I really enjoy barn design, and I think a lot about the needs of my goats whenever I build. Here’s a sense of what I think about when I’m designing for buck housing. There are many, many ways to meet the needs of bucks, so this is just an example of how I do it. I live in the hills of western Massachusetts, so we have hot summers but not as hot as down south, and we are close to zero some winter nights.
I have a low tolerance for ongoing sexual harassment in my buck pen. I don’t want a buck to be harassed so much that he is constantly defending himself or hiding to avoid being mounted by other bucks instead of eating. There are a few ways I go about providing options to make life easier when bucks are housed together. I’m usually housing 2-3 bucks, and I think there is more jousting in this small herd than in larger buck herds.
Food access is important, so I have a few wall mounted small mangers as well as main manger in case there’s a buck that is low on the pecking order and needs to eat away from his stall mate(s).
I find it helpful to have platforms in many of my goat stalls. Platforms create small spaces underneath where goats can snuggle for warmth during cold spells and also create a space to jump up on to escape when being chased. A buck can avoid being mounted by another buck by retreating under the platform. I often use 4×4’’ posts for corners and 2x4s for the rest of the frame. I usually screw platforms to the wall using 4-6’’timberlocks so that goats rubbing against them don’t move them around.
Here’s what I chose to do for my recent buck stall redesign. Two bucks live in it, an older buck and a young buck. They take turns chasing each other but it’s mostly the young buck who is full of vim and vigor. I wanted to make sure that the older buck can find peace.
The main platform is 5×4’ and 30’’ high. This allows them to stand underneath it but not jump around under there. The platform is against the wall, and two sides are covered with pieces of OSB (oriented strand board). The open side of the platform is farthest away from the door to avoid winter drafts and summer bugs from bothering the bucks underneath it.
With a platform this high, I made a 24×24’’ step-up platform since my older buck would have trouble jumping up without it.
I tend to put water buckets up on a small platform so that it’s higher than butt height, and they can’t rub against it or poop into it. I have a full-size door to the outside but a small buck-sized door that can be used during cold/bug seasons.
By Kathrin Bateman