How do the animals stay warm?

Today, January 5, 2018, the outdoor temperature is 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Take into the consideration the wind chill and we get to -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

So how do the animals survive?

Animals in the wild, like deer for example, will hide in a thicket of underbrush in extreme weather like today. Deer as well as our goats and horses have”built-in” fur coats. During the cold months they actually grow a thicker winter coat that helps protect them from the elements.

Another factor is their body temperature. A goat’s normal temperature is around 102 F. This helps heat up small spaces and keep them warm.

The 2 breeds of goats, Saanen and Alpines, which reside at Lively Run Dairy, are originally from the European Alps. They actually prefer moderate to cool temperatures and tend to suffer more in the heat than in the cold.

Our goats are housed in a former dairy cow free stall barn. In the summer the shutters on the sides of the barn are open for ventilation, in the winter they are closed. This reduces airflow enough so the barn is warmer than outdoors, but still provides ventilation. However, the space is so big that the goat’s body temperature is not able to heat the barn like cows actually would.

In order to help our goats maintain good health and comfort we provided them with a small space under a wooden aisle. They love to craw in there and cuddle together, similar to deer hiding in thickets.

Our pen bedding system is called a managed manure pack. We do not clean the pens out in the winter. Instead we let the manure build and generate heat. This keeps the goats warm from underneath. We add fresh bedding over the top on a regular basis to keep things dry. The pens are bedded every Friday. Knowing that this storm was coming I actually bedded everything on Thursday and added more straw than usual for the extra snuggle factor.

In addition we are feeding extra grain rations to the animals to provide them with extra calories to keep warm. All animals, goats, horses and chickens have access to automatic heated waterers at all times.

So all in all, I think they are pretty well off!

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