snow
I think the extremely cold weather bothered my goats much more than the snow did. It was slightly warmer on the day we had the 4" of snow. When I went out to feed them, they were jumping and running around in the snow. They did not seem bothered by it at all. Of course they have a barn and several dog igloos to stay warm in. They did not come out when the blizzard was happening. I had to deliver the hay and several buckets of water to the barn because they said they were not coming out in that mess. But once it stopped snowing, the fun began. Young and old goats were running and jumping around in the snow like excited babies! We brought out sleds and were playing right along with the goats.
Smiling in the Snow
Preparing for the Cold Weather
It has been unusually cold this year so I had to do a few extra things to keep my goats warm and healthy. Our Co-op has 2 types of pine shavings (coarse and fine) and I found that using both, putting the fine down first, then the coarse has helped keep them warm and also keeps the barn dry and smelling good. Of course I have to rake it out every few days, but it is much cheaper than hay or straw. I don't have a traditional barn, it is a carport with sides but it works really well.
BUCKETS: These are a must when the hose is frozen. I bring buckets of water from the house to fill up their water bowls. Also on the days it was single digits I brought buckets of warm water up to the barn.
HAY: This is an obvious one. There is not too much for them to browse on in the fields so hay is a necessity.
GRAIN: I feed grain year-round but in the winter they get grain every day. I mix sweet feed with the medicated goat grain.
PINE SHAVINGS: This is the first year I am using this in their barn because of the extreme cold.
RAKE: I prefer the metal rake for cleaning the barn. I have broken 2 plastic ones.
RED CELL: This is a medication I use if someone gets weak or run down. The extreme cold can be stressful.
VITAMIN B SUPPLEMENT: Also for a goat that gets run down.
LIQUID NUTRITION: Some younger or older goats may have a hard time in the winter so I keep this handy for a quick pick me up.
ALFALFA CUBES: These have a lot of nutrition in them so I supplement their grain with this.
PROTEIN PAILS: This is a mineral pail that is mixed with molasses. The goats love these and are great for keeping their calories up in the winter when there is not a lot of fresh greens to graze on.
My Checklist For The Winter Months
Vitamin B Supplement
An Ounce Of Prevention
I have learned over the years, no matter what the situation with your goats, there is no such thing as over prepared. Try to be ready for any situation. Bitter winters like this is also why I never have winter babies. We had one extremely cold winter and I was asked how many goats we lost to the cold. It seems that people around us had lost livestock to the cold conditions. We did not lose any of our goats to the cold. We made sure that the shelters were piled pretty high with pine shavings and we also used old hay that we did not want to use as feed hay. They stayed very warm. And refilling the water buckets several times a day since they kept freezing was very important