DIY – Goat Decks

How to Build Sectional Raised, Slatted Flooring for Goats

Lounging on the deck

 Hands down, raised, slatted flooring for goat housing wins the prize for ease of maintenance, cost over time, and, best of all, goats love it! I call this type of flooring “goat decks”.

Goat decks allow the manure to fall through the slats (mostly) and urine runs through and/or dries. The manure collects without being compacted by the goat’s hooves, meaning it is light and fluffy and super easy to scoop out when the decking is tipped up for cleaning every few weeks. Very little, if any, feedstuffs or other bedding, makes it through the cracks resulting in a higher value manure for gardens and possible sale.

The initial investment, not counting labor, is about 3.00 per square foot. The instructions in this post are for building two 4×4’ sections, or 32 square feet. Given that a bag of shavings will cost most people about 10.00, this one-time investment will save you a lot of money over time. For miniature breeds, space the decking at ½ inch. For standard breeds at 5/8 inch. It works well even with kids in the pen.

I keep one interior space bedded traditionally – with shavings and straw – but am progressively covering the rest of the sheltered space with goat decks. Here in Oregon our coldest winters are only in the teens, usually, and even then, many of the goats prefer the decks to the bedded area for sleeping. There is no draft below them and the manure must build up some heat that makes them comfortable.

We average having to clean under ours about every 6 weeks (that was with a larger herd than we have now), but it depends on the weather – when nice, they don’t spend as much time in the sheltered areas, of course, so manure build-up under the decks diminishes.

Cleaning involves daily raking (with a metal leaf rake) the tops to clear the tops and slats, spraying the undersides with vinegar after cleaning underneath, and occasionally using a hay-hook to clean the spots between the slats where the under-framing prevents manure from falling through. I built the first decks about six years ago and they are still in great shape.

Materials Needed (for two 4’x4’ sections)

5 – 8 foot pressure treated 2×6’s (or 2’x8’s if you want them a little higher, but they will also be heavier)

12 – 8 foot 2×4’s

18 – 3 inch exterior screws

60 – 2 ½ inch exterior screws

2 – ½ – 5/8 inch thick spacers (short pieces of wood to get the deck spacing even)

Construction (takes about 1 ½ hours if you have a bit of experience building)

Prep

  1. Cut 4 2×6’s into eight 45” sections
  2. Cut 1 2×6 into two 43 ½ inch sections
  3. Cut  2×4’s in half (24 48” sections)

Assemble Base

  1. Arrange 45 inch sections of pressure treated wood with ends overlapping as shown in 2nd photo from left (alternate the pattern) and connect with 3 of the longer screws at each corner. This will form a square that is 46 1/2 inches on each side. Double check the measurements before assembling to make sure that you have the boards overlapped properly.
  2. Place the 43 ½ inch piece of pressure treated wood in the center and secure through the side with 3 of the long screws.
  3. Check “the square” by running a tape measure diagonally from each corner. They must measure the same distance. If not, adjust by pushing the long side at one corner towards the short side.

Install the Decking

  1. Beginning at one edge (with the decking boards running across the center support board)
  2. Overlap the first board ½ inch at each end and 1 inch along the long edge. Secure in place with 2 of the shorter screws at each end, one in the center support, and a couple along the long edge.
  3. Use the spacers to place the next board and secure it in place.
  4. Continue as in step 3 until all decking is in place.

Repeat for 2nd section.

The newly installed section being properly coated with goat poo. Sections in the back are about 6 years old.
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