goat bedding

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Hi. I had a goat when I was young, and she was sweet. Now that my children are growing quickly, I am getting a couple of does for milking. I have a decent goat shed, but where I live it may be tough to find a good supply of bedding that's inexpensive. Is there anyone out there who knows a cheep source of bedding to make them more comfortable in the shed? I was thinking wood shavings from a lumber yard maybe. Would the goats try to eat them? Does anyone use shavings?

The does I'm considering are an Alpine and a Saanen. The Alpine freshened this past spring, and the owner says she'll milk through no problem. He's breeding for goats that will milk for years without loosing production. I've read a bit about it, and it sounds great! Does anyone have a goat that will milk like that? Is it fairly common? That is the Alpine. The Saanen is from a 4H leader who's daughter is off to college. The herd is too big for her alone, and she's thinning it out. She's a yearling Saanen and will be bred.

Thank you for any advice you can offer this re-newbie!

-- Bobbi Double (ddouble@mediaone.net), November 02, 2001


You can buy pine shavings in a big bag at most feed stores fairly inexpensively. I'd be leary of the lumber yard shavings, as I don't know what kind of chemicals might be in them. (We've also used old hay--maybe you could get the "sweepings" from a feed store. My brother brought some home for his garden once; they let him have it for free.).....The does sound great:)

-- mary (marylgarcia@aol.com), November 03, 2001.

Hi Bobbi. I have experience with both breeds, and you can't go wrong with either one. The alpine is already milking and is used to the routine, so you would have instant milk, no waiting. The saanen would make you wait at least 5 months. So...why not get both? Goats really are herd animals and very gregarious. They would keep each other company. By the way, Alpines are famous for milking for very long times, and being persistant and consistant. I dried off one of my does this summer, thinking I didn't need all that extra milk. After 8 weeks, one of her kids got out and nursed her overnight, she went right back into production and is back up to a gallon a day. I've known of people having to go away for emergancies for several days, coming home, and the goats go right back into production. If I could only get one of them, I would go for the alpine. Also, goats will try to eat any type of bedding. As for shavings, I've never used it, but my does love to nibble on the pine and cedar trees they can reach. Over time, they have stripped the bark off several in the treeline. They seem to enjoy the sap like a tonic.

-- melina b. (goatgalmjb1@hotmail.com), November 03, 2001.

Bedding isn't cheap here, either. What we normally use is a bale of hay once a week or so -- it's $2.50/bale (grass hay), so probably no more expensive than purchased shavings, and I think healthier for the goats as long as it isn't moldy or very dusty. They don't normally eat their bedding as long as you are feeding them well. Goats are VERY picky eaters, and won't touch dirty feed. That's why it's so important to have a good manger they can't climb in, because otherwise they'll walk on half their feed and then won't eat it.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), November 03, 2001.

Thank you for the advice. I guess shavings are not the best solution. I do plan to get both goats, we'll see. I have not met them yet, but spoken with the people and it seems like they would be nice.

-- Bobbi (ddouble@mediaone.net), November 03, 2001.

I have a couple acres and 3 goats, - 2 nubians and one alpine. Lots of tress and brush along the perimeter. We actually mow our pastures with a Sears riding lawn mower ( pastures have 4 divisons for rotation - weh, a lot of fencing!) We pile up the mowed grass in a three sided shed to protect from the weather. We rake it up and pull it on tarps to store in this "hay" shed. (The goats don't sleep here.) We mow during the summer when the grass in dry. We just pile it, throw it, scatter it, in the shed and then let the neighborhood kids jumps in it and have grass fights. This is fun for them and it dries the grass, fluffing it up and putting air through it. The goats get a wheel-barrow each for their beds about once a week, which seems to often enough. They love it and don't eat it. Probably would, but I spoil them on alfalfa. Good luck with your bedding. I'd say try whatever seems to work for you and for them. Goats are very forgiving, sweet little creatures that are a lot of fun!! Oh yes, for milking, I would definitely consider a Toggenburg. I had one and couldn't keep up with all the milk!!

-- Grace Stiller (grace2u@isomdeia.com), November 19, 2003.

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