GoatDairyLibrary.org          A database of materials for the commercial goat milk producer
Table of contents 


Building/Planning  A-L

Building/Planning M

Building/Planning N-Z




Diseases A-B

Diseases C-E

Diseases F-K

Diseases L-O

Diseases P-Q

Diseases R-Z

Diseases Misc.



Medical A-D

Medical E-M

Medical N-R

Medical S-Z

Milk Production  

Nutrition Categories

Nutrition General

Nutrition Grouping

Nutrition Links

Nutrition Rations


Producers Tips  



Seminar Notes

Settng Up

Value Added.

Building and Planning N-Z

Pens for livestock

Working pen for sorting livestock 
10’ x 10’
Works best in the corner of a fence, with a gate in one side. 
Also should have a working chute maximum 6’ wide at area where would load or unload from a livestock truck.  (Shurley)  
Breeding pen:
150’ x 150’ will hold 30-50 goats (Shurley) 
Quarantine pen:
size depends on # of animals coming in at one time.  Should have washable floor that can be easily disinfected. (Shurley)
Maternity pens
4’ x 5’ in size. One pen for every 10 does in herd. (Schoenian)
5’ x 5’ with heat lamps. (Shurley)

Regulations for setting up the milk room and parlor

Contact your nearest Wisconsin USDA office and ask for information on setting up a dairy. They'll give you a packet of information with copies of the statues, specific instructions on special topics such as minimum separation distance requirements between potable or non-potable wells, reservoirs, springs and possible sources of contamination, C.I.P. milking system requirements, milk house construction requirements, milking parlor construction standards, bulk tank installation requirements etc.  They will also have information on value-added operations such as selling milk and meat products if you are interested in that.

State of Wisconsin, regional office locator: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=us&agency=fsa)

Sample Farms: Diagrams of existing dairy set-ups 

This section contains diagrams of barns that have been remodeled for goat dairies.  You will see the circular flow from pens to milking parlor that is so important to a smooth milking routine, and you will see different ways to handle the feeding of hay and baleage.

Click on the farm number in the left column to see a diagram of the barn and a description of the farm:
  Barn types on farm Milking setup Stand Feeding Equipment
Farm 1 Remodeled older barn with additions portable milking machine oval metal round bales hay and baleage tractor
Farm 2 (see below)* Two remodeled older barns highline, swing, pipeline metal double 8 small and lg. square hay, round baleage tractor
Farm 3 Two pole barns lowline pipeline cement single 6  round bales, hay 2 tractors, 2 skid steers
Farm 4 Two converted horse arenas  side by side highline pipeline metal double 6 round bales, hay skid steer
Farm 5 Remodeled barn lowline pipeline cement double 8 small square bales hay, fed from outside building directly into indoor pens (idea could be adapted for round or lg. squares) tractor
Farm 6 Pole barn with 2 additions low line pipeline   Milking pit with stanchions along  two sides large square bales skid steer

* Farm 2 has a lot of detail..  Click each entry separately.  

Farm 2: Milking barn

Farm 2- Dry goat and kid barn 

Farm 2 Buck and Doeling Shed

Farm 2- summary sheet

(Producer tip: Consider making detailed drawings like this for your own farm.  It saves a lot of time when you are planning a job or ordering materials.)

Stocking Rates

Stocking rates vary widely from author to author.  There are several listed here, so you can see the range of what is considered acceptable.

When you figure stocking rates, measure only open space.  Take the total area of the building and subtract feed bunk space, gutter space, ramp and walkway space.  Then divide the remaining area by the stocking rate.

Be sure to read through “Grouping Goats To Simplify Feeding” in the Nutrition section of this website, so you can see how many pens you need.                   

Area Sq. ft/ Adult Goat Sq. ft / Kid
Indoor Areas
Confinement housing loafing areas Varies widely:
15 sq. ft.**  20 sq. ft (**** and*****)
10 sq. ft. but 5 sq. ft. 
(absolute minimum) (Shurley)
8-10 sq. ft.*
5 sq. ft. absolute minimum per set of kids (Shurley)
Holding pens 5.5 sq. ft.  
Open front building with lot 10-15 sq. ft. **** 6- 8 sq. ft *
Slotted floor (confinement) 8-10 sq. ft. * 4- 5 sq. ft *.
Outdoor Areas
Outside lot 25 sq. ft. **** 15-20 sq. ft. *
Pasture 8 adult dairy goats per acre*
6 adult dairy goats per acre (Brown)
5 large meat goats per acre ***

          * adapted from The Sheep Handbook    **ADGA    *** Greene   ****McKinney   *****Schoenian

Note re: Schoenian recommendation of 20 sq ft. of space for goats in confinement:  an additional 30 sq. ft. of exercise yard is needed if pasture is not available.

Temperature tolerances

The comfort zone for dairy goats is 55-70 degrees F.  Temperatures over 80 degrees F. seriously reduce feed consumption and milk output. (Steevens) 


In Winter........ move 20 cubic feet per minute per animal
In Summer..... move 150-200 cubic feet per minute per animal
(Stevens) (McKinney)

Do not put fans on the floor.  Goats get pneumonia very easily whenever wind blows in their face.  Hang fans well above the goats heads. (Zimmerman)  
Getting ready for summer  http://www.uvm.edu/sustainableagriculture/SRDPspring06.PDF
Very specific information on air exchange rates for different classes of goats.

Wall Materials

For walls: Goats will chew holes in anything made of plywood or pressed wood, but they do not chew rough exterior 100%
wood siding, so it makes a very good material to use for walls.  It comes in 4’x8’ sheets and there are lines in the wood every 6-8” like a wide wainscoting. It’s available at  Menards and Home Depot near the plywood.
For washable walls in milk rooms, sick pens and maternity pens, use 4 x 8 panels of "white board", with joining and edging strips to seal the edges.  There is a special nail/screw for these panels.  You will need a good, even  structure behind the panels to support them.  These panels can also be used to line the bottom of feed bunks, to keep the bottoms of the bunks from rotting out, and so they can be cleaned easily.

Producer's Tip: Extra pieces of white board can be put to work on the wall as blackboards.  Use white board markers, and clean the board with rubbing alcohol.



Dairy goats need a minimum of  -1 gallon of water to drink every day. (Van Saun)


In order to prevent goats from defecating into short tanks, either raise tanks on a cement platform, or use a tank with higher sides, and then put a cement blocks in the bottom of the tank to limit the depth to the recommended 12 to 14 inches, so that if a goat falls in, it can get its footing to get back out.  You also can place ramps in front of a deep trough to enable small goats to reach the water. (Shurley)

Removable Watering Unit       

Producer tip:  See how to build this inexpensive indoor water unit made with standard metal water pipe, a Hudson Valve, a Plasson Coupler, a standard bucket and bucket holder.  Easy to clean and works great.  Can be heat-taped in winter. (Parts available from Kencove  Farm Fencing.)
  watering unit wall   watering unit coupler

This is a portable pasture water barrel.  See more information on it at the Grazing page, and see plans for making the barrel at Plans.
portable water barrel  (Red River Farm LLC)

Water Conversions

1 gallon 231 cubic inches
4 quarts 1 gallon
31.5 gallons 1 barrel



Stocking Rate for Waterers

Stocking Rate for Waterers

Adult Small Ruminants

Young Small Ruminants

Per automatic bowl



Per foot of tank perimeter



(Adapted from The Sheep Handbook)

Water Tank Capacity (round) 

Diameter in Feet Gallons per 1 Ft. of Depth Gallons per 1 In. of Depth
3 feet 52.88 4.41
4 feet 94.00 7.83
5 feet 146.88 12.24
6 feet 211.51 17.63
8 feet 376.00 31.33
9 feet 476.00 38.00
10 feet 588.00 49.00


Water Tank Capacity (oval) 

in Feet
in Feet
in Feet
Gallons per
1 In. of Depth
Total Gallons
2 Feet 2 Feet 4 Feet 3.94 91
2 Feet 2 Feet 6 Feet 5.91 144
3 Feet 2 Feet 8 Feet 12.47 293
3 Feet 2 Feet 10 Feet 16.08 374
3 Feet 2 Feet 12 Feet 19.69 455


In confinement housing, there should be 1-2 sq. ft. of window per goat.  (McKinney)

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