Rethink Your Life!
Finance, health, lifestyle, environment, philosophy
The Work of Art and The Art of Work
Kiko Denzer on Art

Cob: Goat Shelter- Dogs and Goats?

Michael Fitzgerald puppetman at
Mon Aug 25 19:56:57 PDT 2003

Hi all:

Of course you can put goats in a cob shelter. Here is a little picture of
some of my African goats and sheep friends waiting for a bus.

Actually they where in the bus shelter getting out of the rain. Goats will
use anything for a shelter, and it's sometimes difficult to keep them out of
the house! A goat in a cob barn would be happier than a pig in a cob pit.

I don't know if I was clear as to my reasons for suggesting that Amanda not
use cob in areas where her dogs would be living. There are a number of

Animal shelters very often have a large amount of dogs in a very small
space. They are communal pack animals and seem to thrive on this, unlike
other intensely raised animals that will often show signs of mental
disturbance when intensely confined. So it is not uncommon to find 100-200
animals in the average humane society kennel. (Especially if they have a no
kill policy.) Paid personnel is kept to a minimum and the shelters will
often rely heavily on volunteers. This means that clean up will usually
consist of a daily hosing. Cob cannot stand up to this. A well finished
cement floor that can be hosed and squeegeed dry is essential in any
intensive husbandry, whether it is poultry, dairy, rabbits, or even goats.

However the average homesteader will not be crowding a thousand chickens
into a 1600 sq ft cob barn. And for my two cent worth: The qualities that
make earth building attractive for home building, make it doubly so for any
of a homestead's outbuildings. How much do you love your goats? Cob is a lot
of work where a couple of sheets of plywood and some scrap 2x4s would
suffice. Many Africans would tell you that a goat that can't get out of the
rain should be shot before he passes those genes on.

I am in the process of putting together a dog house out of CEBs (concrete
stabilized earth blocks) that will have a cob front. I am still building it
and I haven't even got the dog yet. So I can't say how well it works. (Maybe
this time next year.)

If you look at the goat photo you will see some walls in the background. The
one directly behind the goats is made of CEBs. To the right of that and just
across the street is a wall made of site-made concrete blocks. Directly
behind the goats you see some piles of building materials sand, clay,
gravel, that are used to make these blocks. Blocks are made one at a time in
metal molds. You can see some of the blocks stacked and unstacked here and
there in the photo. The plastering on the wall is done with a sand rich
cement. I have never seen anybody use lime in Africa, however I may have
just missed it as I wasn't really looking for it... I will be next time I

Hope this helps.

Michael Fitzgerald

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-coblist at [mailto:owner-coblist at]On
Behalf Of D.J. Henman
Sent: Monday, August 25, 2003 12:51 AM
To: Coblist
Subject: Re: Cob: Goat Shelter- Dogs and Goats?


Amanda Peck wrote:

> The reasons why cob would not be good for a volunteer built and run
> county-wide dog shelter include:
> a) dogs dig, chew and so on.  Don't know how easy goats are on their
> home.

Dogs chess on their cob dog houses.   Really?
I've seen cob horse sheds and no problems.   Does anybody out there have
a cob dog house?

> b) disinfecting, cleaning--both animal quarters and a place for
> surgery, treatment, and so on.  Not quite as important for either
> herbivores or ones own animals.

Cob is not inherently dirty?  (sounds kind of funny).    A lot depends
on what disinfectants you use and how you apply them.    About surgery,
that is a totally different thing that a housing area.

> c) the need to have a building go up quickly with not all that
> dedicated to building volunteer labor (wanting a new shelter, yes,
> wanting to spend weeks putting up space for 25-100 dogs and cats,
> no).  This might not apply to cob as much as to some of the stone
> methods, would again not necessarily apply to an individual with only
> a couple of goats.

Perhaps some hybrid with cob and straw bale then.

> The people who tell me that a cob office would be a welcome respite
> from barking dogs are right.
> For a goat shed, do you need a fairly soft surface, the way you do for
> horses?  Would the urbanite be best used for a rubble trench foundation?

You mean would it be adequate.   Rocks and other masonry materials could
also be used to the same effect.

Some Places I've seen just used a stabilized rammed earth foundation.
But, I'm not sure that I'd recommend it, having no experience with it