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Companion goats?

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  • Companion goats?

    I'm looking to get a companion goat for one of my horses. What kind of goat is best for this? And where do I find one in Virginia (Middleburg area)?
    Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

  • #2
    I would think you want to go with one of the larger breeds such as Nubian or Saanens for example. Goats such as pygmys are almost impossible to keep in a field and are more like a dog. I had them for 23 yrs, loved them, but they delight in dancing on top of the cars, eating the garden and flowers, and generally being mischievious. The larger goats fit right in with horses well though and seem to become friends with them quite easily. They also stay closer to the ground, the pygmys were never content unless they were as high up on something as they could be. They would walk the pipeline our dairy barn, scoot right up to the top of the semi that trucked our milk. Dancing on my moms Lincoln did not go over well. The larger goats did not do this at all. I think one would make great company for your horse. Have no clue where to get one where you are. I would look for a farm ad newspaper, almost every community has one, and then there's craigslist.

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    • #3
      If you got to PEC's Buy Fresh Buy Local site you can find a farm that deals in goats.

      Stick with the larger breeds - coyotes love the pygmy goats.
      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
      -Rudyard Kipling

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      • #4
        Goats are herd animals like horses, some are not happy being without goat company.

        Unless you get two, try to find one that has been raised with horses, a friend had a goat that would escape from the herd to go join the horses. They figured he had been raised with them.

        When our pony is left alone he does hang out with the goats if he can.

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        • #5
          Daisy Duke and Luis Gonzales were at a petting zoo at one of our local apple orchards. At the end of the season, they were to be sold to orchard workers as food. They are Nubian LaMancha crosses. Luis is pushing 200lbs. Daisy is 130lbs or a little more. We used to have a Nubian who was fantastic. I vote for a big goat!
          Beth

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          • #6
            Did you save them?

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            • #7
              larger breed goats for sure. I have a Toggenberg, her Tog/dwarf daughter( almost as big as Mom, thank goodness) and a Saanan. They are wonderful companions for my lone mare. I'd get a dehorned one,too. they can get into mischief, DO need good fencing , and do need good feed( maybe not grain, but I feed mine Blue seal Caprine/Challenger 14%). Just a handful, because they can get pretty plump on air! Good hay is a must- they can be pretty picky. Baking soda available to prevent bloat. Hooves may need trimmimg, but easy to do. Mine get a Tetanus booster and a rabies shot every year. Check with your state's Ag department for a dairy goat club/4H, group that can get you information and your library should be a good source, too. If neither is used to the other , make introductions carefully and be sure to have an escape area available. I have the empty stall next to my mare "Horseproofed" so the goats can get in . The top of the dutch door is closed and a two strand heavy duty chain"stall guard" keeps her out. they also have ther own barn area in my grain storage space-.Grain is well protected from them. They are not hard to care for,but they do need care and supervision. Check with the above clubs and organizations for a source. Craigslist, too.

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              • #8
                If you have a busy barn one goat can be happy. We had one at the track for years (she only understood Italian, LOL!) and because there was people and horses around constantly she was very happy. If you have a fairly quiet place, I too, suggest more than one. And I also recommend a de-budded one!
                Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"

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                • #9
                  I loved my nubians, but a few caveats:

                  They ate my horse's tail almost to the bone (this happened one random day after they had lived with the horse for months), then they at the other horse's tail (after I had separated them -- the mare stood against the goats' pen and let them eat it) -- made me cry! (I had not washed the tails, used conditioner -- nothing was different.)

                  They will climb anything -- including your car! Good fencing is a must.

                  They will eat any flowers, bushes, etc., that they can get their teeth on. If you have a garden or flower bed that you love, beware! Try to check for poisonous flowers/weeds/bushed, too -- horses might not eat them, but goats might. (Again, good fencing is a must.)

                  Make sure you can handle them easily so that you can trim their feet. Took two of us, but we could get it done.

                  I loved my goats (Saba and Unagi). We'd go for walks with two goats, five dogs, a cat, and a horse, and it was a blast. The goats and dogs loved to play together.
                  "If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lolalola View Post
                    Did you save them?
                    Daisy and Luis were indeed saved. I paid the going meat rate Yuck!!!

                    Now they have a good sized field fenced in with 5' no climb wire mesh fence and they have a 10x12 stall. They have 24 hour in and out spring, summer & fall, but they get locked in at night during the winter.

                    Tractor Supply carries "Billy Blocks" which are flavored salt licks for goats. My guys love them. Another helpful goat hint is give them warm drinking water. They drink much better with warm water.

                    The SPCA in my area often has goats for adoption. Right now there is a pair of goats for $25
                    Beth

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                    • #11
                      Oh, yeah! Tails. My goats will sometimes go for a bit of "protein" aka tails. Mine a re "stealth" chewers. Nothing seems amiss until one day - a cobtail! It seems to be around late winter, early spring when mine get the urge. They lack someting, even though they have a goat block and enough hay and other necessities. They start on the tree bark, too, mainly the apples- possibly the sweet sap starting. I spray everything with a chew stop product. Bitter apple, Mc Nasty is good. Schneiders' makes a very good no-chew product formulated for mares' tails- keeping foals away. Bar soap rubbed on, MTG probably would work, too. play around with different products to see what works best. Be alert for any signs of tail chewing all year .

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                      • #12
                        Good advice here. Since I spent 10 minutes at midnight thirty the other day wrestling with a neighbor's horned goat that had "gilled" itself in goat mesh, I can't stress enough to get a big, disbudded breed. They also say that if your fence can't hold water it can't hold a goat, which I think is true. Aforementioned neighbor had fences made of junk to keep his pygmy/small goats in, which just served as exciting climbing walls and exits. Somebody came along and redid his fencing with 2x4 no climb and the goats are still out in the street, although I think they are leaking out the gate, pygmys can get out of what look to be 6" spaces between the gate and the barn. Anyway now the new fence is being decorated with junk too. *sigh*
                        I forget which poster it was that had the goat (wether actually) they wrote up a great story about it and finally said that when the goat died something like "I missed that goat, the horse missed him more". Don't think it was the same poster that had the horse that would pick the goat up by one horn during thunderstorms and madly race around the pasture "protecting" the goat, which if IRRC ended up with one horn after a few thunderstorms.
                        Yep, goats, Great fun!
                        Last edited by ReSomething; Dec. 6, 2009, 08:28 PM.
                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                        Incredible Invisible

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                        • #13
                          My Saanens are great company for my lone mule, though they do tend to keep to themselves sometimes (meaning that Fenway is the outcast in the group). I might have just one goat and one horse together for companionship's sake if I hadn't already had the pair of goats established.

                          Good luck finding a happy goat companion! They're great at keeping humans company, too.
                          My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

                          Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives

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                          • #14
                            I have 2 boers, when I got the 1st goat, she was lonely for another goat so I had to get her a companion, 2 goats don't amount to more trouble than 1 goat.
                            If you are interested, I have a goat contact in the Berryville area. I got the wether from her, he came very healthy with the appropriate vet care and good behavior, she spent some time with me showing me how to trim the feet, give shots, easiest way to handle him and written instructions.
                            I was lucky with my 1st goat, I got her on giveaways and she is the sweetest, gentlest thing, I absolutely adore her, while looking for a companion for her I met some sickly mean goats, dumb luck with my 1st goat.
                            My goats are in electric fence, it doesn't stop them but they don't go anywhere either, my pasture is surrounded by woods, they go about 10-15 feet into the tree line, they hve pretty much kept the path around the fence clear. Love the goats.

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