9 Great Tips for Building the Best Goat Shelter

9 Great Tips for Building the Best Goat Shelter

By Dairy Farming Hut

Goats

When you have goats, you need to make sure that their shelter is top-notch. If you have never built a goat shelter before, you are probably going to wonder how to get the best shelter. Luckily, it is not difficult to get a high-quality goat shelter.

Once you understand the different aspects of a great goat shelter, then you can build one that your goats will love. However, knowing a few tips and tricks will help you along the way. Read on to discover nine tips for building the best goat shelter and more.

How Big Should a Goat Shelter Be?

The first question you probably ask yourself when you are thinking about building a goat shelter for your goats is how much space they need. 

This is an important question because you do not want your goats not to be cramped in a confined space.

A good goat shelter should be around twenty square feet for each goat it will house. You can make this a little smaller if there is also a fenced outdoor area.

A goat shelter should be constructed with having a rough idea of the final number of goats it will house one day. This ensures that there will be adequate space available when needed.

goat in a wooden shelter

Goats used their shelter for sleeping and for getting out of inclement weather. Most of their time will likely be spent outside the shelter. However, this does not mean that the size of the shelter is not important.

Consider why you should have adequate space for your goat shelter.

  • The goats will be more comfortable.
  • Larger shelters are easier to clean.
  • The extra space is good if your goat breeds.

Your goats will be much more comfortable and able to spread out with the extra space. Moreover, it is much easier to clean a larger shelter because the opening will be larger, too.

Finally, if your goat breeds or you get more goats on your own, the extra space can accommodate them.

You can continue reading here on how much space do dairy goats need.

Why the Goat Shelter Size is Important

While some of the reasons why the size of the shelter does matter have already been listed, it is important to consider them a little further.

The size of the shelter is important because the shelter is meant to protect the goats. It will protect them from weather and potential threats, such as predators.

For example, with an adequately sized goat shelter, the goats can rest away from the opening of the shelter, which gives them more protection against the weather and other elements.

As mentioned, each goat should have around twenty square feet to move around. However, if you plan on having multiple goats, you need to consider this upfront.

For example, if you only plan to have two goats in the first year and want to add two more in the following year, you should build your goat shelter with four goats in mind.

Considerations For Goat Shelter Walls

The goat shelter is meant to protect them, so you want to make sure you are using the right materials for the walls of the shelter. Shelters can be completely enclosed, like a shed, or they can have an open side, too. The design is based on your preference and the environment in which the shelter will be placed. The walls are important because they will shield the goats from the weather and from other potential threats. 

Several materials can be used for the walls of your goat shelter. Consider some of the following:

  • Wood pallets
  • Old fence siding
  • Plywood

Wood pallets can be found for free in a lot of places, or they can be bought for cheap. These are great options for the walls of the shelter because they can be filled with insulation, which will help keep the goats warm in the winter. Old fence siding is also a good option because it is sturdy and solid. 

Regardless of what you choose, you want to make sure that the walls are secure and nailed together. Consider attaching these sidings to a wooden frame to keep them in place. It is best to get sidings that are solid or near-solid as they will offer the most protection.

What is the Best Floor for a Goat Shelter?

When you have built the walls of your goat shelter, the next step is to figure out how you want to build the floor. There are several options for the floor of a goat shelter, so it is important to pay attention to each one before you make a choice.

Moreover, there are characteristics of a good goat shelter floor such as:

  • The best floor for a goat shelter will protect the goats from the cold
  • Proper flooring in a goat shelter will also protect goats from excessive water
  • Flooring in a goat shelter should be easy to clean to mitigate potential disease

When choosing a floor for the goat shelter, you also decide what will be most comfortable for your goats.

So, which flooring should you choose for your goat shelter? You have several options when you are building the goat shelter from scratch. You can choose whichever you like and whichever you think will benefit you and your goats the most.

There are several to choose from:

  • Straw flooring
  • Dirt flooring
  • Concrete flooring
  • Rubber flooring

Some people may use wood flooring, though this may not be the best option. Instead, you could put straw on top of the wood.

Straw Flooring

Straw flooring is versatile because it can be paired with other types of flooring. Moreover, straw can be used as bedding for the goats.

Straw is easily obtained and can be spread atop dirt flooring, concrete flooring, and rubber flooring. It is comfortable for the goats, and it can be easily changed when it becomes soiled, which it will.

goats sitting on straw floor

Goats will use the shelter as a bathroom, so it is crucial to monitor how clean the interior of the shelter is. When the straw becomes too soiled or too wet, it is time to swap it out. All you need to do is rake the straw out and replace it with fresh straw.

Many goat shelters use straw as both flooring and as bedding. It is a very common element of an excellent goat shelter, so when building your goat shelter, considering straw should be a top priority.

Dirt Flooring

Dirt flooring is another one of the most popular choices for flooring when building a great goat shelter.

Dirt is easy to come by because you may be building your goat shelter on the ground.

While some goat shelters can be built elevated off the ground, making dirt a more complex type of floor to install properly. On the contrary, you can easily add dirt when you build the goat shelter on the ground.

However, it is important to note that dirt can become compacted over time. When the goats walk atop the dirt or rest on it, they will press the dirt down. Over time, this pressing can harden the dirt floor.

Goat Sitting on Dirt floor

Goat Sitting on Dirt floor

To help mitigate the compacting of a dirt floor, consider putting a layer of straw on top of the dirt. This will protect the dirt, and it will add a layer of separation for the goats.

Moreover, dirt flooring will help insulate the shelter's floor, which is important because you do not want your goats to get cold during the colder months of the year. An extra layer of straw can help with the comfort of the goats.

Concrete Flooring

Concrete is another one of the most popular flooring options for a goat's shelter. There are a few reasons why you may decide you want a concrete floor for your goat shelter.

Easy to install

Concrete is easy to lay down when you are building a goat shelter. Additionally, it is relatively inexpensive.

Creates a good foundation

Concrete is strong and sturdy and will help support the walls of the shelter well. Moreover, it will also create a good foundation for other types of flooring you may want to put on top of it.

Can be paired with other floorings

You can easily put straw or rubber mats on top of concrete flooring.

Easy to clean

Concrete is very durable, especially when compared with other types of flooring. For example, wood flooring is susceptible to termites and other bugs, but concrete will have no such issues.

So, if you are looking for great flooring for your goat shelter, concrete is a good option. However, this does not mean it does not have some risks associated with it.

Goat and kids on concrete floor

For example, goats, especially kids, like to climb and jump. If you have a concrete floor, they could hurt themselves if they do this kind of activity. Therefore, it is crucial to add padding to the concrete if you are worried about this.

Rubber Flooring

Another option for flooring in a goat shelter is rubber flooring. Rubber flooring can be attached to concrete or wood, or any hard surface. There will be adhesives beneath the rubber mats that will secure them.

Rubber flooring is soft and great for the comfort of the goats. Moreover, rubber mats are another inexpensive option when furnishing the floor of the shelter.

Goats on a rubber flooring

However, as with any type of flooring, rubber flooring has its disadvantages. If the rubber flooring gets wet, it can stay wet for a long time, and you may not realize it.

When the floor of a goat shelter stays wet, it can lead to hoof rot in your goat, which is never a good thing. So, if you decide to use rubber flooring, it is vital to check them often and clean them, too.

Do Goats Need Bedding?

The flooring and the bedding for your goat shelter are two separate but closely related elements. They are both necessary for your goat shelter. If you want the shelter to be the best it can be, you need to provide bedding for your goats.

Now, bedding serves a few purposes. The most important goal is to provide comfort for the goats. You do not want your goats to be uncomfortable. You want their quality of life to be excellent, so having good bedding will help obtain that.

Goats on a straw bedding

Goats sitting on Straw Bedding

Bedding also provides a way to absorb the fecal matter and the urine of the goat. Remember, goats do not have a "special" place to use as a bathroom. They use where they sleep, so having bedding is important to aid in this process.

There are a few options for bedding:

  • Layers of straw
  • Evenly spread wood shavings
  • Wood pellets

No matter which you choose for the bedding in your goat shelter, you must replace it routinely to make sure that the interior of the goat shelter is clean. You do not want your goats living in a dirty environment.

Moreover, you can repurpose used bedding when you change it. Simply put them in a pile and turn them into compost.

choose the right feed for your dairy goat.

9 Tips for Building the Best Goat Shelter

Now that you know the size of your goat shelter, the best flooring for your goat shelter, and the bedding you should use in your goat shelter, it is time to consider the actual building of the shelter.

When you are building a goat shelter from zero, you are giving yourself a lot of opportunities to experiment with the shelter. However, what are the best features you should include as you build it?

Luckily, there are tips you can follow to build the best goat shelter you can.

Following these tips will ensure that your goat shelter is of top quality:

  1. 1
    Use Wood Pallets
  2. 2
    Elevate the Floor
  3. 3
    Consider Using Insulation
  4. 4
    Use Whatever You Can Find
  5. 5
    Consider Making it Transportable
  6. 6
    Make It Accessible
  7. 7
    Build a Fence Around the Shelter
  8. 8
    Build Storage Units Into the Shelter
  9. 9
    Use Metal or Shingles for the Roof

If you look closer at these tips, you will find that they are easy and simple to implement. They will ensure your goats are getting a great shelter, and it will help you maintain the shelter for years.

1. Use Wood Pallets

The first tip for building the best goat shelter is using wood pallets to build the structure. Wood pallets can be found for very cheap, and sometimes you can find them for free. So, if you want to save money on building materials, wood pallets are the way to go.

wooden pallets

Moreover, wood pallets are a sturdy material to build the shelter with. Luckily, though you will save a good amount of money when using wood pallets, the wood pallets will not sacrifice any quality.

Further, you can also nail plywood to the wood pallets to fully enclose the structure, which may be important if you live in a colder climate.

However, you use the wood pallets-either with plywood or not-you will need to supply a roof, but, luckily, wood pallets are easy to cover, especially with metal sheets.

So, using wood pallets is one of the best materials you can use. It shows that you do not need anything super fancy to get the best goat shelter possible.

2. Elevate the Floor

If you want to have the best goat shelter, then you need to consider elevating the floor. You may have seen goat shelters that are situated off the ground, and this type of design serves a purpose.

Now, the shelter itself does not need to be dramatically raised off the ground. You only need a small space between the flooring and the ground. The reason for this space is to protect the goat from the cold ground, especially at night

The ground can get cold even during warmer months, and goats are very susceptible to bad conditions. It is important to take every precaution to protect them. By elevating the floor of the shelter, you are creating a barrier between them and the ground.

Air can pass through this space, which will help keep the warmth inside the shelter. Consider how many cabins that humans inhabit are also elevated off the ground. Once elevated, you can add straws, wood shavings, or other materials to make them comfortable inside.

You may realize the following benefits from elevating the floor of your goat shelter:

  • Elevating the floor will keep the interior warmer
  • Elevating the floor will keep the goats off the ground
  • Elevating the floor helps with ventilation

When designing your goat shelter, you should consider elevating the floor because it will help the goats tremendously, especially if you live in a colder climate.

3. Consider Using Insulation

When you live in a cold climate, it is essential to consider the insulation of your goat shelter. Now, most goat shelter designs do not factor in the possibility of insulation, but it can be a beneficial addition to the shelter you are building.

Like how elevating the floor will keep the goats warm and safe from the cold ground, insulation will help protect them against cold winds that may occur at night.

If you are using wood pallets to build the shelter, insulation can easily be stuffed into the pallets.

Since you do not want the goats to pick at and eat the insulation, you will have to cover it up with plywood walls. Regardless, insulation will be very beneficial.

Despite goats' ability to adapt to challenging environments, they do not do well with the weather. So, having an insulated shelter is perfect for them.

If you do not want to insulate the walls, you can still provide good insulation with proper flooring and bedding. Anything to help keep the goats warm is an excellent choice to make.

4. Use Whatever You Can to Build It

You do not need to spend a lot of money to build a great goat shelter. There are a lot of materials that can be bought for cheap and, sometimes, gotten for free.

For example, wood pallets can often be found for free from businesses that just want to get rid of them.

Moreover, you can find a lot of the materials, such as straw, wood bits, and wood shavings, for very cheap.

However, when you get creative with how you build your goat shelter, you will find you have even more options. For example, you could convert old wooden fence siding into a great shelter.

The trick is to use what you can find to build the goat shelter. Remember, the primary function of the shelter is to shield the goat from the elements. Most of their time will be spent outside during the day, so the shelter should put that functionality at the forefront of its design.

Look around and see what you have that could work toward a goat shelter. You may be surprised to see you have a lot of the materials for the shelter already.

5. Consider Making it Transportable

If you have multiple goats or you have a lot of land, you will want to consider making the goat shelter transportable.

If there is ever a reason when you need to move the goat shelter--such as for grazing purposes--you want it to be easy to set up the goat shelter elsewhere. 

Here are a few reasons why:

  • You will not need to dismantle the shelter to move it.
  • You can easily secure it in a new location.
  • A transportable shelter is versatile.

Now, how can you make the shelter transportable? There are ways you can convert old vehicles into shelters, and then all you would need to do is drive or tow them to their new location.

Check Our Complete Guide on UTV and ATV for Dairy Farms

Moreover, you can also build your shelters on wide trailers with wheels that can be towed when necessary.

If you think you may want to move the shelter to new areas on your land, then consider making the shelter transportable. Of course, it is possible you will not want to move the shelter at all for years to come, which is okay, too.

The trick is to consider your own needs and plans for your goats.

6. Make It Accessible

It is vital to make your goat shelter easily accessible. You do not want to build a goat shelter with a small entrance, for example. While acceptable for the goats, a small opening will not be adequate for you when it comes time to clean the interior.

As already mentioned, the interior of a goat's shelter can become very dirty because they will use it as a bathroom. Unfortunately, they will also sleep in the same place they go to the bathroom.

It is very important to monitor the cleanliness of the interior and clean it at least once a week. However, if the opening of the shelter is too small, it will make your job much more difficult. When a job is challenging, it becomes more likely that you might not want to do it and skip it.

However, making the shelter accessible makes cleaning much easier, and it will make it much easier to maintain a proper cleaning schedule. So, make sure the opening is large enough for you, too.

Additionally, you can strategically place the shelter so that it is not too far away from your house.

7. Build a Fence Around the Shelter

Any great goat shelter will have a secure fence around it. This is both a safety feature and a practical feature, too. You cannot have a goat shelter be completely exposed to the world around it.

Consider all the benefits of a goat fence as part of your goat shelter:

Keeps the goats away from your gardens

Goats are curious creatures, and if they are allowed to roam, they will find their way to your garden. If you have a vegetable garden, they will want to eat what they find. A fence will protect your greens from the curiosity of your goats.

Keeps predators away from your goats

A properly built fence will protect your goats from predators, such as foxes. Goats cannot defend themselves well, and if you leave them exposed, they can get injured or killed.

Keeps your goats from running away

You do not want to lose a goat because you did not have a fence to keep them contained. This is why it is crucial to have a good, strong fence. A goat, if scared, will try to rush a fence and can often break through. A strong fence will prevent this from happening.

To have a proper fence to protect your goats, it will need to have layers of tensile fencing. You need this strong material to add stability to the fence. Moreover, you need four layers of fencing. This will reinforce the strength of the fence, which will help keep the goats secure.

When the fence has multiple layers, it is much less likely for the goat to knock it down and escape. You can also add some barbed wire or an electric wire to the top of the fence for added protection.

goat fencing

It is also important not to have the fence too close to the shelter itself. Goats like to jump and could jump to the top of the shelter and then over the fence. Make sure there is enough space between the shelter and the fence to avoid this scenario.

8. Build Storage Units Into the Shelter

One design element you can consider is storage units. Storage units can be built into the shelter itself. Of course, the storage units will need to be properly secure because you do not want your goats to get into them.

The storage units can house the food for the goats, and they can accommodate any tools you need to maintain the goat's shelter. For example, you may need to store a pitchfork for changing the straw beddings. You may also choose to store cleaning supplies in the storage units.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when building the storage units into the goat's shelter:

  • Fit it with a lock. The storage unit can be built like a shallow closet with a door. You should put a lock on the door to ensure the goats cannot access what is inside, especially if you decide to keep their food there.
  • Make it big enough. You want to make sure you have enough space for all your supplies, wherever they happen to be. Make a list of everything you need for the goats and their shelter, and then see how much space those items need. It is always better to have extra room in the storage unit than to not.

Building the storage units into the shelter is good because it makes it more accessible for you. Whenever you need to take care of the goats or their shelter, you want to make sure that the materials to do so are ready. If you keep them away from the shelter, it can be easy to lose or misplace them.

By having the materials in the storage units in the shelter, you will not have to worry about misplacing the materials, and you will have them when you need them.

9. Use Metal or Shingles for the Roof

The roof is important for the goat shelter. Metal is one of the most common roofs for goat shelters because they are durable and easy to clean. They will not need to be replaced as often as other roofs.

You can opt to use shingles for the roof, too. It will take longer to install, but it will add to the aesthetic of the shelter.

Shed witjShingled roof

Shed with Shingle installed on the roof

Metal roofs will protect your goats from rain and snow, and hail. If it does get dirty, you can easily clean them, even if they have ridges.

Shingles can be clean, too. They would be just like the shingles you have on the roof of your house. If they are correctly installed, they will also last you a long time.

You should also consider putting a small fence or another barrier around the perimeter of the roof. Remember, goats like to jump, so adding this extra level of security will help keep them on the ground.

Do not rush the building of the roof because it is what is going to protect your goats from the elements the most. You can have a three-sided shelter, but the roof will be the most important aspect.


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