You might be wondering if goats make good pets. If that’s the case, this article comes in handy since there are several things you should take into account besides the need to build the best fence for goats in your yard. These wonderful and versatile animals come in various shapes and sizes and can be very nice pets for a number of reasons.
Although traditionally they are considered farm animals, goats have a friendly and curious nature which makes them extremely fun companions. Since there are over 300 different breeds, you have a large choice when it comes to the size of the goat you might want to bring into your home.
For those people who are keeping goats as pets, pygmy or dwarf varieties are among the most popular ones since they don’t require that much space and maintenance compared to their larger counterparts.
On the other hand, if you want a goat that you can keep as a pet but that also produces milk for your own consumption, you can take a look at dairy specialized breeds.
Their versatility and adaptability are two of the qualities that make goats one of the oldest domesticated species all around the world. Moreover, the milk, fur, and meat they offer played an important role within communities throughout time and, therefore, in the development of the human species.
A few facts about goats
As we’ve mentioned above, there are several hundred goat breeds across the world, which means that there is a wide range of sizes they come in. Large goats raised for meat, such as the Boer ones that originate from South Africa, can weigh as much as 300 pounds, while smaller ones have a weight that varies between 45 and 60 pounds.
Pygmy goats are much smaller, which is one of the main reasons they are excellent pets. Most of these breeds have a lifespan of 15 to 18 years, with some particular ones living much longer. On the other hand, even though many people choose to keep goats as pets, this doesn’t mean that their maintenance is an easy one.
In terms of temperament and behavior, the most important thing you should keep in mind is that these are herd animals, which means that you shouldn’t keep a goat as a solitary animal. If you do choose them as pets, a pair or even more will be a good addition since more individuals keep each other entertained and healthy.
Goats do need a decent amount of space, whether we’re talking about a pasture or a yard, depending on their size and on the number you intend to get. That’s why these animals are best suited for homes outside of big cities. If you live in a rural area, then you are in luck since space should not be an issue.
Moreover, no matter the area you are in, you should check with the local authorities to make sure that there are no particular regulations that might prevent you from keeping goats on your property. After all, these are generally classified as agricultural species, so they might be subject to bylaws that need to be taken into consideration.
Given that goats live for a rather long time, you should be ready for long-term commitment when getting such an animal. They need as much attention as any other pet you might have, so you need to think about who is going to take care of the new addition to the family, or if anything might prevent you in the future from ensuring the proper care.
You might be surprised, but these cute pets actually need affection as well since they enjoy being petted by the owner and eating out of one’s hand. Jealousy is also something you can expect when you have more than one goat and they feel the other is being favored.
When it comes to smaller breeds, such as pygmies, you should consider creating a space of at least 135 square feet for each goat, in order for them to be comfortable. In case you are going for a larger breed, such as Nubians, you should design and plan spaces twice as large per goat.
In terms of how much space they need, the general rule says you should take the square footage and simply multiply it by the number of individuals so that they have enough room to comfortably move around each other.
Not only are goats cute and curious animals, but they are also quite experienced and agile jumpers, so you will need to build a fence at least 4 to 5 feet high around their designated space. Building a shelter or a barn is also necessary since they need protection from the sun, rain, and other elements.
In case you want to add windows to the barn or to the enclosure, these should be placed higher than the head of the tallest goat in the herd standing on its hind feet. If this requirement is not met, then you can cover the window with bars or with a screen since otherwise, goats might try to put their heads through it, which means risks of injuries.
Goats are actually rather picky eaters who prefer fresh food all the time. If the hay falls on the floor, there’s a chance they will not be interested in eating it anymore. That’s why you should think about constructing a feeder that is suspended and that allows them to pick the food they like without wasting the rest.
There are several ways in which you can make such a feeder and one of the most affordable alternatives is to use a simple trash can that comes with a lid. As for their nutrition, you will need to supplement the diet with greens, grains, weeds, shrubs, flowers, and grass.
Avoid having any potentially toxic plants such as azaleas or ferns next to the goats, since there’s a very high chance they will end up eating them. Last but not least, make sure to purchase your goats from a reputable breeder and schedule a visit to see them beforehand.