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When people think of household pets, the first thing that usually comes to mind isn't a goat. For most people, pets are dogs, cats, birds, or even mini potbelly pigs.
But what about the other petting zoo animals? What about the alpacas, llamas, miniature horses, and rabbits? When it comes to backyard animals, goats come second to chickens, and for a good reason.
They're immensely adorable and affectionate, but are goats good pets?
Keep reading to learn more about why you should or should not get a goat as a pet.
Know Your Situation
Raising a pet goat is an enormous commitment and can take a lot of your time and resources to keep them healthy and happy. Contrary to popular belief, a goat won't replace your lawnmower.
If anything, they're more likely to ruin your garden rather than take care of it. We'll touch on these points later. The good news is that goats aren't all bad.
There are many advantages to having a pet goat that outweighs the disadvantages for the right person.
However, before you get a pet goat, you need to make sure that you can have one in the first place. It's always best to ensure you're following your local laws.
Some towns and cities have regulations in place restricting the size and weight of a pet goat. Make sure you check local ordinances before adding any number of goats to your hobby farm.
Similar to dogs, goats are highly playful and need a large area to release their energy. They need:
Goats are herd animals and love to be social. That's apparent in their curious and independent nature. So they need a companion.
While they may love you to death, they need a second goat to keep them company. Like a lonely dog, a lonely goat will cry more and show destructive behavior.
- Shelter from rain and wind
- A minimum of 20 sq. ft. of indoor space
- A minimum of 250 sq. ft. of outdoor space
- Some feed
Get Those Weeds Out of Your Lawn
There are various pros and cons of goats. We mentioned that goats would not be a replacement for your lawnmower. While that holds, they are efficient at clearing out any other unwanted plants such as weeds and overgrown shrubs.
Goats are incredibly picky eaters regardless of the allegations that say they will even eat tin cans.
Save Money and Eat Well
Despite the popularity of milk derived from cows, goat milk has gained traction and made its way into people's homes. If you raise a couple of goats on your land, you now have a steady source of free milk.
It's not only milk that you get, but you can turn that into goat cheese that goes supremely well with just a bit of honey. Did you know that you can also use goat milk to make soap?
Can't you hear your wallet thanking you?
All Sizes and Personalities
Caring for goats can get tricky, but you have a wide range of options regarding what kind of goat fits your situation the best. When you see people with pet goats or doing goat yoga, you're most likely seeing a Nigerian Dwarf goat.
These goats are great if you have a smaller area and want to get some milk out of them. A healthy female Nigerian Dwarf can produce approximately two quarts of milk per day. However, people raise these goats for their companionship rather than milk production.
Another common companion goat is the Pygmy goat. They're generally smaller or of similar size to the Nigerian Dwarf goat.
If you live in a colder climate, Alpines, Saanen, and Toggenburg goats are great if your goal is to produce dairy. However, if you live in a warmer climate, then a Nubian goat will thrive much better.
Nubians are a great breed not only for their milk but also because of their social skills. They can be very demanding and loud, but they quiet down when they're happy and content—kind of like a small kid.
If you have a mature goat, they'll need about two pounds of food every day. You can find 25-pound bags of goat food for well under $20. Of course, if you have outdoor space where they can browse for their food, you'll keep that cost down.
Don't let their size fool you; goats eat - and they eat a lot. They're ruminant animals which means they have four stomachs. They will go through an immense amount of hay, especially during the winter months.
In terms of grooming, you will have to trim their hooves. This can be done at the vet, or you can purchase the equipment necessary. If you decide to buy the equipment, they're generally around $100.
Disadvantages of Pet Goats
So we've covered why goats are great, and now you're ready to go down to the farm and buy that Pygmy goat you've had your eyes on for the past month.
Wait! Before you rush off, we want to discuss some of the disadvantages of having a pet goat. There are not many, but you should be aware.
Their friendly, calm attitude makes them excellent companions, but when it comes to defending themselves, they're more likely to run away rather than get aggressive and use their horns. This fact could count as a positive for many, but it could pose a serious problem if you have coyotes, wolves, or foxes in your area.
Goats are browsers, but this means that they're more likely to get an infection than other pets because of the weeds and potentially poisonous plants they eat. If you get a male goat that's not castrated, they can produce a foul odor and get extraordinarily aggressive and sexual. However, if it's a smaller breed and is castrated when they were young, they're more suitable to be raised as pets.
Are Goats Good Pets?
You dream of raising a herd of adorable goats in your backyard, but are goats good pets? We sure like to think so!
Whether you're looking to get a pet goat to be your companion or produce dairy, it's always essential to make sure you feed your goats the best animal food on the market. Check out New Heritage Feed Co.'s Complete Goat Ration Pellets, or get in contact with one of our specialists if you have any questions.
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