How to Set Up Your Shelter, Feeding Stations, and Pasture for Pack Goats
Pack Goats are not super complicated to take care of, but how you set up your feeding stations, shelter and pasture are important for them and for you. I made a ton of mistakes in the beginning and I hope to help you to eliminate making those same mistakes with some simple suggestions. Before I get too deep please realize that, currently, I only have about an acre to use for my goats and I have around 10 – 12 depending on my ages and how many babies I’m bringing up. The fact that I have a fair amount of goats on a fairly small property makes my situation a bit unique but the principals still apply and I believe this article will help you regardless of how large your area is to raise your pack goats. Here is a that will show you much of what this article speaks about. I suggest you read this first and then come back to the video.
Let’s talk shelters first. It is best to have many small shelters over 1 big shelter. Now if you have a house sized barn…that’s just fine but if you are limited to 500 square feet of covered space then it’s best to break that up into five, 100 square foot stalls as opposed to one big enclosure. The reason being is the dominant goats will continually kick the less dominant ones out. Some will sleep and lounge together but plan on only a few doing that. You will have new goats you’ll be mixing in and they will be the outsider that needs shelter too and no one will want him in their space. I have 8 shelters for 11 goats and that’s about right. I could get away with less but no one ever goes without at this ratio. Shelters need to be 3 sided with a roof and have nice fresh bedding and good ventilation. Always face your opening away from prevailing winds and weather. Your main goal is to keep them dry and out of the wind.
Now lets talk about how you are going to feed your pack goats. Here is a video of a good feeder design that will eliminate waste. In the video I tout that no babies are getting in it, but alas… they have figured out a way…Luckily, not very often and now they don’t bed in it anymore. For 11 goats I have four big feeders and 4 smaller ones. The smaller ones are simple big open feeder “bowls” that I put a small amount of hay in so everyone gets a good feed two times a day. This way no one (especially the young ones) are kept away from the feed when they need it most while they are growing kids. Goats gobble down the best stuff first and I want everyone to have access to the “best stuff.” I also set up a separate space for my under 1 year old kids to have bedding and their own food. You can see that video here.
Now, let’s discuss fencing. I started with and will always use electric fencing. It’s cost effective and functional and goats respect it. There are other options but honestly, I’ve never used anything else and I like that option most cuase they leave it alone…Everything else I’ve used they tear up and lean on. Even if I did use normal fencing, I’d still run electric to keep them off of it.
Lastly, let’s quickly go over Play structures for pack goats. Here is a video showing you the one I built. Yours can be how ever you want but in my opinion if you want pack goats to be their best you need a good play structure. Your goats will develop agility skills and balancing practices that will change how what they can handle when you are back in. It will be worth your time, I promise.