Livestock Goat Tractors

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This too shall pass.
We have three little Nigerian Dwarf goats, two does who are probably both bred by now, and a young buckling (but plenty old enough to breed the does!). I'd been trying to figure out how I was going to confine the little stinkers and/or just keep them out of the garden. Came up with goat tractors, each about eight feet square. I'm not finished with them, but what I've done so far is bought some utility panels (like cattle panels but 4" square holes -- the larger holes in cattle panels will let little goats squirt through them, especially when they are still babies), and bent them in half. Then I take two panels and fasten them together in a square with carabiner clips. You could wire one corner up, and only use the carabiners on the other corner for a gate. Next I'll be adding small tarps over one corner so they have shelter from sun and rain (and in winter, I'll wrap a small tarp around that corner for wind protection).

These are relatively easy to move even for me, with my bad back, but I'm thinking about ways to make them slide more easily on the ground.

We are in an area with plenty of rain most of the time, and good soil, and most of the year one or two Nigerian Dwarf goats will have plenty of pasture for a day, or even two days, inside the 8' X 8' pen. When we are short on forage, I can either move them more often or bring a flake of hay to them. Right now I'm putting a water bucket inside the pen. This isn't ideal, as they will poop and pee in the water, but I don't want to cut holes in the panels (because it will make it hard to keep young kids in later); I'm thinking about how to make some kind of through--the-wire waterer (don't know if goats can use a nipple-valve or cup-style automatic waterer, but those are things I'll be looking into). Right now I'm giving them a little grain, and their mineral/salt, in a rubber feed dish. But I have one pen-mounted feeder that attaches to the wire with carabiner clips (included with the feeder) and plan to get several more of those. That way, there will be one less thing to pick up and move when I move each pen.

I may also try building a fold-down milking stand into the doe pens, so I don't have to take them anywhere to milk them. Issue with that will be my comfort when it's raining, or hot out. I don't want to add much more weight to the pens, but I do have several cattle panels, and might make an arched roof over one end of each of the doe pens, with a tarp on that, just for my own weather protection while doing chores. In addition to the extra weight, though, that might also be too much of a sail in high winds!

I will take some pictures after a bit and add them to this -- just wanted to mention it while I'm sitting here taking a break.

Kathleen

ETA: If you want to build something like this and need to buy new panels, get them as soon as you can. Prices are way up, and will probably go higher, and they are hard to find. The feed store had just gotten a stack of them in when I bought mine, and said they would be flying out the door. I had planned to only get six panels (for three pens), and decided to add two more panels so I could make four pens (I want one for a dedicated kid pen). If you are going to have bigger goats, cattle panels would probably work just fine. And, for bigger goats, you might have to move this size of pen more often, depending on your available forage. The eye of the master fatteneth his cattle -- in other words, watch your critters, and watch the forage, and adjust as necessary.
 

ioujc

NOT TODAY SATAN!!
How were you able to bend the panels Kathleen?? Aren't they pretty stiff???

I can see that it is all nice and even, and I am wondering how you did that without tearing up your hands and really stressing your arms???
 

greysage

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Spent the last half hour reading about goats. Had no idea what a pita they can be. Do they taste good?
 

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This too shall pass.
I bent the panels by laying them on the ground and lifting one end up and over onto the other end until the ends matched up, then pushing down. It wasn't as hard as you might expect. The pen in the picture was made with my middle daughter's help (she was here on a short visit) -- she walked up from the matched ends, walking the panel down, then I got on and helped smash the fold down tight. Which turned out to be a mistake as it didn't want to unfold to an L shape! The one I did by myself didn't get smashed down tight, so the corners are more rounded, but the pen works just fine. Alternatively, you could bend the panels around a fence post or something else sturdy and handy.

Yes, goats do taste good! The meat is similar to venison, in that it's lean. These are tiny dairy goats and we probably won't eat many of them as there's a good market for the kids locally for breeding stock. They wouldn't have much meat on them, if we did butcher one.

And yes, goats can be a PITA!! That's why I spent the money for these panels, to keep them penned up and eating what I want them to eat. I'm using them as a lawn mower and for brush control; in a few months the does should be milking, too. Nigerian Dwarf goats have very high butterfat in their milk, and can give surprising amounts of milk for their size, up to two or more quarts per day. The little buck is out of a registered line of *milkers, meaning his grandmother, great-grandmother, and several other generations back have been on milk test and did well. The two does aren't registered, but were still out of milking lines (some Nigerians are bred for show or as pets -- if you are looking for milk, make sure the goats you get come from goats that are being milked). I've avoided Nigerians for a long time because I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with tiny teats, but my two-year-old doe has been milked before and looks like she won't be too hard to milk by hand. I'll have to wait and see on the young doe, as she'll be a first-freshener. Their size makes them easier for me to handle now that I'm older (and with my bad back), and they'll give plenty of milk for the two of us.

Kathleen
 

ioujc

NOT TODAY SATAN!!
I LOVE my Nigerian Dwarf goats!!

Before I got these, little one's, I had 198 Angoras, years ago. Actually, I find goats to be affectionate, and fairly intelligent animals. I have never had problems with either the Angoras or the ND's climbing on things or trying to escape, etc.
On either the NGs ot the Angoras, I don't think there's enough meat on them to justify killing an animal who produces high quality milk, or in the case of the Angoras, such amazing hair. Maybe the wethers, but otherwise it would be a waste.

Thanks for answering how you bent the wire, I may end up trying this, although at this point, the goats wander my 6 acres, and return every night, to their pen, which is 18 dog kennel panels, fitted together to make a large, secure area for nights and for bad weather.

As times get tougher, and people become more desperate, however they
will need a safer area, so thank you for sharing this "goat tractor" idea.......PLUS it will keep them out of the garden ....a VERY significant issue at this point!!
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
We only have a couple of acres, and only part of it is securely fenced (for goats), so I needed a way to put the goats where I want them, and keep them there! I'd like to make the pens a little easier to move, but I really think they are going to work for us.

Kathleen
 

TxGal

Day by day
I bent the panels by laying them on the ground and lifting one end up and over onto the other end until the ends matched up, then pushing down. It wasn't as hard as you might expect. The pen in the picture was made with my middle daughter's help (she was here on a short visit) -- she walked up from the matched ends, walking the panel down, then I got on and helped smash the fold down tight. Which turned out to be a mistake as it didn't want to unfold to an L shape! The one I did by myself didn't get smashed down tight, so the corners are more rounded, but the pen works just fine. Alternatively, you could bend the panels around a fence post or something else sturdy and handy.

Kathleen
Kathleen, that's exactly how we bend our cattle panels, it's the only way we could figure out how to do it quickly. We use them around young trees we don't want the cattle to eat/scratch against.

And you're right about getting them now. We wanted a few more in the 10-12 ft length, and they're about impossible to find now. Didn't even ask our feed store about price, just if they had any left. Nope. They're on order. Tractor Supply hasn't had them for months. I'm just glad we bought a bunch of t-posts about a month ago, we always find a use for them. They were twice as much as last year, but at least they had them!
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
Kathleen, that's exactly how we bend our cattle panels, it's the only way we could figure out how to do it quickly. We use them around young trees we don't want the cattle to eat/scratch against.

And you're right about getting them now. We wanted a few more in the 10-12 ft length, and they're about impossible to find now. Didn't even ask our feed store about price, just if they had any left. Nope. They're on order. Tractor Supply hasn't had them for months. I'm just glad we bought a bunch of t-posts about a month ago, we always find a use for them. They were twice as much as last year, but at least they had them!

Prices and availability are both getting really bad. I'd actually been looking for hog panels for these little goat pens, because they are really tight at the bottom, and I figured they were probably tall enough to keep these little guys in (I'm actually not totally sure about that -- the little buck sprocked up into the raised chicken coop from a standing start a few weeks ago -- a height that was about twice his height at the withers!). But I would have had to drive an hour and a half each way to get any from Tractor Supply. I just happened to be at TS the day they got the utility panels in, or I would have missed out on those, I'm sure.

Kathleen
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
We only have a couple of acres, and only part of it is securely fenced (for goats), so I needed a way to put the goats where I want them, and keep them there! I'd like to make the pens a little easier to move, but I really think they are going to work for us.

Kathleen
I think the goat tractors are a great idea, Kathleen. It should help the goats resist parasites better as well as provide them with fresh munchies. Keeping goats in a pen didn't happen to work out well for us and I believe that letting them have a mobile pen like a tractor would've been a big help.
 

pauldingbabe

The Great Cat
Tractor Supply will do ship to store and ship to you.

There is a price break at volume buying. Last I looked 5%. Not much but, hey.

I like TS and since they started sponsoring/ advertising with Yellowstone and 1886 they have improved immensely. They also have that "guaranteed in stock" going on too.

I'm sure a lot of people know this but I thought I would toss it in here for those who might be having sourcing problems.

I love the Goat Tractor idea! Works for other critters, so why not?

Nice work!
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
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My mind immediately went to putting it on wheels.

10 zillion ways to do this, all requiring different levels of mechanical skills and luck at scrounging scrap materials.
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
My mind immediately went to putting it on wheels.

10 zillion ways to do this, all requiring different levels of mechanical skills and luck at scrounging scrap materials.

Putting them on wheels would probably ultimately be the best way to do it. For now, I've discovered that picking up and shifting one side of the pen at a time works much better than trying to drag them. I have to go back and forth a few times to complete each move, but it only takes a few minutes.

Kathleen
 
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