View Full Version : Considering getting goats -Give me the good, bad and the ugly.

Aug. 2, 2012, 04:14 PM
I have a friend who is re-homing two dwarf goats, a neutered male and a female. Her son does 4H with them and they've just ended up with too many. I hear they are great on weeds, so I'm hoping they can clean up my pastures & paddocks. I already have horses and chickens at home, so it doesn't seem like a stretch to try my hand at goats. I know goats can be hard to contain and get into everything. Am I crazy? How much can I expect them to cost for feed and other needs?
Thanks for your collective COTH wisdom.

Aug. 2, 2012, 04:16 PM
They walk on your cars. Really.

Aug. 2, 2012, 04:34 PM
I really want a few Boer goats, but I can't really figure out how I'm going to contain them without doing no-climb for the horses with electric accross the top. I can't really find another fencing system that works for both animals (consistently).

Aug. 2, 2012, 04:48 PM
I love my goats. I've got full size goats and they stay behind 4 foot field fence. A strand of electric 2 feet up keeps them from rubbing on it. They can do some serious damage to a fence with the full body lean, rub thing they do.

If they aren't producing kids or milk (I milk mine) they get NO grain. Browse and hay. That's it. Especially for males, grain upsets their body PH and they get kidney stones, so if you want to be nice to them, don't give them any.

They are nosy and like to be a part of everything, but they don't need to be pests. If your fence will keep them in, go for it.

My horse loves HER goats. She was very iffy about them when she first came here, to the point of doing the occasional buck-kick in their direction. Now, they are HERS. She will make them follow her to the far side of the pasture, she will guard them, she was thrilled when one doe had a baby. Not with the baby itself, but the baby smell that hung on the doe - she acted like the doe was her baby.

If you don't have decent fence, goats are a PITA. They are friendly and curious and will be interested in everything you are interested in.

And DON'T decide to breed goats without a plan!! Lots of people get a couple, and they're cute and great so they breed the girl and it snowballs.
You will have to do something with (read, send to the butcher) all the boys. You will very rarely be able to give one away as a brush eater. And you have to sell the girls. You can become over-run with goats surprisingly quickly. Far better to just keep a couple as pets and be the one that someone gives a boy baby to if you need a baby fix.

Aug. 2, 2012, 05:13 PM
We started out with two girls and it turned into 3 when one of them ended up being pregnant. They stayed off the cars until the baby came - SHE was the one who taught them it was fun to get on cars. So now everyone has to park away from the house if they don't want them on their cars. If they park in the driveway the car is fair game to the goats - they are curious and can't help themselves.

We tried to keep them locked in the backyard at night at first which also lasted until the baby showed up. They then figured out how to be super goats and leap off the back porch to get over the fence. After that there was no containing them so they have been loose ever since which has been about a year now.

They were good about eating up all the honeysuckle and weeds at first but once the first winter came that we had them - they started in on all the plants by the house as they ran out of other stuff to munch on. Basically they have destroyed my landscaping! We will have to now fence out the front yard to keep them out if we want to make anything look pretty or the goats will just eat it.

They pretty much stay by the house bc their "people" are there. They follow me around the property if I am outside at all - better than more dogs do I would say. They will try to at least taste anything they think looks edible to them - so you have to keep stuff out of their reach.

Other than that they are fun to have around - very amusing to watch play and head butt eachother. They are good with my little girl too and the momma goat adores the attention.

One thing they did do well was get all the trees cleaned up on the bottom - all the low hanging stuff got eaten up and the trees all look much better now.

Aug. 2, 2012, 05:32 PM
The good, well, um....I'll get back to that one.

The bad was they don't get along with dogs, so that was a problem. They didn't get along with my husband, so that was a problem. Horse didn't really care much for them, so that was a problem. And they didn't stay in the field, so that was a problem.

The ugly? Sometimes they wouldn't let people walk up to the back door and sometimes they wouldn't let people come back out the door. One goat decided it was fun to run up to the front porch and bank off the front of the house, and of course then there was the car thing.....

Oh, yeah, the good was the day they left! :D

Aug. 2, 2012, 05:36 PM
What's that saying? "If the fence won't hold water, it won't hold a goat."

They *will* get on top of things. Including your fancy car. When DH had the nice sports car there was no *way* I was getting goats until we got the garage enclosed.

Then the rabbit project took priority -- they very politely stay where you put them! (And they taste good. I'm not so sure about cabrito...)

Aug. 2, 2012, 05:59 PM
My pygmies are great pets. Be cautioned however that a nuetered male goat should receive about zero grain and no alfalfa hay. It causes blockages similar to cats and is a life threatening situation. My goats are easier to contain than the larger breeds and aew quite fun. They are inexpensive to maintain, get along with my horses really well, they are not real keen on the dogs although I know people who do keep both successfully.

Aug. 2, 2012, 09:46 PM
DH says goat makes the best polish sausage you'll ever eat.

Aug. 2, 2012, 10:01 PM
DH says goat makes the best polish sausage you'll ever eat.

LOL...Don't think eating them is in the long term plan. ;)

Aug. 2, 2012, 10:15 PM
We adopted a goat and it was a disaster. She refused to go in the yard and eat weeds as she was much more of a wine and cheese kind of goat and really liked happy hour on the deck.

My gelding hated her and she was impossible to keep in the pen.

As odd as it sounds my brother has a marina and deli across the street from my barn. She was notorious for sneaking on the boats and leaving goat balls. When she fell overboard and one of the captains had to pull her out of the basin we knew it was time for her to find another home.

On the positive side, she was the sweetest thing in the world. She now lives at a bed and breakfast in our little community and the owners and neighbors love her.

Aug. 2, 2012, 10:21 PM
I thought they were cute until I had to deal with Linus!!! He became un-cute really fast.!!!!!!!!!

Aug. 2, 2012, 11:47 PM
They will climb on *everything*, including your horse. Keep in mind they have hooves, so this will scratch the hell out of your car, etc. If you let them, they will jump on you like a poorly behaved dog (again, hooves make this even less fun)

I once saw a farm that had a nice climbing gym for them- lots of planks with little wooden slats so they could get up high. This might keep them entertained. They are busy & tend to get into things. My dad has described them as "Jack Russells with hooves"

Def only neutered males b/c intact males are just gross. They do disgusting things.

If put in with your horse they may chew off his tail (YMMV)

They are very social & super friendly. They can get really pushy if they expect treats all the time.

Sometimes territorial, but the good news is the pygmies can't do much butting damage.

They are darn cute!!!

Grew up on a hobby farm with an aggie family. There were only two species forbidden: goats & chinchillas (b/c they stand up and pee at you)

Aug. 3, 2012, 07:45 AM
i once won a photo contest with a pic of 3 pygmy babes on the back of my saddlebred while he was taking a snooze....

MY pygmies were too short,so not inclinded to jump on the cars.....my taller breeds were very adept at car hopping....so, maybe the short,chubby breeds are safer around cars, dunno.......

had up to 50 at one time, mostly the pygmies, and they tended o go under the electric, but never strayed far...they generally move as a clump, with the oddball individual beng a PITA........didn't like dogs, horses were fine, and yes, they will chew tails off horses and pigtails off little girls...and buttons, zippers, drawstrings........prettymuch whatever thye can get the lips on......

they are most endearing,engaging.......i think, they are terriffic for children, as my 2 girls adored our goats.....the large one even pulled them on a plastic toboggan........

there are some weeds they won't eat, and hay must.not.be.stepped.upon........or it becomes inedible.....

the plastic gym sets for kids are great to keep them occupied, and yes, they DO feel it is their duty to "help" you with whatever you are doing if allowed free access to you....one or two goats hanging out in the yard with you is fine.....more than that is trouble........and if your dogs think that is THEIR job, well, that is more trouble.....

they are very "collectible", so be warned that getting 2 just might escalate inot more........

personally, i think they are great, and fun, and lovable......but it depends on what your expectations are as to whether they will be a good fit for you

Aug. 3, 2012, 08:10 AM
Don't volunteer to feed the neighbors' goats, go over with a bucket of feed, think "no goats...I'll CALL THEM", and try to survive three goats, you, the feed bucket...well, you get the picture, I imagine. :lol:
The goats are contained behind electric tape-think horse fence- but don't seem to do too good a job keeping the brush/weeds down in their field.

Aug. 3, 2012, 08:48 AM
I have a goat. An overhasli, a larger breed. He is the best. He even has horns...big ones, which freaked me out when I first got him. I knew nothing about goats, and the vet scared the living daylights out of me how he would impale me or the horses, etc

He does not butt, he does not get on vehicles, he does not eat my horses' tails. He has figured out how to get into my pony's stall and slept with her, until she figured how he got in, she could get out!

I love my goat. In SC, he did a great job of eating the shrubs around the trees. Here, not so much help. Actually, I don't think any of my animals are liking all the bugs up here.

The only goat I knew before Burt, was a butt goat. You could not turn your back on him. He'd run from afar and knock you off your feet...no thank you.

A friend has the small nigerians and adores them, but does keep them fenced in.

In general, I think the younger goats and the smaller ones can be more mischievious, but I don't really know.
All I know is I have one heck of a great goat. Oh, and he has always been free to wander at will. He sticks to the barn yard here, but in SC, I would see him rambling around my 15 acre pasture. He is a small celebrity in my town because he is so sweet.
Can you try them out?

Aug. 3, 2012, 09:56 AM
I am a new goat mom and was worried about the bad and ugly....we have only had our goat 1.5 months but thus far he is a joy.

I think most people might have problems due to the goat not having boundaries. We do not give ours free run of the property (so no getting into things or walking on cars). We have not had any issue with him getting out (we did spend time and $ on secure fencing). If he is not in his designated pasture he is on a leash and is expected to behave for leading, grooming ,etc....not to say he does not have fun -he has his own little playground and is always included in daily activities.

If you want a goat I humbly suggest you first invest in secure fencing. and then invest your time and train them to do the things you want them to do -they are fun and enjoy the company.

Thus far ours has been a fantastic companion to our single horse as well as a fun pet for our family. He "helps" me with chores and is our farm greeter -it is wonderful to come home from a long day at work to gleeful "Mah! Mah!" and a wagging tail!

Aug. 3, 2012, 11:33 AM
I love my seven boer goats! They're smart, friendly, and so personable. Mine are 12 yrs old now. I was saddened to recently learn, from my goat vet, that 15 yrs. is about it for the lifespan. For some reason I thought they lived much longer. They all get a bit of bute daily now because they're geriactrics.
Mine are too big and fat to get on cars, but they would if they could. When they were babies they'd play king of the mountain on the drafts when the horses layed down.
Our 5 strand electric fence contains them.
Do be watchful of the whethers, as Tradewind wrote, they are prone to urinary blockages. My whethers don't get grain, but a couple of handfuls of soaked beet pulp once daily with Biochlor. It's a rumen enhancer for dairy cattle, I think, but it also acidifies the whethers urine so that they're less likely to form grit.
I think goats are swell :)

Aug. 3, 2012, 11:49 AM
I love my goat Bootie, the horses love her too. Keep in mind many dogs hate goats and will kill them. I put Bootie in the barn when my German Shepard out. Bootie thinks she's a horse.

Aug. 3, 2012, 12:26 PM
This is probably a no-brainer for most. Horse halters and goat horns don't mix. I was grooming my horse in crossties, and one of the goats was underfoot as usual, hoping for some brushing as well. Noticed out of the corner of my eye the horse raise his head from his relaxed position. The two hundred lb. goat was standing on his back tippy-toes. The rest of the goat was hanging from his horns, caught in the halter. Before I could react, my good horse yielded to pressure and lowered his head, lowering goat back to the ground, and goat slipped free. Whew! That could have been a BAD wreck, resulting in broken necks.

Aug. 3, 2012, 08:54 PM
I had two pygmy goats, and I was immediately in love. Even if I did find them on cars. They followed me everywhere, and would curl up next to the door when I stepped inside. So entertaining and endearing. The bad, for me, was I felt they needed so much attention-because they craved it all the time, that I was left feeling guilty a lot. I rehomed them with a friend that had kids to play with them, but it was a huge sacrifice. I've had other types of farm animals, and none brought as much life to the place as goats.

Aug. 3, 2012, 11:52 PM
For my goats, that whole jumping on cars only lasted when they were in their first year or two. Now my fat 4 year old wether can't be bothered to climb the steps let alone the car. They go through a puppy/kitten type stage.

The older ones are tractable, they need a decent fence. They need a variety of feed, some salt, and lovies.

It's a misunderstanding that you don't give them alfalfa or grain. A wether doesn't need rich food but he does need a lot of copper and he needs for his grass/alfalfa rationing to be BALANCED. All grass bad, all alfalfa bad. The CA and Phosphorus needs to be BALANCED. Give some of each and don't over do anything.

Hmm let's see-they do think of a fence as a challenge and a suggestion. Make a good tight fence, to protect and contain them, and then you can let them out to graze or roam as you want. They're as personable as dogs so get ready to get attached. They do eat weeds-we are getting a gallon a day from a young doe that is living on weeds and two cups of COB a day. They love anything with leaves-especially lilacs, roses, ect...

Aug. 5, 2012, 12:55 AM
We had two nubian does and two Nubian/alpine wethers. One of the wethers was such a great jumper that even the seven foot fence didn't keep him in (collar found hanging from top of fence but was loose enough he slipped through it). That seemed to scare him straight so the he took to pushing his way out of the fence. Then the rest followed. That was much worse. He wouldn't go too far on his own but as a group there was no boundary..including neighbors prize winning gardens. That was when they left ;(. Still miss them though. They really do follow you around better than dogs and make the darn cutest noises.

Aug. 5, 2012, 10:56 AM
Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. Goats are adorable, but oh so destructive. I'm thinking if I really think I needs some browsers, I'll just go down and get a couple lambs at the local auction.

Aug. 5, 2012, 11:22 AM
Oh lambs are cute! But you've got to shear the boogers, sometimes twice a year, unless they're hair sheep, and it's a big job! Make sure you handle them a lot, so that they're not wild woolies at shearing time.
Read up on their care and feeding, I do believe that copper isn't good for them, unlike goats.

Hey Cowboymom, speaking of goats and minerals, do you think a brown mineralized "salt" block is sufficient for goats? I also have a free choice mineral supplement for the horses, but don't feed it free choice. I put some out in pans 3-4 times a week. Both the horses and goats act like it's candy.
Do I need to offer it to the goats more often?
I did ask the goat vet if it was harmful, being it's for horses, and she said no.

Aug. 5, 2012, 12:00 PM
Sheep are every bit as destructive and hard to fence as goats are! LOL We used to live on a sheep ranch...

Sheep can't have copper, goats need a lot of it.

Very few mineral mixes have enough copper for goats, even goat chow isn't as high as the real goat people would like it to be. There are some cow loose minerals that are better.

A trace mineral salt block doesn't have enough mineral to prevent or cure any deficiency, for horses or any other critter. The mineral blocks like smart-lic are good for goats as well as horses as long as they don't get too much. Feeding goats and horses is more similar than feeding sheep and horses-they can have and do well on the same feeds.

If goats are copper deficient they will appear faded, washed out, thin and rough-coated and their tail hair thins to the point that it resembles a fish tail. :)

Aug. 5, 2012, 12:31 PM
I have had goats, and I have had sheep. I like sheep. The goats we have had were funnier, but much harder to keep in because they liked to climb and jump. I also found goats a lot harder to handle to doctor, etc.

Most sheep breeds cannot handle more than 25 ppm of copper in a block or lick. It kills them. Camelids (llamas and alpacas, and I suppose camels) are even more sensitive to copper.

You do have to shear sheep, but unless you have lots of sheep, you can find 4H kids or FFA kids that will shear a few sheep.

Aug. 5, 2012, 01:26 PM
Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. Goats are adorable, but oh so destructive. I'm thinking if I really think I needs some browsers, I'll just go down and get a couple lambs at the local auction.

Goats have the advantage of being better "pasture doctors" than most breeds of sheep. They will graze down weedy plants, forbs, and even small (2") trees by girdling the bark. They're a natural herbicide and proven to increase grass production at the appropriate stocking rates for companion horses or cattle.

Aug. 5, 2012, 02:20 PM
Good to know, Cowboymom! Thank you.

Aug. 5, 2012, 10:02 PM

Aug. 5, 2012, 10:39 PM
where can you buy copper to supplement?

Aug. 6, 2012, 04:27 PM
Even being well informed now I still think I should have a couple goats. *sigh*


Aug. 6, 2012, 05:26 PM
There is a reason Satan is often depicted as a goat. ;)

Aug. 6, 2012, 06:54 PM
We have rent-a-goats coming Thursday morning, so I'll give an opinion after I've lived with them for a week or so, LOL. After reading this, I'm sweating bullets that the goat providers are experienced enough to have put up adequate fencing!

Aug. 6, 2012, 09:58 PM

Aug. 7, 2012, 12:16 AM

I have tears rolling down my cheeks. That was hilarious :lol::D:lol:

Aug. 7, 2012, 02:46 PM
They walk on your cars. Really.

She speaks the truth.

Avoid goats at all costs.

Aug. 10, 2012, 11:26 PM
Just though I would share the two babies I picked up today.


Sonic and Sebastian

Notice the donkeys in the background. They were not happy we brought intruders into their space so I put the babies in a kennel in the field so they can all get used to each other.

Murphy's Mom
Aug. 11, 2012, 02:04 AM
I love my goaties! They have never tried jumping on my car. They have invited themselves into the house though! Sometimes I let the loose to roam the farm. All I have to do is open the front door and call them and they will come running. I've had good luck keeping them in with cattle panels. They do test them for weaknesses on a regular basis though.

Nigerian Dwarf goats (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2507880977614&l=92d4bec66d)
Bottle Baby Boers (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2507879577579&l=cd9533b2df)
Alpine cross meets 13 week old ACD (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3211701052676&l=06c437bcbc)

Aug. 11, 2012, 12:13 PM
She speaks the truth.

Avoid goats at all costs.

They taught my son to put his car in the garage.

Goats need boundaries, both physical and behavioral. As long as they are established IMHO they are easier than sheep

Aug. 11, 2012, 02:56 PM
Be careful - I have heard of multiple instances of donkeys who live with goats for a long time quite well, then will pick one up and shake it like a rat or sling it across the pasture.