Any good goat owner wants what’s best for their livestock, and shelter is one of the critical elements.
But when you start to search for advice, you see a lot of different names for their homes.
So, where do they go when they need shelter?
A domestic goat lives in a loafing barn or loafing shed. It is also sometimes called a run-in shed. A loafing shed is a cost-effective, three-sided structure placed in an enclosed field. It is meant to provide shelter and protection for a variety of animals. It’s also used to store farm equipment or food for livestock.
A loafing shed is a step up from a lean-to but not as elaborate as a full barn.
Is it good enough, though?
We’ll talk about what you need in the rest of the article.
Can a Goat Live in a Loafing Shed All the Time?
A goat can permanently live in a loafing shelter, depending on a few factors.
- Geographical location: If you’re in an area with brutal winters, you’ll need to make sure the goats will be able to stay warm. If you’re in an area with scorching summers, your goats will need a spot to cool down.
- Breeds of Goat: Some breeds are hardier than others. Milk goats are more susceptible to the cold weather, so a full four-sided enclosure is best. Meat goats can thrive with minimal shelter
- Accessibility: You need to be able to get water, food, and even electricity to your loafing shed. A newborn will need a heat lamp in a loafing shed if born in colder months.
Where Should a Loafing Shed Be Positioned?
The direction in which you place your loafing shed is very important.
Your shed needs to protect your goats from cold winter gusts and provide a cool, shady place for relaxing out of the summer heat.
Cold fronts typically come from the north.
A south-easterly or south-westerly facing shed would be ideal for year-round protection.
You’ll also need to keep your shed on high, dry ground.
How Much Space Does a Goat Need?
For starters, you must have at least two pet goats.
They are herd animals and need the company to feel safe and happy.
Two small to medium-sized breeds of goats will be content in a relatively small enclosure of 500’ square feet of grazing area.
A loafing shed will need to be at least 40’ square feet for both.
How Much Does a Loafing Shed Cost?
The cost of a loafing shed is dependent on the materials you choose to use and whether you build it yourself or hire someone who specializes in building sheds.
The DIY route will cost you around $1500, whereas buying one will be twice as much.
Check out full goat-keeping cost guide.
What Are the Benefits of a Loafing Shed Over Other Types of Shelter?
There are a few benefits of building a loafing shed instead of a full barn or lean-to.
A lean-to is ideal for short-term shelter but not something you’d want to give your goats a permanent structure as it won’t sufficiently protect them from the elements.
A loafing shed is thousands of dollars less than a barn.
It doesn’t take up as much space as a barn.
A barn is harder to clean and requires more upkeep.
Why is it Called a Loafing Shed?
Have you ever heard of the saying “loafing around”?
It means to do nothing in particular, avoiding work.
It means to be wasting time being idle.
Your domestic goat will love to loaf around in front of their loafing shed!
They’ll enjoy going in and out as they please and will eat any feed you keep in there, so be mindful of how you store their food.
Shouldn’t a Goat be Locked up at Night?
In Door County, Wisconsin, there is a restaurant called Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik.
This restaurant has been a favorite for locals and tourists for over 30 years.
What makes this place worth mentioning?
It has goats roaming on the roof!
They’ll even show you what they’re up to during the tourist season on one of their goat cams.
It isn’t suitable for goats to sleep at night or be safe from adverse weather.
If severe weather is coming through, you will want to lock your goats up at bedtime.
I’m not talking about a little rain.
I mean a severe thunderstorm or tornado chances.
A possibility of 12” inches of snow in two hours.
Another reason to keep them inside at night is to keep them safe from wild animal predators.
If you have known hunters in the area or people who want to steal them, it’ll be best to be safe than sorry.
You will also want to consider keeping female goats with kids or young adult goats indoors overnight until they are old enough to defend themselves better.
With all of this in mind, it is still perfectly acceptable to let your goats roam day and night with only a loafer shed to keep them comfortable.
Remember to make sure your fencing is in tip-top shape and your land is clear of debris.
What Other Animals Use a Loafing Shed?
Loafing sheds are used for all kinds of animals.
Free-range chickens will enjoy a shady area as long as you add some beams to rest on up high.
Large livestock, like cows and horses, will happily roam around their loafing shed, especially if you keep fresh hay for them to nose in.
Or leave it alone, and big and small pigs alike will happily wallow in the mud.
Don’t forget about llamas, alpacas, and sheep.
They’ll use a loafing shed like all other livestock.
What Else Can I Use a Loafing Shed For?
Loafing sheds are multipurpose buildings.
Some people prefer to keep farm equipment in them, like small tractors.
Others will keep tack for horses.
It’s a great little structure to put hay in, and it keeps the hay dry and relatively fresh.
It may be used as car storage for the vintage beauty you’re rebuilding.
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