If you didn’t know already, goats poop and pee more than most other livestock. Why do you think most goats that live inside of houses often need diapers? (Yes, this is real, and yes, it’s pretty cute). So what happens when you raise goats as livestock? Will they poop on their bedding?
Goats often poop where they sleep, so you’ll need to provide fresh bedding to prevent worms or diseases from spreading. Straw and wood chips are better materials for bedding than blankets or dirt. An easy way to provide clean bedding is to add fresh straw on top once a week and let the manure compost underneath.
While this is a short description of how to handle goat poop, there are a few more tips that could make your shoveling time a bit easier. Let’s take a further look.
The Best Ways to Clean Up Goat Poop
Cleaning up goat poop can be a chore, but it doesn’t have to be involved or even take that long. Most goat owners take about 30 minutes every week to reset and clean their goats’ bedding. It’s important to keep their bedding clean as they can develop worms, especially in the spring when it’s warmer and wet.
You can easily clean goat poop by using bedding that doesn’t absorb much. Wood chips, bedding pellets, and other bedding with high-absorption can soak up a lot of urine and droppings, which isn’t the best for the goat’s health. Goats have sensitive lungs, so their urine that smells of strong ammonia can make them sick.
Instead, many homesteaders prefer to use straw bedding. Not only is it cheap, but straw is fluffy and spacious enough to allow urine and manure to sift down into the dirt. The little bit of straw that’s soiled can simply be covered with a fresh layer of straw. This is especially effective in the winter when the poop and straw compost underneath and provides heat for the goats. If you’re letting your goats graze in the woods, you probably don’t need to replace their bedding as often.
On the other hand, if you have a wet summer, and your goats are staying in more, you may need to replace the straw more often. For this reason, many people use less bedding and let their goats sleep on the ground during the summer. If you use straw bedding in the summer or wet season, you could be replacing it too often.
If you’re not planning on letting the straw and manure compost in layers, you can use a pitchfork and wheelbarrow to cart all of the straw bedding into the trash or another compost pile. Generally, this is done after a week of adding fresh straw.
If the floor is concrete or wood, you can clean it with a small amount of bleach (be careful about the goats’ sensitive lungs), or lime wash and lime powder. If the floor is dirt, then you can simply place new straw down when you’re done carting off the old straw.
Unfortunately, goats will use the bathroom anywhere and will pee and poop right on their fresh bedding. You should change it if it starts to look or smell gross. Soiled bedding can occur faster in the summer than winter because of how quickly the wet weather can soak the straw. In winter, depending on your weather, you have just add more straw bedding on top instead of cleaning it. If you do this, use a rake to fluff up the straw so the manure pellets fall to the bottom.
Another advantage of using straw is that it offers more warmth than many other bedding materials. It’s also a little bit more renewable compared to wood shavings because you don’t have to cut down a tree. Straw is made from the leftover stalks of wheat, rye, and barley, which are used to make bread and other grain goods. So, these grass stalks would normally just get thrown away if they weren’t used for straw.
Some common tools to clean goat poop is a rake, shovel, and broom. Although, if you’re using straw bedding on dirt, you may find a pitchfork works best. Some homesteaders also use a leaf blower to blow poop and bedding into one area for easier cleaning.
How Much Do Goats Poop a Day?
If you have a smaller area for bedding, or you’re on a budget, then you might feel inclined not to replace their bedding that often. It may be helpful to know how much goats poop in a day.
Goat poop is slightly larger than raisins and can range in size from a small handful to a pile 1 foot in diameter, depending on the goat’s size and diet. Their poop is in pellet form and can easily be broken down over a few weeks and used as compost.
If goats are regularly eating hay, the amount they poop could be different than if they were grazing. However, if they eat something funky while grazing they could definitely get sick and poop more, and sometimes even start bloating. This can also sometimes happen if they graze in the rain.
How Often Do Goats Poop?
Goats can poop in-between each feeding and pee at least 2-3 times a day. If goats are ill or have a sudden change in food, they’ll poop more often and it can be softer or discolored. Goat poop composts well, so adding layers of straw on top of soiled bedding can be a good way to maintain their pen and acquire compost.
If goats had to choose between pooping and peeing on the ground, or on straw, they’ll usually choose straw. If your goats currently sleep on the ground, this is good news because it means you can use this to your advantage. Try putting a small pile of straw solely in a designated area where you’d like them to poop. They still sleep on the clean ground and poop on the small amount of straw, which you can easily clean. Everybody wins.
What Do Goats Like to Sleep On?
When it comes to bedding, you can choose between straw, pellets, wood shavings, dirt, and many other materials. The deciding factor might not be what’s more comfortable for the goats, but which ones absorb more and which ones are easier to clean up.
Goats aren’t too picky when it comes to their bedding. They’ll gladly sleep on the ground, but some do like straw. Each goat has different preferences. Many times when you place straw down for them to use as bedding, they will use it to poop on instead.
Many homesteaders and small-scale farmers use regular straw for bedding, but if you’re finding your goats are eating it too often, consider switching to pine straw. It’s not as fluffy, but they generally won’t eat it. It’s a good idea to limit how much straw bedding they eat as they can get sick and need to be dewormed more often.
It’s also important for dairy goats to have fresh bedding so their udder can stay clean and provide milk that’s not contaminated.
I found this video by Shiawassee Hobby Farmer useful and maybe you will too!
Goats don’t have any restraints on where they go to the bathroom. In fact, they prefer to poop on their straw beds. This will happen frequently, so changing their bedding constantly is important.
To make it easier, consider using straw and layering it daily, especially if it’s winter. The composting from the manure and straw underneath will create heat. And when spring hits, you’ll have a sizable compost pile for your garden. If you’re not interested or able to compost their bedding as you go, the pile can also be discarded and the site cleaned weekly.