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Considering getting goats -Give me the good, bad and the ugly.

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  • Considering getting goats -Give me the good, bad and the ugly.

    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.
    "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville

  • #2
    They walk on your cars. Really.


    • #3
      Let me know what you figure out

      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).
      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


      • #4
        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.


        • #5
          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.


          • #6
            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!


            • #7
              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...)
              ... and Patrick


              • #8
                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.


                • #9
                  DH says goat makes the best polish sausage you'll ever eat.
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                  Incredible Invisible


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
                    DH says goat makes the best polish sausage you'll ever eat.
                    LOL...Don't think eating them is in the long term plan.
                    "We're still right, they're still wrong" James Carville


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        I thought they were cute until I had to deal with Linus!!! He became un-cute really fast.!!!!!!!!!


                        • #13
                          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)


                          • #14
                            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


                            • #15
                              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.
                              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.


                              • #16
                                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?
                                save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                                • #17
                                  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!


                                  • #18
                                    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


                                    • #19
                                      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.


                                      • #20
                                        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.