Goats melt in the rain...well, they think so anyway! Goats need shelter.
It doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it allows them to get out of the rain and wind and will keep their hay and minerals
dry. The amount of bedding used will depend on where you live and the type of flooring in your shelter. Allow 25-30
square feet of space per goat.
This is our buck shelter.
It is a 3 sided, 12 x 12 horse shelter. We added a feeder along one wall and platforms for them to sleep on. A
shelter this size is adequate for 3 or 4 goats.
dream is finally a reality! This is our doe barn, construction was completed in September 2006. This barn will
enable us to more efficiently rotate pastures and gives the does and kids plenty of room to hang out inside when the weather
is bad. There is a tack room which allows us to keep most of the goat supplies and feed out where we use them rather
than having to run back and forth to the main barn. Pictures of the inside of the barn coming soon!
Goats are escape artists! They are very curious and will investigate any opening in
your fencing that looks interesting to them. What type of fencing you use depends on what kind of goat you are trying to keep
in. We have 6 strand New Zealand style fencing around the perimeter of our goat pastures. We have been very happy with this
fencing. As long as we keep the fence on (electrified), we do not have a problem with our goats getting out. This fencing
has also been great at keeping roaming dogs, coyotes and deer out of our pastures. When buying a fencer unit (the unit that
provides the electricity for your fence), do not scrimp. Buy the most powerful unit you think you will ever need. It will
not be cheap but it will save you time and money in the long run. Our interior cross fencing is electric netting, available
from Premier 1.
Other fencing options include, but are not limited to, woven wire, wooden rail, chain link and cattle
How Many Goats Should You Have?
are herd animals. They do not like to live alone. The best companion for a goat is another goat but sheep, llamas, alpacas
and horses can all make good pasture mates for a goat. We would recommend that you have at least two goats, they will be happiest
that way. This is part of our doe herd, hanging out in the pasture together.
Males or Females?
Intact male goats (bucks) do not make good pets! You should turn and run away from any farm that tries
to sell you a buck as a pet. As bucks reach sexual maturity, they will start to urinate on their front legs and faces. Female
goats (does) find this irresistible but who wants a pet that is stinky and sticky with urine? Bucks also have scent glands
on their heads which contribute to their unique aroma. Don’t get me wrong, bucks are wonderful creatures! We have three
of them and love them to death. However, when we go into their pen, they immediately want to rub on us and “share”
their scent. As bucks get older, they can also become pushier (bordering on aggressive) when they are in rut, which lasts
from approximately August-March. Unless you have does that need to be bred, you DO NOT want or need a buck!
wethers (castrated males) make excellent pets though. Wethers never develop the behaviors (or smells!) of a buck and are not
moody like does. If you want a couple of goats to keep as pets, you really can’t go wrong with a pair of wethers.
Does can make wonderful pets too but you do have to deal with their hormonal moodiness. Does cycle every 18-21
days and some can be quite vocal when they are in heat.
Horns or No Horns?
Many people believe that the only safe way to keep goats is to get rid of their horns. This belief is rooted in the
dairy goat world. Most dairy goats are kept in close confinement and are handled on a daily basis and horns can get in the
way. We feel that there is no reason to remove a goat’s horns. This procedure, called disbudding before the horn
grows and de-horning after, is very cruel, in our opinion. Disbudding is accomplished by burning a ring around the horn bud
on a kid’s head. If done incorrectly, the kid ends up with scurs (deformed pieces of horn) or brain damage. De-horning
is even worse.
Goats can be taught that using their horns on people is not acceptable. Yes, they will still use them
on each other but we have never had a goat injure another goat with its horns. Personally, we like our goats with horns but
this is something everyone has to decide for themselves.
ALL goats need to have their feet trimmed periodically.
How often depends on many factors such as diet, genetics and what types of surfaces the goat walks on. Goats living on pasture
and eating a high protein diet will need to have their feet trimmed much more often than a goat that walks on concrete and
eats a low protein diet. A general rule of thumb would be to check your goat’s feet every 6-8 weeks and trim them as