Winter camping with goats? Coats or no coats? Anyone using horn insultion at all?
Hey Everyone,

I have what could be considered a dumb question for you. 

I started goat packing last Sept and I am feeling very confident in my skills.  However I have not really done any winter goat packing.  I am originally from Vermont and I am a good winter camper.  My question for you is, do the goats need anything special for winter camping in the snow with temps down around 0 degrees F.  I have listened to the podcast Marc Warke did with Cannon about his goats in the winter and how they all curled up on the fire pit after it had cooled down some.

Some back ground on my goats and where they live.  I live in Gig Harbor, Wa very near Tacoma.  Our elevation is about 150’ and the nightly temps where the goats are at can get into the mid to high twenty’s regularly.  My guys get good free choice hay feed along with loose free choice mineral every day.  They get about a cup of Purina goat feed, sunflower seeds, timothy pellets, and crushed corn 4 out of 7 days a week (I am a firefighter so I am at work the other days).  Also we do at least one 2 mile run and 3 mile light pack hike a week. I also brush each goat daily.  So there diet, fitness, and coat health is pretty good I think.

Will the guys be ok if we when on a winter pack trip in the snow at 2,300 ft?  My current plan to make the trip survivable for them is to stay out of deep snow so their chests and panniers don’t drag.  I will camp in thicker timber so there will be less wind, and make sure the guys stay dry.  I am going to cut and lay down a thick layer of pine boughs so the boys are insulated from the snow and getting wet.  As far as low lining for the night, I might actually pin each one near the fire individually so they can all lay near it and catch some of the radiant heat.  Now we get to the human add on stuff.  Do you think that the goat coats would be any use in this environment for them over night?  Also have you ever hear or seen anyone make a really horn insulating system for a goat and is one even needed?  To be clear I am not talking about some dumb knit crap with dumb pomp pomps.  I mean a sleeve of maybe neoprene covered in a high vis nylon with a connector between the two side so they can slide off.

The reason I bring up the horn insulation idea is because if a goat can use its horns to cool itself, them wouldn’t it stand to reason that the blood going into the horns in the winter would come back into the system cooler after going out into the horns?  I have spent one night out in the winter with one of my goats in Bend, OR.  We camped out in a state park and when we woke up it was 8 degrees F.  Gabie’s (my goat) horns where ice cold.  He did not seem to care about the temps at all.  However he was acclimated to those temps because that is where we was from.   

So in all your opinion would goats that have a coat for and are acclimated to living in 20 degree’s F be super miserable at 0 degrees F?  Would goat coats help?  Is making super sick horn covers a dumb and useless idea?  And finally does that camp set up maximize what I can do for the goats?

Thanks for all you time, and expertise!!!

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Winter camping with goats? Coats or no coats? Anyone using horn insultion at all? - by Mike - 12-06-2018, 04:29 PM

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