Are You Really Ready For Goats?
Are you really ready for goats?
1st goats are herd animals and no responsible breeder will sell only one without having other herd animals around. Goats are like potato chips, you can’t have only one, you need to have at least two and then you will want more.
Goats need a secure place to sleep and fencing. Goats are escape artists they will stretch and challenge fences and bucks might just go over a 4’ fence to get to some does. If you are going to keep bucks and does, try and set the barns up parallel to the prevailing winds 50-100’ apart or the does downwind of the bucks. Give each group a well fenced turn out area. Depending on the amount of space and the amount of goats you want to keep and if breeding you want at least 2 stalls. I have one stall with a concrete floor, the other stall is dirt with a lot of straw. I try to use them when they kid, so it's a more natural surface for them to kid on. I have boxes big enough for the kids to go into and the moms will sleep on top. Inside food trough for food. Some place for free range minerals and baking soda.
Goats are prey animals, if you live where goats are allowed, you have predators. Coyotes have spread everywhere in the United States, big cats, wolves and foxes are also all over the U.S. and stray dogs to harm your animals. Livestock guardians are there 24/7 to project your goats when you can’t be there.
Goats may want to eat anything, doesn’t mean they should, so make sure you have no plants that are bad for them, like hard rock fruit trees, any part of which can be dangerous for goats, also azaleas, China berries, sumac, dog fennel, bracken fern, curly dock, eastern baccharis, honeysuckle, nightshade, pokeweed, red root pigweed, black cherry, Virginia creeper, and crotalaria you don’t want to them to have access to.
When the Europeans colonized the U.S. they didn’t bring their livestock guardian dogs with them and killed predators, Americans have learned again that's not the way to live against nature, but to live with nature, using working dogs called livestock guardian dogs. They work in pairs, don’t get 2 puppies at the same time, get one trained 1st then get another.
Goats need fresh water and it’s nice if you can put automatic water inside and outside the barn and to have a hose bib to hose out a concrete floor. If you live in a really cold area, power inside for a heat lamp is good to have. I have an article on barn heater fire safety.
You will know your ducks are in a row when you
- Secure fencing and pastures
- Secured barn they can be locked inside of if needed
- Feed trough
When you have all that ready you should be ready to bring your goats home.