When raising baby goats in the winter, it’s essential to always be prepared for potentially hazardous situations.
Cold weather can greatly affect goats differently, especially when they’re only kids.
But how cold can they handle?
Baby goats can survive cold weather, but they need to be closely watched if temperatures dip below 20-40° degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to 4° C). While two-week-old goat kids can survive these lower temperatures with proper attention, newborn babies will need immediate care during these colder temperatures.
When lower temperatures become common, there are many things to ensure your baby goats are healthy and safe.
As newborn baby goats can quickly get hypothermia, it is essential to understand all the options you have to keep them warm.
Below, we’ve detailed exactly what you need to do to keep your kids warm and safe during the cold winter months!
How Cold Can Baby Goats Tolerate?
Two Week Old and Older Kids
Baby goats can tolerate cold weather.
However, if you get extreme weather and temperatures dip below 20-40° degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to 4° C), it’s recommended you keep a close eye on your kids.
If temperatures are around 40° degrees Fahrenheit (4° C), observing your goats will help you understand how they’re faring.
If there is any wind chill, it’s essential to keep your kids away from this chill by giving them a secure and stable above-ground shelter.
A two-week-old goat will have no problem during this time, as long as they have a draft-free shelter around to allow them to keep warm and out of any harmful wind chill.
Even with no added heat, older kids will be able to tolerate this level of cold.
However, it will still be stressful for them!
Ensure they’re healthy and have enough drinking water and proper nutrition.
Giving your younger goats nice bedding in their shelter will also help.
Straw or thick hay tends to make the best bedding during colder months, as it will help keep your kids’ body warmth up.
However, if temperatures get below 20° degrees Fahrenheit (-7° C), it’s good to keep a closer eye on your older kids.
On average, two-week-olds and older will do much better even when it’s 20° degrees Fahrenheit (-7° C) and under when compared to newborns.
To feel more assured your kids are as warm and safe as possible, it might be best to put a heat lamp in their shelter if you feel comfortable doing this.
However, heat lamps are the number one reason for barn fires — so it’s okay if you don’t feel 100% comfortable using one.
While the chances of heat lamps exploding are relatively low, there is still a chance.
We’ve found this heat lamp on Amazon to be the best, safest option.
If you’re not okay with using heat lamps and live in an area where the winter gets quite cold, we highly recommend giving your kids an insulated shelter for these cold months.
This can make all the difference!
Newborn Baby Goats
On the other hand, Newborn goats tend to have a very difficult time whenever temperatures drop below 40° degrees Fahrenheit (4° C).
The colder the environmental temperature gets, the more difficulties your kid will face.
Like a healthy 2-week-old goat kid, it’s highly recommended that newborn baby goats have draft-free, above-ground, insulated shelters with enough bedding to keep them warm.
If you know your goat will have kids, it’s necessary to keep an eye on them and consistently check on them to make sure you’re near them when they do finally have these kids.
Checking for labor signs in your goat can save a lot of worry and heartbreak shortly!
If you notice udders filling, a lack of appetite, nest building, loosening ligaments, or other odd behavior in your goat, it’s best to check on them every 30 minutes until they finally have their babies.
Once the baby is born, it’s vital for you to immediately dry off the kid.
Wet baby goats can quickly get hypothermia and die.
Frozen ears, feet, and other body parts are common during this time — something you do not want.
While frozen ear tips aren’t life-threatening, they still work to keep this from happening.
Once they’re dry, ensure they’re safe in their warm shelter.
You’ll need to keep an eye on them until they’re at least a few days old, as the first few days can sometimes be quite difficult during frigid temperatures!
Heat lamps only help maintain body heat temperatures, which is always important to remember.
So, if your kid is wet and freezing, a heat lamp isn’t going to help them!
This is why the number one thing to do when a kid is born is dry them off.
Also, wrap them in a makeshift sweater to keep them warm during their first few days!
How Can You Warm Up Freezing Baby Goats?
If your baby goats are freezing to the point where they get hypothermia, it’s essential to warm them immediately.
This means getting them indoors or into their shelter safely away from the cold chill.
Once they are somewhere warm, begin by gently blowing hot air from a hairdryer over them to help warm them up.
It might take half an hour or longer to get warm during this process, but they will eventually warm back up!
For baby goats in worse condition, putting them in a hot water bath is the best — and only — way to save them from completely freezing.
Running them under hot water is also an efficient option!
It might take even longer for these freezing kids to get better, but it’s essential to keep with it until you notice them begin to become affected.
Always keep their head safely above the warm water if you’re bathing them!
Plus, don’t bathe them in extremely hot water.
It should never be too hot!
Once your freezing baby goats are warm and safe, it also helps to give them colostrum, which can help boost their immune system and get stronger.
How Can I Keep A Baby Goat Warm Without Electricity?
If you don’t have electricity in your barn or goat shelter, then using heat lamps isn’t an option when keeping your baby goats warm during the winter.
However, there are other steps to take!
An above-ground, draft-free shelter to keep the wind, and any cold chill, out is the best option for keeping your baby goats warm without electricity.
Giving your baby goats proper bedding is also incredibly helpful.
Straw or thick hay is always the best bedding for goats, and putting enough of it in their shelter can help keep them warm.
An insulated shelter is the number one way to keep your kids warm during the winter if you don’t have electricity.
If you live in a freezing area in the winter, an insulated shelter might be the only option you have to truly keep your goats warm and safe.
However, too much time in a draft-free, enclosed shelter is too much of a good thing.
Pneumonia can travel easily among goats due to poor air quality, so allowing your goats fresh, clean air is a must — even in the cold winter months.
Therefore, providing a safe and warm shelter with good air quality — or allowing your goats to have outside access always — is necessary.
A balance must be found!
Finally, if you have newborn baby goats, making them little makeshift sweaters to help keep them dry and warm while in their shelter can go a long way if you have no electricity!
Do Goats Need Heat in the Winter?
Adult goats can survive winter temperatures easier than baby goats, as they grow a thick undercoat in the winter, which can help them tolerate the colder days in the winter.
However, even they may need to keep warm when temperatures get very low.
When it comes to using heat lamps to keep goats and baby goats warm during the winter, the option is really up to you.
If you’re comfortable using a heat lamp, go ahead.
Just always be sure to keep an eye on it!
If you’re warier about using heat lamps and would rather not risk a potential fire, you don’t necessarily need to provide extra heat to your goats in the winter.
However, you do need to help them maintain their body temperature.
An insulated, above-ground, and draft-free shelter is a great way to do this.
Heating pads are also an option as an alternative to heat lamps.
Most adult goats will be fine, however, in the winter.
When temperatures get below 20° degrees Fahrenheit (-7° C), it’s always recommended to keep an eye on them and ensure they have everything they need to take care of themselves.
If temperatures get below 0° degrees Fahrenheit (-18° C), an insulated and warm shelter is needed for even adult goats.
Both adult and baby goats can get hypothermia, so taking the necessary precautions to keep this from happening will always save a lot of future troubles!