Thursday, September 29, 2011

Getting Goats Ready For Winter

One of the biggest jobs of Autumn is the preparation for the upcoming winter.  Winter arrives fast and hard in Maine.  Our lady goats are lucky. They get to stay in the barn during the cold weather months. The bucks share a shelter but remain outside.  Their base is full of hay and they stay warm.  The boys don't seem to mind this arrangement at all. They develop a woolly coat and snuggle with each other. More like a gentleman's club for goats.  In the barn we have been laying down a thick layer of shavings since spring.  Well, it's that time again. More shavings needed.  Before spreading another layer of shavings I, very liberally, dust the area with ditomacious earth.  This keeps the area  mite, flea and bug free.  No pesticides at all.  It helps to keep flies down too.  The layering is really import.  There will be heat generated by the breakdown of the fecal matter and shavings during the winter months.  The urine and nanny berries promote bacterial growth.  These bacteria breakdown with the shavings and produce heat in this process. In the spring we clean the barn out and let the pile mature over the summer months.  Late fall we will spread this black gold over our hay fields.  We don't think our fields have been fertilized in over 20 years.  This way we can recycle and reuse a pesticide free fertilizer. 
The Lady's were very happy to see the fresh bedding.
They even help with the spreading of fresh shavings.
We do the same thing in the chicken coop too.  The diatomacious earth works the same way for them too.  No mites for our hens.  With all of those warm bodies they generate a lot of warmth.  We still open the barn doors in winter and let fresh air in.  I do believe in fresh air. It deters so many pneumonia's, bacterial infections and adds to the general good health of our animals.  Oh, and it makes the barns smell so good. 
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm

1 comment:

Marigold said...

I just don't understand this post. The only thing absolutely necessary to prepare a goat for winter is a fresh, not to mention endless, supply of Peanuts. This will get them through the long months ahead.