How Do Goats Sleep? (Behavioral Guide)

If you have goats, you may wonder how they sleep at night. 

Often it is difficult to catch a goat sleeping, but like all other mammals, they need quality sleep to energize and stay healthy. 

Knowing how goats sleep will solve some mysteries for goat owners who have never caught them while sleeping. 

So how do goats sleep?

Goats sleep about 5 hours a night. Like other mammals and domesticated pets, it’s not uncommon for them to take frequent naps throughout the day. It’s difficult to catch a goat sleeping as they’re very light sleepers. Goats sleep lying down or on their side, depending on their comfort level. 

Goats are special farm animals with quirky personalities. 

They are a joy to have and bring smiles to farmers’ faces daily. 

Let’s get some answers to common quests about how goats sleep. 

how do goats sleep

Where Do Goats Sleep?

Goats like to sleep on dry bedding on either the ground or slightly raised beds. 

Domesticated goats enjoy sleeping with their heads uphill. 

As notoriously light sleepers, domestic goats tend to be very hard to catch when snoozing. 

This is a trait inherited from their wild goat ancestors. 

Wild goats are prey animals and must maintain a watchful eye if a predator comes in the night. 

This primal instinct to keep themselves safe makes the domestic goats on your farm incredibly light sleepers.

Many farmers will build slightly raised beds or goat sleeping platforms for their goats. 

Building a shelf-like bed in their herd’s sided shelters. 

Installing these a few inches above the ground will make your goats very happy. 

Fill the bed with wood shavings, straw, or shredded paper to provide a cozy place for your goats to rest. 

Make sure to make the shelves fairly large as goats are herd animals and enjoy sleeping in close quarters. 

This is another survival tactic inherited from their wild goat ancestors. 

How Much And How Long Do Goats Sleep?

Catching your goat sleeping is a challenging task. 

A beginner goat owner may think they barely sleep at all. 

This is not the case. 

Goats sleep for about 5 hours or so at night, and many also take naps throughout the day. 

Goat keepers will have a much better chance of catching their goats sleeping if their herd feels safe. 

Offering a comfy and safe space where goats may relax without worrying about predators or other threats allows them to sleep soundly. 

This helps decrease overall stress in the herd and helps to provide happy and healthy lives. 

Goats sleep a lot compared to other domestic farm animals like cows and sheep. 

Cows and sheep average just under 4 hours a day of sleep. 

The more comfortable your goats feel, the more they will sleep. 

Goats perceive sleep as a time when they are vulnerable to attack, so they will sleep lightly or sporadically if they don’t feel safe. 

Providing a comfortable goat shelter or goat pen for your animals will help them sleep soundly and get a good night’s rest. 

Do Goats Like To Sleep Off The Ground?

Goats do enjoy sleeping off the ground. 

When outside, goats like to sleep with their heads uphill, but if you provide goat sleeping platforms for your herd, they will enjoy them. 

Some goats won’t use beds or raised sleeping areas and prefer to sleep on the ground. 

It is worth it for goat owners to install a few sleeping platforms in the barn stall, so the goats have an alternative to the barn floor at night.

Goats sleeping off the ground night after night in an enclosed barn helps them stay happy, healthy, and dry. 

Bedding sometimes gets wet and holds moisture. 

This moisture contributes to fungus, mold, and bacteria growth. 

This may cause bacterial skin infections or other serious issues for your goats. 

Allowing some barn space for raised sleeping platforms will help keeps goats away from soiled or damp bedding. 

Is It Normal For A Goat To Lay On Its Side?

It is normal for goats to lay on their side. 

Some people think farm animals aren’t physically capable of lying on their side, but this is not true. 

Many horses, cows, and other domesticated herd animals sleep on their side. 

You may not commonly see this, as laying on the side indicates a very comfortable and safe animal. 

If you sneak up on the herd sleeping in the barn, they will likely be on edge and won’t feel comfortable sleeping on their side. 

Some animals, like horses, have locking legs while they sleep. 

Goats do not have this trait. 

This allows them to sleep lying down or on their side comfortably. 

Goat keepers are more likely to see their herd sleeping upright than on their sides. 

This is another survival technique. 

It is much easier for the goats to leap up and run away at the first sign of danger if they sleep upright. 

It takes more time and effort to get up and run if they are sleeping on their side. 

Do Goats Need Beds?

Goats do not need beds. 

Some of your goats may prefer sleeping on a raised platform or bed, but this is not necessary. 

Most are perfectly happy sleeping on a cushion of soft, dry bedding. 

Depending on the climate, you may want to provide better sleeping arrangements to keep goats warm in the cooler months. 

Sleeping off the ground with some insulating bedding material will keep your goats significantly warmer than if they were sleeping straight on the ground. 

Providing quality bedding is very important for the health and happiness of your goats. 

It is essential to consider comfortable and safe bedding for your herd of animals. 

There are a few things to consider when choosing a bedding type:

  • Make sure the bedding is safe for your goats. Some beddings produce high dust levels and have adverse effects on the health of a herd of goats. 
  • Make sure the bedding is absorbent. Ideal goat bedding is absorbent but dries quickly. You want a bedding material capable of absorbing moisture but not holding on to it. Wet bedding quickly becomes a breeding ground for many harmful bacteria, fungus, pests, and mold. 
  • Choose soft and comfortable bedding for your goats. Goat owners want their herds to be happy and comfy. This reduces overall stress and allows their quirky personalities to come out. Goats are some of the cutest animals to keep on a farm. Keep them happy, and you’ll see their personalities flourish. 

Learn more on goat shelter floorings in our detailed article at the link.

What Is The Best Type Of Bedding For Goats?

Knowing how to pick good bedding will help keep your goats happy and healthy night after night. 

Regardless of your choice in bedding, it is vital to clear out old bedding and replace it as necessary to prevent the festering of harmful bacteria, mold, pests, or fungus. 

Here are some of the best bedding options for goats to sleep on. 

For a full list of what to use and not use, check out our list of the best goat bedding options.

Learn more on goat shelter floorings in our detailed article at the link.

Pine Shavings

Pine shavings are a popular option for goat owners to use as a bedding material for their herd. 

It is extremely absorbent and easy to clean. 

Depending on your location and region, the cost of pine shavings is usually very low. 

This makes it very manageable to switch the pine shavings out as needed. 


Straw is a very comfortable and popular option for goat bedding. 

It is soft, absorbent, and easy to clean. 

However, keep an eye on your goats as some tend to eat the bedding. 

This isn’t an issue if the bedding is clean, but your herd may face some problems after ingestion if it is soiled with feces. 

If the straw is easily accessible for you in your area, give it a shot in your goat pen to see if the herd eats it or not. 


Sand or sandy soil is another popular option for goat owners to put in the sleeping areas of their barn. 

It helps immensely with drainage as well. 

We recommend using soil in conjunction with another type of bedding for most applications. 

It does a fantastic job promoting drainage and cutting back on odors but won’t provide the same softness or absorbency of other materials commonly used in bedding. 

Sand is very easy to clean compared to other materials. 

You won’t need to replace the sand as often, and scooping feces out of the sand is significantly easier than swapping large amounts of wood chips, pine shavings, or straw. 

Wood Chips

Wood chips are a fantastic type of bedding for your herd of goats. 

It is very absorbent and helps prevent excess moisture from accumulating in the barn or goat pen. 

Wood chips are a bit heartier than straw or pine shavings and do well kept outside. 

Wood shavings also help to provide valuable insulation in the goat shelter or barn. 

This comes in handy during the colder months when the herd needs more heat to stay cozy and warm throughout the night. 

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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