If you’re looking for ways for how to keep baby goats warm in cold weather, you’re in the right place.
Since I’ve raised goats for over 10 years in the cold Kansas winters, I’ve tried lots of different techniques for keeping goats warm. And of course, I’m going to be sharing with you the best ones that has worked for me.
Baby goat kids are so cute and snuggly. We hate to have anything happen to them! But the truth…the hard truth I have found…is that baby goat kids do not handle cold temperatures.
In fact, I have found that brand new wet baby goat kids will reach hypothermia within an hour in temperatures under 40 degrees no matter how good of a mom they have. Especially if they don’t jump up and run around right away.
And if baby goats do become dry and warm as newborns, they can still have trouble maintaining their body temperatures under the age of two weeks. So, what is the best way to maintain their body temperature to keep them warm and healthy?
In this Post:
- The best tips for how to keep baby goats warm in the cold.
- Some options for safe alternatives to heat lamps.
- More Winter Goat Care tips to get goats through the cold.
I also want to note that this post most definitely includes options for shelter.
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Winter Goat Shelter Tips For Goat Kids
You’ve seen the warming barrels and the heated boxes floating around online, I’m sure. We have yet to make either one of those.
Honestly, we’ve used what we have always had and have made the best of it. The type of quality shelter truly only depends on a few main things:
- Must be draft free and breeze free.
- A good shelter has to be able to stay dry in the worst of rain or snow fall.
- The use of bedding is a nice touch.
- An insulated shelter is even better.
A shelter made of wood or thick substances is the warmest. I’ve tried out a concrete wall shelter but I wasn’t overly satisfied with the warmth of that shelter. Below ground shelters are also proven to be cooler. You could try insulating it to see if that will help warm it up.
So, an above ground, draft free shelter that you can walk into and feel relief from wind and cold is a great shelter.
What Kind of Bedding?
In Kansas during the dead and coldest days of winter, straw is my go-to bedding of choice. Of course, I live in wheat country, so straw is very easy to find at around $4-5 per bale.
But you can cover a nice amount of shelter floor with one bale of straw and make a nice fluffy bed. You can get straw delivered to you or something similar.
I don’t feel like wood shavings or sand do the trick of keeping baby goats warm. Straw or thick hay will do that. And sometimes, that’s all the extra they need.
Do Baby Goats Need Heat in the Winter?
This is a trick question. As I mentioned above, there is a difference in the age of the goat kids. Also the health of the goat kids should be factored in.
A healthy 2-week old goat kid can easily survive in a draft free shelter with no extra heat in extremely cold temperatures. This kid will still be under some stress from the cold so you’ll really need to make sure he has water and good nutrition. Everything he needs.
However, 2-weeks old and less is very questionable. I’ve seen young goat kids do very well in temperatures less than 40 degrees. Yes, they are going to be struggling but they will be strong.
How Cold Can Baby Goats Tolerate?
But I’ve also lost some babies because they ventured out into the cold away from their mother. That was not something I could control. But also, I had some newborns get too cold if where I had penned the new family was too drafty. That’s where I learned about how much of an effect drafts and breezes can have on baby goats.
BUT, what I’ve learned in a nutshell is that the faster the baby goats can be dried, the warmer it will be. That’s why I have found other ways to quickly dry the new baby goat kid to give it the best start possible when it’s born wet in cold weather.
I know lots of goat producers use heat lamps. Let’s talk about that.
Safe Heat Lamps for Barns?
While we’ve never had an accident with a heat lamp and we have used them, I’ve seen horror stories about barns burning down. Goat lives lost.
And there are still goat producers using them. They think they work well.
I don’t believe heat lamps are that great for keeping goats warm. Read the post above for some real ways to warm up baby goats. A heat lamp is more of a lamp to maintain body temperature. If the goat kid is wet, cold and new, the heat lamp isn’t going to work well at all.
That’s just what I’ve learned over the past decade.
But, if you want to try them, here’s the Prima heat lamp that most goat producers are using these days.
Alternatives to Heat Lamps
I don’t believe there’s any better alternatives to heat lamps than what I mentioned above about a draft-free, warm shelter. However, many new goat producers are leery about how to keep baby goats warm in cold weather because they just don’t know.
And I get it. No one wants to lose any goats. I certainly never did but there’s wasn’t as much research out there when I started. I have a large barn we were kidding in that is metal and not insulated. Not draft free. We used heat lamps.
But since then, we’ve been looking into other methods. And after talking to other goat producers, here’s a few alternatives using heat lamps that will work for goats.
Disclaimer: You really need to watch these as well.
Heating pads and heating blankets are popular to use but they can also be fire hazards so you have to be very careful with bedding.
Warming boxes for calves also work really well to warm up kids.
I love just sticking a goat kid in my warm truck. When you’re warming up an animal because you think it’s too cold, you need to check it’s temperature every 15-30 minutes to make sure it’s not getting too hot.
Raising Goats in Winter Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
I hope this helps you learn how to keep baby goats warm in cold weather. While I may have learned some thing the hard way, I’m happy to share my own experiences and observations with you.
If you’re reading this and you have some other tips to share, please let me know in the comments so that other readers can learn as well!
Here’s another Winter hack for livestock:
~ Much Love ~
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