Goats (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB9733 & PB0081)

Housing, Buildings and Equipment


20. Advice on welfare aspects should be sought when constructing and modifying buildings. The lying area should be covered, dry and well-lit with sufficient ventilation which does not cause draughts at animal level. Goats are very inquisitive and all gate / door fastenings should be goat-proof.

21. Fittings and internal surfaces of all buildings and equipment to which goats have access should not have sharp edges or projections. Fittings should be so arranged as to avoid injury.

22. Surfaces should not be treated with paints or wood preservatives which may cause illness or death. There is a risk of lead poisoning from old paint work especially when second hand materials are used.

23. Hay racks and nets should be properly positioned and designed to avoid the risk of injury, in particular to the eyes of all types of goats. Hay nets should not be used for young kids and horned goats as there is the danger of them becoming entangled.

24. When goats are fed in groups, there should be sufficient trough space or feeding points to avoid undue competition for food.

25. Water bowls and troughs should be constructed and sited so as to avoid fouling and to minimise the risk of water freezing in cold weather. They should be kept thoroughly clean and be checked at least once daily, and more frequently in extreme weather conditions, to ensure that they are in working order.

26. Floors should be designed, constructed and maintained so as to avoid discomfort, distress or injury to the goats. Solid floors should be well drained. Sufficient clean dry bedding incorporating straw or other suitable material should be provided to ensure comfort and reduce the risk of injury to the udder.

27. If housed, male goats should be within sight and sound of goats or other animals and in strongly constructed buildings which allow sufficient room for exercise.

28. Housed goats should have access to a yard or pasture.

29. The space allowance when penned should be calculated in relation to the age, size and class of stock. This and the size of the group should be based on appropriate advice. Horned and polled goats should not be put in the same pen unless reared together.

30. The introduction of a new goat or goats to an existing group can result in bullying. This may be alleviated by increasing the space allowance or by penning the new animal adjacent to the existing group for a short period.

31. All electrical installations at mains voltage should be inaccessible to goats, well insulated, safeguarded from rodents and, properly earthed(2).


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