Fiber Goat Housing Requirements


Raising goats for the fiber they produce is very profitable if done the correct way. One of the most important parts of raising fiber-producing goats is their housing requirements.

Fiber goat housing is the structure where they live, eat and breed. It is important when raising fiber goats to make sure they have a place to keep out of the elements. They must be kept in good condition so that their fibers are of the highest quality.

Raising goats can be beneficial for many reasons, one of which is raising them for the fiber that they produce. Fiber goats bring in a good profit if they are kept in the best conditions possible.

Housing is an important part of that process. The structures where your goats are kept must meet some basic requirements to keep the goats out of the rain and snow and their hairs/fibers in top condition.

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Using Existing Structures

It is perfectly fine to use existing structures as long as they meet a few key requirements needed for goat housing. Many people have barns, sheds, shacks or lean-to structures already built on their properties.

These structures can be converted to house fiber goats with just a few modifications.

Here are a few elements your existing structures should have:

  • The roof should not be too high/tall
  • The floor should be dirt and not concrete
  • A structure for goats should have ventilation
  • It needs to have shaded areas and areas with sunlight

If your existing structures meet these requirements you can consider modifying them to house fiber goats.

Requirements for Fiber Goat Housing

When building or modifying your structures for goat housing a few things come into consideration. These requirements are essential in keeping your goats happy and healthy in their living quarters.

The structures do not have to be elaborate for the goats to thrive but they do need to make sure that the animals stay clean, are free from drafts, and that it keeps them dry in times of bad weather.

A Well Drained Lot

The area where you keep your fiber goats should have a slope or a drain. You will need to keep the area as clean as possible, removing manure and washing out stalls. For this reason, you want a small slope that allows the water to drain out of the structure.

It’s best to have the drainage flow towards the south instead of the north or west so that it dries faster and is easier to maintain.

Manure Management

You will need to remove manure from the housing. Keeping it in a pile outside of the housing is the best option. It can then be carried off or disposed of easily. Always make sure your manure pile is out of the line of drainage so that it doesn’t remain wet.

Draft Free Ventilation

The goat housing needs to have an adequate amount of ventilation but should not allow a draft. In the winter goats can survive extremely cold temperatures if they are in a structure that does not have a heavy draft.

The same goes for if they get wet, being well ventilated will let them dry off but too much of a draft can cause sickness. A sick wet goat is no good.

Protection from the Weather

Your structures need to allow the goats to get enough sunlight and have a little bit of shade, but they should also keep them from getting wet. Goats do not like to be wet or cold. Raising fiber goats means keeping their fibers/hairs in top condition and out of the elements of weather.

Since goats need to have some sunlight, having multiple windows helps get them the sunlight they need, while still having areas for shade.

Separated Work Area for Storage

You should have a separate work area to keep your feed and store medical supplies. You will also be doing a bit of work in this area, like tending to sick goats and organizing/accessing your supplies.

It’s fine to have concrete flooring in this area, but a dirt floor is also suitable if you keep your feed and storage items off the ground. This area can also be used for shearing goats and kidding.

Protection from Predators

Your goat housing should provide protection from predators. It should be located within fenced areas/lots. You want to make sure the fencing will hold up to the goats and be well mended to keep any predators out.

Always make sure to check your parameter and fencing for vulnerabilities.

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Open Housing for Fiber Goats

There are two types of goat housing, open housing, and confinement housing. Both have their pros and cons. Open housing, also known as loose housing, provides goats with a covered structure while still allowing them to move freely in and out of the facility.

This always gives them access to the pastures, letting them forage when they are hungry and return to their housing at will.

Pros:
Less expensive to build.
Easier access for machinery and removing manure.
Cons:
It requires more bedding.
Problem/boss goats can mingle with the herd.

Confinement Housing for Fiber Goats

In confinement housing, the goats are all kept in an inside structure. They have a separate area for exercise and pasture access. They are kept inside with doors that you must open and close daily.

Any goat housing system should be made up of multiple areas within the building to allow for feeding, milking, and kidding.

Pros:
More supervised management.
It uses less bedding.
Cons:
Animals must be turned out for exercise.
A ventilation system is needed.
livestock-goat-rustic-housing-shelter

Size Requirements for Goat Housing

Regardless of which type of housing you go with, or whether it’s an existing structure that must be modified or a new build, you need to keep the number of goats you will be raising and the size of the building in mind.

A guideline to go by for the amount of space needed per goat is that a mature goat needs 10 square feet, with a minimum of 5 square feet.

If the structure is 30’ long by 8’ with a 4’ tall ceiling, that would provide 240 square ft. This would house 20-25 adult goats if you went by the 10 square feet per goat housing guideline.

In this formula, goat kids should be provided with 5 square feet per goat kid. The square foot size of your structure can be adjusted for the number of goats you will be raising.

Always keep in mind also that it is best to plan for expansion in case you decide to bring in more goats. You may also decide to go with multiple smaller units. This can help if you live in an area that is colder, having them closer together in a smaller space can help them to keep warm in the winter.

Building Stalls and Bedding Areas

You may want to build some individual pens or stalls for your goats. You may need to do this if you have a doe who is not taking to her kids or a sick goat. There are a few different areas inside the structure to consider.

  • Goat pens and stalls
  • Goat sleeping platforms
  • Feeding and kidding areas

The inside of your housing structure should be composed of different areas that you will use. You may want to build a few individual stalls to separate does from kids, sick goats or problem goats.

You should also have areas for feeding the goats, kidding, and as mentioned before, a working area for keeping feed and supplies.

The bedding areas for goats should be 10-15 square feet per mature goat. You may also wish to build sleeping platforms for your fiber goats. Sleeping flatforms for goats can be comprised of 2 wooden pallets with straw. Goats love to climb and being just slightly elevated makes them happy.

Fiber goats prefer straw bedding over hay. It is also good to add gravel to the dirt floor before staging bedding areas with straw to keep the straw dryer and easier to manage.

Older goats benefit from sleeping platforms that provide added comfort and more straw/bedding.

Individual goat stalls should be around 6’ x 6’. This size works for kidding as well as keeping goats separated. This also leaves space for feeders and water troughs.

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A Few More Tips

  • If you are modifying an already built structure make sure to follow our guidelines for size, ventilation, and drainage.
  • Windows should be around 3’ x 3’ and it can be beneficial to have windows that can be removed or covered by a drop-down to control drafts and condensation.

Related Questions

Do fiber goats need individual stalls? Individual stalls are only needed for kids, does that are not taking to their kids, or sick goats. Fiber goats do just fine in an open bedding floor plan.

How big should the working area be? Since fiber goats will need to be sheared and cleaned, it is best to have a large space for the working area. This allows room to store feed, supplies, and still have room to do the work required.

Chad Kilpatrick

Chad Kilpatrick is a writer that is passionate about farming and livestock. He has experience in raising goats as well as cows, pigs, and chickens.

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