Raising goats can be a handful, especially for beginners. There are many things to consider, such as food, shelter, and goat bedding.
When it comes to the best bedding for goats, you have plenty of choices in the market. The decision is going to be up to you as a goat owner.
The best thing about different goat bedding ideas is that you can mix them up. You can always have the advantages of each and maintain a clean, healthy environment for your goat.
At first, you may have questions like, “how much straw for goat bedding is enough?” or “will goats eat straw bedding?” In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about the best bedding for goats.
Goat Bedding – What Kind of Shelter and Bedding Do Goats Need
Known as versatile livestock animals, goats require minimal maintenance. They can live in a barn with a three-sided structure.
You can install a door to keep predators out at night, but you can have the doors open during the day. Some farmers would focus on good bedding for goats.
Regardless of the shelter you’ve built for your goats, they are not the tidiest animals. Getting the protection and entire pen clean is no easy task when you have goats.
That is why you need the best bedding for goats to maintain a clean environment for them to rest. While there are many goat bedding ideas, the most suitable ones are those that minimize the mess and keep the area clean.
ALSO READ: Top 10 Tips For Raising Goats
Best Goat Bedding Options for Your Farm
Ever wonder what the best bedding for your goats is? Farmers have different opinions when it comes to goat bedding ideas.
Others would choose quality over cost. However, most farmers prefer absorbent bedding materials that are easy on the budget.
In this list, you will know the qualities, cost, advantages, and downsides of each type of goat bedding.
This goat bedding is the best material for your pen. Aside from being very absorbent, pine shavings are soft on the feet and the cheapest option in the market.
They are a flexible bedding material that goes well with straw and hay. It is considered the best goat bedding because it doesn’t cause any odor issues.
Goats can be messy when it comes to cleaning and keeping your area odor-free. Pine shavings can do the job and help in maintaining your goat’s area clean and hygienic.
They have qualities similar to pine shavings. However, this bedding option is harmful to goats when consumed excessively.
Although it’s another inexpensive option for your goat bedding ideas, some farmers wouldn’t recommend using cedar shavings as a primary component.
Goats tend to eat straw bedding. It’s pretty much the same case with cedar chips.
The benefit of using cedar shavings or chips is that it’s pest repellent, which can be very helpful to your goats and your farm.
The best way to use cedar shavings as goat bedding is to put small fractions at the edge of the barn and cover them with another type of primary bedding material.
This is commonly seen as a by-product of small grains in farms. Having straw for goat bedding is easy to manage since they are a dry bundle.
Straw has good absorbency, and the used materials are excellent for compost. They are not the cheapest option but are easily accessible.
So, if you are asking yourself, “can you use a straw for goat bedding” the answer is yes, but there are downsides you should know about.
You may have heard that goats eat some of the bedding materials. So, will goats eat straw bedding? Unfortunately, they do.
If you have made a straw a primary component for your goat bedding, this becomes an issue. You also don’t want to imagine your goats eating the straw they’ve pooped on.
Still, this doesn’t mean you should scratch off straw bedding from your list. The better question here: “is straw good bedding for goats?”
Straw is one of the excellent goat bedding ideas that can be supplementary and acquired in small proportions. After all, goats are grazers and are not fond of eating straw off the ground.
How much straw for goat bedding? Have a sufficient amount at the bottom, and put a significant part of the primary bedding component on top of it.
This material is made of compressed wood that you often see in horse pens. These pellets are moderately cheap, absorbent, and non-palatable to goats.
Pelletized beddings come in bags of different sizes and are often mixed with other ingredients like rice hulls, sawdust, and corn cobs.
The smaller pellets are ideal for goats and chickens, while the large ones are used for horse pens.
Use these pellets for your goat bedding is that they require minimal maintenance and are easy to clean up.
Pelleted bedding is also manageable compared to other materials. The pellet is often put under the primary bedding component to lock in the moisture.
This is one of the most famous goat bedding ideas for most livestock. Sawdust is a light material that is easily accessible and doesn’t produce any odor.
The best thing about sawdust is that you can get it and other similar shavings from a sawmill for a meager price and even for free.
Sawdust is considered one of the best beddings for goats since it’s an excellent base to put on top of the soil or gravel. It also manages the amount of ammonia in pen, especially since goats pee a lot.
The disadvantage of using sawdust is that it can attract a lot of parasites. Ensure the sawdust bedding is free from bugs before putting it on the pen to prevent this.
This goat bedding material is soft for the goats, but it may create a build-up from the pee and excrements.
Sand is not as absorbent as the other goat bedding materials mentioned in this list. It also takes a long time for the sand to dry out.
Because of this, sand tends to attract more parasites and bacteria to your goats.
The good side of sand goat bedding is its low maintenance. You don’t need to change the sand often, but you still need to clean up the poop daily.
Being the perfect goat bedding ideas, wood chips are a mix of sawdust, post peelings, and bark. They are lightweight and readily available.
This material is also known as landscaping chips. You can easily find them among landscapers or at local hardware stores.
Wood chips are also cheaper compared to other bedding materials. However, their texture may not be comfortable for goats.
They are not as absorbent either. Wood chips make it easy for mildew or mold to grow, which is not exactly safe and hygienic for your goats.
Substandard wood chips often leave a stain on your goat’s coat when wet. Still, they can be excellent goat bedding to insulate the goat pen, especially during winter.
What To Do With Used Goat Bedding
Most people would throw out used goat bedding. Even though they are soiled, it doesn’t mean they are a lost cause.
There are many ways you can reuse spent goat bedding. For instance, they can be an excellent source of mulch for your soil and plants.
You can use the spent bedding materials as mulch for your plants. Please make sure they are well-rotted and dry before placing them on top of the soil.
Spent goat bedding serves as a great compost since it’s four-part carbon (the excrements) and one-part nitrogen (plants and other green materials).
You can mix the used bedding with any dry matter and keep them in a compost bin. Most farmers later use this compost to amend the soil.
Used goat bedding is often used for soil amendment since it can improve some soil qualities. In most cases, the spent bedding adds more nutrients to the soil.
Remember that you need the used bedding to set into the soil for two to three weeks before planting anything.
How to Keep the Goat Bedding Clean
Choosing the right bedding for goats is a good start in goat farming. However, it also pays to keep the entire pen clean by regularly doing a few of these tasks.
Reduce Ammonia with Lime
Lime has an active element that absorbs ammonia. It does reduce not only the smell but also lessens the effect of ammonia on your goats.
Goats pee a lot, and they can produce a lot of ammonia. By adding lime into their bedding, goats can enjoy a clean and safe place to rest.
Like using lime, stall fresheners reduce the ammonia level in pen. They come in different forms, but most farmers prefer powdered ones.
You can sprinkle a sufficient amount on the floor and bedding. The goat’s urine can be very dangerous, so having a stall freshener can give a healthier environment for your goat.
Sand for Easy Drainage
As mentioned, sand can be an excellent choice for your goat bedding ideas. Despite not being absorbent enough, it can efficiently help with the drainage.
Make sure to spread the sand evenly under the bedding. Keep in mind that too much sand tends to hold urine as well.
Gravel for Proper Drainage
Using gravel and other small stones can help with the drainage in your goat pen. Place these stones under your mix of goat bedding.
In other instances, farmers mix gravel with the soil they put underneath the bedding. That way, water gets drained more quickly.
This refers to the diatomaceous earth that you put under the bedding. Dry stall helps in reducing the odor, preventing parasites, and decreasing the ammonia levels.
A dry stall is a safe and all-natural solution for your goat pen. However, make sure not to put too much since dust could get into the goat’s lungs.
ALSO READ: How To Properly Care For Your Goat
Common Questions Asked About Goat Bedding
Most beginners in goat farming find themselves asking several questions about goat bedding. As goat owners, you would only want your animals to be as comfortable as possible.
You need to choose the best goat bedding and make their pen as clean and safe as possible. So, here are common questions people ask about bedding for goats.
What’s the Best Bedding for Goats?
There are plenty of choices when it comes to goat bedding materials. However, most farmers would ask the popular question, “what’s the best bedding for goats?”
Pine shavings are the best goat bedding, among other materials. They are absorbent, manageable, inexpensive, and easy to clean up.
What is the Ideal Goat Bedding During Winter?
Goats are versatile animals, but it doesn’t mean that they can easily withstand the cold. Straw keeps your goats warm during the winter.
If the straws quickly get damped, you can opt for wood chips. They are absorbent and can make a thick, insulating pile in the cold.
Will Goats Eat Straw Bedding?
Most first-time goat farmers ask themselves whether goats eat their straw bedding. This remains to be an issue for most beddings.
The best way to prevent goats from eating their bedding is to spread thinly throughout the pen. You can also put them under the primary goat bedding.
Goat Bedding – Conclusion
Goats don’t require any fancy shelter to keep them happy. With just warm and cozy bedding for goats, they can thrive and maintain to be healthy.
The best bedding for goats would vary depending on the preference of a farmer for his goats. Pine shavings are the ideal choice for any goat, but you can always have a mix of each in this list.
You can get creative with your goat bedding ideas. Most farmers put some of the bedding material under the primary component to ensure its cleanliness and safety for your goats.
Still, there is some hesitation among farmers, and they tend to ask themselves: is straw good bedding for goats? Are all other bedding materials suitable for your animals, for that matter?
Mixing these materials for the best bedding for goats is the ideal way to go. However, you can always have a trial-and-error experience with your goats and see what works best.