Every goat does need a clean stall. Winter is on it's way and the goats are still spending a lot of time outside. Their stall is big enough for all of the girls to sleep in their pods. Mother, daughter and even granddaughters sleep close and snuggle. I love going out at night with a flashlight and checking on the animals. They are all sleepy eyed and toasty even in winter. We learned several years ago that the animals will stay warm if they are protected from wind and kept dry. They even do better if they have good ventilation. We even quit closing their door at night. They can go outside at any time. No respiratory problems with good air exchange. When I was a kid growing up in Florida we bought shavings by the truckload for our barn. I can't find them that way in Maine so we pick up bundles from Tractor Supply. They smell so wonderful.
We cleaned the old bedding out and loaded it into the tractor bucket. It was back breaking work but it went quickly. After cleaning the stall out last year we learned a very important lesson. We feed the goats their hay outside year round. The hay makes the shavings very difficult to remove. Almost impossible. Now the girls are required to go out into the fresh air air and eat. Better for them and us.
The old bedding was at least a 1 1/2 feet deep. After the big dig I then spread a good 20lbs of diameticious earth to kill any mites that might get a foothold. We have never had problems with mites while keeping with this practice. We do have free range chickens and no problems so far. While looking at these pictures I see how horrible the barn looks. It has good bones. We are waiting until after the tractor is paid off (a couple of years yet) to rehab the barn. It has some rotten sills that need replacing and a whole face lift. I have a view in my minds eye of what it will look like when it is completed. Beautiful one day!The house had to come first.
We have cob webs that need to be blown down. The barn has many orb weavers and they help to keep the flies down in summer. So we never pull down the webs or kill any spiders. The goats don't mind at all. It looks kind of like Halloween decorations. Spooky.
We added about 10 bales of shavings. All nice and toasty. As the winter progresses we will add additional bales. The goats urine and goat berries will break down the shavings and produce a warmth in the coldest winter months as it packs. New shavings are added for freshness and the process continues.
It smells so good.
The goats had a fresh bale of hay and were not even interested in coming in and giving their comment. When asked they looked at me and went right back to eating. Typical goat behavior. Stomach first!
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm