Goat House Tour


Nutmeg: “Would you like to see our new chalet?”

Shelter for goats is a necessity–they need shade in the summer, but they especially need protection from the bitter cold in the winter. We’ve been making do with the doghouse in the night pen, but with the babies growing and real winter hitting, the goats were ready for a real goat house. It’s constructed in what is called the “loose housing” method–which is ideal for goats. Social creatures that they are, goats don’t like to be stalled separately. Loose housing is a communal setup where goats share quarters in an enclosed shelter.

A small shelter works well if you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of goats. Their grain and hay storage is nearby, as is the milking pen, giving all the space inside the shelter to the goats. It could hold a few more goats. If we grow past that, we could either build a second shelter, or build a barn for the whole increased crew and turn this small shelter into a summerhouse for the goats or storage for hay or a milking parlor, etc.

They have a hay rack and a bucket for water, and straw to bed down in. I also keep a small bowl in there for their evening grain ration.

They’re always eager to get up in the morning.

Clover: “I hope you brought cookies.”

They pile out for the day, but often go back inside to stay warm.

The goat house has an attached porch. Each section, the enclosed shelter and the porch, is constructed eight by eight by eight by eight….. (We didn’t use a formal plan or anything. And I’m using the term “we” in the royal manner….. The goat house was built by 52. I was very encouraging.)

Those are not still Christmas lights you see on our farmhouse porch….. I swear!

The porch flooring is reclaimed (free) lumber from an old fence. The shelter’s siding is also reclaimed (free) lumber from an old house my oldest son tore down for someone last summer.

I love how old wood looks. The free part doesn’t hurt, either.

The floor inside the shelter is 1/2-inch plywood. The top is covered in 1/4-inch chip board then roofed with galvanized metal. The entire structure is framed with landscaping timbers that were on sale. The door is made of two (free) pallets, hung one on top of the other, that can be opened separately. The window can also be latched shut or left open for more ventilation. There’s a door inside that gives the goats access to their porch.

The porch is secured with fencing wire. Clover enjoys her view of the beautiful hills. It will be a shady spot where the goats can relax out of the sun in the summertime.

They also enjoy the porch in the winter, except when the Giant Puppy barges in.

Clover: “Don’t look at her, babies. Pretend she isn’t here.”

It’s hard to be a Giant Puppy in a goat’s world.

During the day, the goats come and go as they please between the goat house and the yard. Sometimes they even sit under the porch, where they can fit and the Giant Puppy cannot.

At night, they are bedded down in their goat house, no longer sharing sleeping quarters with the Giant Puppy. Coco sleeps in her straw-filled doghouse in the night pen, left open to the goat yard. She paces the yard watching for predators, barking at noises in the woods, letting everyone know she is on duty.

Coco: “I want to be a livestock guardian dog when I grow up.”

Me: “Coco…..”

“….look at your giant paw in my hand! You are almost grown up now!”

Coco: “I am? I am! I am a livestock guardian dog! I am, I am! I will protect you, Clover.”

Clover: “Whatever. I need drapes. Where are my drapes? Where are my color swatches? WHERE IS MY INTERIOR DESIGNER?!”

“Tell her to bring cookies.”

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on January 19, 2009  

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31 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 1-19

    Those pictures are just the cutest! :)

    I remember when my parents and i built our ole’ chicken coop. Building pet houses are always so much fun!!! Especially when its FREE!!! ;)

  2. 1-19

    Nice lodging for Clover and kids! See, your farm is expanding. You are getting those necessary farm structures up! Now, what about those little lambs when they come? It never ends!!! The work nor the fun!!!

  3. 1-19

    My goodness, the little goat babies are so big (and fat!) and Coco is ENORMOUS. How big is she going to get? And are you feeding her on grandmother bread? I hope so, because she must eat you out of house and home.

  4. 1-19

    *whine whine whine*

    I want goats! My husband just rolls his eyes when I do this.

    Coco is getting so big! I just love her, and the goats. I really love the goats. Did I mention that I want goats???

  5. 1-19

    Love all that old wood you used on the goat house! It looks so neat. Not to mention better than pitching all that old wood.

    I’ll check back for the link to your newspaper article. Can’t wait.

  6. 1-19

    I love your use of pallets and reclaimed wood!

  7. 1-19

    Tell Clover I really appreciate the Tour of Homes…it was kind of her to take so many photos for us! And oh, my goodness, Coco has become a grownup! At least in body – I suspect she’s still a puppy in heart and mind. This post takes me back to the days when my sister and I tried to finish Diane’s outdoor bunny pen – up on stilts and surrounded by chicken wire. Someone else started it and left the job unfinished, so we bravely took up the challenge. Did I say “tried?” Hey, we did it!!! :snoopy:

  8. 1-19

    :happypuppy: Good morning gang! I love today’s pics and posts. You are the best girlfriend…and funny! Love your posts. Clover is expecting??? I must have missed the formal announcement. :happypuppy: That is so exciting. I agree with the other poster that says Clover must be eating Grandmother Bread..she is getting her winter “fat coat” on real good now. The goats are soooooo fun and cute. I love Coco, naturally, because we have 7 dogs…inside doggies..all rescued and saved from being put down, or rescued from the road(S) etc….ours is a happy, busy, noisy and wonderful and safe!!!! home thanks to them. We have been rescuing and saving doggies for over 10 years now and have had up to 13 at one time several years ago….A beautiful Great Dane all the way down to a toy chicahua (sp??) Lots of love and affection and fun here. Altho, we have sworn to not get anymore as we cannot ever go anywhere overnight together….not with all these babies. BUt, it is worth it. Everytime we come home from the store, etc. they show us unconditional love and that does it! Love, Mommadog :happypuppy:

  9. 1-19

    No, Clover isn’t pregnant. Yet. I wish she was!!!! :heart:

  10. 1-19

    I love the goats and Coco…they are so cute! From looking at your snow..I am ready for SPRING!

  11. 1-19

    Goat house! WOO HOO! Clover and her young’uns are so happy… you can just see how much they love it.

  12. 1-19

    That goat house is fantastic! 52 is very talented and so is your encouragment. I love that you used free wood and reclaimed wood. I am always trying to build stuff from reclaimed. It is so much nicer with old wood!
    Your column is great!

  13. 1-19

    LOVED that first pic!!

    The goat house looks great! I’m sure they’re all very comfy cozy in there.

    Can’t believe how big Coco is now. Wow!

    Blessings from Ohio…

  14. 1-19

    Love it, love it, love it, especially the reclaimed wood. I was told by a “goat lady” that goats love to sleep on shelves. So, I built some freestanding wooden shelves in our goat shed and they love it! At bedtime everyone jumps up on their “own” space and they snooze the night away. I throw straw on the shelves but they seem to like to sleep on the bare wood. When 52 isn’t busy (sounds unlikely) you might ask him to add some sleeping shelves. I made my own but I just love my chop saw and power tools.

    Thanks for sharing. The pics are great!

  15. 1-19

    I always forget how small the goats are until I see the huge CoCo lol.

    Mammadog – I do the same for cats (smaller than your dogs lol). Unfortunately for the first time I wasn’t able to save a kitten that showed up in this horrible cold weather with pneumonia :cry:

  16. 1-19

    Tell 52 I’m mighty impressed! And for cryin’ out loud give that girl some cookies.

  17. 1-19

    Loved the tour. All your babies are getting so big (could be all those cookies)! What a delight. You brighten our day with your babies :)

  18. 1-19

    I just read your story in the paper here online. Was it the first one? I love your pic’s and comments on the goat house tour! Do Coco and the goats play together some? I cant believe how big Coco has gotten and not even full grown yet! :hug:

  19. 1-19

    The first photo of this post is the best! (not that the others aren’t good) It just seems to capture the whole story.

  20. 1-19

    Be sure and tell 52 that the chalet is FABULOUS! :) Love it, love it, love it! A job very well done!

    Traci ;)

  21. 1-19

    :woof: OMG…Coco is so big…..and georgous too! Love the chateau du goats….great job 52!!

  22. 1-19

    what kind of goats are they?

  23. 1-19

    What Christmas lights? Mine are still up and turned on every night until our new president takes office…sorry to be political, but I’m celebrating the feeling of hope in our nation. Coco, you are gorgeous!! Clover and babies, you are also..Give all of them a cookie or two or three.. :snoopy: :snoopy:

  24. 1-19

    Forgot to ask a question regarding the daily photo…are you planning of breeding Coco at some time in the future? Just wondered since she hasn’t been spayed..

  25. 1-19

    Suzie, yes, we are planning to breed Coco!

    Leah, yes, that is the first one that is online now. The new one was briefly online then they realized it was a snafu and they will put it back up next Monday when it actually runs in the paper.

    Joanna, they’re Nigerian Dwarf goats!

  26. 1-19

    My goodness, Coco has gotten so big! :yes:

  27. 1-19

    Good Golly Coco is HUGE! Does she still act like a puppy, or is she growing into her duties?

  28. 1-19

    Love the pictures and dialogue!

    Coco and the baby goats are getting so grown up.

  29. 5-29

    this is absolutely the best!! thank you for sharing your story!

  30. 10-19

    THIS IS A WELL THOUGHT OUT SHELTER!!!! I am currently researching goats because I plan to get two or so next year when I move. I’ve been looking at different types of shelters and this one is by far the best I’ve seen!! If you or anyone else has the time to email me some tips I’d greatly appreciate it. The more I know the better!! I would never do anything without being completely prepared =] peace and love

    [email protected]

  31. 8-13

    my brother built a chicken house and it was terrible! the roof started to droop and it was way to small. our chickens died along time ago. some dog got in throu the broken door. it was sad. if we ever build another, im going 2 convince him 2 build onelike this.

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