Housing for bucks

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I have 2 oberhasli bucks that are almost 1 year old. We live near Buffalo NY and experience the typical winter weather that only the Great Lakes can give. We have lake effect snows, high winds, night time temps can be well below 0. I have these 2 guys housed outside in a pen that is approximately 30' x 50'. They are sheltered on the west side (the windy side) by large pines and they have a well bedded calf hutch. In addition to a rock pile, they also have cable spools and ramps to play on. They receive plenty of sunshine (when it shines) and at one corner of the pen they can rub noses with the does, so they're not completely ignored or lonely.

My husband seems to think that I'm being cruel by keeping them outside all winter. I do have an extra stall in the barn that is about 6x8 and I'd have to put both boys in it. I think it's too small, and I always like to keep one empty stall in case of an emergency. I know that this is probably sufficient for them, but I just want to hear it from someone else. Please let me know what you think.

-- Charleen in WNY (harperhill@eznet.net), January 17, 2002


Sounds more than adequate to me, as long as they can always get out of the wind. They will probably be healthier this way than locked up in a barn. Think how they would live in nature. Our goats refuse to get under shelter unless it's raining, and sometimes not even then. I have seen icicles hanging off them. Wait till you see how thick their coats grow when it gets really cold. Animals aren't the wimps we humans are!

-- Paula (chipp89@bellsouth.net), January 17, 2002.

Does the calf hutch have a roof? They need to be able to get out of the rain. They can handle cold well, but being cold and wet is another story. If the bedding is dry in the calf hutch I would say they are fine.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), January 17, 2002.

The calf hutch is about 5'H x 5'W x 7'L. With roof, and open door. There is also a roof vent that I can open/close. I have a polydome ordered but will not be available until spring.

Click here to see polydome

-- Charleen in WNY (harperhill@eznet.net), January 17, 2002.

Charleen, sounds like your bucks are treated well. The hut you are getting is just as cute as can be. Are they really expensive? I could see one of those in the little goat play ground area here. :)

-- shari (smillers@snowcrest.net), January 17, 2002.

Well.... being a die hard western NY'er who also lived south of Buffalo in the lake effect snow belt, I would say that unless the weather is really really bad that being outside is good for them. I would put them in just in case of sub zero weather and the possibility of frost bite. And for when those great Lake Effect storms hit. We started with Nubians back there and we discovered that the first yr we had them pretty much penned up all winter, they hated to go out into the snow. But we also noticed we had some respiratory troubles too. So we just allowed for them to come and go freely in and out of the barn when it was nice. For bad weather they were in the barn.

speaking of weather, hows the weather back there? We got a dusting of snow today here in Arkansas.

-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), January 17, 2002.

Hey Charleen, your "neighbor," tell me about lake effect snows! Anyway, I too, do not have a conventional barn. I have very unique shelters for my gang. A few years back I made a six by five by three foot high frame out of fence posts and then stuck on my brother's old fiberglass truck cap to bring it to a height of five feet. This is ideal, as the cap has windows that can be opened in nice weather. The glass acts like a greenhouse effect in winter and is it ever toasty in there for my nigerians. Not much to look it but does the job. My other buildings I constructed from wood pallets I collected at construction sites. I stuck either plank boards or waferboard over the slats, nailed them together, put on a roof and bingo - little mini barns at no cost. I even put two of these back to back so I have two "stalls" about four and half by six feet. There is about a two foot wide opening so the little critters can come and go. Otherwise, they prefer to be outside. I am a FIRM believer in keeping goats outside as much as possible. When I last checked aren't caprines an outdoor animal? And obies - don't they originate in a cold weather country? No, Charleen's hubby, your wife isn't being cruel! BTW, I was thinking of getting something like the polydome. Does anyone have the Calf-tel huts?

-- Lynn (moonspinner@bluefrognet.net), January 17, 2002.

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