Some goat bedding ideas include hay (for winter), grass, Pine shavings, soft pellets, etc. for summer.
I like to do a once-a-month or so full clean-out in the summer, warmer spring, and fall months, but will begin allowing the bedding to build up for winter soon.
I place a thick layer of pine shavings at the bottom and then if the leaves fall during dry weather, I will put all of my raked leaves into the coop and barn.
I’ve filled it about 3 feet deep plenty of times, but because of our rainy weather, I don’t get that depth. I will add in bale of straw if needed or if there aren’t any leaves.
I allow the fallen hay build-up, add in new straw or redistribute existing fallen hay if needed. I usually clean the area just in front of the stall door every few weeks during winter, as I leave that door open all the time, wedging a big block and using a rope to hold the door almost shut so the goats are able to come and go but the weather conditions stay out.
They track a lot of snow in and some blow in, so the area by the door gets wet on warmer days.
I have discovered that the very thick layer of manure and bedding is warmer for the goats. Just remember to have a clean and dry top layer. On occasions, throw in some straw if your goats don’t waste enough hay.
My friend and I are using shavings with straw on top at the moment. The straw prevents us from seeing the poo and pee and maintains our sanity after years of horse-keeping, where stalls are cleaned AT LEAST twice per day.
I needed to adjust my standards when I began rearing goats since it is impossible to clean up all those little nanny berries. They’re everywhere.
What are the Best Goat Bedding Options For Your Goat?
Here are some great bedding options for your goat:
Pine shavings are a cheap way to bed your goat’s pen. It is cheap and allows for a stress-less removal when it is soiled.
I recommend changing pine shavings anywhere from a few days old to a week.
Straw is another great option for your goat pen. But, goats may sometimes eat straw and you don’t want that to happen (especially if they have pooped on it).
So, test your goats with some and see if they will eat it off the ground. Mine don’t but Emma (my friend) herd does.
Pelleted bedding (made from compressed wood) is used in both goat and horse pens.
It is cheap, easy to manage, absorbent, and unattractive for goats to eat.
They absorb moisture and hold it until a good clean-out can be done. Pellets beddings are available in various bag sizes.
Put a layer of these under your primary bedding to help control moisture effectively.
Sawdust might remain one of the most popular bedding materials for most animals.
It is light, easy to spread, prevents smells, is absorbent, and provides lots of other benefits.
Sawdust is very advantageous to use as spent bedding material (will be discussed later).
Wood Chips/Landscaping Chips
Wood chips prevent moisture from building up in the ground and can be stored outside. They are easier to handle and help insulate your goat pen.
Cedar shavings or chips are an effective bedding option but a bit pricey than several other bedding materials discussed here.
You should change it if you find your goats eating much of it because it can make them sick.
Sandy soil or sand is great for drainage. It is better to use it as a bedding amendment (we discuss this in the latter part of the article) than just the actual bedding.
With sand, you do not have to change your bedding often, but you still have to scoop out poop daily.
You can use the material that works best for you and your goats. Now that you’ve decided what bedding to use, go ahead to clean out your goat’s pen.
What to Do with Used Goat Bedding
Here are some ideas on what to do with spent bedding:
You can use spent bedding materials as mulch for your plants. They will also provide your plants with nutrients (like manure would).
Before using, spread the material under the sun and wait for a week (at least) for the material to become dry and well-rotted.
Remember to spread the bedding material evenly across the soil close to the base of the plants for maximum result.
A soil amendment refers to any material or product that you can work into the soil (and wait 2-3 weels before planting into the soil) to improve the overall quality.
Adding in a soil amendment does the following:
A better Soil pH, soil aeration, increased water drainage ability and nutrient availability.
I bury spent bedding in the soil before winter and then plant in the soil in spring.
Compost refers to biodegradable waste materials such as straw, hay, food waste, etc. that can be used to amend the soil.
Spent bedding materials are typically great for compost because of one-part nitrogen (green or fresh materials) with 4-part carbon (dry or brown materials).
How do I make Compost?
- Mix some unused bedding material (or any dry material such as dry leaves) with your spent bedding material and then keep the mixture in your compost bin.
- Mix, turn, and water frequently so it retains moisture and aeration.
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4 Best Bedding Amendments to Keep Your Goat Pen Clean
Bedding amendments refer to materials you add to improve (not replace) your goat bedding to improve 1 or more qualities.
Here are some great ways to clean your goats’ pen:
Barn Lime to eliminate Ammonia
When you do a deep clean, and floors are scraped down, you can add barn lime or Sweet PDZ to the bare floor to aid the absorption of any lingering moisture or ammonia smells.
Lime is effective at absorbing ammonia and is able to rid your goat bedding of any ammonia build-up and its effects.
It is effective to use both in the summer and winter months.
Add in Gravel so Water drain Easy
The addition of gravel and other stones fosters easy water drainage. To use gravels, place them below the bedding material.
You can either choose to bury them or mix them with the soil below the goat pen.
Since gravel is hard and large, it aerates the soil, therefore allowing water to drain more easily.
Dry Stall with Diatomaceous Earth
DE absorbs and reduces any effect of DE. A dry stall also lets your goat pen dry and keeps it free from some diseases.
DE is 100% safe for both people and animals.
Sand for Easy Drainage of Water
Like gravels, sand (i.e. sandy soil) encourages drainage of water and other liquids.
Spot cleaning daily is a great way to stay on the top of wet areas to keep ammonia fumes down and moisture to a minimum. Do this during the day to keep the bedding clean.
How Often To Change Goat Bedding?
You should replace your goat bedding every 10-14 days, or twice a year if using the deep litter method.
Goat bedding materials help insulate and reduce smell and harmful fumes. The best materials to use for being a goats pen include sawdust, wood chips, pine shavings, etc.
What bedding material do you prefer to use for your goats?