Goats are fairly smelly animals to farm and keep as pets, and you may find that goats require a lot of maintenance to ensure that their environment is kept clean and free from odors. Some factors will determine how smelly your goat will be, such as their sex (male goats smell worse than females), the type of substrate they are on for their urine control, and the size and airflow available in your goat’s pen.
In this article, we have put together a list of some odor control methods that can help keep your goats and their pens clean and smelling fresh.
The 5 Tips on How to Control Goat Odor
1. Castrating Male Goats
Castrating (also referred to as desensitizing or neutering) is a simple procedure carried out by veterinarians on male goats to remove their testicles, as you would do for other animals such as dogs and cats. Male goats produce a lot of hormones during the breeding season which causes them to urinate on themselves. This can cause your goats to smell unpleasant and this odor sticks to surfaces, clothing, and your goats’ fur.
By removing the male goat’s testicles when they are young, you reduce the chance of them having the hormone surge that will cause them to produce foul-smelling urine on themselves and within the pen.
2. Stall Freshener
Stall freshener usually comes in a powder form that can be added to your goat’s pen substrate. It helps to absorb excess ammonia which in return provides a healthier and better smelling environment for your goats. Stall fresheners are highly absorbent and great odor eliminators that can be mixed into your goat’s substrate and removed when the powder has become clumpy due to the absorption of all the urine. You can find this product at agricultural stores and online and they are marketed towards a variety of different barn animals.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda (sodium carbonate) is excellent at absorbing odors and combating urine smells. You can sprinkle heaps of baking soda over the substrate where your goats urinate frequently.
The baking soda can be left in the goat’s substrate until you do the next cleanout of the pen. Baking soda is non-toxic and safe for goats if they accidentally consume it. This is a fairly inexpensive and easy method to reduce goat odors from your goat pen.
4. Layer the Substrate
A method many goat owners use in the wintertime is to double layer the substrate with different materials to reduce the smell of goat waste. This method doubles as a form of insulation that can help keep your goat’s pen warm during the colder months.
Layering the substrate with wood shavings and hay can help to reduce the smell of ammonia from a goat’s urine because it absorbs and controls the odor until it needs to be shoveled and readded once the urine builds up.
5. Calcium Carbonate (Lime)
Limewash or lime powder can be added to the substrate or used to clean your goat pen. It works as a disinfectant and is also known as “barn lime” which is a form of crushed limestone. This method is non-toxic for goats and works in the same way as baking soda and stall freshener does. Limestone can also work as a substrate for your goat pen or barn, and it helps to keep the area more hygienic while reducing nasty odors produced by the goats.
Why Do Goats Smell?
Male goats (bucks) seem to smell worse than female goats. This is because bucks produce a pungent musky odor which is secreted from their glands that are located near their horns and excreted through their urine which is then sprayed onto the bucks’ legs, chest, beards, and face.
This musky smell is used to attract female goats, so while it may smell unappealing to the human nose, it is desirable for other goats. However, most goat pens will smell because of the ammonia accumulation from their urine and the smell of their poop that builds up over time, this makes it important to keep your goat’s pens clean and hygienic to prevent the build-up of bacteria and other smell-inducing pathogens.
Controlling the odor produced by goats in the pen will also benefit the health of your goat. They have sensitive respiratory systems which make the build-up of ammonia in their pens harmful. Fortunately, there are a variety of different methods to keep your goat’s odor under control so you do not have to worry about continuously removing and readding your goat’s substrate just to keep their environment smelling fresh.
Featured Image Credit: Muslianshah Masrie, Shutterstock