Yes, yes you should. That’s the whole post! I wish it were that simple, but it’s not. Goats are not beginner livestock. They actively try to kill themselves and will test your fences and patience. But they are by far my favorite livestock. Their antics, sweetness and desire to be around you, make them great pets. So should you get a goat?
Before you go out and get a goat, check out my eBook, Goat Crash Course: Goat 101. There is a ton of valuable information in there because I think there are some very important things you need to consider. Like do you have the space? Are you going to milk? What is your predator load? Are you willing to put in the time to educate yourself?
Things To Consider Before Getting A Goat
Let’s start with space. It is recommended that you have approximately 30 to 60 SQ Ft of space per goat of pasture. I disagree on both of those points. One, goats don’t need pasture, they need browse. That is, they need to have access to weeds, grass, trees, etc. Putting goats on grass only will end up giving you problems with worms, too rich of grass, and similar issues.
If you only have grass, consider getting sheep or a milk cow.
The second problem is that square footage. I’m here to tell you that even 60 sq ft per goat will not last you long, let alone for a year. We had four goats in 100ft x100ft area. The briars, trees, and other weeds were over 6ft high. This should have lasted them a long time. It lasted about a month. The 2nd pasture we put them in was a tiny bit smaller but crammed full of ruffage for them. They cleared it in a little over two months.
So if you only have 60 sq ft, you can absolutely still have goats, but you need to be prepared to supplement with hay, grain and pellets.
Let me tell you, milking goats is not for the faint of heart. You don’t get to just buy a goat and milk her. I mean, yes, you could. I would not advise it though. You have to make sure she has plenty of space and feed, gets pregnant, delivers and is healthy. Then you have to make sure that she nurses her babies for about two weeks before you start “goat sharing”.
Then you have to be careful of a kicking goat that is going to knock over your milk bucket, jump off the milk stand, or produce so little milk, that it is not worth the effort. Some goats will not let you milk them, no matter how much grain, treats, and scratches you give them. Here’s looking at you, Champ.
If you are looking to sell raw goat milk, you need to check your state regulations. In Georgia, you cannot sell raw, unpasteurized goat milk for human consumption. So make sure you know what you are allowed to do in terms of selling that milk. As of right now, we are not looking to sell goat milk. That may change in the future.
What is your predator load? It’s not just about coyote, bears, etc. What about people? Are you in an area were your goats are safe from people who want to steal them or hurt them? We are lucky in that regard. But what about neighborhood dogs, wild dogs, etc? While we don’t necessarily have a people problem, but we have a decent predator load.
What do we have? Coyotes, bears, fox, and minx. Since we have mini Nubians, the fox and minx shouldn’t give us many problems. But they could be drawn to the property because of the chicken and ducks. Then they could find the goat kids. So they are something we prepare for.
Some of the ways we have handled the predator load is with my .22 rifle and these. The idea of these boxes is to make it look like a bigger predator is standing there. So far *knock on wood* it has been working. It also is a great thing in the garden as well.
I will say it again and again. Goats try to kill themselves every day. They are incredibly smart but curiosity will kill the goat. They cannot eat everything. No, they cannot eat a tin can. You know how babies put everything in their mouth? Goats are the same. They are exploring their environment with their mouth so yea, they will try to eat anything.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to study up on different blogs and figure out what your goats can eat, not eat. You need to make sure that you know what to do if they get ahold of something they shouldn’t. What happens when they get their horns stuck in a fence? They break a horn, a leg?
Should You Get A Goat
Yes. You really should. Because they are amazing creatures that have filled my life with joy. When I’m having a bad day, I go out and sit with my goats. When I am frustrated, upset, or just feeling meh, I go and play with my babies. They are seriously the best.
Yes, they are hard work. Yes, they want to escape. But I wouldn’t trade them for the world.