This was their goat house. There was so much to fit into the tour, and we didn't get unlimited time to poke around and measure and fiddle to our hearts' content, but here's what we were able to gather at the time...
The structure was made as a solution to many third world farmers' dilemma...how to raise goats on small land parcels without sustaining damage to crops. Goats are an important animal in many cultures, useful for milk, meat, skins, bartering, and sometimes fiber.
ECHO's goat house was their working solution: an elevated structure made of found materials or available wood. It is large enough to comfortably accomodate several small to medium-sized goats, and the wooden slats are substantial enough to be strong, and are spaced to allow for air circulation on all sides...but to keep predators out. There was a feeding trough along one side, and the slats were spaced to allow goats to extend their heads to the trough for eating forage, but not enough to allow the goats to escape.
Beneath the troughs, trimmed limbs and forage leaves/plants were piled. As the goats finished what was in the troughs, the trimmings could be easily rotated upward to refill the troughs.
It's hard to tell in these pictures, but the building was positioned raised above a dirt slope. Animal droppings fall through the floor slats to the ground below, and are raked down the underneath slope into the open to be collected and used for fertilizer. Any uneaten twigs and branches from the fodder are put into the compost pile.
We've never had goats, but know enough about them from others to know they're talented escape artists. We weren't able to study the structure to see how they're prevented from getting out, but it's obvious this structure works well and has been used successfully for some time. The goats did not seem crowded, seemed to enjoy being higher up off the ground and in the shade rather than direct sunlight. And there was no way they'd ever be standing on wet ground.
Several forages are used for them...one is moringa, a multi-use tree good for animals and humans. Here is a stand of moringa, harvested 7 times a year (if memory serves) by what seems to be a coppicing method (or is it a pollarding one?) since the tree trunks are cut at regular intervals after harvesting their quick-growing branches. These can be fed to animals such as the goats, for fodder, harvested for human consumption (leaves), or for low-tech water purification (leaves again). Here is a stand of coppiced moringa trees. The trunks are 2 to 3 feet high and the branch growth was about waist high or so.
Here is a mature moringa, a different variety than the above. This one stores water in its trunk and can endure punishing drought.
That's all for now...we enjoyed seeing their solution to the goat dilemma. Goats can easily decimate a garden, yet this goat house situated in close proximity to surrounding gardens kept the cycle beneficial to not only humans, but supplied the goats with fodder that otherwise would have been a plant waste. In eating them, the goats gained nutrition, produced fertilizer and milk, and the garden benefitted again, continuing the circle.
More ECHO fun to come, as I have time to post!