Goat Cleanliness and Feeding Struggles

DellaMyDarling

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Main issues:

Keeping goat areas clean from manure and urine
And
I can't seem to find an ideal mix of foods for my goats


I have three Nigerians does. One yearling, one bred, one in milk.
They are lazy suckers, rarely using any of the pasture we fenced for them. They spend the day lounging in or in front of the pasture shed. Not so much concerned with that, means I can take a lot longer to get around to building pasture 2!
The trouble here is the urine mostly. I, a previous horse owner, am getting used to goat berries existing *everywhere*. Once per week their shed is scraped out and some fresh hay or grass for bedding is tossed in, then they naturally do the goat thing of creating more bedding from their hay rations. Hay is then also kicked off platform onto ground, goats ya know.
I have PDZ, used it sparingly thus far, to see if it would help soak up urine moisture. Mixed results.
At night they are moved to their own big stall in the animal barn. Stall has rubber mats, a layer of compressed pellet bedding, then hay. I was really hoping to treat this more like a deep litter method, but it seems in summer heat it needs weekly cleaning too! The pasture shed I get, but the cost for a bedding change weekly in stall is more than two weeks worth of their feed costs! *Over it*
They are not picking one or two spots to pee in. Pee is everywhere in both goat areas. Pee in the doorway of pasture. One obnoxious goat also LOVES peeing into the rubber feed bowl if I put one out in pasture with them. Ugh!
Walked into barn this afternoon and found some mischievous chicks scratching down to the rubber mats. No big deal, but it was fully urine soaked and now I feel bad about putting them back in there tonight :(
What can I do here? Why is pee so hard to manage? What did I do wrong here, or do goats just happily sleep on pee and it's ok?


And feed issues...

It's been a tough day in the barn.
I also discovered that both my open bags of feed have fly activity inside them. I'm getting angry about this, because it's a ton of wasted money (I presume.)
Doe in milk gets grains on stand, and they're stored in a metal "trash" barrel with lid, as is the flock feeds. I toss in handfuls of Timothy pellets, which seem to be getting along just fine in the open bag on the floor.
The chaffhaye and HiFiber junk was simply slit open and we were handfulling portions out for each recipient. I knew that Chaffhaye naturally has "white stuff" (good fungi) in it, and wrongfully presumed it would be fine as is. Bag says to store simply by rolling the bag opening. Admittedly, doesn't always happen with kids, but there's usually something placed on top to keep shut. Bag has gone hot and steamy wet inside, with identifiable bugs. Clearly, not so good.
The HiFiber, which I'm not sold on buying ever again, seems to have flies as well. This is a dry chopped hay mix. No clue why flies might be attracted to it. Not 100% certain that they have infested or just hanging out there, since they chaffhaye buffet is next door.
(And hay, of course, is offered. It is stored elsewhere.)

Umh...crap. What do I do?
What is your recommended feed and feed storage?
 

DellaMyDarling

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Interior of shed containing their stall is the rubber mat floor that I put the combo of bedding on. This is placed over a painted plywood.
The goat shed in pasture is simply a plywood floor. I tried to convince the Mister it was a dumb plan. Hopefully he'll see that soon ;)


I'm in New England.
 

rachels.haven

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Me too. It's been really humid.

I'm using wood shavings with stall refresher under that. Tried barn lime last time and it's not as good. My stalls are 8x8. When I only had 3 dwarf does, 3 dwarf bucks, I mucked each stall once a month. We have cement floors. My favorite floors were dirt. Well drained and properly graded dirt floors would probably serve you best. Pee would drain away and barn lime would probably work better then and would sweeten things up, and stall refresher if desired would keep any scent down. I like my stalls smell free.

As far as food goes, everything must be stored off the ground on pallets or tables or in cans with no holes or cracked seams. You probably have some cleanup to do in regards to the infested feed. I feel for you there. I'd get rid of anything with flies or anything near anything with flies. Then I'd bleach the cans, and clean up with bleach in general. Rubbing alcohol might work too. Next I'd ditch the chaffe hay. People are going to hate on me for this, but I'm of the opinion that goats should not eat silage and chaffe hay is silage. While it's usually safe, it's not going to be 100% of the time (and they want it used very fast to boot, for liability reasons). Plus, it probably called in the flies with it's fermented goodness. Not sure what hi-fiber is, but it's probably not needed unless a vet or mentor that knows you and your area better says it is.
I'd keep them on good, rich second cutting hay as 99% of their diet, and put something like blue seal pellets stored in a clean, bleached, bone dry, non-cracked garbage can and feed that as grain. Maybe BOSS in a seperate one and use that by the sprinkle as needed. And definitely keep those lids on! Mice and bugs don't take much encouragement. I also feed liberal amounts of alfalfa pellets because I can't get reasonably price alfalfa hay-about equal to the amount of pellets I feed for does, and if they can't eat the alfalfa (veggies must be finished first, lol) AND blue seal pellets, then I reduce the blue seal. They hold condition that way for me. I've gotten away with storing bags of alfalfa off the ground not in cans with no flies or rodent interest so far (knock on wood).

As a side note, I always sweep the barn and bleach the milk stand once a week or so. It helps an amazing amount. Anything that touches the floor for long molds. Sweeping mitigates that-also helps with pellet migration.

That is totally just my take though. You've got your own opinions, situation, and resources to work with. Those are my diet and cleanliness suggestions. Good luck!
 

rachels.haven

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And yes, plywood floors are bad for goats. Too much work and $$$ for you.

I'd also shut my goats out of their stalls during the day and milk OUT of the sleeping and loafing area. Otherwise they'd poo and pee all over it.
 

Beekissed

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Got any good pics of your setup?

I think you could do the DL method if you were on a soil floor. With the use of your chickens and a pitchfork you could use a variety of materials of varying sizes(leaves, garden debris, corn stalks/shucks, wood chip/bark, sawdust, etc) and then toss just a little grain in there for the chickens every day so they will do some turning for you.

I'd also use a pitchfork and turn the bedding each day as well, putting dryer stuff on areas that are more wet, turning the wet up to dry, etc.

Unless they use the barn/shed for shade, I'd turn them out of there and cut back on feed until they are out on pasture more. Better for them and better for you.
 

DellaMyDarling

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To be clear, we have two separate "sheds" happening here.

One shed in pasture. Pasture has 0 shade or rain cover, shed is required. This is a three sided and raised structure we built, with a stupid plywood floor. (I told the Mister, he didn't listen, it'll soon be his mess to remedy.)

The goats are safely secured at night in a shed renovated to animal barn. The plywood flooring is not possible to remove. Shed is a professionally built thing on cemented timbers over river rock that came with property. There's literally no option here, which is why I forked stupid money out for stall mats to cover the plywood.
So, I could try some methods of turning over the bedding for sure. I'm not sure that works with the compressed stall pellets under hay though. I'm happy to nix buying those pellets if they're not helping me haha.
If goats have a rubber mat floor, do I need to fill the whole thing up with hay? I'm thinking that any piles of hay attract pee AND laying on, so then I have nasty pee covered goats and I'm back to square one.



Chaffhaye went to compost heap. Talking to a few locals, they say have a fridge to put it in or don't buy in our warm months.
I personally like the idea of the product, but looks like it's only useful half the year.
Hay here is absurd in cost. These goats also seem to only want timothy hay, which I'm refusing to dish the money for pure timothy. That's not a complete diet either!
They also refuse to eat anything in pasture. They loaf around all day in the pasture shed, chewing cud, refusing the beautiful clover and rye and everything else growing in there.
I replaced my chaffhaye with some Timothy alfalfa cubes. They won't eat it.

Jerks. Goats are jerks.
 

rachels.haven

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Goats are smart, and will play you for the good stuff.

Goats do not need straight timothy. Grass is fine. They will eat when hungry provided it's not moldy or dusty. Goats also love clover and I've been told rye. I've even heard of people who do not feed hay while goats are on good pasture (my goats are only on hay at night unless it's raining).

Also, if they are sneaking bites of pasture, they may not be hungry enough to eat hay unless it's what they consider "nice". I'd be mean, tell them to "goat up" and make them eat pasture for a day or two and see what happens (a little grain and alfalfa pellet on the stand is still good for milkers or babies though). Sorry you're going through this. They really can be brats and are smart enough and set in their ways enough to hold out.

Roaming for food will lessen the mess in the shed. The pasture issue is probably at the heart of things right now. Come on goats! Go eat!
 

410farmer

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Sound like the girls I used to have they was Nigi as well when I started working a lot of hours the wife was giving them a lot of grain spoiled them rotten and I seen a lot of grasses they used to eat left to grow wild. Took a while to get them to come around have to be persistent and try to feed mom off to the side she’s going to need more while your working this out
 
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