There is no simple answer to the question of barn size for your goats. When you are thinking of building a shelter, look at goat size and quantity, location on your property, and weather in your area. With the exception of newborns, healthy goats do not need special housing with lights or heat, they only need shelter from elements like wind and rain or snow. I have found that my goats will lay around inside the barn even if the weather outside is pleasant. They do not use most of the barnyard that is fenced in. I guess you could say they are kinda lazy!
My beautiful current goat barn!
My son started building this for me when my husband was overseas 7 years ago. Then my husband added to it once he got home. I love this barn and it has served me very well. I have always had full size goats, Saanen and Nubian and they have fit well inside. The outside dimensions of the barn are 15′ wide by 10.5′ deep. The portion that the goats go into is 10′ x 10′ and has a shorter roof line. In the picture above, this is the area on the left. The goats have a half door that they use to walk in and out. There is another outside door that opens from the goats area that is not visible in the picture. It is not solid to allow for air flow.
The Goats area in the barn.
The goats area is divided into two sections with a small gate between them. This gate can be left open to give full access or closed to divide the goats up. I am able to close up both of these pens inside the barn to make two separate kidding pens that have adequate space for a doe and 2 or 3 kids. It’s very important to have separate space for your does to kid that is away from the normal flow of traffic with other goats. Each pen has its own hay feeder for easy feeding, although I only have one built-in grain and mineral feeder. I usually only have the goats separated for short intervals and will use portable feeders at that time. I can also use the separate pens for dividing out the kids as they get older.
This picture was taken from my kidding webcam last year. It is looking down into the two separate goat pens. You can see that even though this space is small, it is adequate for sleeping quarters for 3-4 goats. In the winter, I can open up the middle gate and make a large area for all of them to take shelter from the wind and cold.
The human side of the goat barn.
The area on the right in the first picture is tall enough for people to walk into. The door has an upper and lower portion so it can be fully closed in inclement weather or left half open for air flow. Inside I am able to store 10 bales of hay and a bucket of feed that is out of reach of the goats. I also have a really awesome built-in milking stand. The stand is at chair height for my ease, and has two steps up to it for the goats ease. The stanchion that is just visible from the outside, is an antique from my husband’s gr-gr-grandfather’s farm. Built in also is a grain feeder so they can eat while on the stand.
This picture was taken standing in the human side of the barn looking out the front door. You can see the milk stand on the left and the wood fence that keeps the goats separated on the right. There is even a storage shelf above the door!
Pros and Cons of my goat barn.
So the benefits of this barn are the ability to close everything up to keep out the elements; low ceiling to retain heat in winter; built-in milk stand; storage for 3-4 weeks worth of feed; 2 hay feeders and 1 grain feeder built-in; 2 separate kidding pens in spring. Plus it’s a very attractive and well made pine-wood barn!
Even though I love this barn, it is not perfect and I have a small list of improvements that I would love to have. The first is the ability to store more hay. Right now I have to store more hay in an additional shed or anywhere I can find room. I always seem to not have enough hay to last me until the next year’s season.
The next thing that I would improve is the ability to walk into the barn without having to go into the goat pen. Remember the hay that I can store inside the barn? I have to haul it through the goat pen to get there; which means I get walk the starving goat gauntlet every step of the way.
Finally, I would love to be able to have an easier way to clean out the goat side. I cannot stand up in their end of the pen and that makes forking out their used bedding a back-breaking job.
I can live with these issues, but my wonderful husband is planning a new, large barn that will hold everything! (maybe even more goats, or possibly a horse or donkey or cow!) So far it is just a concept and a few felled pine trees, but I’m sure it will be awesome! Make sure you sign up for updates so you can follow the progress!