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.”
“….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.”