When you are all geared up for winters with thick coats and insulated rooms, why shouldn't your goats be? Like everybody else on the planet, goats need extra attention and care during the harsh winters. From living conditions to food and clothing, you need to make sure that your goats are ready and strong for the cold. It is worth the effort because it will prevent trips to the vet when your goats catch on the cold and fall sick. The cold that freezes to the bone and the cold winds can test your patience and your commitment to protect your goats. Let us get down to business with our step by step guide which has the complete information on how to protect your goats this winter!
Grass hay is a better option than grain because it keeps the goats warmer. Make sure your goats get ample food so that their body temperature is maintained. At nights, keep spare hay in the shelter for the goats. When hay is not available due to the cold constraints, feed your goat grain but in a greater quantity than usual. If your goat's rumen is full, he is warm with the internal body heat.
You need to feed your goats hot water in winters. Even if it feels scorching to you, it will not burn their tongues because their internal body temperature is higher than human. Make sure that the goats intake warm water at least twice a day. Goat varieties like Bucks and wethers are prone to urinary calculi and need a good amount of hot water to prevent formation of any crystals in their urine.
No hay or water will be able to keep your goats warm if they are exposed to the chilling cold and biting winds. Create a covered shelter that keeps out the wind. However, it should not be airtight because it can lead to formation of ammonia and unhealthy conditions inside. The shelter should be properly ventilated with space to let in sunshine.
Keep mats and bedding on the floor for the goats to rest on. These clothing surfaces will help insulate them from the cold ground. Wood shaving and straw are also good options and they also absorb urine.
If you can done flashy winter coats, why cant your goats do the same? Make them coats from old wool clothing. It is not much of an effort. You can even simply drape them over the goat's back and tie the sleeves underneath. It will protect them from wind lashes.
Hygiene and health:
Make sure your goats have enough space to roam around. take them out for grazing when the day is fine. Also keep a regular check on parasite control because lice and other parasites thrive in winters. Good hoof care is also necessary.