Having the correct plans for building an ideal shelter for your dairy goats can make all the difference when it comes to protection, organization, and feeding.
By Jerry Belanger and Sara Thomson Bredesen
Everything you need to know to raise dairy goats including housing, fencing, feeding, disease diagnosis and treatment, breeding, milking, dairying, and cheese making is all included in Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats (Storey Publishing, 2017). Authors Jerry Belanger and Sara Thomson Bredesen see dairy goats as a great choice for the small or backyard dairy farmer. Goats require a smaller investment than cows and produce milk that is great for making delicious fresh yogurt and cheese.
You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats
Providing a shelter for dairy goats is an essential aspect of keeping them comfortable and safe. Ideally facilities for dairy goats have plenty of space for the goats to be social, hay and feed storage, a water source, manger, a clean milking stand area, and doors big enough to move easily in and out with materials and multiple goats. Goats are notorious for using everything at their disposal to break through fences and structures, so be sure your barn/shed/garage/coop is sturdy.
This is a good basic floor plan, showing the fundamentals of a goat barn. Grain is stored in a metal garbage can with a tight lid. Many alternative arrangements are possible, including locating the water outside the loafing area to help reduce contamination and providing a wider door to the yard to prevent bossy from blocking the entrance.
Although a very small shed is workable, it can hamper efficiency. This plan would require carrying hay from an outside storage area all the way through the shed to reach the manger. Sliding doors and a folding milking stand are especially valuable in cramped quarters like this.
Barns should be designed for efficiency. They should be easy to clean and keep clean. The layout should eliminate unnecessary motion; function is more important than appearance. For instance, in this design one pen can be used to hold goats hat haven’ been milked. As each one is finished, she can be shuttled into the empty pen.
In this design the mangers and water buckets are outside he pens, and the doors and gates swing into the pens. These are personal choices. Some people wouldn’t want the two pens shown here. But if you only have a few goats and one shed and want to keep a couple of kids, this arrangement could work just fine. The smaller area might also be used as a kidding pen and/or for hay storage.