Having a shelter for your goats is essential to keep them comfortable, healthy, and protected from the elements.
However, knowing exactly how your goat shelter should be constructed and insulated is tricky, as there are many factors to consider, from temperature to circulation and even bedding and flooring for the goats to sleep and walk on.
But do goat shelters even need a floor, and if so, what are the best materials to use?
Goats shelters don’t need a floor, but having one offers more protection against the elements. Many materials make excellent flooring for goat shelters, from dirt and straw to concrete, wood pallets, and wood shavings. Overall, the best is dirt or concrete covered with a thick layer of straw or pine shavings.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about your goat shelter’s flooring, the ideal materials, and how often to clean the area.
We’ll also touch on some related topics like the best types of goat shelters and what else they need in them to keep your herd comfortable, healthy, and safe.
Do Goat Shelters Need Anything Covering the Floor?
The primary purpose of a goat shelter is to give your goats a safe place to sleep, relax, and seek refuge from the rain, snow, wind, heat, cold, and other elements.
Each goat needs around 10 to 15′ square feet of dry living space to feel comfortable.
One of the most important factors to keep in mind for any type of shelter is keeping out excess moisture.
This will often lead to mold and bacterial buildup and make your goats cold and uncomfortable.
Additionally, a slightly raised floor material will provide extra insulation, particularly during frigid days.
Goats are hardy when it comes to temperature and the elements, but they still greatly appreciate a quiet, safe spot to warm up when the weather is especially harsh.
While many goat owners are tempted to simply leave the goat house with a dirt floor or not place any fresh bedding on it, having some kind of water-resistant, sturdy, and comfortable flooring material is essential to keep your goats warm, cozy, and happy.
Goats are messy animals, and they will dirty their flooring or bedding material reasonably quickly!
However, there are many inexpensive, simple options for flooring which take mere minutes to clean and replace on a weekly to biweekly basis.
For more options, check out our list of the best goat bedding options (and some to avoid!).
What Should You Put on the Floor of a Goat Shelter?
There are many different types of materials to consider when it comes to flooring for goat shelters.
The ideal flooring should be comfortable, dry, lightweight, and easy to clean, as we touched on above.
It should also provide a bit of insulation for warmth if you live in an area with a cold climate in the winter.
Depending on your needs, budget, cleanup, and aesthetic preference, many materials work well for floorings.
There are potentially endless combinations of materials appropriate for a goat shelter floor, but we’ll save you some time and go over three of the best ones below.
Dirt and Straw Flooring
One of the most popular options for goat shelter flooring and livestock shelters/barns is a simple dirt flooring covered with a bed of straw (at least 4″ to 6″ inches thick).
Dirt by itself is not easy to clean, and it gets muddy and creates a lot of mess very quickly!
It also isn’t aesthetically pleasing to look at.
However, plenty of straw on top of the dirt creates a barrier to soak up any water, goat poo, goat urine, and mud before it ever reaches the dirt floor base layer.
Another great thing about this flooring option is it’s dirt cheap–no pun intended!
While most of the following options are a bit more costly to set up and replace, straw bedding is extremely cost-effective if you’re working with a tight budget.
Alternatively, pine shavings like these on Amazon are another great and inexpensive choice here, as they are also very absorbent and lightweight.
Ideally, aim to replace the straw layer every week or two, depending on how large your herd is and the size of the shelter itself.
This will keep the goat floor relatively dry and prevent the dirt below from becoming muddy or smelly with goat droppings.
Concrete and Straw Flooring
Another flooring option for goat housing similar to the dirt-and-straw combo mentioned above is concrete flooring and straw.
The best things to use are large concrete slabs to create the base flooring level.
Next, place an even layer of straw on the slabs’ flat surface.
Although slightly more costly and laborious to set up, this option creates an extra layer between the dirty, muddy ground and your goats’ sensitive hooves and bottoms.
With this method, you also won’t need to use quite as thick of a straw layer, as you already have concrete slabs below it to separate it from the dirt.
Again, pine shavings are a fine alternative to straw, depending on your personal preferences; for some people, this pine bedding is also more accessible and easy to find at pet and livestock supply shops.
Again, concrete by itself should not be used, as it is very hard, cold, and provides no real comfort or warmth to your goats, which is precisely what a goat shelter should do!
However, by piling some fresh straw on top of the concrete floors, you’ll have a much more comfortable surface for your herd to stand and sleep on.
The third main option for goat shelter flooring we’ll cover here is wood pallets.
This wood flooring is an excellent choice because, similar to concrete, it provides a pleasant and dry, clean, slightly raised surface for your goats to walk and sleep on.
We love this choice because it is typically inexpensive yet sturdy and relatively long-lasting.
Wood pallets are used widely in commercial settings, making them easy to find and purchase, and they’re even pretty easy to build yourself.
The only caveat with this flooring option is it isn’t the most comfortable.
However, this is easily remedied by simply placing a layer of straw on top as extra cushioning between your goats and the ground, especially in spots where your goats like to sleep.
Avoid using very fine-cut beddings like pine shavings or wood chips here, as they tend to fall between the slats of the pallets and create an unnecessary mess (and make your cleaning routine unnecessarily difficult).
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