Building Goat Enclosures

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20150211_170542When we got our Nigerian Dwarf goats, we had to build a shelter quickly, and they ended up with a small 4×8 shelter that has served us very well. We were able to pick up the house and move it to their larger pasture on the forks of our tractor and despite the moving and shifting, it has worked out very well.

Now however, we have been able to build a larger barn and plan to over winter our goats there, to facilitate the kidding process and simplify chores. We have attached paddock areas for the goats to get outdoor play time complete with climbing toys, but the objective inside the barn was to have separate birthing stalls and a means to contain them while in the barn.

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You can see in these (admittedly messy construction time) photos some of the details we built into the project. The coolest part of this build, it that we used oak board, harvest from our trees we removed to make way for the barn. We used a local sawmill and it was a good feeling to see the full circle for this lumber.

20150919_091501Each of our girls have their own stall, though as often as not they all pile in together. We will be adding stall gates to isolate them for the birthing. We are also planning to remove one of the wall boards to create feeding stanchions to better control what they are eating individually, but right now we manage that with buckets. The hay and straw rack on top is a handy addition that we use for storage as well as feed to keep things contained.

Lessons learned here include the fact that even little goats can climb! Note the photo of our buck on top of the wall. Overall we are happy with the result, but we will be making some updates in the coming months after we get a bit more time in to see what else we can improve.

Building an apron for access to the barn

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FB_IMG_1429635140386In the construction process, we learned we needed to build an apron to facilitate entry and exit from our property. The apron provides a transition from the road, to the driveway / field and cleans the mud off from tires as well. to build this, we had to excavate a foot +/1 to cut through the top layer of dirt and get to the clay base, then fill it with tire scrubber rocks.

FB_IMG_1429635145197We learned a couple of key things in this process.

  1. An apron is important and needs to be planned for (whoops, missed this at first)
  2. Excavation can be done pretty easily on this with a tractor and bucket, no expert help needed (cost savings)
  3. When ordering the tire scrubber rock, be sure to be clear about the grade of rock you are getting. We were not clear enough on this and ended up picking out re-bar and some scrap metal from the end result.
  4. Pick out any scrap metal from the final product.
  5. If you did not get a driveway permit, your township may take offense and ask for one, viewing this as a driveway…