Unlike other animals, goats do not require elaborate shelter provisions. As long as the shelter is dry, they will thrive without much trouble taken on your part. Now while goats might wander around freely during the day, things can be quite different for them at night.
The question is, can you leave goats out overnight?
Goats can be left out overnight but your decision to do so should depend on factors unique to your situation. The choice depends on the presence or absence of certain factors. In the presence of predators, thieves, and harsh weather conditions, goats should not be kept out overnight. In the absence of said factors, it is safe for goats to stay out through the night.
If you intend to let your goats stay out at night, the best thing you can do is take certain safety precautions.
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Can You Leave Goats Out Overnight?
Goats prefer to be in or near a shed at night. During the day, goats go out to feed on grasses, twigs, and leaves but they almost always return at night for shelter regardless of how far they wander during the day.
Goats need extra protection during cold and snow. This is particularly important for kidding goats since kids are unable to maintain their temperature when the weather is significantly cold.
So, if you have goats that are about to kid, do not leave them out overnight.
Also, if there are predators like foxes, bears, and coyotes around, having your goats out overnight is not the best option.
Tips for Keeping Your Goat Safe at Night
With the potential dangers your goats could face at night, you must keep them safe. To do this, try out the following tips:
Keep Your Goats Locked up in the Barn
Why worry over predators when you can lock up your goats overnight? In the presence of many predators in your neighborhood, keeping your goats locked up at night is safer and reduces losses. Some goats may hesitate, but you can lure them in with some hay inside the pen.
Secure Your Fencing
The grass might be greener at the other side of the fence, but is it safe?
Another way to keep your goats safe is to build a fence. Fencing does not only ensure your animals are in, but it also helps keep predators out.
Goats require two fence systems: exterior fencing and interior fencing.
The exterior fencing would span the perimeter of the farmland and protect against predators. On the other hand, the interior fencing, which is also called cross fencing, would keep the goats in.
Goats love climbing and may want to escape. For this reason, you may opt for an electric fence that they cannot jump over.
You also need to walk the perimeter of your fence regularly. This ensures that there are no broken fences or gaps that would allow a goat to sneak out or a predator to come in.
Keep Your Farmland Clean
Pieces of trash and dirt are attractive to hungry wildlife. Piles of garbage can serve as a hiding spot for predators.
Keep the farmland clean and properly dispose of remains such as wild animal carcasses since they can attract predators. Do not dispose of them close to the farmland, as they will only invite the predators close to your farm.
Get a Livestock Guardian
Llamas, dogs, and donkeys can serve as great livestock guardians. Livestock guardians protect sheep and goats by marking their territory and barking. They have been employed to protect goats from predators for hundreds of years.
Once a predator smells the guardian, it gets scared and looks elsewhere for food.
3 Common Reasons for Locking Goats up at Night
The following are some reasons why people lock their goals up at night:
1. To Protect Them From the Harsh Weather
Goats are often housed to protect them from cold at night. The wind and precipitation at night make it difficult for goats to maintain body temperature, especially the kids. You can lose kids during wet weather if an appropriate shelter is not available.
2. To Protect the Herd From Predator Attacks
Whether you raise your goats in an urban or rural area, predators pose the greatest threat to your goats.
Some predators hunt both day and night. With predators around, you have only two choices: lose your goats or protect them.
3. To Protect Them From Theft
Animals are not the only possible predators of your herd. Humans can use goats for meat, milk, or to sell and sometimes they are willing to steal instead of buying them.
Nobody likes a thief, and nobody wants what belongs to them to get stolen. So, some people lock their goats up to prevent theft.
You may keep your goats out overnight. But this may not always be safe, especially if there are predators around. Goat kids are particularly vulnerable, and they need secure accommodations. Before you choose to leave your goats out overnight, ensure that everything is in place to ensure their safety.