If you want to start a small homestead, you might have thought about getting goats. Do they make useful additions to your home, and what would it be like? You might even ask yourself, Do goats make good pets? After all, farm animals can make fantastic pets as well as perform tasks for you. Let’s answer a few questions.
Do Goats Make Good Pets?
We personally believe that YES, goats make excellent pets! They have great personalities and can be a great starting point for keeping farm animals. And they are great for kids. You will often see your goats nuzzling up and seeking the attention of everyone in your family. And who can resist those adorable faces? You will find it hard to keep focused on other tasks when your goats beckon you to play. Don’t believe us? Keep reading to find out more.
Pros Of Owning Goats
First, we will talk about all the fantastic things about owning goats. This section will talk about all the reasons a goat will captivate your heart. It will also talk about some benefits you might never have thought of.
So Many Breeds
The first big pro is that goats come in so many sizes, personalities, and colors. There is a goat for every situation and family out there. If you have met a goat and didn’t like it, you just haven’t found the right breed for you.
Goats have an incredible lifespan of 15-18 years, provided that you take loving care of them. Having a long lifespan in a pet is more than anyone can ask for. That means more cuddles, love, and games with your furry friends.
Not only will your goats love having company, but they want your company. You will hear them often bellowing for you to come and play. They will try to seduce you with their eyes to spend more time with them. And they will try everything to get your attention.
In addition to wanting you around, goats are very loving. That doesn’t fit most people’s idea that goats are gruff and scrappy. Don’t get us wrong; they can have their moments. But your goats will want belly rubs and nuzzles all day.
Goats are surprisingly cheap. Most breeds have an average cost of only $100 but can cost as much as $300. That is affordable compared to other types of animals.
If you choose to breed your goats, you could have access to fresh goat’s milk. Not only is goat’s milk nutritious, but it’s also great for making soaps and lotions.
Pet goats love to play all day every day. You will see them climbing on pretty much everything like their own personal jungle gym. They also love games like tag and hide-and-seek. And they have to have toys. Simple toys are great for stimulation, but also amusing to watch them use.
Manure For Gardens
For those of you who have a garden, we have great news. Goat manure is great to compost and use in the gardens. It will make your garden flourish as you’ve never seen it before.
Eating Brush and Weeds
And finally, goats will eat all of the underbrush and weeds in the area. They are great for helping to clear out fields, pastures, or wooded areas. But beware, they may actually eat your rose bushes too!
Cons Of Owning Goats
Not everything is always positive with every pet, and that includes goats. However, the pros are enough to make anyone want goats. You have to ask yourself, are goats good pets for me? To answer that question, you have to ask if you are ok with all of the cons as well.
In most cities, there are laws about how large of a plot you need to keep goats. There are even laws about the size of goats that you can have. Before setting your heart on owning goats, you might want to look at your local laws and limits.
Goats are very social. And although they love spending as much time with you as possible, they need friends. Friends will groom them, keep them warm, and spend all of their time together. When you are gone to work and sleeping, your goats will have each other to keep them safe.
If you keep your goats in the backyard, you might want to make sure it is large enough. Goats need a lot of space to roam and play. Your yard should be a minimum of 200 sqft per goat. And even with the minimum amount required, your goats will need a lot more attention to detail to make sure they are getting enough food.
Goats will get out of every fence or gate that you put up. You will think that they are locked up and safe, and the next minute they are running on the front lawn.
On top of getting out, goats are loud. If you have close neighbors, they may not appreciate how noisy goats are. With their antics and calling for attention, they might be a disturbance to your household.
Will Eat Toxic Things
Unlike some animals that have instincts not to eat certain things, goats don’t have that. A goat will eat anything that they can get their mouths on. And it’s not always safe. There are many horror stories of goats that have eaten poisonous plants and didn’t make it through.
Goats will need a hoof trimming every 2-4 weeks to prevent overgrown hooves and infections. They don’t like these trimmings very much, but they are a little easier than larger animals to trim. Trimming the hooves does take some practice and patience.
So are goats good pets for you? If so, you will need to start your research on how to take care of them. We have created a quick guide on their care here. There is more to caring for goats than this, but it’s a great start.
Space And Shelter
For every goat you have, you will need to have 200 sqft of yard space, and 10sqft of shelter. Shelters don’t have to be expensive and can be homemade. As long as it keeps them warm and out of the rain, your goats will be happy. At the bottom of your shelter, you will also need bedding. Most owners use a combination of pine shavings and straw that can also be composted into your garden.
Having a proper diet is essential for goats. Goats overeat a lot and should be fed a well-balanced diet. Your goats will spend most of their days grazing in the pasture. But if you don’t have a large area, you will need to buy hay and grass to supplement that feeding. Your goats will also love grains and dark leafy greens as supplemental food.
Believe it or not, goats need regular grooming to keep them clean, especially males. If your goats have urine on them for too long, they could get scalds from it. Regular baths and brushing will keep them healthy. And as mentioned before, a hoof trimming needs to be done every 2-4 weeks to control bacterial infections.
Goats don’t necessarily need exercising; regular play around the pasture is just fine. With toys, games, and climbing areas, your goat will be fine. You could always take them for an occasional walk around the block, but it’s not necessary.
And finally, your goat will need to schedule vet appointments at least twice a year. Yearly vaccinations are required and deworming twice a year. During these vet visits, your vet will also be checking the overall health. Vets check for common illnesses like:
Getting these diagnoses faster will give your goats a higher chance of recovery.
Goat Breeds For Beginners
You might also want to know about what goat breeds are the best for beginners. Listed below, we have a few of the easiest goats to take care of. Depending on what you are looking for, any of these make great pets.
- Nubians– Nubians are known for their long pendulous ears and Roman noses. They also have the highest butterfat yield in their milk, on average, 5 percent or more butterfat content.
- Pygora– These small goats are amazingly soft and fluffy. They are also friendly and curious about their surroundings. All of these make great qualities in a family pet.
- Alpines– Alpines are the easiest goats to train of all. They are eager to please and do anything to make you happy. Combined with a gentle touch, you will love these goats.
- Pygmy– These are probably the most notorious for pet goats. They are some of the smallest goats that are easy to care for and make great friendships.
- Nigerian Dwarf– These small goats are known for their milk production. They are easy to take care of and don’t take up a lot of space. Nigerian Dwarves also have a loving touch and adore their owners.
- LaMancha– The LaMancha goat is known for being the friendliest goats of all. They don’t have a mean bone in their bodies and are incredibly loyal to their families.
- Saanen- The Saanen is pure white in color and one of the largest of the dairy goat breeds. They are also known for their abundant milk production, hardiness, and calm, sweet nature.
Do goats make good pets? We sure think so. Through thick and thin, goats make a fantastic addition to the family. However, we understand that they aren’t for everyone. We hope that you can find the joys of goat ownership as we do.